KMC X11EPT ECO ProteQ Chain - Review

Nov 26, 2017 at 14:09
by Mike Levy  
KMC


Chains surely have the worst job of any component on our bikes. Often neglected until we over-lube them, they only get our full attention when they fail and we curse them. KMC's X11EPT ECO ProteQ chain features a special coating that's intended to prevent rust if you're riding in nasty conditions on a regular basis, or if you're the kind of person who's on a once-a-month chain lubing schedule. But don't be that person.

The $50.00 USD 11-speed chain is compatible with drivetrains from both Shimano and SRAM, as well as the Campy drivetrain on your road bike.

X11EPT ECO ProteQ Details

• Intended use: 11-speed
• Compatible w/ Shimano, SRAM, Campagnolo
• EPT anti-rust coating
• Non-directional design
• Chamfered inner, outer plates
• MSRP: $50.00 USD
www.kmcchain.us

Design

Chains aren't exactly the most exciting component on your bike, but KMC has thrown a bunch of their technology at this high-end 11-speed offering, the most interesting of which is the EcoProteQ treatment that's intended to prevent rust from forming while also being an environmentally friendly manufacturing process. KMC applies the coating to all of the chain's components, and they claim that the process creates a chain that resists corrosion twice as well as their RustBuster coating. KMC even claims that the chain is good for 650-hours of salt spray, although it's not clear what happens after that... Does it break? Does it catch on fire? Or does it just turn orange?

KMC


Being KMC's high-end 11-speed chain, the X11EPT receives chamfered edges on both the inner and outer plates, an 'X' side profile to the latter, and also KMC's highest strength pins and riveting. Unlike Shimano's fancy chains, the X11EPT is non-directional, meaning that there's no right or wrong way to install it.


Performance

The bikes I spend my time on are often covered in mud or dust, and look like they've been buried in the ground for a few months. Except for their drivetrains, that is, that are nearly always well-cleaned and well-lubed. Okay, so I'm not the ideal guy for the X11EPT, but for the express purpose of seeing how this anti-rust coating performs, I did my best to ignore the drivetrain's needs for as long as possible. That included multiple weeks worth of riding without a drop of lube, and I also kept it on my Element during the BC Bike Race, although I did lube it for that singletrack extravaganza for the benefit of those racing beside me.

The chain has been on my bike for seven months now, and it's been combined with a SRAM XX1 cassette, a Shimano XTR derailleur, and OneUp's Switch Chainring System.


Staff Rides - Mike Levy s Rocky Mountain Element


So, how much rust have I seen on the X11EPT? The answer is none, even during weeks of use without lube that had me cringing with every annoying squeak that it emitted while obviously being far too dry. The chain would get a strange, matte look to it when excessively dry, but it refused to allow a spot of orange-colored rust to form at any point. The EcoProteQ treatment doesn't seem to wear out, either, as it has still yet to show any signs of corrosion.

Rust resistance aside, shift quality has been on-par with any other chain that I've used with a high-end drivetrain; not any better, but also not any worse. Wear rate has roughly equaled other chains as well, and I'm more impressed with this stat than with the rust prevention as I would have expected it to wear out relatively quickly given my neglectful testing strategy. I've been taking a bit of time off the bike lately, but it lasted five months of high-mileage riding before Park Tool's CC-2 chain checker read .75 of wear, which is when you're supposed to swap in a new chain. Oh, and it never broke once.
KMC


Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesThe X11EPT ECO ProteQ works as advertised, although I'd also argue that one should look after their chain well enough that it doesn't rust. Regardless, you'll pay a bit less for KMC's high-end 11-speed chain than you will for SRAM or Shimano's top-tier offerings, and it shifts just as well while resisting rust much better. It's hard to argue against that. Mike Levy






