Best Bike Chain Review – Top Rated Models with Buying Guide
Using the best bike chain is not only a matter of performance but also one of safety, and therefore, getting a quality bicycle chain is essential when it comes to your cycling experience. If you don’t have the time to take a look at all the bicycle chains available for sale, this paragraph might be of assistance. After analyzing the various features of some of the most popular products in this category of bike items, we think that the first option to take into account is the Zonkie 6/7/8 Speed Bike Chain 116 Links. The chain is not only easy to assemble and install, but it is also made to last, and therefore, it features a special steel build. Thanks to the materials used, the chain is resistant to rust and corrosion, and the internal oiling and smooth surface polishing allow for use immediately after installation. The item is compatible with various 6/7/8-speed drivetrain systems. In case this model is currently unavailable, a reliable option is the KMC Z8 6/7/8 Speed Bike Chain.
If you’re on the lookout for a chain that is compatible with 6/7/8-speed drivetrain systems, this unit is worth considering. The steel construction should serve your needs for a long time, whereas the design allows for easy installation. What’s more, the chain is rust- and corrosion-resistant.
Some packs might not include all the items needed to install the chain as advertised.
Easy to install and durable, this bike chain is suitable for 6/7/8-speed systems. It features a rust- and corrosion-resistant construction so that you can employ it for many rides before replacement is needed.
Suitable for cyclists interested in a durable and easy-to-install chain for a 6/7/8-speed bike, this model is built in such a way to upgrade one’s riding experience through fast and smooth shifting. The product is easy to install as all you need is a chain tool, and thanks to its design, it ensures silent operation.
The unit is advertised as being suitable for 6/7/8-speed systems, but it may not fit all of them.
This chain is worth a closer look if you have a 6/7/8-speed bike that calls for a replacement. It features a durable construction, and it ensures fast and smooth shifting, as well as silent operation.
Also To Consider
Built to fit SRAM, Shimano, and Campagnolo 6/7/8- speed systems, as well as MTB and road bikes, this chain comes with features that should render it suitable for extensive use. The special alloy, stretch-proof treatment, and nickel plating add to its durability. The pack also includes a reusable missing link.
If you use the chain extensively and for heavy rides, it might stretch sooner than expected.
Featuring a special alloy, nickel plating, and a stretch-proof treatment, this bike chain is compatible with 6/7/8- speed systems from various brands. Installing it is easy, and the pack includes the chain and a missing link.
9 Best Bike Chains (Updated Reviews) in 2021
With so many affordable bike chains on the market, finding the best bicycle chains calls for time and attention to a variety of details. To make your shopping process easier and faster, we have compiled below a list of bicycle chain reviews. Check it out for a more informed decision.
- 1. Zonkie 6/7/8 Speed Bike Chain 116 Links
- 2. KMC Z8 6/7/8 Speed Bike Chain
- 3. KMC X8.99/X8 116L Bicycle Chain
- 4. KMC Z410 1-Speed Bicycle Chain
- 5. Schwinn 112 Links Bicycle Chain
- 6. KMC X9.93 9-Speed Bike Chain
- 7. Zonkie 116 Links Single-Speed Bike Chain
- 8. KMC X10-116L NP/BK 10 Speed Bicycle Chain
- 9. Inkesky SUMC MTB & Road Bike Chain
- Our Comprehensive Buying Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Zonkie 6/7/8 Speed Bike Chain 116 Links
Everything that goes into your bike, from its wheelset to its brakes, counts when it comes to the performance delivered, and the bike chain is no exception; therefore, this model from Zonkie is worth a closer look. The item was built with durability, ease of use, and performance in mind, and is compatible with various 6/7/8-speed drivetrain systems.
Thanks to the steel employed for its construction, longevity should not be a problem. The steel goes through multiple forging and hardening in oil and then bath salt to achieve this strength level. Moreover, the unit is corrosion- and rust-resistant, which adds to the durability ensured. Given the smooth surface polishing and internal oiling, you can use it immediately after you’ve installed it.
