SRAM Chains

How to choose a mountain bike chain: Although only a strong as its weakest link, a mountain bike chain is nonetheless a very essential part of a functional drivetrain. Chains are designed specifically for use with a certain number of gears. Upgrading or replacing your chain is a great way to shed some weight and add a little zip to every pedal stroke.

Chains

Types

There are three available types of chain: regular, hollow-pin, and half-link. Regular type chains are the most common variety, come on almost every mountain bike, and they offer the same strength and efficiency as the other types. Hollow pin chains are the lightest available type. Using hollow steel pins in every link, they are able to save weight without compromising functionality. Half-link chains are available only for single speed applications and are different from traditional chains in that every link is identical, with a small end and a larger end that fit into one another. They are used on single speed bikes in order to achieve optimal chain tension.

Sizes

There are four sizes of chains, and all are dependent on the number of gears in your drivetrain: 10 speed, 9 speed, 6/7/8 speed, and single-speed specific.

Materials

Chains are generally made from steel, with the exception of some top of the line titanium models.

Things To Look For

When shopping for a new chain, the first thing to look into is the size of chain your bike requires. Once that is done, choosing a model can be quite simple, as you will either replace the old part with a similar chain or decide to upgrade to a higher performance version. Riders building up new bikes may want to choose a chain that coincides with the rest of the drivetrain's components. There are also features like quick links, connector pins, and color options that may be worth looking into.

How Much To Spend

Chains range in price from $15 to $200.

In the $15-$50 range, chains are available in single-speed, 6-7-8, and 9 speed sizes and have features such as quick links, connector pins and half-link designs. These models are a great replacement part and deliver long lasting performance in a value-oriented package.

Moving up to the $50-$125 range, chains become available for 10 speed drivetrains, with hollow pin technology and with hollow links as well. These models deliver superior performance thanks to more precise manufacturing techniques, better materials and reduced weight.

Finally, the $125-$200 range features titanium chains that are much lighter than the stainless steel versions.

Product Reviews

Before buying, be sure to do your research and read product reviews. Reviews are a great way to find out specifics about a particular model, user impressions, and things to watch out for. After you've purchased a product and had enough time to thoroughly test it, we encourage you to leave a review for other people to see when they are researching bikes and parts on the web.

We hope you've found this information to be helpful. If you have a question that isn't answered in this guide, our mountain bike forums are a great place to get advice from knowledgeable riders. Your local bike shop is also a great resource.

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