ContentsQUICK ANSWER – THE BEST MTB CHAINSMTB CHAINS REVIEWSSRAM 10KMC X9LSUNRACE JUJU (CNM99) 8, 9, 10 SPEEDCONNEX 11S0SHIMANO TIAGRA HG-53KMC K810CONNEX 11SX CHAINKMC X10SLFSA SL-KCONNEX 108COMPARISON TABLE – THE BEST MTB CHAINSHOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST MTB CHAINSPURPOSEBMX (COMPETITION)TRAILMATERIALALLOY STEELNICKEL-PLATEDCHAIN LENGTHREPLACING THE CHAINTOOLS TO USECLEANING THE CHAIN The mountain bike chain is the powerhouse of the bike that allows it to move forward. To the untrained eye, all bike chains might look the same, but not all are created equal when it comes to trail and competitive riding. Having the best MTB chain can help make your ride more smooth and more fun. Higher end chains last longer and come in a variety of colors for a clean ride and stylish look. Cheaper chains tend to be louder when shifting and are less durable, but offer a rider on a budget a more affordable option. For more of out top mountain bike gear recommendations, check out these popular articles: Men’s Bikes | Women’s Bikes Pedals | Wheels | Tires | Brakes | Saddles Chains | Cranksets | Derailleurs | Gear Shifters Helmets | Lights | Computers | GPS | Pumps Shorts | Jackets | Shoes | Gloves CLICK HERE to Download our FREE Quick Starter Guide to Mountain Biking Photo by istockphoto.com/portfolio/wavebreakmediaPhoto by istockphoto.com/portfolio/kadmy QUICK ANSWER – THE BEST MTB CHAINS Sram 10 Series Kmc X9L Sunrace Juju (Cnm99) Connex 11S0 Shimano Tiagra HG-53 Kmc K810 Connex 11Sx Kmc X10Sl Fsa Sl-K Connex 108 MTB CHAINS REVIEWS SRAM 10 Check out the latest price on: Amazon | Jenson USA BEST FOR: Those looking for the most reliable chain brand that’s easy to replace BIKE SPEED: 10 speed (the same brand offers similar chains for a whole range of speeds) MATERIAL: Steel PROS: Shifts cleanly, high-end, which means durable CONS: When shifting, the chain tends to make a fairly loud noise KMC X9L Check out the latest price on: Amazon | Jenson USA BEST FOR: Those who like faster, more difficult riding. BIKE SPEED: 9 speed MATERIAL: Nickel-plated PROS: Can be removed and cleaned easily, can handle any terrain. CONS: Slightly pricey, about $35-$40 SUNRACE JUJU (CNM99) 8, 9, 10 SPEED Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Budget riders BIKE SPEED: 8, 9, 10 speed bikes MATERIAL: Chrome-plated PROS: Lighter chain that is easy to replace, smooth shifting CONS: Cheap chain so it will wear quicker than high-end chains CONNEX 11S0 Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Bikers on a budget that still want a somewhat durable chain BIKE SPEED: 11 speed MATERIAL: Steel PROS: Cheap, but adaptable to nearly all bikes CONS: Not rated the best in corrosion resistance SHIMANO TIAGRA HG-53 Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Someone looking for a cheap chain, but that will still last BIKE SPEED: 9 Speed MATERIAL: Steel PROS: Durable for what the price is CONS: It is cheap, so it won’t last as long as some other chains KMC K810 Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Someone looking for the cheapest chain possible BIKE SPEED: Single Speed MATERIAL: Steel PROS: Can buy for as low as $8, easy to remove and clean, comes in gold CONS: This is a very cheap chain, so what you see is what you get CONNEX 11SX CHAIN Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Bikers with looking for a chain that will last the longest BIKE SPEED: 11 Speed MATERIAL: Stainless Steel PROS: Durable for any condition, high grade material CONS: On the pricey end, simple look KMC X10SL Check out the latest price on: Amazon | Jenson USA BEST FOR: Someone who wants a bike chain that is durable, but also stylish BIKE SPEED: 10 speed MATERIAL: Steel, titanium coated PROS: Extremely durable, come in a variety of colors including: green, blue, pink, and gold, very light CONS: These are very pricey chains, at around $170, mostly because of the style FSA SL-K Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Bikers looking for a silent, excellent shifting chain BIKE SPEED: 10 Speed MATERIAL: Chrome-plated PROS: Similar to SRAM chains, which are one of the most frequent chains used, durable, smooth shifting CONS: Only comes in 10 speed CONNEX 108 Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: BMX riders BIKE SPEED: Single Speed MATERIAL: Nickel-plated PROS: Weather and wear resistant in any weather CONS: For long-trail riders, this chain isn’t the best COMPARISON TABLE – THE BEST MTB CHAINS PICTURECHAINSBEST USEBIKE SPEEDMATERIALPRICERATING PICTURECHAINSBEST USEBIKE SPEEDMATERIALPRICERATING SRAM 10 SeriesOverall10 speedSteel$5.0 KMC X9LOverall9 speedNickel-plated$4.5 