184 Comments

  • 79 3
 instructions unclear. Got dick stuck between chain and chainring
  • 26 1
 you too? f*cking hell...
we should sue
  • 20 0
 Did that happen while riding or during installation?
  • 30 0
 @Greenday9261: Impressive if while riding
  • 28 0
 That's why I always tape mine to my leg when working on a bike's drivetrain.
  • 31 0
 @mikelevy: thank you for following our instructions. Everyone else, please note.
  • 5 0
 @mikelevy: That's very enduro!
  • 19 1
 I use the gold KMC chains and it’s the best I’ve tried. Sram chains are the worst of the bunch in my opinion. KMC only manufactures one thing. That thing being chains. Why the hell wouldn’t you buy their chains? That means the company’s resources are only put into that one item. All their R&D goes into bicycle chains. If you’re an engineer at KMC your skill and knowledge goes into engineering....?? Right you guessed it: Chains. Not derailleurs, not cranks, not shifters, not pedals, only chains. Yep I’ll stick with the chain guys.
  • 23 0
 "Say chains again muthafuca, I dare you! I double dog dare you!"
  • 3 1
 @bishopsmike: "Wuh...what?"
  • 15 2
 Rumors were back in the day that KMC used to make the chains for Dura ace. I have been using the road TiNI one for a while off road as its light and strong and corrosion Resistance (and gold) and not that pricey. they say you can only use the join link once but that not true i take mine off and clean it like a sram chain. All good.
  • 5 39
flag endurocat (Nov 29, 2017 at 8:14) (Below Threshold)
 Shimano has always made their chains.
  • 6 9
 I heard the opposite that KMC made their mass produced and cheaper chains before they got their factory in Malaysia. But it’s just rumors.
  • 7 0
 @enrico650: no
  • 31 0
 @enrico650: wrong. I use to work for KMC in 2010, at that time KMC made roughly 70% of shimano's chains.
  • 7 0
 @Jhou: Wrong. Their factory is in Tiawan.
  • 2 0
 @yuroshek: did they happen to make any of SRAM's chains? I've heard they made some for both, but never a clear answer from someone in the know.
  • 8 0
 @mtnbykr05: I believe so, Ive had many concussions since but I am certain about KMC making Shimano.
  • 3 0
 Dura Ace and XTR are made in Japan. Some XTs are too, but a lot of their parts are made in Malaysia. Look it up....
  • 2 1
 @yuroshek: KMC has 11 factories in Taiwan, China, Holland, USA, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam. So yeah maybe not in Malaysia but not in Tiawan either.
  • 5 0
 All yall, "you can't handle the truth!"
  • 3 1
 @mtnbykr05: No, SRAM chains are designed and manufactured in Europe.
  • 4 1
 Sram chains are mainly from Spain
  • 2 0
 for euro crowd, Decathlon chains are KMC too
  • 138 1
 KMC here. We have several factories in Taiwan, China, and Vietnam. We just celebrated our 40 year anniversary and have been working with Shimano for 31 of those years. We produce the vast majority of their chains. We do not produce Sram chains (mostly made in Portugal and some in China).

Great review! Btw, after you reach 650 salt spray hours (which translates to over 20 years of protection from rust!), the chain does indeed catch on fire. It's so cool.
  • 3 0
 @b-wicked: Portugal
  • 7 0
 @kmcchain: Do you have video of the fire chain? That’d be cool to see.
  • 34 0
 @kmcchain: best manufacturer's comment ever.
  • 16 0
 @vondur: no human has ever reached this chain's rust limit yet. Be the first!
  • 4 0
 @kmcchain: stop it will you! My sides are splitting!
  • 5 0
 @kmcchain:
I have a KMC chain on my bike because it was cheap, but the next one will be a KMC too, because of your comment (and I'd love to see my bike with a chain on fire.)
  • 6 0
 @kmcchain: Finally someone who understands how marketing works.

@radon: Take note.
  • 1 0
 @Demoguy: Yup sory my apologies I meant Portugal Smile
  • 2 0
 @faul: best comment yet, spat my coffee Smile
  • 2 0
 @kmcchain: that comment alone made me buy a KMC chain.
  • 1 0
 @kmcchain: I've run KMC for years. Do you do a half-link style chain? I should have looked at your catalog before buying a Shadow Conspiracy 3/32" Interlock for my urban SS the other day...... do you mfg for them as well?
  • 2 0
 @endlessblockades: Yes, we have HL chains (www.kmcchain.com/en/product.php?act=view&id=53). No, we don't manufacture for Shadow.
  • 4 0
 @kmcchain: for your funny comments and for actually participating in this discussion you have made me buy a KMC chain for my next drivetrain, and I didn't even take you into consideration before.
  • 2 0
 @kmcchain: Dang! thanks - next time for sure.
  • 12 1
 To make a conclusion, you need a control (another KMC chain). You can't just test the experimental variable (the X11EPT ECO ProteQ) and help people fall for their marketing BS.

I ran a KMC X11SL chain for an entire winter season (~500 miles) on my fat bike in the snow, slush, and mud without lubing it once (shame on me) and it doesn't have one spot of rust. I don't need this EPT ECO ProteQ or whatever thing.
  • 3 0
 yeah i ran the 10 speed version sold good chain.
  • 2 1
 Snow slush and mud are nice. But try some city riding in places that use salt and chemicals to melt the ice. Wink
  • 6 0
 By directional...it has to do with the side plates. Some chains have been made which have different side plate profiles, and are meant to be installed a particular way because the plates are engaging different areas of the rings/cogs as it shifts. One of the first modern directional chains, which pre-dates shimano using them... was a company called DID with their Super Shift Asymmetric chains twenty plus years ago. The inner plates (facing towards the inside of the bike) were flat and optimized to engage the recessed ramps on HG cogs as you shifted up the cassette from smaller to larger cogs while the outer plates were cambered and thus optimized to catch the pickup ramps that were then appearing on shimano and other chainrings.

