Well a bike won’t go far with out one, yep a Chain and in the world of cycling there are a wide variety to choose from. I had a look around at various companies to see what difference they all are, like most products these days there’s always a difference its just knowing what. Now I’m a firm believer of looking after the chain and cassette and it will work better for longer.

So whilst I was looking through one of my cycling mags I saw an advert for KMC race chains. This then made me curious as to what the difference was compared to shimano and KMC. Well if you have a good look on most Shimano chains you may see the letters KMC on one of the links, so do Shimano use another brand and put there name on it I don’t know and after hours of looking could not see why they have these letters on their chains.

So why did I choose a KMC chain, well if it’s good enough for Shimano then I’m good with that. So I got in-touch with KMC and asked what they had for my Trek 11 speed. Then a few days later I had a delivery and they sent me some goodies that I have to say I use every day, so thank’s to the team at KMC chains for the bits.

The chain sent was a X11SL SILVER with quick link connection, the spec for this chain was good as well

  • Compatible with: Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo 11-speed
  • Nickel plated
  • Super Light, 239 grams only
  • Double X Durability
  • 1/2” X 11/128” – 114 Links
    pin length 5,5 mm

On first impressions it looked like any other chain, but once I took the old chain off the differences started to appear. The weight was the first thing that I noticed and it was quite a lot lighter, then it has the hollow joints and the edges of the links looked like they were angled to improve gear change.

Once it was on the bike it looked like any other chain, so the proof was in the riding. Now these chains are used by most if not all the Pro cycling team’s out there today. So it must make a difference, and it never let me down.

Gear changes are smooth and precise, the other noticeable difference was that the chain was so quite and I mean it was super quite. Just riding and without changing gear it was super quite, and when changing gear I had to look to confirm as I couldn’t hear it change, it was so smooth going up and down the gears in top and bottom ring it never let me down.

So I had to put it to the test, the first was was sudden sprint and it never let me down, it gripped well and never dropped once. Then I went for about a mile constantly going up and down the gears, which was quite annoying but again it never jammed or come off once. The final test was to see if it held up whilst cycling up a steep hill and stood out the saddle. Whilst struggling to breath and keep the pace up I wanted to see if I could do what I have never done, change gear going uphill under full tension, it made a slight click but went in gear straight away, I made this move a few time’s and yet again it showed me how good it was.

So I have covered around 800 miles on both the road and my roller’s and the chain still looks brand new. It appears to still be the same length and changes smooth and quite as if it was just put on the bike.

Now you could have any chain on your bike but maintenance is super important, if you fail to look after the chain it will collect load’s of crud and then wear out the chain and the cassette. Now rule of thumb is that if you change your chain or cassette you should change them both. It’ not advisable to do just one unless either is new.

So whats the best way to look after your chain, well the first thing to look for is to see if it’s stretched. You can get a tool to do this or put the chain on the big ring and where the chain goes around the big ring if you pull the chain forward and it exposes the teeth on the ring then its stretched.

If your chain is ok just a little grubby it’ll need a clean, I’m a little OCD when it comes to cleaning my bike and I’m the same with the chain. I would normally take it off the bike but just before I do that I would mark one side so I knew the direction it came off. This is easy by using two different colored chain connectors.

I would then use a fine covering of de-greaser to remove the crud if you have a chain brush it’ll help but watch your eyes for spray back. Then I would wipe clean with a clean rag or cloth making sure I had removed all moisture from the chain.

If you decide to keep the chain on the bike I would recommend getting a piece of card and putting it behind the bottom of the chain so your not spraying old oil and crud over your rims and tires. Once your happy you have cleaned the chain and its all shiny give the crank area a little rinse with water to remove any over spray.

Now your chain is all clean and free from any remaining residue it’s time to lube. Now there are numerous brands out there this is down to you and the weather conditions. So whats the best way to lube the chain, well it’s simple. If you have taken the chain off the bike now is the time to get it back on before you put the lube on, otherwise it’ll be a messy operation getting the chain back on.

So once the chain is on the bike you need to spin the crank slowly and apply the lube on the inside just after its come out the derailleur making sure it’s going backwards and try not to let it go all over the floor.

Once you have moved the crank round a few revolutions wipe off any excess lube with a clean cloth or rag. This is now a clean chain and ready for the next ride. However as I mentioned the weather has a contributing factor to what lube to use, either wet or dry weather, I personally don’t see a huge difference other than the thickness.

I would like to say a huge thanks to all the team at KMC for the great support they have provided, If you are wanting to try and improve your cycling or your a real weight saver then give them a call or even go and have a look at the website . I have to say I’m really impressed with the service provided and the quality of the product.You really do get what you pay for and in terms of cost they are very competitive, so before you go online and look at what’s cheapest have a look at KMC and see what they can do for you, It’ll be worth it.