Difference Between 420 And 520 Chain – Factors To Consider While Buying One

The confusing number of bike chains is enough to make you go crazy about which one to choose. All bikers are more concerned about 420 and 520 chains. “What’s the difference between 420 and 520 chain?” has been the most frequently asked question in this case. 

difference between 420 and 520 chain

Primarily, the chain’s pitch and width are the key difference between the numbered chains. Besides, the usage in the type of bikes is also a considerable difference between the two chains.

Keep reading on to learn more about the differences between these chains. With that being said, let’s get into the details.

Comparison Between 420 And 520 Chain

Parameters420 Chain520 Chain
Chain Size1/2 inches of pitch and the width is 1/4 inches5/8 inches of pitch and the width is 1/4 inches
Required Sprockets Thickness0.227 inches0.787402 inches
Compatible Bike Models50cc, 70cc, 90cc, 110cc, 125cc bikes, dirt bikes, mini Bike, Scooter, etc400cc bikes, and heavier and bigger bike models
Construction MaterialMostly alloy steelDurable steel
Rust ResistanceGold or Nickel chainsMost chains are rust-proof

Here’s a detailed comparison between the 420 and 520 motorcycle chains:

  • What Does The Numbers 420 and 520 Mean?

The number 420 in a bike chain typically declares the chain size in inches. Therefore, a 420 bike chain means 420 inches but not as a total. Similarly, chain number 520 also says about the size in inches. 520 chain means 520 inches but not as a total.

We’ll learn the simple math for the chain numbers after a while.

  • Pitch And Width Size

The pitch in a 420 chain is 1/2  inches, and the width is 1/4  inches. The pitch size of these chains is also accounted as 4/8 inches. In contrast, the pitch in the 520 chains is 5/8 inches, and the width is 1/4 inches. The width of the 520 chains is similar to 420 chains.

  • Needed Sprocket Thickness

Chains have a lot of things to do with sprockets. You need the perfect match sprockets for the dedicated numbered chain. Usually, 420 chain requires 0.227 inches thickness sprockets. On the other hand, the sprocket thickness requirement for 520 chains is 0.787402 inches. 

  • Compatible Bike Models

A 420 chain goes smoothly and is made to go suitable with 50cc, 70cc, 90cc, 110cc, 125cc bikes, dirt bikes, Go Kart, Mini Bike, Scooter, Electric Scooter, Pit Bike, and Quad. However, don’t mix up electric scooters with kick scooters.

On the contrary, 520 bike chains from different brands go perfectly with a maximum of 400cc bikes. These chains are specially designed for heavy or bigger bikes.

  • Construction Material And Rust-Proof

Generally, 420 chains are made with alloy steel. Raw chain is the most affordable, but it’s going to rust quicker than any other finish implemented chain if you forget to lube it.

You’ll find plated Gold or Nickel Chrome chains in the market, which are best to resist rust. Besides, painted chains are also available if you want something that looks flashy.

On the other hand, the built material for 520 chains has a variety of different brands. Most of them are made with different kinds of durable steel. You should get one that has a durable material and rust-proof coating. 

How To Understand Motorcycle Chain Numbers?

How To Understand Motorcycle Chain Numbers

Understanding motorcycle chain number needs simple math for you to understand. Yes, I’ll talk about it at this point.

But first, let’s get an idea about the different measurements (Pitch and Width) I talked about earlier. 

Pitch would be the distance from the center of a pin to the center of the pin beside it. Simply, it’s a center-to-center measurement. On the other hand, width is the narrowest part of the chain, which is the empty place you see between links.

The Math To Understand Motorcycle Chains

There’re two ways to size any bike chain. They’re the ISO, the British Standard, and the ANSI, the American National Standard Institute size for bike chains.

Generally, people know the bike chains with the ANSI size. So, let’s talk about it. The ANSI bike chain sizes are referred to in inches.  

