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The chain makes the bike the efficient machine that we are all so excited about. Basically, it channels your muscle strength into pure propulsion. At first glance, the chains on different types of bikes look the same. There are however subtle differences between MTB chains, heavy-duty chains for e-bikes, lightweight road bike chains and bike chains for hub gears. Technical compatibility must be taken into account, and price and quality must be considered. Whether you want to replace a worn-out chain or treat your bike to a drivetrain upgrade, our shop filters and a few tips will make it easy to buy the right bike chain. Read further and discover more.

Which Bike Chain Do I Need?

The most important feature of bike chains is their width, which determines their compatibility with your gears. The more sprockets your cassette has on the rear wheel, the narrower the matching chain has to be. For example, a SRAM 11-speed chain is narrower than one for a 10-speed drivetrain. The "gearing" shop filter can quickly narrow down the selection. Our range includes bike chains from Shimano, SRAM, Campagnolo, Connex, CeramicSpeed and other top brands. In many cases, you can use a chain from a different manufacturer than your cassette, as long as the width (i.e. the gearing) is correct. KMC chains are very popular in the aftermarket, for example. In the high-end segment, however, you should pay close attention to the manufacturer's compatibility instructions.

The Bike Chain and Wear

First things first: there is no such thing as a maintenance-free bike chain. With proper care, you can extend the service life, but the chain is still a part that can wear out over time. The many individual parts – links, rollers and bolts – are made of steel and wear out through friction with each other. In addition to care and lubrication, the quality of the steel alloy and the surface treatment have a huge influence on durability, and are reflected in a higher price tag. Even so, you can save money in the long run with high-quality chains, as you will have to change them less often.

You can find guides on how to tell when your chain is worn out and how to change it in our blog. There we also explain how to determine the correct chain length on a road bike or mountain bike.

Bike Chain Lubrication and Maintenance

A well-maintained and lubricated chain not only wears out more slowly – it also runs more effectively, is quieter and shifts more smoothly. You can feel the difference in particular with high-end gears with low tolerances. It’s why we have also dedicated a deep dive in our blog to chain maintenance. There you will find out why, with what, when, how often and how you should clean and grease the chain on your bike for optimal performance: Chain lubrication and maintenance.
By the way, SRAM Oil Slick chains are not greased differently than the normal variants. The name of the colourful bicycle chain refers only to the iridescent play of colours of the special coating.

Rivet or Master Link

When browsing our selection of bicycle chains, you will notice that some come with a so-called master link and others with a rivet pin. If you prefer one of the two common variants, you can filter by closure type in the shop. However, this makes no difference to your bike’s performance. To rivet a chain or take it apart again, you need a chain tool. A bike chain with a master link is easier to open with the right pliers. However, in order to adjust the chain to the correct length (number of links) before installing, you will need a chain tool for both variants anyway.

Which Bike Chain for the E-bike?

If you want to buy a bike chain for your e-MTB or your urban e-bike, the shop filters will help you. This allows you to select chains that have been optimised or tested by the manufacturers specifically for use on e-bikes with support up to 25 km/h or even for S-pedelecs (up to 45 km/h). A particularly sturdy chain made of high-quality materials is especially worthwhile on e-bikes with a mid-mounted motor, as it has to cope with the torque of the motor in addition to your muscle strength. It’s also worth paying particular attention to gear compatibility. While some e-bikes have 12-speed chains installed, you can also find models that deliberately have fewer gears installed in order to make them more stable with more materials instead. SRAM, for example, offers the EX1 groupset with bike chains for 8-speed cassettes in the high-end sector.


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