BMW announced a new drive chain design that it claims requires as little maintenance as a shaft drive. The M Endurance chain will initially be offered in 525 pitch as an accessory or a factory option for the BMW S1000RR and S1000XR, before eventually being offered for other BMW models.

At first glance, the M Endurance is a typical X-ring design, with a permanent lubricant filling between the rollers and pins. The secret, says BMW, is a new coating material called tetrahedrally amorphous carbon (ta-C), a type of industrial diamond, to the rollers and bushings.

We’re familiar with Diamond Like Carbon (DLC) coatings used for reducing friction in parts like fork tubes or engine internals that benefit from added hardness and reduced friction. Ta-C is a particularly effective form that BMW claims performs somewhere between typical DLC coatings and pure diamond. According to BMW, ta-C coatings do not wear off metal surfaces while offering a low friction coefficient.

 

The result, says BMW, is a chain that requires no maintenance or cleaning, benefits typically found on shaft-driven motorcycles but without the added weight.

There’s no word on U.S. availability yet but the M Endurance chain is listed on BMW UK’s online bike configurator as an £100 add-on (US$132).

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BMW Motorrad presents the M Endurance chain

Lubricating your chain was yesterday. Maintenance-free like the shaft drive for the first time.

For more than 90 years, the maintenance-free, environmentally friendly and comfortable shaft drive has been one of BMW Motorrad’s immovable technical cornerstones. With the M Endurance chain, BMW Motorrad now offers a maintenance-free chain with comparable characteristics for the first time.

Like previous X-ring chains, the M Endurance chain has a resident permanent lubricant filling between the rollers and pins, enclosed by X-rings. What is completely new, however, is that the previously necessary additional lubricant addition for the rollers and thus the familiar “chain lubrication” is no longer necessary, nor is any re-tensioning required from time to time due to the usual wear.

This enormous gain in comfort was made possible by using a new coating material for the rollers: tetrahedrally amorphous carbon (ta-C), also known as industrial diamond. This coating is characterized by extreme hardness and resistance and in this respect it is placed between the well-known DLC coating (Diamond Like Carbon) and pure diamond. In contrast to the metal surfaces used so far, the coating with the ta-C industrial diamond does not wear off. At the same time, this type of coating also offers a drastically reduced friction coefficient.

Thanks to excellent dry lubrication properties and the elimination of wear, the tetrahedral amorphous carbon coated rollers of the M Endurance chain offer maintenance comfort equivalent to that of a shaft drive motorcycle. This includes all the cleaning work that is unavoidable with a conventional chain due to splashed lubricant. Accordingly, the M Endurance chain also offers maximum environmental friendliness.

The M Endurance chain in 525 pitch is now available initially for the two 4-cylinder models BMW S 1000 RR and S 1000 XR. The M Endurance chain is available as accessory or directly from the factory as an option. Further BMW Motorrad models are being prepared for this feature.