To make the measurements, they took an inch and divided it into eight equal parts. The first number refers to measuring the pitch. For instance, in 520 chains, 5 is the reference here. 

Now, you’ve to take five increments of the equal eight parts of an inch and time it by 5. That means the pitch is 5/8 inches, often stated as. Same in the 420 chains, take four increments of the 8 equal parts of an inch and time it by 4. It’ll be 4/8 inches, often stated as ½ inches. 

The following two number of the three digits marked chain tells you about the width of the chain. Let’s understand this with an example. If the chain number is 520, count it 2.0 times on that rule of eight. It’ll be 2/8, which means ¼ of the inch. 

Similarly, in the 420 chains, again, you’ve to count 2.0 times on the rule of eight, which will bring you the same result. That’s why, despite the pitch being different, the width of the two chains are the same. 

How Often Should A Motorcycle Chain Be Lubricated?

The best time to lubricate your motorcycle chain is when you’ve traveled between 300 to 600 miles with your bike. 

However, different bike models may come with varying intervals of lubrication. That’s why you should check your bike’s user manual and figure out when your manufacturer is recommending you lubricate to be at the safe hand.

What Should You Use To Clean A Motorcycle Chain?

What Should You Use To Clean A Motorcycle Chain?

According to GearHonest, the best pick for you is Maxima Chain Wax Ultimate Chain Care for both 420 and 520 chains.

But that doesn’t mean WD-40 or Bel-Ray Chain Clean Spray is lagging behind. There are more affordable and good-quality chain cleaners available to clean chains effortlessly.

The other thing you need besides a chain cleaner is a cleaning brush. Gather these two tools first, then start cleaning your chain and give them a new glossy look.

How Do You Take Care Of A Motorcycle Chain?

How Do You Take Care Of A Motorcycle Chain

Taking care of your motorcycle chain isn’t that difficult, or you need to do extra heavy work. You just have to follow four tasks to care for 420 and 520 motorcycle chains. Such as:

  • Clean the chain at least once a month.
  • Lubricant your motorcycle chain after riding for 300 to 600 miles.
  • Run a quick inspection before you go out for riding, and a thorough inspection once a week.
  • Adjust the chain alignment and tension as required.

Will a 520 chain fit a 428 sprocket?

The pitch of a 520 chain is 5/8 inches, and the width is ¼ inches. On the other hand, the pitch of a 428 sprocket requirement chain should be ½, and the width should be 5/16.
You can see a great difference in the chain sizes. So, it won’t fit well if you use the alternate chains indifferent sprockets.

What’s the difference between a 420 chain and a 428 chain?

The difference between a 420 chain and a 428 chain is the width size only. A 420 chain has a pitch of ½ inches. So does a 428 chain.
But, the width of a 420 chain is ¼ inches, and the width of a 428 chain is 5/16 inches. So, if you use the chains interchangeably, they might not create a too noticeable difference.

Do I need a longer chain for a bigger sprocket?

The chain length actually depends on the distance of the rear sprocket to the front sprocket. But if you’re using a bigger sprocket, it would require a longer chain to measure the link gaps.

How many links are in a motorcycle chain?

The number of links can vary from chain to chain for a motorcycle. Generally, common options have an even number of links like 110, 112, or 114 links.
Here, the most important thing to check is whether the chain comes with a master link (Click/Rivet Type).

What’s the difference between a 520 chain and a 530 chain?

The main difference between a 520 chain and a 530 chain is the width size of the chains. A 520 chain has ¼ inches of inner width, and a 530 chain has 3/8 inches of inner width. Pitch size of both the chains is the same at 5/8 inches.


If you’re still reading, hope that this discussion of the difference between the 420 and 520 chain has helped you to understand it clearly. You can get either of them if you’re looking for a new chain for your bike.

However, according to most real bikers, the 520 chain is more popular and reliable. Besides, when you shop for chains, make sure to get new matched sprockets for it. Otherwise, your performance wouldn’t be excellent with unmatched sprockets to the chain. 

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