Speaking of installing the chain, the process is not difficult or complicated, and to make sure that you get it right, the manufacturer provides instructions. The item is versatile, easy to assemble and clean, and suitable for multiple drivetrains.
Designed to keep up with extended use, this chain is worth considering if you need a model that is suitable for 6/7/8-speed drivetrain systems.
Due to the steel used and the manufacturing process that involved multiple forging, the chain should serve your needs for a long time.
The unit is not only durable and strong but also rust- and corrosion-resistant, which means that replacing it should not be part of your concerns anytime soon.
The chain is easy to assemble thanks to its design, and it comes with instructions so that you can install it properly and do so effortlessly.
The item features an open inner and outer plate design, which adds to the ease of use and assembly ensured.
Despite the quality materials used, the unit is available at an affordable price point when compared with other such items.
The chain might skip, and some packs may lack all the items needed to put everything together; if that’s your case, you will have to contact the manufacturer or seller to receive the rest of it.Buy from Amazon.com for ($15.88)
2. KMC Z8 6/7/8 Speed Bike Chain
If you’re interested in a bike chain that is compatible with 6/7/8-speed drivetrain systems, this model is worth taking into account as it was built to meet such needs and ensure versatility. What’s more, the unit is available at a good price point and features quality materials that should serve your needs for a long time before replacement is needed.
Thanks to the steel used, employing it for frequent cycling sessions and heavy rides shouldn’t be a problem, so you can see this purchase as a good investment in the long run. The unit is a 1/2″ x 3/32″ model, weighs 12.2 ounces, and includes 116 links.
Installing it is easy, as all you need is a chain tool to adjust the master link. The item ensures quiet operation and smooth shifting, which makes it a good choice for cyclists interested in a chain that provides easy and quick shifting when riding.
Featuring a durable construction and an easy-to-install design, this bike chain might be of interest if you want a reliable product at an advantageous price point.
The unit is made of quality steel for long-lasting use, which further means that you can employ it for frequent cycling sessions, as well as heavy rides.
The item is suitable for 6/7/8-speed drivetrain systems, it includes 116 links, and each one measures 1/2″ x 3/32″.
It is easy to install, so even if you’re a beginner, it shouldn’t be difficult to carry out this step as all you need is a chain tool to adjust the master link.
The bike chain was designed to operate silently and ensure smooth and quick shifting.
Make sure you get all the information needed before ordering as the chain might not fit all the drivetrain systems as advertised.Buy from Amazon.com for ($12.37)
3. KMC X8.99/X8 116L Bicycle Chain
What you get with this product is a bike chain that was built with durability and superior shifting performance in mind. This model is compatible with MTB and road bikes and SRAM, Shimano, and Campagnolo 6/7/8- speed systems, and it is designed to ensure ease of installation as well as durability.
To provide such benefits, the manufacturer employed a special alloy material to build this chain that reduces chain stretching and thus adds to its life. The stretch-proof treatment applied to the pins and plates also renders the chain less susceptible to wear that can be caused by various exterior materials, such as sand, entering the chain bearings.
In order to boost its strength even more, the manufacturer added mushroomed rivets to this model and nickel coating for rust prevention and enhanced durability. The unit includes 116 links, as well as a reusable KMC missing link.
If you’re on the lookout for a bike chain that is durable, easy to install, and that ensures smooth and quick shifting, this model from KMC should not go unchecked before you order.
Given their purpose, bike chains should be built to keep up with lots of wear and tear, and this unit features a strong alloy material that should keep up with extended use.
The product also features a stretch-proof treatment that adds to its strength, as well as a nickel coating to prevent rust and make it even more durable.
The item is compatible with MTB and road bikes, and it is suitable for cyclists interested in quieter riding.
Smoother and quieter gear shifting is also ensured by the X-bridge outer plates that are configured at precisely articulated angles.