www.bikepro.com/products/chains/did.html
  • 5 0
 I've been running KMC chains on most of my bike builds for the last few years. I started doing it because they made a sweet black chain, but I even run their silver offerings now because they perform so well. I can't wait for their 12-speed chains to come out.
  • 4 0
 I had a KMC chan have an outer link tear off from a rock stike and it kept running on an 8mi DH in northern CO. Heard a noise while sprinting which promoted me to throw a quick link in. I'm 250lbs and won't run anything but KMC. I've snapped every other brand but a KMC. By snapped I mean both links broken and the pins are intact.
  • 5 0
 Nice. I've been told to swap 11 speed chains at 50% wear. Am I swapping too early?
  • 8 1
 Perhaps, yes. But I'm sure your cassette will last longer. I've also noticed that keeping a slightly higher cadence and oiling the chain helps them last even longer.

If you want a chain that will last longer than others, try the TiNitride chains (gold ones). I'm impressed with the long term wear I see on customers bike.
  • 8 5
 If I were rich and a little more wasteful I would put on a new chain everytime the factory lube started to wear out.
  • 14 7
 @acali: the shmoo that comes from the factory is only to be used to keep the components from rusting while in transit and in storage. It is not meant to be used as a chain lubricant, only to keep the chain rust free till it gets to the consumer
  • 2 0
 @dandriller: Good to know about the TiNitride. Do they wear out your cassette faster? I don't mind changing chains every few months (I ride about 5000 miles a year), since they're a lot cheaper than a cassette.
  • 7 7
 @acali: whaaaat? Factory lube is usually junk. The first thing I do with a chain is strip the factory lube and apply a a good waxy lube. For me it keeps things quiet and more free of dirt.
  • 4 1
 @sixstringsteve: As things go, the rate of wear on a chain will determine how soon a cassette will need to be replaced. Using chains that last longer will lengthen the life of the cassette. 5000 miles a year is, in my opinion, quite a bit. I have commuted 5000 km a year and I would go through one cassette every two years with four chains... This could almost go without being said, but, keeping the drivetrain clean is essential. Countless times I have seen complete drivetrains prematurely wear out just because a customer does not keep things clean.

If you are using a KMC chain of any kind, you're ahead of the game. Did you know KMC manufactures most of the chains for Shimano? True story.
  • 8 2
 @FLATLlNE: Shimano's recommendation (and one I agree with) is to just wipe down the outside of a new chain with a mild solvent and ride it with the factory lube until it becomes necessary to relube.
My personal experience is the factory lube prepped like this is superior to anything I've tried.
I put on a new Sram 11 speed chain 3 weeks ago and its still quiet and I don't have any gunk buildup on the rest of the drivetrain.
  • 7 1
 In my experience, 11 speed chains wear quickly, and the expensive ones don’t last much longer than cheap ones. I’ve started buying cheapo SRAM PC1110 chains and replacing them regularly. Seems like a better strategy than replacing a $50 chain every 3-5 months.
  • 23 0
 @vtracer: @flatline: not my words, but KMC's CEO (or something):
the factory lube is better than anything you could use, and is applied in a way you just cannot, that is piece by piece to every surface before the chain is assembled. Is good, last longer and should be kept as long as possible; is a mistake to degrease and relube a new chain, they become more noisy instanly as an evidence.
What should be done is to clean the outside only, with the degreaser in a rag, so it stops attracting dirt.
I repeat, not my words, but read in an interview to KMC's big boss.
  • 1 7
flag atrokz (Nov 29, 2017 at 10:19) (Below Threshold)
 @acali: that packing great is just that, packing grease. It's not very high performing and there are much better options. There's been some discussion on this before, and the result of research is to degrease and run a lube actually suited to your conditions. Running that *packing grease* in dusty conditions is going to ruin your chain in short order. If you're riding in the rain all the time or your bike never sees dirt, it might be a half decent option.
  • 5 3
 @ismasan: @ismasan: given our dusty and sandy conditions, that just doesn't work, sorry. I'll take a wax based lube any day. The friction coefficient is much lower for wax also, compared to grease - if your condition s warrant it, it's better for your drive terrain.

As for being silent - Fenwicks Stealth lube has done me well. Factory greats always picks up sand and gets crunchy in to time.

