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I am going to buy a new chain for my bike, and read the answers for this question: Is the durability of more expensive chains better than cheaper ones?

The accepted answer said, that there is no difference between inexpensive and expensive chains.

Then I googled and found this post where the author says, that Shimano chains are bad, and KMC - good. There is a difference in price:

  1. Cheap Chinese chain 116 links - $9.54 + free shipping
  2. KMC X9 chain 112 links - $14.89 + $4.04 shipping = $18.93
  3. KMC X9 chain 116 links - $27.46 + $7.37 shipping = $34.83

Questions:

  1. Can I trust to the post author, suggesting to buy KMC chains?
  2. Why the 2-nd chain has only 112 link, while normally there are 116 for a 9 speed bike? I counted number of links in my current chain, and there are 104.
  3. Is the 3-rd chain better then the 2-nd? Seems to be the same model.
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    Some bikes need the longer chain. And which chain you pick in part depends on which type of joining method you want. I prefer the SRAM links, some prefer the KMC links, some prefer the Shimano links. The Chinese chain likely comes with nothing, expecting you to use the "old fashioned" technique. – Daniel R Hicks Jul 12 '15 at 21:42
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    As the person that wrote the answer about inexpensive/expensive chains, I was only thinking of chains within a specific manufacturer. i.e. Basic $20 SRAM chains vs the $80 ones. There is a difference between brands. – Fred the Magic Wonder Dog Jul 12 '15 at 22:22
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    I would advise against buying cheap no-name or copy stuff from China (in general, not just chains) since something you could end up with factory rejected chains that they try to sell you off. – Bibz Jul 13 '15 at 2:03
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This is the best test of chain wear I know of: it's in german, but the graph should speak for itself. His comment: "Chains were used under subjectively similar conditions - with exception of SRAM PC69 which, in nice conditions, lives for 1500-1800km"

Personally I think I rode unknown KMC, Shimano (probably HG-53), and afer having stumbled upon said findings, the Record C9. Different chains definitely have different lifetimes (and failure modes: some tend to tear, some lengthen quickly thus unusable). I have very good experience with C9, however, it is harder to mount (no missing link), and apparently it is incompatible with some slightly worn chainrings, but I'm not sure there. I posted a question on that problem here. IIRC, with me, Shimano chains wore fastest, KMC were somewhat better, maybe in the 2000-4000km range. The C9 lives some 10000 km for me. However, you seem to be located in the USA, apparently it's quite expensive there.

With cheap no-name chains I'd guess it depends on your luck. A bad quality chain will wear maybe in a couple 100km, and may tear.

  • I bought Campagnolo C9. 10 000 km is worth the money. – user4035 Jul 13 '15 at 8:57
  • I have similar experience with SRAM chains. I actually had one break on me in two places once. You may also look at Whipperman which is another spendy but decent chain company. – Deleted User Jul 13 '15 at 16:24

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