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  1. #1
    xc AND road WoodyUpstate's Avatar
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    Chains: Shimano vs. SRAM

    It was time for a new chain on the road bike, so I went down to the LBS and all they stocked were SRAM chains. I've always used Dura Ace chains for my 9-speed Ultegra drivetrain, but I bought the high-end SRAM chain with Power Link as I didn't trust the old chain any longer. $35.

    The Power Link went on like a dream and seems like a too-good-to-be-true solution to chain maintenance. It rode quietly and shifted smoothly, too.

    Are their any opinions on the Power Link or SRAM vs. Shimano chains?

  2. #2
    Forum Admin lotek's Avatar
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    I just put SRAM with powerlink on my
    campy 8 speed. so far no complaints but I really
    did appreciate the powerlink when I had to do some
    adjustments, easy off easy on.
    My LBS recommended it over all the others with the
    exception of the wipperman (and I'm not running 10speed
    so I don't need that).

    Marty
    Sono pił lento di quel che sembra.
    Odio la gente, tutti.

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  3. #3
    have bike will tour catfish's Avatar
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    been using SRAM chains for 2 years now om all the bikes the touring trek 520 the road bikes trek 2120 with campy 9 speed and the 5200 ultegra 9 speed these chains have worked well for me good clean shifting quiet last as long as anyother chain and the fact its easy off and on tends to make me keep the drive train much cleaner your right it is almost too good to be true.

    aftr two years of many miles i havent found anything i dont like about these chains.
    catfish

  4. #4
    Oh God, He's back! 1oldRoadie's Avatar
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    Me too!

    I think Shimano is going to lose a large part of its chain market.
    I can't ride and Frown!

  5. #5
    A Heart Needs a Home Rich Clark's Avatar
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    Personally, I've been happy with the SRAM on my Tiagra triple 8-speed, but I found the 9-speed SRAM chain noisy on my Ultegra triple bike. The PowerLink is fine, but I never ride without a chain tool anyway, and it's no big deal to carry some Shimano pins. If I break a chain, the Powerlink isn't going to help, and the Shimano system of pin replacement is IMO actually easier than replacing an SRAM pin.

    And I always clean and lube my chains in situ anyway, although I agree the Powerlink would be a big help for those who remove chains for maintenance.

    I got 4000 miles from my last Shimano chain without any noticeable cassette wear.

    RichC

  6. #6
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Based on admittedly sparse statistics, I consider SRAM chains to be considerably more robust than Shimanos. I assemble them in conventional fashion, without using the PowerLink.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
    Capo [dschaw'-poe]: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
    Peugeot: 1970 UO-8, S/N 0010468
    Bianchi: 1981 Campione d'Italia, S/N 1.M9914
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  7. #7
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Originally posted by WoodyUpstate
    Are their any opinions on the Power Link or SRAM vs. Shimano chains?
    I started using SRAM chains when the CN-7700 I had with XTR on my MTB snapped during a nasty chainsuck while powering through some sand. After cleaning everything and making sure all my other components were sound, I threw on a PC-99 and have never been happier. Cleaning my chain used to be something I dreaded. Now it's so easy I clean after almost every ride. When i9t came time to replace the CN-7700 on my roadbike, I immediately went looking for a SRAM chain and ended up putting a PC-89R on. I plan on sticking with SRAM chains and everyone I've talked to about them also love them.

  8. #8
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    i've always used SRAM chains on my bike..i'm currently using the PC-91 (the one w/ the holes in the plates) and i've never had to think about it once it was installed. although, i have seen the powerlink breaking on guys that ride really hard (freerider/dh kinda riding).

    I'm curious about the shimano chains though...i keep hearing that they work a lot better because they are made for the shimano parts..anyone try both out and notice a difference?

  9. #9
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    Originally posted by John E
    I assemble them in conventional fashion, without using the PowerLink.
    JohnE-
    Why do you not use the PowerLink? Have you had them fail and in what conditions? I wonder about them but haven't had a problem on road bike but that might change when i use on mtn.

    I moved to SRAM on the road bike one year ago and will move to SRAM on mtn bikes next mail order.

    I recently had a shimano chain break on a off road tour. I was carrying extra links and chain tool, but it broke my front deraileur and bent it up. I thought i was in for a 2 day walk home but managed to straighten the deraileur and i continued.

    Erik

  10. #10
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Mzungu

    I wonder about them but haven't had a problem on road bike but that might change when i use on mtn.
    I've used them on my MTB and have not had a problem with them at all. As a matter of fact, my latest chain replacement was to move from a Shimano CN-7700 to a SRAM PC-99 on my MTB when the Shimano chain broke. A friend of mine just bought a Powerlink without the SRAM chain to use on his current Shimano chain and also has not had a problem.

  11. #11
    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    As a former mechanic, I've had a large sample to judge by, and the Sachs/SRAM chains are stronger, and seem to be made of harder metal that resists twists and gouges. The simple-to-use PowerLink and Shimano's wacky break-off chain pins are polar opposites in terms of maintenance-friendliness too. Really, I think Shimano should just buy SRAM's chain division and get it over with

  12. #12
    Mr. Cellophane RainmanP's Avatar
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    I remember reading a blurb in a magazine about chains sometime in the last year. They mentioned that when Campy came out with their 20-speed setup there were dire predictions about wholesale failures of the narrow 10-sp chain. IIRC, the blurb stated that the only documented chain failure in a major pro event was the 9-sp Dura Ace chain on Julio Perez' bike that may have cost him a stage in the 2001 Giro.