In the end you can do what you want, but I reserve the right to think critically and do what makes most sense rather than blindly follow a general rule of thumb that's is guaranteed to be bad advise in some situations.
  • 6 1
 @vtracer: I agree, the factory lube is great and lasts a lot longer than oil lube.
  • 2 1
 @DMal: Cheap chains provide cheaper performance... SRAM chain do not offer good performance. BUT, I do agree swapping chains with just cheap ones is good advice. I work in the industry so I can get the expensive chains much cheaper.
  • 2 1
 @dthomp325: grease will always stay longer than oil, it's much less viscous.
  • 3 0
 @FLATLlNE: of course mate, whatever works for you. I used hot paraffin dip for a while myself...
I was just pointing out this guy's words (I linked the interview too), so people have more info to decide on.
  • 1 1
 @ismasan: 100%. I mean, if it works for someone great. But I think many people think they're okay when it does more harm then good.
  • 3 0
 @DMal: 11 speed chains last longer than 10, and 10 longer than 9, the pins are shorter which makes a big difference www.bikerumor.com/2013/02/19/bikerumor-shimano-chainwear-challenge-the-results
  • 2 0
 @Rasterman: interesting. In my experience, 11 speed chains die quicker than 10 speed. Maybe I’m just riding more than I used to Smile
  • 1 0
 @dandriller: I can’t say I notice much performance difference between a PC1110 and more expensive options. How do you define performance?
  • 3 0
 @DMal: I use the cheapest option too, and replace often to avoid drivetrain wear. A PC1110 lasts me about 1000km.Don't know if I'm missing something by not using more expensive chains. I do clean and lube often though.
  • 3 0
 @sixstringsteve: According to Park Tools you're doing it right.
  • 2 0
 @DMal: For me, performance is an all-round thing. I'm thinking shifting efficiency, longevity, how smoothly the chain runs... Just as examples.

Customers are consistently unhappy with either how soon Shimano chains degrade or how SRAM chains actually shift. In my opinion, KMC has the best R&D invested into their technologies. Shimano is a close second with their technologies.
  • 1 0
 @DMal: Chain angle on the easiest gear of a 1x is pretty awful. You spend a lot of time in that gear if you ride in the mountains, plus it sees high torque loads as you hammer up steep stuff. I'm sure that bad chain angle more than offsets any wear improvement due to the narrow chain.
  • 14 1
 Confirmed. Factory lube is injected into the chain rollers during production. It may be tacky, but it's some of the best lube you will find.
  • 3 0
 With 11speed 1by drivetrains I was taught to replace just past 50% wear (When the .5 gauge has slight wiggle room, but the .75 does not drop). This is because the relatively small alloy chainrings we are using wear out faster than the cassettes - the NW profile also wears faster than non-NW as it hugs the profile of the chain tighter and when cross chaining amplifies this. 2X and 3X drivetrains do not need to have the chain replaced as frequently (recommend replacing .75) because they distribute the load across 2 or more rings and do not have the tight fitting NW profile.
  • 2 0
 @vtracer: look up Gleitmo.
  • 1 0
 @kmcchain: that tackiness is what makes it quickly become a slurry of abrasive paste up here where it goes from dusty sandy conditions to months of rain, what would you recommend to those who don't like the factory grease ("lube")? When you say 'inject', do you mean similar to some of the others where the chain is submerged in heated grease/solvent solution? Or is it greased prior to assembly?
  • 1 0
 @literally: correct, that's who was making the petroleum based grease for SRAM. I believe it's also mixed with a solvent so it can enter the chain. www.fuchs.com/ca/en/brands/a-k/gleitmo

There are similar products with more solvent (thinner) available for lubing your chain. Adding lube will eventually wash out the factory grease anyway. Not lubing it will accelerate wear. Bottom line, is act according to your conditions. As @FLATLlNE is correctly stating, it will become an abrasive paste in our environment which is why dry/wet lubes exist in the first place. You wouldn't run a wet, tacky lube in the desert.
  • 3 2
 @atrokz: have you actually read the processes of how to take care of the grease or tried it yourself? Because from what I can tell, you are so thick skulked, doesn't matter what any body will tell you, you know without a doubt you are right. Even though the gentlemen gave you a link to Shimano telling you it's the best "lube" you could apply to a chain and the process it which to make it not attract dust or dirt. Then, you have KMC also chime in and tell you the exact same thing. But apparently you know better than they do.

