The original bicycle chains were of a "bushingless" design, then later they came up with a roller chain design that utilized bushings, this was later updated again to the chains we are used to today that are again of a "bushingless" design.

Wikipedia says the following which I find to be incorrect as KMC's higher end chains such as the SL DLC series as well as Sram and Shimano chains are all "bushingless" and are likely the most prevalent in the industry.

With these limitations in mind, the Nevoigt brothers, of the German Diamant Bicycle Company, designed the roller chain in 1898, which uses bushings, and it is the prevalent chain today. Whether it be single rear cog (for example coaster-brake singlespeed or with an internal-gears hub), fixed-gear (such as track bikes and modern urban "fixies") or multi-speeds with derailleurs, all modern chains in use today are of the "roller chain" design. Although it is still possible to order lower cost "bushingless" chains from China today, with generally lower manufacturing costs across the board, bushingless chains are generally considered undesirable and not prevalent


Sheldon Brown also says that new chains are of a bushingless design,

The major revolution in chain design has been the introduction of the bushingless chain. The first of this type was the Sedisport (now made by SRAM), and it has acquired such a good reputation that other manufacturers have copied the design.

Sheldon Source

At what point did this most recent change to a bushingless design occur?

2 Answers 2


There is a book written by Frank Berto titled The Dancing Chain - History and Development of the Derailleur Bicycle. The fourth edition was updated in 2012. On page 368-369 he discusses chain design and chain types. Apparently, the 1981 Sedisport chain was the first bushingless chain. Its main feature was that it shifted better than bush-roller chains and also better than the Shimano Uniglide introduced in 1976. At the time, I guess 5 gear sprockets were the rule. With increasing number of gears over time, the bushingless chain took over from that point.


I'd be a little wary of that text in wikipedia. Here's the relevant diff from the edit history. The user in question didn't add any sources and is quite inexperienced.

I suspect a bit of a wording issue: bushingless could mean having no bushings, or having no parts that act solely as bushings. The inner plates of a modern chain have protrusions that can be regarded as fulfilling the role of bushings in that they are intermediate between the pin (axle) and roller. They're quite clear in this Park Tools dismantled view.

  • A very valid point, i accepted the other answer solely on the fact he provided a date which was the technical question but i would have accepted both if possible.
    – Nate W
    Commented Apr 26, 2018 at 17:43
  • You were right to accept the technical answer over this bit of semantics and wiki-digging. If I could get my hands on a copy of that book I could fix the Wikipedia article
    – Chris H
    Commented Apr 26, 2018 at 18:46

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