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KMC vs Shimano

Old 05-16-21, 02:01 AM
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djdelarosa25
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KMC vs Shimano

I'm going to replace the chain on my bike but can't decide if I should go with the KMC X8 or the Shimano CN-HG71. They've both the same price where I'm from. The advantage of the KMC is the Missing Link while theoretically, the Shimano one should perform better since I have a Shimano Hyperglide cassette and it's the model of chain that Shimano recommends for it. Does anyone have any experience in the performance difference between using a matching manufacturer chain (with the make of the cassette) versus that of another brand?
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Old 05-16-21, 03:29 AM
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I don’t actually have Shimano chains on any of my bikes; they’re either KMC or SRAM. No problems with Shimano cassettes/freewheels, or FSA, Suntour, or Sugino chainrings (don’t have any Shimano cranks)

I use KMC on my 7-speed bikes (Z-51)because I found a some for super-cheap, and SRAM on the 9-sp, because they weren’t as cheap as the KMC, but still less than the Shimano’s
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Old 05-16-21, 04:08 AM
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Neither. Wippermann Connex
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Old 05-16-21, 06:53 AM
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Originally Posted by djdelarosa25 View Post
Does anyone have any experience in the performance difference between using a matching manufacturer chain (with the make of the cassette) versus that of another brand?
I used SRAM chains on my Shimano drive train for years and was satisfied. PC-951, I think. Couple years back I tried a KMC X9.93. While it functioned adequately, it was noisier and shifted less smoothly than the SRAM chain. I took it off after a couple hundred miles and tried a Shimano HG93. I was surprised to find it shifted better than either the SRAM or the KMC. It was also more expensive, ~$25, versus less for the others, but worth it to me. I just took off a HG93 at 4,000 miles. It was stretched less than 1/16, could have gone longer.

Regarding quicklinks, the SRAM link included with its chains was fine. The KMC link included with its chain was defective and couldn't be used. One of the pins was not perpendicular to the side plate.



I tried the Wippermann Connex link with the Shimano chain, and it works well. Can be installed and removed without tools. I'd like to try the Wippermann chain but it's costly, and while I'm sure it's compatible with Shimano, it may not be optimum.

But they all shift.
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Old 05-16-21, 07:43 AM
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Shimano lists their HG CN71 chain as "Acera" level which is near the bottom of the line for MTB components so it is not a premium chain compared to the KMC X8.93. It's a lot easier to find the KMC chain at bargain prices on eBay or Amazon from bulk sellers who cut it from a large roll. I buy my recumbent chains (3 lengths of chain) on eBay where the Shimano chain in a fancy box is $25 for the 8-speed while the KMC chain is $13.75 with no box. Both include free shipping. Prices are similar on Amazon where I refuse to shop.
Shimano https://www.ebay.com/itm/254975967920 KMC https://www.ebay.com/itm/254757500023?
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Old 05-16-21, 08:51 PM
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I have a Shimano CS-M771-10 cassette and it shifts better with the Shimano CN-HG95. I tried KMC and went back to Shimano. I also like the pin for the Shimano 10 speed chain compared to the KMC quick link. I never take my chain off for cleaning, so the reusable quick link was a waste. I also found out that the quick link will be the weak link in trying to get a chain to high mileage. At around 3500 miles the quick link pins had worn out the holes in the chain and the rollers were shot also. All the other links were fine. With a quick link you are putting two pins into holes in the chain that are not as tight as a pin(and you are only pinning one hole when using the Shimano pin). Never tried the Wippermann Connex, it might have better tolerances.
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Old 05-18-21, 10:54 AM
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i had a gold shimano ug chain that came with my 84 stumpjumper, darn thing went for years, heavy climbing,

99 bucks on evilbay nowadays

sram seems cheaper than KMC, sram chain went for about 2000 miles and was toast.

i can get about 8 KMC chains for that, 99 dollar uniglide so KMC.
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Old 05-18-21, 11:05 AM
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Shifting wise, either chain will work fine. But the Shimano chain will give you the quiestest mode of operation with Shimano cassettes. This is true up to 10 speed drivetrain.