As a long time shop mech, I can tell you, it's not about the grease, it's the process they describe above. It will make dust not stick to it, will make the chain last longer, and will run quieter longer. By using the degreaser in the rag, you remove the grease from the outside of the chain, where the dust you describe will stick to. By removing that, it still leaves the "grease" inside the rollers and between the plates, where it counts. Hell, you could run it like this for probably the first 200 miles without needing to add chain lube.
  • 1 0
 @mtnbykr05: I'm actually familiar with this sort of stuff from a different and more rigorous application (naval defense product: TAHS) so your comments are a bit silly if you think I don't understand whats going on. The grease is just that, gleitmo or similar grease. it's nothing special or some special formula like they would have you believe. it's just better than oil at reducing friction because it lasts longer than oil. the tolerance for the pin/roller/link assy is actually quite loose, and allows oil or thinned grease to enter these areas, and thus also allows foreign elements to enter as well, hence making the grease an abrasive slurry in dusty conditions which if you could comprehend the meaning of words, was the concern. The "link" where a rep states its good grease (the claim it's the best is bogus, there are better products for each application and environment like dusty desert or frozen arctic and claiming one is the best for all is daft at best) even gets taken to task on this in the comments and rightly so. There's also contrary points provided by the mfgs who also tell you to add lube as needed, which will wash away the assembly grease ("lube") in the first place. Your 'how to' was around when I was wrenching for a team and shop, and is nothing new, it still allows grease to exist where it will seep out and attract particles which will form a slurry and wear a chain out faster, guys like @FLATLlNE and myself know this from experience (I tried this advice back in 2006, chain didn't last any longer and was always getting dirty around the roller assy, thus wearing my gearing even faster). I do this sort of stuff for a living (aerospace mfg eng), and I always question mfgs directions hence asking KMC how they are greasing the chain when they stated "injection" which differs a bit from the others. Some people discovered "froglube" gun lube was just coconut oil and some solvents and scent and it was lauded as some magical lubricant...... nobody would have known if someone didn't challenge the norm and ask questions. The TiN on Eagle chains? Done incorrectly and not where it's actually needed. Sometimes the mfg in cycling does weird things and people eat it up like fact.. some of us will actually just ask the question and find a real answer, not some echo chamber where we all echo the reps like they are chemical engineers.
  • 2 0
 @mtnbykr05: mtnbykr05 - you live in Washington. Must be nice to have real dirt! I used to live on the East Coast, where we had real dirt, too.

Unfortunately, were I reside currently, Toronto Ontario, we have a LOT of sand, and fine grit. Like...every ride. some of our more prominent trails are 100% packed sand and grit. It works it's way into every crevasse of your bike, and no matter how you treat your gear, it has an impact on longevity of parts.

The process noted works well for you, and I'm happy about that. But realistically, it IS about the grease for us. It's of little consequence if your chain becomes a little bit contaminated with some soft dirt - it makes your chain look a little dirty, but the grease stays greasy and it doesn't have a huge impact on how things wear. You have a little organic matter (soil) mixed in, no big deal. You've cleaned the outside and things look clean at least.

WE need something that has little retention power when it comes to sand, and grease is not the answer.
For us, that sand and grit sticks to factory grease and doesn't clear well, I'm less concerned with the outside of the chain BTW, and more concerned with the rollers and parts that are constantly moving against one another - the high wear areas, in other words. Sand sticks to factory grease, period. Sticking to factory grease on the rollers, and then the teeth of your cogs is what we don't want - it KILLS drive terrains in no time flat. For us, cleaning it off and applying a wax on a more frequent basis is a pain, but it will maximize performance for the area we ride.

Bottom line, for folks like me and atrokz, factory grease doesn't work well. There is nothing thick skilled about it. I've worked in shops too, and I believe atrokz has also - and today I know he is in aerospace engineering - the wrenching he does makes your shop work (and my previous shop work) look like playing with tonka toys man - parts and assemblies that are valued in the hundreds of thousands if not millions of bucks - so try not to be so presumptuous/arrogant in your comments.

I will say it again - ability to think critically is key. This is very situational. A good mechanic, engineer...heck, anyone in just about any profession, who cannot think critically is likely destine for failure.
  • 3 0
 @atrokz: "..... nobody would have known if someone didn't challenge the norm and ask questions."

Bingo - basically the definition of thinking critically.
  • 1 0
 @FLATLlNE: Careful the lizards will hear us!! lol

I just did a search for froglube paste and chains, and it looks like some people have tried it. haha. I might actually give this a go using the same ingredients. apply w toothbrush, heat up with a hair drier and pedal. wipe off excess.
  • 2 0
 @atrokz: Damn lizard people and their brainwashing!
  • 2 0
 @atrokz: Correct. One of my ancient bikes had a chain running through an oilbath. The chain would run in a case...back to front. Chainwheel and cog always aligned. Both pressed tin. Lasts a lifetime. 100 years plus. Today's bike chains and tooth are not. The bearings essentially run dry, lacking oilspeed and oilpressure and particle embedding bearing surfaces. Running the chain through a small device with brushes and gravity fed oiler attached to frame could extend the life of the three components significantly. I would buy.
  • 2 0
 KMC here again. First, for factory lube, it is first injected into the space between the roller/pin/plate during production - yes, injected with tiny little injectors. Then the chain is further lubed after production before packaging. As mentioned above, we suggest to wipe down the tacky lube on the outside of the chain (for most environments - sorry for those in the sand).

Here is a very interesting article on chain lubes (get out your mom's crock pot and some paraffin wax!): www.scribd.com/document/262044061/Velo-Friction-Facts-Chain-Lube-Efficiency-Tests
  • 3 1
 @kmcchain: thanks for validating exactly what atrokz and I were saying.
  • 2 0
 @FLATLlNE: pretty much. I think we can all now agree to adjust according to your environment.
  • 2 0
 I always use KMC chains. I've never had a Sram component of any level or description last for it's intended life cycle including their chains so have completely given up on Sram as they appear to make their components out of some soft french cheese.