Some packs might include the X8 chain from the same manufacturer instead of the X8.99; therefore, it is best to contact the seller to make sure you receive the right model before ordering.Buy from Amazon.com for ($17.81)
4. KMC Z410 1-Speed Bicycle Chain
Built for cyclists interested in a durable replacement chain for single-speed bikes, this product is worth adding to your list of options if what you have in mind is a reliable yet budget-friendly chain. The unit is suitable for cruiser bikes, BMX, and track bikes, and it includes 112 links.
The heavy-duty construction should meet your cycling-related needs for a long time. Moreover, the item is nickel plated to ensure resistance to rust, which adds to the durability delivered. The chain comes with a master link and is easy to install, yet a chain tool is still needed to shorten the chain length to match the size of your bike.
Except for the length adjustment, if needed, the chain installation involves no complicated steps. What’s more, it comes lubricated from the factory, which means that lubricating it before installing it is not required. However, once you start using it, the chain requires regular cleaning and lubricating to ensure good performance.
Suitable for single-speed bikes, this model from KMC is designed with quality materials that should cover your cycling-related needs for a long time before a replacement is needed.
Thanks to the steel and the nickel-plated construction, durability and rust resistance are ensured so that you can engage in frequent cycling sessions without any issue.
Considering the design of this unit, installing the chain is easy; what’s more, the product comes lubricated from the factory, which means that you can install it immediately upon arrival.
This is a budget-friendly option that is suitable for BMX, as well as track and cruiser bikes, and it comes with a master link.
The item is available in a variety of colors, including brown, blue, white, and silver, so that you can easily find the one that matches the rest of your bike.
The chain does not come with installation instructions, and some users might still find the installation process difficult and time-consuming.Buy from Amazon.com for ($14.53)
5. Schwinn 112 Links Bicycle Chain
Featuring a steel construction, this chain from Schwinn is an option worthy of consideration if your old bike could use a chain replacement. The product includes 112 1/2″ long links that are 3/32″ wide, which means that it should work with 6/7/8-speed systems.
The heavy-duty construction will help you engage in many adventures on your bicycle before replacement is needed. Plus, the nickel-plated design adds to the longevity of this unit since it makes it resistant to rust and thus less susceptible to wear caused by such elements.
What’s great about this unit is that even if it is about 56 inches long, you can adjust it to fit your bike. However, the item does not come with a master link, and a chain breaker is needed when replacing the chain. Considering its features, the product is suitable for budget-conscious buyers.
The product features a heavy-duty and nickel-plated construction, which renders it durable and suitable for long-term use.
The chain has 112 links, and each of them is 1/2″ long and 3/32″ wide, so you should be able to use it for 6/7/8-speed bikes; it is also available with 1/2″ x 1/8″ links.
The nickel-plated design ensures resistance to rust, which is a noteworthy advantage, given the purpose of this type of product and the fact that it is exposed to various elements.
Considering the material used and its durable design, the unit is available at a price point that makes it ideal for budget-conscious buyers.
Since the pack does not include a master link and there are no installation instructions provided, installing the chain might be a bit challenging, especially if this is the first time you engage in such activities.Buy from Amazon.com for ($9.99)
6. KMC X9.93 9-Speed Bike Chain
If what you want from your new bike chain includes durability, compatibility with 9-speed systems, and smooth and quick shifting, then this model from KMC might be right up your alley. The product is packed with features that will provide you with such benefits while remaining within an affordable price range.
In order to make shifting fast and smooth and provide you with superior performance, the chain features a double x bridge shape. To keep up with extended use, the product comes with mushroomed rivets, as well as a stretch-proof treatment for enhanced longevity. Furthermore, the nickel-plated design ensures corrosion prevention and adds to the durability provided.
To minimize cassette tooth interference, the chain comes with upgraded outer plate chamfering. The product is compatible with Sram, Shimano, and Campagnolo 9-speed systems, and it includes 116 links. Also, it is available in three color options so that you can easily find the one that matches your bike and gear.
