Different 9-speed chains

Discussion in 'Bicycle Mechanics and Repairs' started by Maz, 16 Aug 2012.

  1. Maz

    Maz Legendary Member

    Does the 105 groupset have a different type of 9-speed chain compared to the Tiagra or Ultegra groupsets? Is it different in design and/or price? Thanks.
  2. Hawk

    Hawk Well-Known Member

    Bearsden, Glasgow
    For derailleur systems, the sizing of chains depends ONLY on the number of gears on the back. Any 9 speed chain would do you.

    There are various chains about that purport to be better quality, to last longer or to be lighter.

    The cheapest chain I have bought so far is about £8 and I didn't notice a difference in durability. In any case, I am not convinced that paying twice as much for a chain gives twice the chain life, or anywhere near it. Sure, more expensive chains might increase chain life by a factor of 1.2-2x, say, but such chains would cost 1.5-5x more. For me, cost efficiency is quite important on my commuter.

    The more expensive chains tend to be favoured by roadies mostly as they are lighter. I would imagine the most expensive chains wouldn't last very long at all on this same basis
  3. OP

    Maz Legendary Member

    Thanks for the reply, Hawk.
    Something doesn't smell right...I spoke to the LBS about the cost of 9-speed chains they had in stock. He asks me if the groupset is 105, Tiagra or Ultegra. I said I couldn't remember off-hand (and was not near my bike to check up) and I asked if it make any difference. He said yes, 105 is a different type of chain.
  4. Smokin Joe

    Smokin Joe Legendary Member

    Better quality, same type.
    HLaB likes this.
  5. OP

    Maz Legendary Member

    Thanks for this.
  6. PpPete

    PpPete Guru

    Chandler's Ford
    Bought a chain in LBS for the first time recently (a 9 speed as it happened).... but only after researching the price on t'internet first.
    Ended up with a KMC X9.93 at £16.50 (Shop's sticker price was £22.99)

    Incidentally - always choose KMC over Shimano's own branded chain. They do various different models for each speed, from budget though to the very lightest and most expensive. Their quick links are the best IMO, and a much better system than Shimano's frangible pin.
  7. Shimano chains are bobbins. Stick to KMC X chains and ride happy :thumbsup:
  8. MrJamie

    MrJamie Oaf on a Bike

    There's usually discounts online so i found it hard not to buy the "better" versions, I think my X8.99 was about £12 and X8.93 about £11 compared to about £7 for the Z8.

    Like most things they seem to go up in quality to a point, then start going down in weight. Something like this is hard to beat especially for the price IMHO http://www.highonbikes.com/kmc-x9-93-silver-grey-9-speed-chain.html
  9. OP

    Maz Legendary Member

    Are Shimano chains really that bad?
  10. IMO yes, I've had Ultegra chains snap, I've had Dura-Ace chains wear really quickly, but never had an issue with a KMC X chain.

    I think Ultegra chains are the worst, but I don't know if they just had a bad spell, but I'm perfectly happy with KMC so I've no reason to go back.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  11. Fab Foodie

    Fab Foodie hanging-on in quiet desperation ...

    Forget fancy coatings, they make no difference.
    Only pay more over the basic version to get lower weight if that's important.
    Change regularly.
  12. Nebulous

    Nebulous Veteran

    I'm on 9 speed and moved from the stock shimano chain to kmc. The night before a big event bike was making a funny noise and I discovered one of the side plates had broken and another 2 were cracked. Bike shop was still open to deal with all the cyclists in town, but didn't have kmc so I bought SRAM. I was very happy with it, and have just replaced it with another one. It's quieter and smoother running in my opinion, but the clincher was breaking the kmc chain. Fortunately it was the night before, and not the event itself.
  13. PpPete

    PpPete Guru

    Chandler's Ford
    My LBS (referred above) reported a bad spell of breakages on SRAM and has switched to selling / fitting KMC as their standard offering.
    I have used SRAM without any breakage issues... but their quick links are not quite as easy to fit and take apart as the KMC ones IME.
  14. User482

    User482 Guest

    KMC or SRAM for me - I much prefer the quick link type arrangement to Shimano.
  15. 02GF74

    02GF74 Über Member

    re:coating - this is applied AFTER the chain is assembled so is not preset on the surfaces that make contact ... which is kinda weird as you;d think that is where the coating is much needed. KMC seem to be the falvour of the month - using 10XSL on 9 speed for weightweenie reasons and so far so good - not that I've had problems with Shimano chains - would still use Shimano but KMC are noticeably cheaper.
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