But once you get to 11 speed drive train, then ALWAYS go with the manufacturer chain matching the manufacturer cassette. This is due to tighter tolerance between components.
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Old 05-18-21, 12:03 PM
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Sorry to gravy train the thread but now I'm thinking I may want to try a Shimano chain next. I have a KMC X9 chain currently. My derailleur is a Deore 591 and cassette Altus 9 speed and crank is Acera if that matters. What Shimano chain do I need?

Thanks.
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Old 05-18-21, 10:02 PM
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I had 2 new Shimano chains snap on me. Went to to KMC and never looked back
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Old 05-19-21, 03:04 AM
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dang, how many watts? ^^



i throw away those quick links, they did not have those in the 70's and 80's, when did they make their ugly reappearance?
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Old 05-31-21, 12:19 AM
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KMC here. I highly suggest going with the KMC X8 which works flawlessly on Shimano HG cassettes
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Old 05-31-21, 06:41 AM
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I pretty much run nothing but KMC chains. They are excellent performers, priced right and available everywhere. They have yet to give me something to complain about.

Picking a chain to match the brand of cassette is pure marketing BS. Rise above the rhetoric and make an informed decision.
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Old 05-31-21, 09:11 AM
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I run a mid-level chain in whatever brand is cheapest at the time. (Mid-level rather than cheapest, which is a superstition more than a noticeable difference) and have not experienced any funtional difference in performance.

While I have had 'quick-links' fail on me one or twice, that only happened when I made a very badly timed shift (arguably exactly when you don't want a chain to come apart!).

Though I've done no detailed analysis on chain longevity or function, I suspect that most of the differences in experience w various manufacturers might come from what each user is used to, maybe even the packing grease the chain comes with and not compatiblity or manufacturing tolerances.

I think all (most?) chain of the correct width is pretty much interchangeable.
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Old 06-01-21, 05:52 AM
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Originally Posted by cjenrick View Post
dang, how many watts? ^^



i throw away those quick links, they did not have those in the 70's and 80's, when did they make their ugly reappearance?
When peened pins with the ends nearly flush with the outer plates appeared, that's when. If you are pushing pins in and out of modern chains, you are looking for trouble.
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Old 06-01-21, 06:05 AM
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https://bicycleuniverse.com/kmc-chai...Dlasting%20use.
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Old 06-01-21, 07:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Pop N Wood View Post
I pretty much run nothing but KMC chains. They are excellent performers, priced right and available everywhere. They have yet to give me something to complain about.

Picking a chain to match the brand of cassette is pure marketing BS. Rise above the rhetoric and make an informed decision.
it depends. With 10-speed or lower drivetrains, the tolerance is loose so matching brand components isn't critical. Also, a frame with a longer chainline (thus a lesser chain angle) will be less picky about chains.

With 11-speed, and now 12-speed coming, tolerance is tight. To the casual observer, KMC and Shimano chains here look almost identical, but close observation will revel that they have slightly different profile. This sligh difference is enough to cause noiser drivetrain, and it may be enough to cause issue when you're cross-chaining in the big-big gear combo, or when you pedal backwarks (the chain will off the cassette). This is especially true if the bike frame has a short chainline (ie, greater chain angle).

for the 8,9,10-speed stuff, it doesn't matter which chain you use
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Old 06-01-21, 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
it depends. With 10-speed or lower drivetrains, the tolerance is loose so matching brand components isn't critical. Also, a frame with a longer chainline (thus a lesser chain angle) will be less picky about chains.

With 11-speed, and now 12-speed coming, tolerance is tight. To the casual observer, KMC and Shimano chains here look almost identical, but close observation will revel that they have slightly different profile. This sligh difference is enough to cause noiser drivetrain, and it may be enough to cause issue when you're cross-chaining in the big-big gear combo, or when you pedal backwarks (the chain will off the cassette). This is especially true if the bike frame has a short chainline (ie, greater chain angle).

for the 8,9,10-speed stuff, it doesn't matter which chain you use
Well, my experience on at least 4 bikes running 11 speed setups says otherwise. I'm using KMC XL chains on them with no problems at all. One setup is Ultegra, one is Athena, one is Super Record, and one is a mix of Super Record.

Then looking at my picture archive I can see I ran a SRAM chain with the Ultegra build of the NOS Vitus Argal. It worked great and was very silent once we fixed the problem of the FD rubbing on the crank arm. Very tight rear end and tolerances on this 1990's bike running that 11 speed setup.