SunRace JuJu (CNM99)Overall8, 9, 10 speedChrome-platted$4.5 Connex 11s0Budget11 speedSteel$4.5 Shimano Tiagra HG-53Budget9 speedSteel$4.5 KMC K810BudgetSingle speedSteel$4.5 Connex 11SXHigh-end11 speedSteel$4.5 KMC X10SLHigh-end10 speedSteel$4.5 FSA SL-KLongest lasting10 speedChrome-platted$4.5 Connex 108Single-speedSingle speedNickel-plated$4.5 Gear up for mountain biking, without breaking the bankGet the Latest Deals on MTB GearSent right to your inbox...GEAR UP FOR MTB HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST MTB CHAINS PURPOSE Just as there are different levels of mountain biking, there are different chains designed for the various terrain you may face. BMX (COMPETITION) BMX biking comes in a variety of forms, not just the stunt events you might think of when you first hear BMX. There are long trail races as well. Both of these styles need rugged chains to withstand the force you’ll put on the bike. TRAIL Trail riding tends to be more individual. Depending on where you live and/or ride, bikers can face terrain from light trails to mountainous regions, and even deserts. This is where bikes differ the most. The type of frame, chain, and tires all depend on what terrain you’re riding on. You don’t want to use a fat bike (a mountain bike with large tires), meant for snow out in the desert. The wheels just aren’t meant for it, and neither is the chain. MATERIAL ALLOY STEEL Alloy steel is the standard bike chain material, no matter if it’s a road bike, mountain bike, or racing bike. This material allows for less-expensive bike chains, but ones that hold up in many conditions. NICKEL-PLATED Higher-end bikes often feature nickel-plated chains, both for aesthetic purposes and because they provide even more corrosion resistance. Nickel-plated chains also sometimes vary in color, while steel chains tend to be your typical gray. CHAIN LENGTH The length of your bike chain determines the number of speeds the bike is capable of (i.e. 9, 10, 11 speed). Some mountain bikers swear by single speed bikes for a variety of reasons. First, it’s definitely the most challenging way to ride, because you can’t shift to a lower speed when you’re pedaling up a difficult part of the trail—-instead you’re pedaling full speed and at full strength the entire time. For those people that like to build or repair their own bikes, whether for cost saving reasons, or just for fun, a single speed bike means less equipment to deal with. If you’re a beginner, or just like to make things a little easier, having multiple speeds on your bike lets you coast on those difficult uphill climbs and preserve energy. Again, the speed your bike is, depends on the kind of riding you’re doing. Long-range trail riding with a few different terrains require a variety of speeds, but not as many as you might need if you’re rising windy, rocky mountains that are throwing a huge number of obstacles in your way. REPLACING THE CHAIN TOOLS TO USE Certain chains don’t require the use of tools to remove and replace the chain, but most do, especially those with longer chains. For these bikes, you’ll need a chain tool that allows you to push the pin out of the chain so you can remove the chain and make the new one the correct length. There are videos on Youtube and Urban Velo offers a tutorial on how use a chain tool and remove and replace your chain. If you’ve got an expensive bike and buy an expensive replacement chain, it’s best to just take you’re bike to a shop and have a professional replace it. CLEANING THE CHAIN Cleaning your bike chain is something you can easily do on your own and something you should do every once in a while. If you’re riding in mud or storing your bike outside (something you should avoid) you’ll have to clean your chain more frequently to make sure the moisture doesn’t rust out your chain. The chain tool can help you remove the chain if it’s particularly dirty and needs a more thorough cleaning, but you can also leave your chain right on the bike. You can use bike lube or oil specifically designed for chains, but this can be expensive. You can also use vinegar or degreaser soap. Using a toothbrush, simply scrub your chain clean, rotating the pedals to rotate it. MOUNTAIN BIKING RESOURCESTABLE OF CONTENTSMOUNTAIN BIKINGTABLE OF CONTENTS 1. MTB BASICS 4. MTB MAINTENANCE 2. MTB CLOTHING 5. MTB SKILLS 3. MTB EQUIPMENT 6. MTB TRAINING 1. MTB BASICS 2. MTB CLOTHING 3. MTB EQUIPMENT 4. MTB MAINTENANCE 5. MTB SKILLS 6. MTB TRAINING Disclosure: The Adventure Junkies is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost for you. We also use other affiliate programs like REI, LeisurePro, Diviac and Liveaboard.com.