This product is designed for 9-speed bikes and is thus compatible with such systems from Sram, Shimano, and Campagnolo.
Since it features a double x bridge shape, the chain is suitable for cyclists interested in quick and smooth shifting.
To make sure that the product keeps up with extended use and heavy rides, the manufacturer built this unit with mushroomed rivets and applied stretch-proof treatment for extra durability.
The nickel-plated design further adds to the longevity of this product as it prevents corrosion, while the upgraded outer plate chamfering reduces cassette tooth interference.
The chain includes 116 links; a master link is also provided in the pack.
In case you want to adjust the chain length, you will need a chain breaker to do so; however, the installation is pretty easy if you use the right tools.
The chain might not provide silent operation as other models in this category of products.Buy from Amazon.com for ($18.5)
7. Zonkie 116 Links Single-Speed Bike Chain
This bike chain was designed for single-speed bikes and cyclists interested in a chain that is reliable and affordable. Although it is available at a lower price point than many other products in this range, this model goes through multiple forging stages before being made available on the market.
Thanks to the multi-stage manufacturing process, the product ensures durability and is thus a good option even for cyclists who engage in frequent rides. Furthermore, the item is rust- and corrosion-resistant, and given that bicycle riding involves exposure to various elements, this feature significantly adds to the advantages offered by this product.
Another feature that makes this product stand out is the easy-to-install design. Even if you are a beginner and this is the first bike chain you install, it shouldn’t be difficult to put it together and install it. You can even shorten it to match your bike size as long as you use the proper tools.
Easy to install and durable, this product is worth adding to your list of options if you have a modern single-speed bike that needs a new chain.
To make sure that using it for a long time won’t be a problem, the product features a sturdy construction and goes through multiple forging stages to reach a superior level of durability.
Since riding a bicycle involves exposure to various elements, the chain is also rust- and corrosion-resistant.
Installing it is a simple process, and you can even adjust it if you have prior experience and the right tools.
The chain is suitable for single-speed bikes, and, therefore, it doesn’t work with certain bike types, such as BMX, or older single-speed bikes, such as models from the 1960s.
Some packs might lack the clip for the master link, and if that is your case, you will have to contact the seller.Buy from Amazon.com for ($13.88)
8. KMC X10-116L NP/BK 10 Speed Bicycle Chain
Cyclists interested in getting a durable and reliable chain for 10-speed bikes might want to take a closer look at this model from KMC as it was built to deliver such advantages and serve your cycling-related needs for a long time. The item includes 116 links, and the pack also includes a master link.
To provide such benefits, the unit is half nickel-plated and comes with mushroomed riveting. The stretch-proof treatment applied adds to the durability ensured as it makes the item less susceptible to wear caused by various materials and elements.
In order to reduce cassette tooth interference, the chain features upgraded outer plate chamfering. Plus, thanks to the improved chamfer angles, you will get to enjoy better stability. This model is also worth considering if you’re interested in superior shifting performance as the item is packed with the double X-bridge structure technology that ensures such benefits.
This bike chain is designed for 10-speed bikes and built with quality materials that should help you upgrade your riding experience through fast and smooth shifting performance.
Durability is one of the main advantages offered by this unit, and it thus features a half-nickel plated design and a stretch-proof treatment, which translates into superior longevity.
To ensure quick and smooth shifting performance, the chain sports the double X-bridge structure technology.
Improved stability is ensured by the optimized chamfer angles; plus, the upgraded outer plate chamfering minimizes cassette tooth interference.
The chain includes 116 links, and it also comes with a master link so that you can install it immediately upon arrival.
The chain might be more suitable for road bikes and casual use and might not withstand heavier rides.