Shimano are ok but need to loose the antiquated pin system to close the chain.

KMC look bling (I always get the gold or the black chains), they last and are a joy to clean by removing the quick link (they say you can only use it once but I've found you can pop it off multiple times with no issue making cleaning the drive train a $hit load easier!
  • 3 1
 I have had Shimano (ultegra), Sram (force) and Campagnolo (chorus) on my road bike. The campagnolo chain (but also bb, chainrings and cassettes) lasted 2-3x longer than both shimano and sram.
How they do it?
  • 30 0
 They infuse the chain with the power of pasta
  • 9 9
 @GorgeousBeauGaston:
As far as I know–Shimano experience is fishing reels, Sram is stickers, and Campagnolo is F1 and NASA.
  • 2 1
 This used to be a known fact, that campagnolo chains had a very very slightly shorter pitch when the they were new....so in the end you could have longer lifespan but it also has disadvantages. It could be different today.
  • 1 6
flag applepie (Nov 29, 2017 at 17:56) (Below Threshold)
 @GorgeousBeauGaston: thats racist
  • 1 1
 @IluvRIDING: it is not bc they are shorter, never heard that. The chainrings, bb, cassette, everything last longer. 30000 km on BB bearings.
  • 2 1
 "Unlike Shimano's fancy chains, the X11EPT is non-directional, meaning that there's no right or wrong way to install it."

Shimano chains have a direction there supposed to be installed? So does this mean I have been doing it wrong this whole time?
  • 3 1
 No you haven't. But moving forward, if you're going to use Shimano chains look for stamped characters on the external plates of the chain. If you see characters only on one side, the chain is uni-directional.
  • 8 0
 Not the whole time, but with the 50/50 nature of that, possibly half the time...
  • 2 0
 @dandriller: Best practise is to always have the stamped 'Shimano' facing the outside of the bike. Can't go wrong.
  • 1 0
 @Demoguy: I agree. I did leave that part out.
  • 4 1
 The best test would be to get it wet, then just let it sit there and see how long it would take to start rusting. Constantly riding prevents any rust from building up.
  • 2 1
 Hmmmm it's all well and good for it to not rust as quick and to shift as nicely as Sram or Shimano but what I really look for in a chain is it's resistance to randomly snapping, a problem I've only ever had with KMC chains. I replace my chains before they are due and meticulously clean my driveline and it mafe no difference.
  • 2 0
 Chains don't randomly snap unless you've exceeded their tensile strength by either being the incredible hulk... or introducing a foreign object into them, that then serves as a fulcrum point for all the leverage you're applying to the chain (such as a stone wedged between cog or ring teeth). Normally to even CUT apart the cheapest KMC chain requires a pair of bolt cutters of the size you'd snap a bike lock chain with.

A bigger issue with 10 and 11 speed chains I've found is bending them enough to exceed the yield strength, but not the tensile strength. Thus you end up with a permanent twist/kink in the chain which you can never perfectly straighten out. As chains get thinner (in overall width) this gets to be a greater problem because they also end up with less lateral stiffness to resist twisting forces (like what happens if you chain suck/drop and jam the chain between cassette and spokes or dropout or frame and crank).
  • 1 1
 If you want extra strength, drop the quick link (read weakest link).
  • 2 0
 Snaped many shimano and sram chains but never snaped a KMC
  • 1 0
 Hi Mr KMC,

Cool that you are commenting here. What chain would you recommend for a singlespeed? I am currently using your 10.93 and it seems to be working well. No rust on it either but as rainy northwest rider I'm pretty careful about lube and cleanliness.
  • 5 0
 Hi Captain Grumpy! We've got a whole whack of single speed chains. What setup are you using? Are you using 11/128" (9,10,11 speed) gear teeth or 3/32" (8, and some single speed). Many riders with an MTB singlespeed system use our X8 or X9 chains.

Here is a link to our catalog to peruse at your pleasure: drive.google.com/file/d/0BxYGe1iZfbjJLVNoMUxpd2gwUk0/view
  • 1 0
 @kmcchain: Thanks for the response. Using 11/128. My eyes get crossed reading that catalog, too many features, and icons and stuff.

I think my priorities are:
1) reasonable inexpensive trailside repair (your missing links have been great, I carry a bag of them) My chains have always failed after scraping on rocks, not the chain's fault but I need to be able to fix
2) durable (not break or wear too quickly)
3) value for money (chain is a wear item so stupid to pay too much) I doubt i'd pay more than $30 for a chain.
4) weight
5) rust proof

I've heard the higher speed chains are stronger. Why would a singlespeed prefer the x8 or x9? In my experience the 10-11 speed chains seem to wear better but I'm just one person so my sample is small. I'd love to get a suggestion from engineers that know the numbers.

