Which Chain???

So. I’m just getting parts together for a new build. I’ve gone for 12 speed XT M8100 across the board aside from cassette. As wheels are SRAM XD, I’ll be installing a 12 speed sram cassette.

With the mix of SRAM and Shimano. Should I go 12 speed SRAM or Shimano chain???



  • steve_sordy
    steve_sordy Posts: 2,441
    The manufacturers claim that their chain runs best on its own brand of gears. That has not demonstrated itself on the 7, 9 or 10-speed stuff that I have run over the years. But the first 12-speed transmission I ran came with a new bike and the chain outlasted all the other chains I had ever had by a factor six.
    It was as follows:
    SRAM XSYNC Direct Mount 34T Boost chain ring
    SRAM XG-1295 Eagle 10-50 cassette
    SRAM XX1 Eagle Black, 12-Speed chain
    (Shifters and mech were also by SRAM)

    At the time 12-speed was first launched, SRAM claimed to have developed a whole new tooth profile and a new chain profile to match it. They sure looked different! Whether that new design was the reason for the extended life I have no idea, maybe it was some other basic feature that had been available to me all along and just happened to be on that set up (but what could it have been?)

    So for 12-speed, I would match the chain and gears. Seeing as you have already bought a Shimano front ring and have decided upon a SRAM cassette, then I'd definitely get a SRAM chain to match the cassette. Without going for the fancy rainbow pattern, I'd get the best Sram 12-speed chain you can afford. As chains wear, they wear out the rest of the kit at an accelerating rate. You have spent a lot of money on your 12-speed upgrade, don't trash it by buying a cheap chain.