7 Best Bike Chain – The Top Bike Chains Explained And Rated

One of the most fundamental parts of any bike chain is the addition of the bike chain. The bike chain is an important part of any bike and it helps to propel the bike forward. Once you put pressure on the pedals, it will turn the chain and the chain connects to gears at the rear that propels the bike in a forward motion.

One of the main issues with many cyclists is that their knowledge of the best bike chain is often very limited. With limited knowledge of your bike chain, you won’t be able to fix it. Additionally, maintenance might be an issue and you could also run into a couple of problems like the opportunity to upgrade the chain and improve your performance.

best bike chain

If you need to make a quick decision without reading it for a long time. After many hours of searching, we have chosen the best chain for you. The best:

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
12/01/2022 11:37 am GMT

If you are one of the people struggling to use the bike chain effectively, you might want to consider looking through our article. The article aims to ensure you understand how these bike chains work. With a better working knowledge of the bike chain, you can find the right one for your needs and make adjustments as needed.

What Is A Bike Chain?

Before looking at some of the other intricate features, you should have a general idea of what a bike chain is. While most people know that it connects to the bike, many might not know the functionality of the chain and why it is important. However, bikes cannot perform to the maximum or even at all without a bike chain:

What is a Bike Chain? The bike chain is easily identified and it sits on the pedals while connecting the pedals to the rear of the bike. You should notice gears that often fit on the inside of the chain and these cogs will press into small holes in the chain. They are designed to propel the bike forward while making sure the chain does not fall off.

The main function of the chain is to transfer some of the power from the pedals to the rear tire. It does not connect to the front tire and the most bikes will rely on the momentum from the rear tire to push it forward. The chain is one of the most important parts of the bike and can be daunting for many people to understand.

Why You Need A Bike Chain?

The chain is one of the fundamental parts that drive the bike forward. It connects the pedals to the rear wheel of the bike and with a combination of gears, it can propel the bike forward. Without a chain, the bike would remain stationary and you might not have the opportunity of moving forward when you are pedaling. Here are some reasons why the bike chain is important:

It Propels The Bike

As mentioned, the bike chain connects the middle of the bike to the front. Once you push the pedals, it connects to the rear and propels the bike in a forward direction. The chain works in tandem with the gears and the cogs, which drive the bike.

It Controls The Speed

If you have a durable drivetrain, the bike will have numerous gears set up. These gears will range in size and incrementally increase the force needed to drive the bike forward. Without a bike chain, it becomes impossible to drive the bike forward. Having different gears will enable you to propel the bike forward at your desired speed.

It Gives You Control

One of the main functions of the chain is to have you constantly feel tension on the pedals. If you don’t have any tension, the bike might run forward and the pedals might move faster than your legs. Aside from losing control, it could lead to some bad injuries. The bike chain will keep you in control of the pedals.

It Can Be Adjusted

The bike chain is something that can efficiently be adjusted to meet all your personal needs. You can choose from a variety o different chains and these will have a significant effect on the performance. Moving through the article, you will notice us discussing some of the different chains and how they could affect performance.

7 Best Bike Chains On The Market Today

Once you understand some of the features of the bike chain and what role it plays, you might notice that your chain is rusted or damaged. If that is the case, replacing it should be one of your main priorities. To help you when it comes to replacement, we have isolated some of the best bike chains on the market today:

1. KMC X8.99/X8 Bicycle Chain

When looking at some of the top bike chains, you are bound to come across KMC. The brand is one of the leading manufacturers of the bike chain and they use high-end alloy materials for the construction. It also features a mushroomed pin, which makes it functional and will ensure that these links don’t come loose.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
12/01/2022 11:37 am GMT

These chains have around 116 links and they come with an 8-speed design that should ensure that they are compatible with most bikes. Additionally, the chain measures ½ x 3/32-inches and operates smoothly and quietly. We should also mention that it is stretch proof, which reduces the chances of it falling off.

It might be slightly more expensive than some of the competitors, but the chain tends to be functional in all other aspects. It is lightweight as well. If you can get past the slightly expensive price, it is one of the most functional options that could accommodate most different bikes.