Before the 10.93 I was using a SRAM pc-xx1 hard chrome chain and it also lasted me very well.

Thanks!
  • 1 0
 @captaingrumpy: You are using the correct chain for your requirements and budget: X10.93. You could also try a X9.93 which will still fit and save you a few bucks. Chain wear will be similar on both. Once you upgrade to the EL or SL chains, then you are also getting added chain life via harder pins/rollers.
  • 2 0
 @kmcchain: Excellent, you have my sincere thanks kmc.
  • 1 0
 My chain was shifting a bit chunky, so yesterday I had a good clean with xylene from the laboratory I work at. I poured some xylene, turned the cranks a few times, wiped until it was shiny again, and then I dripped some Muc Off Wet chain oil on the chain only. Works like new, even after a few months on salted Norwegian roads. Muc Off -50° is not needed so far into the winter.
  • 1 0
 I got one of these for my cheapo city commute bike. It has seen a lot of rain and street dirt. It's running so dry at the moment that it makes squeeking noises but no rust yet. Salty season started just this week so I'll see how it holds up this winter, but I'm optimistic.
  • 2 0
 Funk yea kmc, you've been making my hodgepodge drivetrains work flawlessly for years. Thanks for reminding me I need a new chain on my dh bike. If only you made a black chain that wasn't lightweight...
  • 5 1
 What about with those who still use 9 speeds?
  • 70 1
 Make sure to remove two speeds from chain before installing it.
  • 3 0
 They make 9 and 10 speed versions, got a 9 sped one on my commuter/winter road bike. Top quality product.
  • 1 0
 I just use 10 speed chains. Works the same. Might need to adjust your chainguide if you have one
  • 2 0
 I use KMC chains pretty much exclusively, run 9sp on my mountainbike and always go for the longest name as that probably has all the great features included. So yeah, it probably has eco proteq, otherwise it would never make a long name. Though as @9M119M1 already mentioned, you can safely use a 10sp chain instead. In fact, some chainring manufacturers recommend this. I haven't tried but I probably will if I'm getting one of these chainrings.
  • 2 0
 I run 9spd too and use the KMC Ti-nitride Gold chain on a sunrace 11-40T cassette, marriage made in heaven!
  • 6 2
 But does it come in #GOOOOOOOOOOOLD ?
  • 5 1
 KMC X11EPT ECO ProteQ = Jibberish
  • 2 2
 SRAM chains are the best ,and made in Portugal,just a little but just a little more” hard” in switching gears but that’s all ,last longer and rust what ?what a joke that rust thing (maybe a 5€ chain and without any lube on it ,for many km ,and still?)
  • 1 0
 Never had to worry about rust on my 11 speed KMC chains... they all snapped way before they had a chance to rust. And forget about a response from their customer service dept...
  • 1 0
 Could we have some sort of battle between different chain oil/waxes in a near future? I'm quite interested in knowing (for us who rides in snow and minus like.. 1000 Celsius) if MUC-OFF'S -50 oil is worth looking into?
  • 1 0
 I just added a link above regarding oil/wax comparison. Doesn't mention the -50, but still worth a gander.
  • 3 0
 Does this mean all the other KMC chains are now crap?
  • 1 0
 umm, no. We only make super rad stuff - EPT is just radder.
  • 2 0
 @kmcchain: Phew! That's a relief, keep up the rad work.
  • 3 1
 Maybe have a guy/gal writing the article that knows wth a salt spray test is?
  • 7 0
 I know right? Then, we should also make sure to get only readers who can sense a bit of a joke in an article as well...
  • 1 0
 @VwHarman: if we are really lucky we’ll get a writer on here with mtb related knowledge beyond salesdrone speak, a basic comprehension of engineering and manufacturing, as well as a sense of humor. Instead it’s mostly shred head bike shop bros...
  • 1 0
 @yzedf: I may be biased, but I like my droning. I'm hoping the collective mob at Pinkbike will make up the MTB related knowledge
  • 2 1
 Transmission in general is soooo much cheaper than it used to be, especially for whole groupsets. Probably the only thing on bikes to be like this
  • 3 0
 I use the gold 10sp, made with unicorn poop!
  • 3 0
 Big KMC fan here! Love their gold chains Smile
  • 1 0
 "Often neglected until we over-lube them, they only get our full attention when they fail and we curse them" - my career in IT.
  • 2 0
 @Mike Levy