In case you want to adjust it to match your bike size, cutting it to the length of interest might be a bit difficult.Buy from Amazon.com for ($26.86)
9. Inkesky SUMC MTB & Road Bike Chain
If you own a mountain or road bike that calls for a new chain, this model is an option that shouldn’t be left unchecked as it comes with features that ensure durability and fast shifting performance. This unit is compatible with Shimano/SRAM/Campagnolo/KMC and other 11-speed drivetrain systems.
Thanks to the double X bridge technology employed, the chain ensures smooth and quick shifting, which will further improve the riding experience. What sets this unit apart is that both its inner and outer plates feature a hollow design, which makes it extra light as it weighs only 251 grams.
This particular model is suitable for 11-speed systems, yet the chain is also available in versions compatible with 6/7/8-speed and 10-speed systems. The item includes 116 links (1/2 x 11/128″), and the pack includes SUMC quick links that ensure easy installation.
Built to help you up your riding experience through fast and smooth shifting, this model is compatible with Shimano/SRAM/Campagnolo/KMC and other 11-speed systems.
The unit is also available in models that are suitable for 6/7/8-speed and 10-speed systems.
The chain is a good option for cyclists who want faster and smoother shifting as it comes with the double X bridge technology.
Due to the hollow design of both the inner and outer plates, the chain is lightweight as it weighs only 251 grams.
Installing the chain is easy as the pack also provides SUMC quick links that will help you put everything together effortlessly and fast.
Even though the market offers even pricier models, this one does not come with the lowest price point, which might be an impediment for budget-conscious buyers.Buy from Amazon.com for ($22)
Our Comprehensive Buying Guide
A bike chain is often overlooked and noticed only when it no longer works, yet its contribution to the overall performance of a bike is significant. This part is thus a key element of a bike’s transmission as it is the link that connects the front part of the bike’s drivetrain system to the rear.
Since the bike chain is the one through which the pedal power is transmitted and converted into forward movement, it is essential to choose the best bicycle chain your budget allows you to purchase. However, finding the best bike chains is not an easy task, especially if you have no prior experience, and this is the first chain you buy.
Whether you’re on the lookout for a cheap bike chain or a pricier unit, there are a few key factors to consider before adding a product to your cart and hitting the order button. Find more about them below.
Bike and chain types
Bike chains might look all the same at first glance, yet they do come in different types that are designed to meet specific drivetrain systems. Plus, the materials used for their construction also differ, but we will get into that a bit later. So, the first thing to pay attention to is the bike you have and its drivetrain system.
The market offers different types of bicycle chains to suit different bike types, such as BMX or road bikes, and chains also come in various sizes to fit specific speed systems. It is crucial to get a chain that is designed for the speed system of your bike, therefore, it is best to narrow down the extensive list of options by using the speed system type as a filter.
You will see that bike chains are described based on the speed system they are designed for, and they are available in six speeds that go from 6 to 11. That’s because as you shift the gears on the bike, the chain will move up/down on the rear cassette/sprockets. The more speeds/gears your bike has, the narrower the chain should be.
Thus, getting the right chain for your bike speed system is essential when it comes to the way the bike functions and the performance ensured. 6-speed bike chains have a width of 7.8 mm, which makes them the widest. 7-speed bike chains are 7.3 mm wide, 8-speed chains have a width of 7.1 mm, and 9-speed chains measure from 6.6 to 6.8 mm in width.
Particular attention should be paid to 10-speed chains as their width is slightly different, depending on the brand. Such chains measure from 5.8 mm to 6.2 mm in width. Then there’s the 11-speed bike chain that is 5.5 mm wide.
All this means that a chain designed for an 11-speed bike will be narrower than one that is built for a 7-speed system, therefore, there is no flexibility here. You might use a 7-speed chain on two different bike types that share the same speed system, but you cannot use a 9-speed chain on a 6-speed bike.
Although the widths of a bike chain vary depending on the bike’s speed system, you can rely on a half-inch pitch, which refers to the distance between one pin center to another. However, attention should be paid to the roller width or the width between the inner plates of the chain. The widths you can choose from include 2.4 mm, 3.2mm, 4.0mm, and 4.8mm widths.
