A sprocket, sprocket-wheel or chainwheel is a profiled wheel with teeth, or cogs, that mesh with a chain, track or other perforated or indented material. The name 'sprocket' applies generally to any wheel upon which radial projections engage a chain passing over it. It is distinguished from a gear in that sprockets are never meshed together directly, and differs from a pulley in that sprockets have teeth and pulleys are smooth except for timing pulleys used with toothed belts.
Sprockets are used in bicycles, motorcycles, tracked vehicles, and other machinery either to transmit rotary motion between two shafts where gears are unsuitable or to impart linear motion to a track, tape etc. Perhaps the most common form of sprocket may be found in the bicycle, in which the pedal shaft carries a large sprocket-wheel, which drives a chain, which, in turn, drives a small sprocket on the axle of the rear wheel. Early automobiles were also largely driven by sprocket and chain mechanism, a practice largely copied from bicycles.