When new my bike had all Shimano components.

When it was time to replace the chain, the LBS installed an SRAM chain.

Was that a mistake on their part (if so, was it a bad mistake)?

I had a problem subsequently, and wonder whether the parts are quite compatible/interchangeable.

Edit -- I thought I remembered someone's saying on this forum that chain and cogs are specially shaped, to help the chain jump from one cog to the next when you change gears; and that this shaping is somewhat manufacturer-specific: so mixing them makes it harder to shift gears.

  • The "special shape" is basically a matter of having the pins protrude slightly, so they can engage the ramps on the adjacent cogs. Commented Jan 3, 2012 at 16:30

2 Answers 2


I run SRAM chains on my bike that has Shimano cogs. It's by choice, as I prefer the SRAM "Powerlink" to the Shimano scheme.


In general chains and cogs from Shimano and SRAM are interchangeable as long as they are designated for the proper number of cogs. You wouldn't want to run a chain designated as a "10-speed" chain on an 8 gear cassette as the teeth on the cassette are likely to large for the links of the chain.

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