Talk me through please ?
SRAM XX1 cassette, a Shimano XTR derailleur,
  • 1 0
 You pretty much summed it up, but here's some more information on my bike and its drivetrain: www.pinkbike.com/news/staff-rides-mike-levys-rocky-mountain-element-2017.html
  • 2 0
 Why not test this all winter on a fatbike?
  • 3 0
 Put it on a bike that gets locked up outside over the winter.
  • 1 0
 @mnorris122: ... in Canada!
  • 4 0
 @jfcarrier: this chain was tested all winter in Quebec (October to March). They ride their bike to work every day rain, shine...or snow (nuts, right?) I asked the customers to try and kill the chain and it came back to us in March looking like new.
  • 2 0
 @kmcchain: Yes but that chain also had a thick coating of caribou and gravy which also helped.
  • 1 0
 @kmcchain: That the chain I need then : that is exactly what I do! I just bought a X8.99 for my winter commuter to replace a X8.93 which lasted 2 winters (0.75 stretch). Next time, I'll give the ECO Protect a try! If I send my bike to you, can you dip it in the Eco Protect stuff?
  • 1 0
 @jfcarrier: definitely give X8 EPT a try next time around. Unfortunately we don't do any other dippings, but that would be pretty cool - everything should be rust proof! I'll look into it.
  • 1 0
 i tend to do a few seasons using 1 brand, then switch to another for a few seasons and so on.
  • 2 0
 I've always had the best luck with KMC chains. nice stuff!
  • 2 0
 rusty chain = doing it wrong.
  • 1 0
 So this replaces Rustbuster? I notice that there are no Rustbuster chains above seven speeds on KMC's website now.
  • 3 0
 EPT has three advantages over RB (Rustbuster) - First, it's a more eco-friendly coating process; second, all parts are coated pre-production; third, it has higher corrosion resistance.
  • 1 0
 If your worrying about a bit of harmless surface rust on plates you either have too much money or no life.
  • 1 0
 But how does it shift on e.13’s cassette?
  • 3 0
 We work directly with e13 and they love it!
  • 1 1
 @Mike Levy: >11 speed chains are supposed to be replaced at the 0.5 mark. 0.75 is good for up to 10sp chains.
  • 1 3
 Wait....Shimano chains are directional? What happens when you put it on wrong? Shifting suffers? Why the heck design a chain that only goes one way?
I could google it to find out, but I’d rather b*tch about it here.
  • 2 0
 Shimano likes being unique. I believe it is the shape of the external plates that exist to help shifting efficiency. If you run it backwards, well, I would assume your shifting would not be as smooth. Just look for stamped characters on the external plates, if they exist only on one side then the chain is uni-directional. Install the chain with the stamped side facing you.
  • 1 0
 I don't understand why they don't make chains with SS.
  • 1 0
 yeah, got to be cheaper than a fancy coating system
  • 1 0
 @kittster and @longlongpelaman: Don't say we never did nothing for ya! kmcchain.us/chain/s10
  • 1 2
 Fake news..... Ride, maintain the drive train properly on rare occasion, repeat.... A solution to a problem only morons and posers have.
  • 2 1
 I came for the comments. I was expecting them to be off the chain.
  • 5 6
 I love being in these ever CHAINGING times, when can you provide the link to the 12 speed?
  • 2 3
 Wow that’s like off the chain! Shut the front door, you’re not tugging my chain are you?
  • 1 1
 Does it still roll off the big cog when backpedaling?
  • 4 1
 That’s not the chain buddy
  • 3 0
 @FUbob: We upgraded our chain plate design to circumvent backpedaling chain drop. Chamfering is your friend.
  • 2 0
 @FUbob: IME when I upgraded to 1x, after a few miles the chain bed in, gaining lateral flex, and the problem fixes itself.
  • 1 0
 @ismasan:
My experience is different. Been on 1x for 4 years on sram, shimano, and e13. Liked KMC X11SL chains other than the backpedal issue which sounds like they remedied with this new chain. Chamfer is their friend (not mine) as i'm on $25 sram chains without that issue.
  • 1 1
 anyone bother with connex by wippermann?
  • 2 1
 KMC FTW!
  • 2 4
 KMC takes out a review ad on pinkbike... whoop-dee-doo. Its a chain, clean it, lube it, ride it, repeat. Buy a chain checking tool and use it... then ride more.
  • 2 0
 Rinse in salt water, ride on a beach, throw bike in the ocean, rinse with salt water, sprinkle on table salt, ride through road salt, rinse with salt water, repeat.
  • 3 0
 @PinkyScar: don't forget the salt. And you could actually do all that with this chain!
  • 2 0
 @PinkyScar: why would you though
  • 1 3
 I don't do dick to my normal chain and it last forever.......more bullshit to buy!
  • 2 1
 They are not changing any standards. Why are you so pissed?
  • 1 4
 Also who's going to buy a KMC chain?
  • 2 0
 Anyone who's got a Mountain Bike
  • 3 6
 Single speed brah
  • 3 1
 I agree, someone said, "1speed is good", "2 speeds are better"...............30 speeeeeds!!!!!!.........there was a gap in logic........even on my commuter bike I pretty much just leave it in 25th gear. That being said, a bicycle is essentially a 2 hundred some pound vehicle being powered by half an inconsistent horsepower, so maybe gears are a great idea after all.
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