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


  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. Jul 12, 2015 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. Jul 12, 2015 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, 2015 at 2:03

1 Answer 1


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, 2015 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. Jul 13, 2015 at 16:24
  • If someone is looking for the missing image from the forum it seems it is this one: flickr.com/photos/denmes/9560857109
    – kuzavas
    Aug 1, 2020 at 5:05

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