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Best, Cheap Chains? How about them?

Old 04-26-19, 01:38 AM
  #1  
allout1
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Best, Cheap Chains? How about them?

I busted a chain, and I don't know that this one that's on now from a parts bike will go the long haul. It's best to keep a spare there for the quick fix.

Are $10 chains worth it? $20 chains probably where real chains begin, eh. What's your experience?

Thanks
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Old 04-26-19, 04:21 AM
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indyfabz
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Logic would dictate that going cheap on a chain is foolish.
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Old 04-26-19, 04:34 AM
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A well maintained chain should last a few thousand miles.
With my chains, the weakest link is going to be the quick link so I keep a quick link or 2 in my seat bag.
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Old 04-26-19, 04:50 AM
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Originally Posted by allout1 View Post
Are $10 chains worth it? $20 chains probably where real chains begin, eh. What's your experience?
Oh subscribed. You got 'em with the chain lube thread but this one's gonna rack up responses. I can't help myself either

I just threw on some kmc 8 speed chain from my LBS bulk supply for $8, good enough for my 8 speed bike. On the mtb I did buy the fancy XT/Ultegra 11 speed chain for $30ish. Figured the extra coatings would help with the harsh environment my mtb is subjected to.
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Old 04-26-19, 05:22 AM
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Originally Posted by GrainBrain View Post
Oh subscribed. You got 'em with the chain lube thread but this one's gonna rack up responses.
You forgot about the busted chain blowout thread.
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Old 04-26-19, 05:49 AM
  #6  
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Ok, I'll bite. My experience is that all chains, if they're maintained are mechanically functional. The difference comes in weight savings as you move up in price.

If you're hard railing curbs (whatever that is), you'd probably be better off with a cheap basic chain over something designed for a higher groupset.

I could just imagine the post after you bust a 40 buck or more high end hollow pin chain.
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Old 04-26-19, 06:03 AM
  #7  
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DA, XTR, Record. You need the best for all that railin' and crackin' ....
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Old 04-26-19, 06:47 AM
  #8  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
You forgot about the busted chain blowout thread.
Exploding chains are no laughing matter!

#TheStruggleIsReal



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Old 04-26-19, 07:02 AM
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I have two bikes with 11-speed drivetrains, and exclusively use the SRAM PC-1110 chain, which is the cheapest 11-speed chain on the market. On Amazon they are typically $14-15.

I wax dip my chains, so I buy two at a time (so it's roughly the same cost as buying a single 11-speed chain of "higher quality," and rotate the chains throughout their lives. Pairs last 5,800-6,500 miles depending on conditions.

In the past for 11-speed I have tried: SRAM PC-1130, SRAM PC-1150, SRAM PC-X1, Shimano HG-CN701, KMC X11-93

Interesting to note that Bike Rumor posted a test where the Connex/Wipperman 11SX lasted over 3x as long as the PC-1110 in their tests. Would be neat to find out, but for the price of one 11SX, I can get five PC-1110s.

I somehow doubt a 11SX would last 15,000+ miles under even the best conditions.
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Old 04-26-19, 09:07 AM
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I roll with mid grade KMC chains. I like their quick link design for ease of use. Even as a Clyde it's not a problem for me to get upwards of 5k miles out of one. I regularly get about 5k miles out of one of these. (regularly lubed with Finish Line Dry, checked with this Park chain wear tool.)

Works for me.


-Kedosto
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Old 04-26-19, 09:34 AM
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Keeping a spare chain for a "quick fix" is fine but it is better to replace a chain at the end of its useful life before it breaks.
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Old 04-26-19, 10:05 AM
  #12  
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No chains. Buy local.

Ooops, wrong troll thread.
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Old 04-26-19, 11:26 AM
  #13  
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KMC chains have proven them selves Adequate ..
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Old 04-26-19, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post

Interesting to note that Bike Rumor posted a test where the Connex/Wipperman 11SX lasted over 3x as long as the PC-1110 in their tests. Would be neat to find out, but for the price of one 11SX, I can get five PC-1110s.

I somehow doubt a 11SX would last 15,000+ miles under even the best conditions.
Connex chains are all I use, 11SX and 11SB, outstanding chains. You can typically find them for under $50. The best thing about them is the ability to remove the quick link by hand without having to replace it due to its design. The ability to do so makes maintenance and cleaning very quick, thorough and grit free. I wipe down and clean my bike after every ride (30 minutes is all it takes to include re-lube). I keep my bike looking like this always. 11SB shown below.

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Old 04-26-19, 01:42 PM
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I've used two Connex chains, a 10SB and an 11S0. They performed as a chain should, but did not shift any better or last appreciably longer than any other chain I've used.

I do a two chain rotation: I wax the first and install it, then drop the second chain in the wax and turn off the crockpot. Later, when it's time to rewax, I turn on the pot, and after the wax is melted, swap the chains. Chain maintenance is less than 5 minutes per month.

