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Old 08-27-12, 12:17 AM   #1
David Grimshaw
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What difference between chains

Hi. What is the difference between a HG40 and HG50 and SRAM chain? I am putting a new chain on my cheap mountain bike (which does not do a lot of work) and am a bit baffled by the choices. It is a 12 or so year old bike with a Altus seven-on-the-rear group-set. Please do not do too much typing on my behalf but I cannot seem to find the answer anywhere on the internet, including the shimano web-site.
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Old 08-27-12, 07:44 AM   #2
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When it comes to bikes, chains are a bit like religion. Some people believe in this, some believe in that, others don't care much either way. Some have sampled several different varieties, other remain faithful to one brand. Some are willing to go on crusades to get others to see the light, others are quite content with whatever works.

Personally, I find that correct assembly, frequency of care and lube, followed by ride conditions are much more important than chain brand.

Shimano / SRAM are two different companies. They both make a range of products, from high-end to fairly basic stuff. Compare the same level, and you'd need to look quite hard to spot much of an everyday advantage to either of them.

HG40 vs HG50 isn't much of a difference. Functionally they're supposed to be interchangeable.
Might be that HG50 is shiny, plated with something-or-another(chrome? Nickel?) as rustproofing and bling points while the other may be left black. Shiman does that for cassettes anyhow.
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Old 08-27-12, 08:30 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dabac View Post
When it comes to bikes, chains are a bit like religion. Some people believe in this, some believe in that, others don't care much either way. Some have sampled several different varieties, other remain faithful to one brand. Some are willing to go on crusades to get others to see the light, others are quite content with whatever works.

Personally, I find that correct assembly, frequency of care and lube, followed by ride conditions are much more important than chain brand.

Shimano / SRAM are two different companies. They both make a range of products, from high-end to fairly basic stuff. Compare the same level, and you'd need to look quite hard to spot much of an everyday advantage to either of them.

HG40 vs HG50 isn't much of a difference. Functionally they're supposed to be interchangeable.
Might be that HG50 is shiny, plated with something-or-another(chrome? Nickel?) as rustproofing and bling points while the other may be left black. Shiman does that for cassettes anyhow.
What is this? A cool, objective and dispassionate discussion about a chain-related topic on BF? Perish the thought!

Great post and I completely concur.

-Tom in SoCal
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Old 08-27-12, 08:30 AM   #4
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The tensile strength of the actual materials used doesn't seem to be widely varied (except for steel vs titaniun of course), but the construction techniques vary widely. Some lighter chains use hollow pins and I have had very good luck with KMCs X9SL-CP, but I've broken two upper-quality SRAM PC971 chains and I won't be buying anymore. I've had better luck with Shimano chains but I won't buy less than a CN-HG93 , and the KMC chain are IMO both stronger and have longer usable lifespans. For Clydes, tandems, and others who have issues with chain strength I suggest chains with mushroomed pins/rivets like a KMC X8.99 or X9.99, and I have found MTB chains to be a bit stronger than road chains just because the road chains typically are designed with more of an interest in lighter weight.

KMC Chains Website

KMCs X9SL-CP


KMC X9.99 with mushroomed pins
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Old 08-27-12, 12:59 PM   #5
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I think the OP is looking for a very inexpensive chain, so I recommend KMC Z-series for the particular number of gears that the OP's rear wheel is equipped with.

I always select Shimano chain for the greatest durability, best shifting and tolerance of scant lubrication.
Hard to find any Shimano chan for the price of a KMC Z-series chain though.

I can't recommend SRAM chains or especially WalMart (TaYa/Bell) chains. I've seen too many broken.
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Old 08-27-12, 03:20 PM   #6
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+1 Good cheap chain = KMC Z series. Pick the one that matches your rear # of speeds. I have used hundreds of KMC chains, its all I use.
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Old 08-27-12, 04:38 PM   #7
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I am a fan of the KMC chains too. Cheap and they hold up. I am a remove and clean type who got 16,000 miles out of my last one. It's 8 speed and I have a seven speed setup on the tourer and the chain has over 15k miles on it.
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Old 08-28-12, 02:08 AM   #8
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There is a pin difference of 7.3mm and 7.1mm between the Shimano HG chains and Sram chains, respectively. KMC offers options for both systems:

7.3mm: Z7 and Z8 (latter with SP/mushroomed pins mentioned by Stealthammer)
7.1mm: Z72, Z82, Z92 (last two with SP/mushroomed pins)

cheapest option for your Shimano system - Z50 - but this chain does not have a raised bridge on the outer plates.

Last edited by Papa Ado; 08-29-12 at 03:40 AM.
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