2. SHIMANO Ultegra CN-6701 Chain

In a modern world with so much information, it is no surprise that certain brands have established a better reputation than others. The SHIMANO Ultegra CN-6701 Chain is made from zinc-alloy steel. These materials are sure to keep the chain lightweight, while it also helps to enhance some of the durability features of the unit.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
12/01/2022 12:05 am GMT

It features an asymmetric design, which means they have redesigned the inner and outer plates of the chain. Due to the design, you will notice that it makes better contact with the sprockets. Having such functionality means the chain is less likely to come off the gears and will give you a smooth change. It is mostly made for 10-speed bikes.

Shimano is one of the most expensive brands when looking for these accessory components and it will certainly improve the shifting features of the bike. You will have more functionality and you will have better overall performance when needed.

3. KMC Z51RB Rust-Buster, 6/7/8 Speed

Since KMC is one of the reliable brands, you can find a slightly cheaper option in the KMC Z51RB Rust-Buster. Like the others, it is made from high-tensile strength alloy steel and contains many features that will make it functional. It is smooth when it comes to operation and fits most bikes with 6/7/8 speed drivetrains.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
12/01/2022 09:34 am GMT

The name “Rust Buster’ should give you an indication of the strengths of the chain. It is designed to resist any rust that could significantly damage the chain or hamper performance. It is also stretch-resistant to make it more functional. While it could take some effort to set up the chain, it will work a treat.

Aside from the KMC name, the chain is affordable and comes with numerous high-end features that make it stand out. Yes, you might need some assistance when it comes to setting up the unit, but the functionality should be on point. We would recommend it for the price and the value that it could offer.

4. SHIMANO Ultegra CN-6701 Chain

As you might know by reading many of these articles, Shimano is one of the leading brands, and when selecting chains, it is hard to only stick to one of them. The SHIMANO Ultegra CN-6701 Chain is another zinc-alloy chain that offers plenty of durabilities and works best when added to the modern road bikes you find.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
12/01/2022 12:05 am GMT

The Sil-Tec technology is a great addition that keeps the chain lubricated and since it is a form of dry lubrication, it should ensure that the chain works perfectly when needed. It will fit snugly in most bikes with great control over the cogs. It also protects the cogs from damage and will ensure that they don’t wear out as rapidly.

If you are looking for a smooth ride, the chain is one of the best for you to consider. The method of reducing friction between the inner and outer chains will ensure a better functioning chain. It can reduce friction by up to 60%. The only real downside to the chain is the price, which is a bit expensive.

5. KMCA0 DLC 10 X 116L

One of the last spots that you often add fancy accessories is around the chain. However, if these accessories offer functionality, it is worth having a second look. The KMCA0 DLC 10 X 116L offers a diamond-like coating that not only makes it less abrasive but offers incredible durability and ensures the chain does not wear as rapidly.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
12/01/2022 07:58 am GMT

Due to repeated forging, it is also one of the most durable chains on the market and when it comes to setting up the unit, it should not take too much time or effort for you to have it in place. With natural lubrication, the chain protects the cogs and it will ensure you have a comfortable and smooth riding experience.

One of the biggest downsides is the price. It is one of the more expensive chains on the market today and this could be frustrating to your budget. However, when you account for the times people need to change cheap chains, this one makes sense. If you have a high-quality bike, we would recommend this chain.

6. ZONKIE Bike Chain Single-Speed

While the big brands tend to dominate the list of best bike chains, there are a couple of smaller brands that should not be overlooked. The ZONKIE Bike Chain Single-Speed is one of the larger chains and it is crafted from solid steel materials. While this adds weight, the repeated forging makes it more durable than others.

It is functional for single-speed bikes and while you might have an advanced bike, there are plenty of special bikes that only offer one cog at the rear and the front. These chains will power a single-speed bike and make it more functional for those that need one.

The chain operates in a smooth motion and the kicker is that you don’t need to spend hours setting it up. With a little bit of skill, you should be able to have a chain set up on the bike in just a few minutes. We would certainly recommend it for the value and it tends to be one of the cheaper options on the market today.