    I use nothing but SRAM. FWIW, when SRAM came out with the PC99 racing chain I called to ask the differences between the models. The tech said there was no functional difference between the models from PC59-PC99 except that the 89 is heavier duty construction for off road and the 99's plates are perforated for weight reduction. I prefer the look of the 69 to the look of the 59 so I use the former.
    If it ain't broke, mess with it anyway!

  13. #13
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Originally posted by RainmanP
    The tech said there was no functional difference between the models from PC59-PC99 except that the 89 is heavier duty construction for off road and the 99's plates are perforated for weight reduction.
    Hmmm... I think you have that backwards. I have a PC99 on my MTB. It doesn't have perforated sideplates but the PC89R on my RB does. I agree with you that there's probably no functional differences between the 59-99 although SRAMs literature claims some weight reduction and greater longevity for the higher numbered chains.

  14. #14
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    I make up my SRAM chains sans Power-Link because:
    1) I need to defend my retrogrouch image.
    2) I do not fully trust them, although this is probably unjustified paranoia on my part.
    3) I put the Power-Link in my toolkit, saving it for emergency use.



    Happy Tullio Campagnolo Day, everyone!
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
    Capo [dschaw'-poe]: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
    Peugeot: 1970 UO-8, S/N 0010468
    Bianchi: 1981 Campione d'Italia, S/N 1.M9914
    Schwinn: 1988 Project KOM-10, S/N F804069

  15. #15
    Dances with Rocks Dirtgrinder's Avatar
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    SRAM all the way. I've used them for the last few years with no complaints. In fact, when I bought my Bianchi, I was reading the reviews and the only complaint I saw repetedly was that people were breaking the stock Shimano chains regularly.
    If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough...

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  16. #16
    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    For the record, the method of riveting the ends of the pins is one of the differences between models. The more expensive models have more resistance to plates coming off pins as a result of extra riveting steps, and you can see the differences in the riveting patterns on the ends of the pins if you compare the basic chains to the upper-end ones.

  17. #17
    Member caj808's Avatar
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    For what it's worth:

    My current bike came with a Shimano 5700(ish?) chain and I broke it after a few dozen rides. I replaced it with an SRAM ... 69 i think? ... and havn't had a breakage since...

  18. #18
    Senior Member pat5319's Avatar
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    I not sure how long I've used Sram, ( formerly Sachs and Sedis), chains- 25 or 30 years? I've tried Regina and maybe 1 or 2 others- gack!!! I've never bothered to try Shimamo because none of the shops I've worked in would reccomend them because they are notorious for wearing out very quickly. One or two would carry a few of them, but only for customers who insisted on having them. Some people actually think they have to have Shimano chains to keep their warrenty valid!!! I have had one tech guy tell me the Shimano chain woluld shift a little bit smoother/faster in Shimano systems than the Sram will, but won't last nearly as long

    Ride Chained
    Pat
    Pat5319


  19. #19
    Zog
    Zog is offline
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    Sachs/Sedisport/(Now) SRAM Vs. Shimano chains has been argued longer than "tastes great vs. less filling"

    Shimano chains generally shift better/smoother;
    SRAM chains are generally more rugged (especially good for MTB).

    I have switched to SRAM because of reliability issues in the woods. I am happy now with both reliability and shiftability issues. If it shifts OK to you and is reliable, what more could you ask for?

    I also use the pins to connect a new chain and have tossed the quick connect in the camelbak repair kit; although it has been along time since I've had to repair a chain on the trail, (that's probably why I like SRAM chains.)





    just ridin along

  20. #20
    Senior Member Hot Pepper's Avatar
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    This is an adjunct on topic. My LBS reccomends only Shimano Dura-Ace chains. They say Campy and Shimano chains break more frequently. I have been trying to find some data on this, as I have had everything BUT a Shima-no chain on my bikes, and I sorta like to torque these guys when I can. Any professional opinions on this?
    When the going gets wierd, the wierd turn pro
    -HST

  21. #21
    Senior Member Bobatin's Avatar
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    Hot Pepper,
    Tell them you want a Wipperman
    So, if you're in the car, waiting impatiently. . . get over it - you're not that special.
    "Its not what you take when you leave, Its what you leave when you go."
    Some country and western song

  22. #22
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    I just put a SRAM on my bike--only a couple hundred miles on the bike but I already mangled a link on the old chain when a shift missed and wrapped around the crank.

    I opted for the SRAM based on this forum and the idea of the powerlink. Cleaning should be a breeze.
    Not enough time in the day

  23. #23
    Kev
    Kev is offline
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    I use a SRAM on my MTB bike have had no problems so far been a great chain. My latest chain on my road bike is a wipperman if SRAM comes out with a 10sp chain I will switch to it at that time.

  24. #24
    I ride a REAL Schwinn!
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    I can't complain about the Shimano on my road bike, though the SRAM on my mountain bike is real smooth and I've been very happy with it. I've heard of a few cases where a Powerlink breaks, but SRAM sells extras for only a few dollars. I haven't had this problem. I've heard more bad things about Shimano chains than SRAM chains.

    -Moab
    '00 Schwinn Moab 3 - XTR/XT/Thomson/Rhyno Lites/Skareb Super
    Lemond Nevada City - Almost Stock!

  25. #25
    Carfree Retro Grouch hayneda's Avatar
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    There's nothing new here. The currently available SRAM chains are essentially the same chains made by Sedis for the last 25 or so years. The only thing new is the powerlink.

    I've preferred these chains since when to the Shimano. The shift better, are quieter, last longer, and are cheaper.

    Sedis, which was bought out and then became the Sachs, which was bought out and is now the SRAM.
    Bikes are either fixed or broken

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