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I notice that except for small commuter bikes and older bikes (before the 80s), hardly any of the larger and/or sportier bikes have covers to protect their chains: Honda Cub. Hero Honda Passion

They seem quite practical, and conducive to chain life- by protecting the chain from the elements and requiring less frequent lubrication. Then why don't larger bikes have them? Is it purely for aesthetic reasons? Or is there a safety aspect as well? Are there other reasons? What would happen if the chain broke in a bike with a chain cover?

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1 Answer 1

Those bikes are small engine, low torque and consequently have smaller/narrower chains. They are designed for use commuting to/from work with little or no protective clothing over your normal clothes. Consequently the chain needs to stop spatter getting on your clothes and as a result has a chain guard.

The chain - due to its smaller weight and less torque of the engine will likely stretch less than a bigger bikes and should in theory need tensioned less often.

Larger bikes have much heavier gauge chains that have a lot more mass with them. The larger bikes also have much more torque applied through the chain. In the event of a chain failure the guard would have to be much thicker than on those bikes. Additionally the chains on larger bikes need to be adjusted more regularly (in my experience) and are less tolerant to slack/tightness so you need ready access to them.

That being said, larger bikes to tend to have a nominal chain guard to stop laces/clothing etc from the pillion passenger being taken up by the chain.

Also the chain covers dont look very nice compared to a gold x-ring chain and anodised sprockets.

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1. Agree. With the cub, Honda marketed the bike as an appliance needing less care and attention from the user. Regarding para 2.& 3. Chain covers do provide access (via pluggable holes) for checking chain slack and lubrication. They do make it harder to verify the chain condition at a glance though Agree with para 5. I am beginning to think that this was the real reason they were killed off.. –  nedR Feb 12 at 20:11
    
I would also add that the bikes above are marketed in countries where they are used as family vehicles. Kids legs and wives dresses are often hanging over the side near the chain, so its a real safety thing. –  MeltingDog Feb 20 at 5:04

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