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  1. #1
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    Does getting a more expensive chain pay off?

    Hi,

    SRAM PC-951 w/ gold link ($18) or PC-991 w/ gold link ($33)? I'm not concerned with the weight savings between these two (and other hollow versions). Just want to get a good chain. Thanks

  2. #2
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    The SRAM PC-951 is a very good chain. I've had good luck with SRAM chains in general. I have had trouble getting that fancy link to reopen, but Park tools makes a pair of special pliers for that link, and it works very well. Good luck.

  3. #3
    Senior Member daveed's Avatar
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    I hope relatively expensive chains pay off. Yesterday I forked out $18 for a Shimano HG for my wife's bike -- a new build. She won't be doing much more than riding a well-paved trail, ever. I think I overpaid. That said, I've put almost 1,000 hard miles on a $16 KMC 510, used on a fixed gear, and it's held up very well. Did I answer my own querstion instead yours? Sorry.

  4. #4
    251
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    I used to use SRAM PC-970 chains and Shimano LX chains but recently switched to Wippermann chains. I was happy with the Shimano/SRAM chains until a week old SRAM PG-970 chain broke. I gave the Wipperman 909 a try, and have since replaced the chains on two of my other bikes with the 908/909 chains ($25-$40). For the money you get a smoother and quieter chain with cleaner shifts. Just remember to install the Connex link correctly, otherwise the chain will skip.
    Dave
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    So I'll have to get a new tool to properly install the SRAM chains? What about the Wipperman chains? I've got a normal chain tool (Park CT-5), I'm not so excited about getting a tool specifically for one brand of chain.

  6. #6
    'Mizer Cats are INSANE Mentor58's Avatar
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    Some folks have a hard time getting the power-link in the SRAM's to open. There are a set of custom made pliers that you can get, but I simply use a "U" shaped length of coat-hanger wire to take the tension off the link and haven't had a problem yet. They don't even require that, you can do it with your fingers once you get the feel for it. It's just that when you have some tension on the chain sometimes the two parts like to go flying off, and having spent the better part of 15 minutes crawling on my hands and knees to track down the missing link I use the coat hanger trick.

    Steve W.
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  7. #7
    251
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    You don't need a tool for the SRAM Powerlink or Wippermann Connex links. I don't find them difficult to remove/install, so I'm not sure why you would use a tool.
    Dave
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    Ok, thats good. I don't want to get those pliers. Coathangers are ok. Thanks everyone

  9. #9
    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    You'll need to properly measure and cut the chain (with a chain tool) before installation, then connect it with the SRAM powerlink, which is done by hand. Once you get the hang of it, it takes a few seconds, and it's somewhat easier to connect than disconnect-

  10. #10
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    +1 for good experience with Wipperman chains. I love mine (especially the stainless steel one).

  11. #11
    Bike Junkie roccobike's Avatar
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    I have two SRAM PC-68s. One is on my MTB. IMHO, it is more resistant to dirt and cleans up better than the lower priced counterparts which I think translates to longer life. And, of course, it looks really nice. I don't know if it weighs less and that's not a consideration for me.
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    OK, here's the tip for the SRAM Powerlink. You can't get it off by simply pushing it together, you need to squeeze it together laterally then push the link together. Nowhere on the box or manual for the chain does it say anything about proper removal! I have spent countless sessions trying to force a Powerlink open without sqeezing it first.
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  13. #13
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    I find SRAM links easy to use after dealing with them for several years. But, was not able to disconnect a KMC/Nashbar link until I got a Park tool. Nashbar's ad copy says they're "....a snap...." to take apart. That being said, the chain is fine, and a bargain. (Current price $8.95 for a tandem/recumbent chain!)

  14. #14
    Senior Member erader's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 251
    You don't need a tool for the SRAM Powerlink or Wippermann Connex links. I don't find them difficult to remove/install, so I'm not sure why you would use a tool.
    it's alot easier with the $10 tool. i recommend it.

    ed rader

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    So, other than discussions about how to remove the power-link and the comment that the expensive chains are quieter and smoother, are there any additional advantages to these chains? Do they offer longer service life?

    Just curious.

    Caruso

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    The info I have seen (sorry no reference) is that All SRAM chains last the same if cleaned and lubed well. You wont get significantly longer life from a high end chain. It may be easier to care for with reust-free sideplates.
    With cheaper chains you can use 2 of them, one kept in cleaning solvent , and switch them every few weeks. This means that you dont have to take your bike out of action to keep the chain clean.

  17. #17
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    MichaelW is correct.

  18. #18
    Rat Bastard mcoomer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mentor58
    having spent the better part of 15 minutes crawling on my hands and knees to track down the missing link I use the coat hanger trick.

    Steve W.
    I carry two spare SRAM links in my seat bag (MTB) for just such an emergency.
    It's better to burn out than fade away...or slip out of your pedal and face plant on the side of the road!!!

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  19. #19
    'Mizer Cats are INSANE Mentor58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcoomer
    I carry two spare SRAM links in my seat bag (MTB) for just such an emergency.
    Yea, now I've got an extra in the bag.... lesson learned.

    Steve W
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  20. #20
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    I"ve worn out a lot of chains in the last 3 years, 15,000 + miles on dirt roads. I used ONE KMC chain that was very cheap, i think it cost around $9. Reason i bought it was becaue everybody says there is NO difference. Well about 700 miles into it, the chain was COMPLETELY hosed. I put the chain checker on it and the tool about dropped through to the floor. (exageration) Actually it was the most worn chain i've ever seen or ever used, despite the fact that i've used many chains for twice that distance.

    I'll never use another cheap chain like that. I now use SRAM chains. The PC 58s is my normal chain. I've tried the 48's as well but am convinced that the bike shifts better and the chain sounds "better" with the 58.

  21. #21
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    According to SRAM, there is no difference in wear between their different models but YMMV...

  22. #22
    Senior Member grolby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelW
    With cheaper chains you can use 2 of them, one kept in cleaning solvent , and switch them every few weeks. This means that you dont have to take your bike out of action to keep the chain clean.
    I wouldn't particularly recommend this. Just about any solvent that eats away dirt, grease and grit from a chain will also happily corrode the metal parts in your chain. Water is a major cause of chain corrosion if you just let it sit, and many popular degreasers (like Simple Green) are water-based. You could seriously weaken your chain by doing this, for little perceptible benefit.

    The basic SRAM chains - PC-58, PC-59, etc - are excellent. When you pay for a more expensive chain, most of what you are paying for is probably reduced weight (some expensive, more rust-resistant chains exist, too).

  23. #23
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    My usual solvent for soaking is kerosene (uk paraffin oil) which does remove a lot of lube but does not harm the metal.

  24. #24
    Senior Member onbike 1939's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LWaB
    According to SRAM, there is no difference in wear between their different models but YMMV...
    The MD of SRAM was interviewed by a cycling magazine recently and was asked "What is the difference in quality between the cheapest chain you sell and the most expensive?" His answer was that there was none and the only difference was in appearance.

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