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I need to replace my chain and cassette and I am not sure what "level" I need to pick? I have SRAM RED and have never replaced my cassette or chain (Two years) I had brought my bike in for a tune up and they recommended that I do it. I have chosen the SRAM PG-1070 (11-28) but I am not how to pick a chain.

In addition there are chains and cassettes that cost in excess of $300? Why would I need a $300 chain?

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if you have to ask "why", you don't need one! – PeteH Sep 2 '14 at 19:09
I'd also check the wear on your chainrings and decide if you should replace these at the same time - Google images can help identify what to look for. Do you mean $300 just for a chain? I'll have to check it out - I just bought an Ultegra one for $20 which I thought was a good buy! – adey_888 Sep 3 '14 at 3:13
You're shortening the life of your cassette by running your chain into the ground. It's more economical to change your chain earlier, so you get about 3 chains to one cassette. – Emyr Sep 3 '14 at 7:21
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Why would you need chains and cassettes that cost in excess of 300 dollars?

Several reasons:

  • You're a professionally sponsored racer, money is no object and you want to cut every gram of weight possible.

  • You have way too much money (generally, people who buy top end equipment fall into this group).

  • It looks cool among a certain crowd.

In picking your cassette, I'm assuming that (a) it is the right number of speeds for your shifter and (b) your derailleur has enough capacity to use lowest gear. If this is the same sized cassette as you had before, this should be satisfied.

The PG-1070 is a 10 speed cassette, so you just need a SRAM 10 speed chain (PC 1031, PC 1051, PC 1071, PC 1091, PC 1091R) [KMC also makes some SRAM compatible 10 speed chains if you choose to go that route, but the SRAM chains are reasonably priced and might work a bit more smoothly, so I don't see a point in going non-SRAM.]

The differences in chains are highlighted on their product pages, usually some of the metals used on some of the plates or a bit of weight. They may also shape the plates slightly differently to aide shifting performance. SRAM recommends the PC 1091 or PC 1091R for Red group use, but you can use the others as well.

Generally the differences are minor if existing other than a bit of weight in the cassettes and chains, but manufacturers suppose that people who buy expensive parts in the beginning will replace them with just as expensive parts further down the line (see the "looks cool" point above).

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Thanks Batman, as my kids say: "Dad you are too old to look cool" :) – brentwpeterson Sep 2 '14 at 15:24
One reason to use KMC 10 speed chains is that the master links are reusable, unlike the SRAM 10spd master links. But in general buy the cheapest chain that works on your cluster and replace it often. – Fred the Magic Wonder Dog Sep 2 '14 at 17:01
I ordered a 1070 cassette and a 1071 chain, thanks everyone. – brentwpeterson Sep 2 '14 at 19:15
@Fred - For that second sentence - Go wash you mouth with soap and I never want to hear you say that word again........ – mattnz Sep 2 '14 at 20:29
I'd also add that for some chains, it matters which way round that are put on. Some have a slight difference between the "front" and "back" plates designed to enhance shifting. – adey_888 Sep 3 '14 at 3:16

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