A BMX bike chain is narrower than a mountain bike chain, for example, and considering all the above-mentioned aspects, your bike model and the type of riding you engage in will help you choose a chain that will improve your riding experience.
Materials used and durability
Bike chains are usually made of alloy steel, yet some cheap bike chains might feature different alloys that, more often than not, might not be as durable as desired. Some of the best mountain bike chain models may even come with high-end alloy parts and a hollow plate design to reduce weight.
Some models have a special coating or treatment to resist rust and corrosion. This aspect gains great importance since the chain is exposed to various elements. A steel chain featuring hard rivets is recommended.
Thankfully, there are many affordable bike chain models that offer superior durability. Make sure you also read a bike chain review of the product you want to purchase to learn more about its durability and performance.
Ease of installation
A good bike chain should last you for a few thousand miles before replacement is needed. A bike chain should be cleaned and lubricated on a regular basis, though, and this calls for an easy-to-install design. Make sure that the model you go for won’t pose any difficulty when it comes to installation and maintenance.
Bike chains come in different lengths, including 96, 98, 112, or 116 links, so if the one you get is too long for your bike, you will need a chain tool to adjust it.
Many affordable bike chain models also come with master links to make the installation process easier. It is best to get such a product if you want to install it right away. A bicycle chain review could help you learn more about the ease of installation ensured by a certain model.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: How do you remove a bike chain?
Removing a bike chain is not difficult as long as you use the right tools and follow a few simple steps carefully. Before doing this, though, make sure you check the type of chain on your bike. If all the links are identical, you have a regular link chain. If one of them is different, you have a split-link or master-link chain.
If you want to remove a master-link chain, you can do so by removing the master link. All you need is a pair of needle-nose pliers to twist this link off. To remove the master link fully, you will have to press the nubs through to the opposite side.
In case your bike has a regular link chain, you will need a chain tool. Start the removal process by inserting the pin on one of the chain links into this chain tool. Rotate the handle of this tool clockwise to push the pin into the chain link. Do so until the rivet is pushed almost entirely out the other side of the chain link.
Now pull the chain tool pin out of the chain link by turning its handle counterclockwise and do so until you can easily lift the bike chain out of the tool. Remove the chain from the tool and then wiggle the link in order to separate it. Once it has separated, you can lift it off of the bike.
Q: How often should you change your bike chain?
The short answer to this question would be: whenever it stretches and thus affects the performance of your bikes. Bike chains should be changed every 2,000-3,000 miles, as many bike mechanics suggest, but sometimes you might have to do so without having reached this mile limit if you see signs of wear that could affect your bike’s performance.
Therefore, the bike should be changed whenever it starts to wear out and stretch. When that happens, you will know it as it is likely to skip over the sprocket teeth. One easy way to see if that is your case is to lift the bike chain off the chainring. Shift the gears of your bike into the largest chainring on the front and the smallest cog on the rear.
Once you’ve done so, lift off the chain. If the gap between the chainring and the chain is easily visible, a new bike chain is needed.
Q: What is a bike chain made of?
Most bike chains on the market feature an alloy steel or carbon construction thanks to the durability of this type of material. The rollers are usually high carbon, and the pins typically feature a hardened steel construction. The side plates might be made of non-hardened steel, yet this varies from one manufacturer to another.
You may also find nickel-plated chains since this type of plating ensures wear and corrosion resistance. Some manufacturers tried to use other materials for the different parts of a bike chain, yet the results were not entirely satisfying. While stainless steel ensured rust-resistance, it failed because of galling.
Even aluminum was used to build bike chains in an attempt to achieve a light chain. While such a chain was indeed lightweight, it stretched after a couple of miles. If you’re not sure about the material used for the chain you want to buy, make sure you check a few bike chain reviews to learn more about this and the unit’s durability.