Really short and tight rear end on this one.

SRAM chain/Ultegra 11 speed groupset.
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Old 06-01-21, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by jamesdak View Post
Well, my experience on at least 4 bikes running 11 speed setups says otherwise. I'm using KMC XL chains on them with no problems at all. One setup is Ultegra, one is Athena, one is Super Record, and one is a mix of Super Record.
What is a KMC XL chain? That's not a model I recognize.
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Old 06-01-21, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by jamesdak View Post
Well, my experience on at least 4 bikes running 11 speed setups says otherwise. I'm using KMC XL chains on them with no problems at all. One setup is Ultegra, one is Athena, one is Super Record, and one is a mix of Super Record.

Then looking at my picture archive I can see I ran a SRAM chain with the Ultegra build of the NOS Vitus Argal. It worked great and was very silent once we fixed the problem of the FD rubbing on the crank arm. Very tight rear end and tolerances on this 1990's bike running that 11 speed setup.


Really short and tight rear end on this one.

SRAM chain/Ultegra 11 speed groupset.
Can you post a video showing the crank spinning backward while in big-big combo? I'll be damned if the chain won't jump off the cog.
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Old 06-01-21, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
What is a KMC XL chain? That's not a model I recognize.
That's cause I made it up, LOL! Typo, sorry. "SL" their light chain versions.
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Old 06-01-21, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
Can you post a video showing the crank spinning backward while in big-big combo? I'll be damned if the chain won't jump off the cog.
Nope, sold that bike. The bonded alloy fork was too vague feeling for me on high speed descents.

That said, why would you worry about such a thing? You're certainly not riding like that are you? You can't fault user error. I'll bet it jumps off too, to what end does that prove anything?

Just out of curiosity I did just try it with my Y-Foil running an Ultegra 11 speed setup and a Shimano chain. Guess what, it jumps off so staying with a Shimano chain still doesn't save you from user error.



I mean let's be honest, if you're setting up your crankset, RD, chainline to be able to cross chain at it's most extreme and backpedal then you might want to rethink what you are doing. Or is there a legitimate reason to be worrying about this? Asking honestly because I certainly don't know everything. Even if I did stay in a Holiday Inn last night LOL!
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Old 06-01-21, 04:20 PM
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Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
it depends. With 10-speed or lower drivetrains, the tolerance is loose so matching brand components isn't critical. Also, a frame with a longer chainline (thus a lesser chain angle) will be less picky about chains.

With 11-speed, and now 12-speed coming, tolerance is tight. To the casual observer, KMC and Shimano chains here look almost identical, but close observation will revel that they have slightly different profile. This sligh difference is enough to cause noiser drivetrain, and it may be enough to cause issue when you're cross-chaining in the big-big gear combo, or when you pedal backwarks (the chain will off the cassette). This is especially true if the bike frame has a short chainline (ie, greater chain angle).

for the 8,9,10-speed stuff, it doesn't matter which chain you use
Nope, run KMC chains on the 11 speed 105 equipped bike a well. Zero issues.

I must not be the only one who thinks KMC chains are fine because the bike came shipped from the factory with one. Seems pretty common for factory bikes.
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Old 06-01-21, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by jamesdak View Post
That's cause I made it up, LOL! Typo, sorry. "SL" their light chain versions.
I have an 11SL on my bike currently. Runs fine. No better, and I don't think any worse (but it seems to need lubrication more often.. is that possible). I only got it because it wasn't much more (~$5) than a Campy chain at the time and it was all silver.

However, another thread around here, and it seems the case if you shop around online, has that KMC has put in MAP, so the X11SLs seem to now be $70 everywhere. So with Record or DuraAce chains close to $20 less, would you still opt for a KMC chain?
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Old 06-01-21, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
I have an 11SL on my bike currently. Runs fine. No better, and I don't think any worse (but it seems to need lubrication more often.. is that possible). I only got it because it wasn't much more (~$5) than a Campy chain at the time and it was all silver.

However, another thread around here, and it seems the case if you shop around online, has that KMC has put in MAP, so the X11SLs seem to now be $70 everywhere. So with Record or DuraAce chains close to $20 less, would you still opt for a KMC chain?
I'll run whatever quality chain I can get for the best price. I'm by no means married to KMC or any other brand.
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