Does A 520 Chain Conversion Increase Horsepower? | Mythbusters
Justin Fivella, Photography by Justin Fivella posted Aug 8th, 2011 at 11:00am
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For better or worse, tall tales and inflated stories follow the streetbike scene like white on rice. When we repeatedly heard of 10 HP gains from a 520-chain swap we decided to investigate the claims.
For those unaware, streetbike chains come in many forms; from different sizes to O-ring or non O-ring designs. Most bikes are equipped with a 525 chain, and as the displacement and power increases so does the chain size, eventually reaching a 530. As designs go, non O-ring chains tend to be more efficient, but don’t last as long since the lack of rubber rings increases wear. As a result, most streetbikes use O-ring chains for longevity’s sake while racebikes and dirtbikes trade durability for maximum power.
As chain technology has progressed so has the strength of the metal ropes, and in recent years racers and street riders have discovered that even larger bikes equipped with a hefty 530 chain from the factory can safely swap to a lighter 520 setup. Swapping to the smaller, narrower combo not only drops weight, but the lack of material also cuts down on friction and increases power