I sell a lot of SRAM PC830 chains that I buy in bulk.

The KMC X8 has, I think, nickel plated outer links.

Other than that, it claims to have mushroomed rivets and the X-Bridge outer plate.

Does that make it a better quality or more durable chain?

I'm looking for a better or more durable 8 speeds option for my customers, but even the KMC websites won't confirm if the outer links are nickel plated or not.

Thank you.

  • 1
    I would say the X8 may be slightly better than the 830, sram also offer a higher tier PC850 and PC870 though that may be a better option. KMC makes good chains that at the 8 speed level are on par with Sram's offering. You could go to an EPT or rust resistant option for further longevity as well. The Mushrooms rivets are a plus for durability, the x-bridge is intended to improve shifting.
    – Nate W
    May 19, 2021 at 17:06
  • 4
    This is one of the those tricky questions because there probably is a real answer that actual testing could unveil, but no one will have that answer, and there is a lot of leeway for arbitrary/anecdotal opinions. They are very close to the same functionally in every way. Juhist's answer is correct that what really determines wear life in terms of resistance to pitch elongation is really all about the pins. Chain links can have no plating whatsoever and it won't negatively affect lifespan unless you fail to lubricate. May 20, 2021 at 1:18
  • Bab, did you ever find an answer? Feel free to add your own post, that's totally encouraged.
    – Criggie
    Sep 10, 2022 at 2:19

1 Answer 1


The KMC X8 has, I think, nickel plated outer links.

Doesn't matter except for looks. The plating of outer links is not what wears in chains.

Other than that, it claims to have mushroomed rivets

Every chain today has "mushroomed" rivets. These rivets prevent joining the chain again with its own rivets, a clear drawback. However, they make shifting possible under load. You don't need to shift under load on bikes powered by human power only, but for e-bikes the mid-drive doesn't turn off the torque quickly enough when you stop pedaling, so shifting under load is something that is unavoidable. So you want "mushroomed" rivets on e-bikes. On non-e-bikes, you probably won't want "mushroomed" rivets so you can re-join the chain again using its own rivets, but oops, "mushroomed" rivets are only type of rivets you can find.

Fortunately, Shimano has solved the rivet issue with reinforced rivets that are single use only. They allow you to break and re-connect the chain over 100 times (assuming the chain is over 100 links long). It costs some amount of money to buy enough of these reinforced rivets for your emergency toolkit, but they weigh next to nothing.

With other makes than Shimano, you can only use "quick" links, a misnomer since they should be called "slow" links instead. The reason is that although a joining link of this type is quick to be installed, and quick to be removed from a chain that is clean, if you go out and actually ride your bike the chain becomes dirty and the dirt makes joining link removal so difficult that it's almost impossible without special pliers.

Because Shimano allows you to use reinforced rivets, whereas other makes demand you to use these "slow" links, I recommend Shimano chains. A mini chain tool is smaller and lighter weight than joining link pliers. Besides, a chain tool is something you in every case need because you need to shorten the chain to its proper length prior to installation, so you can't omit owning a chain tool. But you can omit owning joining link pliers.

and the X-Bridge outer plate.

Nothing in the outer plate affects the property of interest, how fast the chain wears. Only the half-bushings that are integral to the inner plates, and the chain rivet, affect chain durability. So you are definitely interested in the quality of steel used in inner plates and rivets, but the quality of steel used in outer plates doesn't matter.

Does that make it a better quality or more durable chain?

No, not any more durable.

Focus on the quality of steel on rivets and inner plates. The steel should be chrome hardened. That makes the chain much more wear resistant.

  • 2
    After years of using pins, I now use quick links (I think KMC, but still mostly on Shimano chains). I think there is a trick with removing quick links: you need to squeeze them from the sides, and sometimes wiggle a bit, so that the inner hole edges fit with the slots in the pins. After that it's just finger force. It's always better to "untangle" a jam instead of forcing it with pliers. Though I must say my chains never get "MTB-level" dirty: I only ride on roads. Still, the last paragraph (quality of steel) is the actual thing; it should be emphasized.
    – Zeus
    May 20, 2021 at 3:03
  • 1
    Quicklinks are just fine and now a better option even on a Shimano chain. One does not need the pliers on the road, just the chain tool when the chain breaks. One should not need to disconnect QLs in general. And I recommend everyone to have a chain tool o their multitool. One does not even need a piece of a spare chain with quicklinks. BTW the chain I installed on my old MTB four years ago came without the joining pins. I just used one of the regular pins and it works fine anyway. It is now time to replace it because it is quite worn. But is should not be done, quicklinks are a better option. May 20, 2021 at 20:12
  • Shoelace opens the quicklink easily Sep 10, 2022 at 0:59
  • I take a contrary position in regards to the Shimano replacement pin system. I have never been one to experience chain failure on the road or trail. I attribute this to having learned to shift in the bad old days of 5-speed freewheels when you had to relieve tension on the chain if you had any hope of shifting at all. I only remove chains for cleaning or replacement. When I use a quick link, the chain when reinstalled is exactly as it was before cleaning. If I use Shimano's system, I now have a single pin that is brand new and a very slight difference in chain pitch for one half-link. Dec 24, 2022 at 15:42
  • I doubt this would make enough difference to cause skipping on anything but the most borderline cases of chain wear, but I've read reports from others where they say they can hear that link go through the derailleur, at least while the chain is still clean. I have gone as far as to use quick links with Shimano chains to get away from the need to deal with the replacement pins, which I stash in my parts drawer for use on customers' bikes. I tend to stay away from Shimano chains just because of that pin system. Dec 24, 2022 at 15:42

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