Two PC-1110s is under $30. Two of any other chain is going to be $60+. If there was a reason to spend more, I would.
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Old 04-26-19, 02:29 PM
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KMC chains are great - the $10-15 chains for 6, 7 & 8 speed are plenty durable. Chains get far more expensive as they get narrower (ie. more 'speeds') with $80+ 12 speed chains.
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Old 04-28-19, 04:50 PM
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I've never broke a chain in 30 years of riding, so not sure how others are doing that. Anyway if you want a decent reliable lower costing chain go with the chain that has the brand of the components you use, those chains, like Shimano work really well, of course the expensive Connex chain is probably the best chain but how much longer will last over a OEM Shimano? maybe 20% longer? for a chain that cost twice as much? hardly seems worth it to me.
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Old 04-29-19, 08:08 AM
  #18  
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Stick with brand name chains and you'll be fine. The big difference in price (once you get away from cheap department store or off brands) is in weight and finish. Shimano, SRAM, KMC, I've used them all over the years with about equal results. If you are looking to save bucks, go with the unplated, solid pin chains. They work fine and are plenty durable if you don't mind sacrificing a few grams and are vigilant about keeping your chain properly lubricated. There is really no purpose in putting a high-end chain on a mid-level bike and groupset.

Yep, you are about right. $20+ is where quality chains for 9sp and up start.

If you are really strapped for bucks, a bargain chain will get you by, but they don't save money in the long run compared to an entry level chain from a quality manufacturer. Your best savings is in proper maintenance and adjustment to maximize the life of a good chain.
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Old 04-29-19, 08:11 AM
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Of all the places to save $10, a chain is not the first place I would choose. Brown bag it for two days instead.
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Old 04-29-19, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by greatscott View Post
I've never broke a chain in 30 years of riding, so not sure how others are doing that.
Stomping on a big gear will do it. Think about trying to make a fast 'track start' in your big gear.
Also, usually happens where you've 'broken' and fastened the chain by driving the pin with a chain tool (old-school style) and didn't get it set evenly. One side-plate gets loose, and that's all she wrote.

I've done it MTB'ing a few times, giving it a really hard, out-of-the-saddle full-weight slam to get some extra power to get over something, or get started after 'stalling out', always though, trying to muscle a too-big gear.

It has been a long time since i've broken one, though. I'm stronger and faster than i was 20 years ago, but i'm also smoother, and make better use of my gears. My bikes also all have quick-link chains on them, so driving pins is an emergency repair only.
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Old 04-29-19, 01:29 PM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by Myosmith View Post
Stick with brand name chains and you'll be fine.

^^^ This. You can pay more for nickel finishes or reduced weight if those are important to you; but otherwise they all last about the same.
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Old 04-29-19, 09:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Ironfish653 View Post
Stomping on a big gear will do it. Think about trying to make a fast 'track start' in your big gear.
Also, usually happens where you've 'broken' and fastened the chain by driving the pin with a chain tool (old-school style) and didn't get it set evenly. One side-plate gets loose, and that's all she wrote.

I've done it MTB'ing a few times, giving it a really hard, out-of-the-saddle full-weight slam to get some extra power to get over something, or get started after 'stalling out', always though, trying to muscle a too-big gear.

It has been a long time since i've broken one, though. I'm stronger and faster than i was 20 years ago, but i'm also smoother, and make better use of my gears. My bikes also all have quick-link chains on them, so driving pins is an emergency repair only.
Hmmm, I do live in California, I do ride in mountains on both roads and no roads, and I do ride in mountains when touring with around 50 pounds of extra gear as well, I think I'm smooth though not sure but I guess so since I've never broke a chain.
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Old 04-29-19, 10:15 PM
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depends on your drive train , i have all 10 speed , so i use sram red 11 speed chains or ultegra 10 or 11 speed chains , both about 35 bucks !!!
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Old 04-30-19, 10:13 AM
  #24  
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I've been happy with KMC 8 speed chains on my 5 and 6 speed vintage. It improved shifting on one bike, but for some reason, seems to get hung between gears going from second big to big rear gear on my Peugeot. As a fluke, I picked up a couple of Sram 8 speed chains for $5 ea at a Performance "out of business" sale. If you're really cheap, watch the sales, but don't skimp on quality, unless you enjoy walking as much as riding. In 50+ years of cycling, I've never experienced a chain break, but I had a re-used link pin pull out during a ride. Used a rock to push it back in. When I got home, there was a new KMC in the mailbox, but I just couldn't wait to get the bike on the road.
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Old 04-30-19, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by allout1 View Post
I busted a chain, and I don't know that this one that's on now from a parts bike will go the long haul. It's best to keep a spare there for the quick fix.

Are $10 chains worth it? $20 chains probably where real chains begin, eh. What's your experience?

Thanks
For 8 and 9sp (which i only run) the "best" kmc x8 and x9 chains are the ones to get imo (x8-99 and x9-93). also the 9sp DA/XTR was good but i thinks its discontinued now.
I pay about 11,5€ for these kmc chains. My cassettes are also between 11,5 and 15€. last for about 3500km.

for 10 and 11 and 12sp i would get some middle of the road shimano chains since i have seen tests where these last a bit longer than the rest. these are lab tests though so they might only last as long as the rest in the real world.
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