|A mountain bike is nothing without its chain, well it could be a downhill bike but for the most part if you don't have a reliable chain, you don't have a reliable bike. Many riders don't put too much thought into what type of chain they use and many don't even pay attention to the condition of their chain and if itâs ready for replacement or not. Of course you need to pay attention to your chain because as it gets older it will stretch and not shift as well and potentially cause damage to your drivetrain.||
When it comes time to replace your chain you should do a little research to get the right chain for your bike and riding style\conditions. There are only a handful of mountain bike chain manufactures with Shimano and SRAM being the top two. But there is another company out there that has been around for years and specializes in chains and that company is called KMC. In fact they have been making chains for over 30 years.
KMC makes a wide variety of chains from your basic get you by chain to higher end lightweight chains. One of those models is the DLC which stands for Diamond Like Coating which is designed to reduce wear on your bikes components and last longer than other chains. Features of the DLC line include higher rigidity, lighter weight, smoother shifting, hollow inner plates and pins, non-directional design and a mud shedding feature. These chains are designed for mountain bikes as well as road bikes and are compatible with Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo systems.
The DLC chain comes with 116 links and weighs in at 253 grams for the 10 speed version compared to 290 grams for their heavier chains. These chains claim to be 10-15% lighter than other chains of the same size. KMC chains features the missing link like SRAM chains allowing you to attach and detach the chain with your hands. Keep in mind that this is easier said than done unless you have done it a few times before and you may be better off with their chain removal tool. They also sell a chain connector tool but you shouldn't need that since putting it together is easier than taking it apart.
If you are into color matching your bike parts then you can get these chains in a variety of colors such as black, blue\black and red\black. Of course when you get it caked with dirt and mud it wonât really matter what color it is but when your bike is clean they can look pretty sharp.
We tried out one of the DLC chains on a variety of rides and it performed pretty well. The bike shifted nicely and the chain was fairly quiet. It came in a nice box and was greased up from the factory. We found that cleaning off the factory grease worked better since it was kind of stiff and noisy with the grease in place. When it comes to performance it seemed to be about the same as a $30 SRAM chain but if you are super concerned about weight or like your bike bling then this may be the chain for you. Over time this chain may last longer and be nicer to your chain rings and cassette so that may be another reason to spend the $85 that we did to try one of these chains out for size. But if you change your chain often for whatever reason then you may want to save some money and stick with your basic $30 model.