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How Much Should You Spend on Bike Chains?

By Christopher Ashley

Bike chains are often tempting to “trade up” for a more expensive brand, given they are one of the cheaper components of a bike. But why should you pay more money? Every cyclist should ask – watt’s the point?

An expensive chain is nice to have

The more expensive something is, generally, the nicer it is. Chains range in price from a few euros to well over one hundred. You can even buy a chain made of gold – but is it worth it?

GCN point out that any performance gains you may get from the material would be negated if you simply haven’t washed your bike. And while KCM’s titanium nitride chains are lighter, some results suggest they may make you slightly slower.

But who cares about the weight of the chain – even if it makes you slower? Rides of Japan recommend you forget performance data for just a moment – there are other reasons to pay more for a chain. What if you’re after a quieter ride?

Wear is more important than weight

In this next video, CeramicSpeed tell you that chains cause the most amount of drag when worn out – and they give you some other valuable tips about looking after your chain. It’s worth taking the time to understand what makes a chain faster before forking out your hard-earned cash.

It doesn’t matter how expensive your chain is – no chain looks after itself. You need to wash your chain regularly and lube it up properly. Even better – make yourself a homemade chain cleaning system like Oz Cycle in this next video. You can even use it to clean bearings.

Buy cheap and buy twice

My tip is to buy the most expensive chain you can afford when buying 3 of them. One to put on your bike, one to sit degreasing in chemicals, and one to hang out to dry. Rotate them regularly to stop dirt wearing out your chain – and your chain wearing out your cassette. This video explains why.

You could save up to 30 watts of power! By regularly cleaning your bike chains on rotation, you will save on wear and tear of your rear cassette and chainrings. This system extends the life of your drive chain, saves you money and, most importantly of all, improves the efficiency of your ride.