7. SRAM XX1 Eagle Chain – 12-Speed

SRAM is probably the biggest competitor when it comes to Shimano and they tend to have reliable chains that will propel your bike forward. The SRAM XX1 Eagle Chain – 12-Speed is a reliable chain made from high-quality alloy steel. The steel will combine with a solid coating to offer smooth transitions and functionality.

The chain should work best on 12-speed bikes and it does not take too much time or effort for you to set up the chain and have it functional. It has specialized cogs that ensure that chain does not slip off the bike. Additionally, it will keep these cogs protected, which ensures they don’t wear out too rapidly when riding.

While SRAM is one of the leading brands, they are also known for having some expensive drivetrains. The expensive drivetrains come with even more expensive chains. However, you will rarely need to replace the chain. It could give you close to 1000-miles when you need to have it for sustainable performance.

Bike Chain Types

There are a variety of different bike chains and this coincides with the type of bike you own. You must settle for a good bike chain that will work with your bike to ensure performance. Here is a list of the different bike chains you should look out for:

MTB Bike Chain

The mountain bike chain is often considered the most durable of the lot. These chains might have a diamond-like coating that keeps them sufficiently protected from potential damage. Ideally, you want a chain with a specific coating that does not retain dirt and mud. A normal hose should be effective at cleaning it when needed.

Road Bike Chain

The road bike is all about performance and most people, want a chain that is as light as possible. When selecting a road bike chain, you want something that is made from alloy. You also want to make sure that the chain fits your bike. You should look at the speeds of your bike to ensure you find the right option.

BMX Chain

The final choice you need to make is when it comes to BMX chains. Much like mountain bike chains, you will be looking for durability and you always want to make sure that you have a fast chain. A single-speed chain is often the best option. Additionally, these chains are broken up into the traditional BMX bike chain and the Half-Link BMX Bike Chain:

  • Traditional Chain: The traditional chain is similar to that of road bikes and mountain bikes and features a traditional inner and outer design. These chains often have two half-links.
  • Half-Link BMX Chain: The half-link chain is slightly different and features a thick end and a thin end. They are slightly easier to adjust on the fly.

Understanding Different Speeds

Keep in mind that not all bike chains are the same and it is often a good thing to look at your gears to see how many speeds you have. The speeds will affect the size of the chain and the size of the holes for the cogs. It is much more useful to find a chain that directly accommodates your needs to ensure it does not fall off or get damaged.

Most Important Features To Keep In Mind Before Selecting A Bike Chain

Like almost anything you buy, there are a few important things to keep in mind. These important features will ensure that you find the bike chain best-suited for your personal needs. We have isolated some of these features and they should ensure that you find the right bike chain for your personal needs and bike performance:


As we have just mentioned, the different speeds you choose are vital and you need to make sure that the chain you select will fit the specific speeds of your bike. For instance, a 6-speed chain might not fit on a 12-speed bike. Be sure to check this before you buy your favorite new chain.


Few things are as frustrating as having to deal with a damaged chain or a chain that constantly slips off the bike. It is important to make sure your chain can endure the paces you put it through. Durability is one of the most important features to keep in mind and you will certainly need to choose between steel and alloy.

How Easy It Is To Install

The final thing to keep in mind is installation. While you can have a professional assist you with the installation, it might be more expensive. However, a good bike chain should be ready to install and you should not need to put in too much effort to make it functional.

Frequently Asked Questions

Now that you have all the information you need, working with your bike chain should not be so much effort. However, many people might still have a few questions and we have identified some of these important questions. Here are some of the most common questions we could find:

How To Size A Bike Chain?

If you purchase your bike chain, it might be too long for your bike. You must resize the chain. To resize the chain, you would need to remove the previous chain. The chain can be used to measure the length and ensure you make the adjustments. You should then proceed with placing it back on the bike. Here is a great video:

How To Tighten A Bike Chain?

If your chain is constantly falling off the bike, you should tighten the chain. The first thing to do is to loosen the derailleur. Once you have it loosened, you can lift the chain off the gears and rotate the rear wheel until the chain tightens. You will then fasten everything again. Keep in mind that this process could have often.

When Should You Replace A Bike Chain?

A bike chain should be replaced when you notice it constantly falling off the bike or when severe damage appears. To give you an estimate, many mechanics suggest that 2,000 to 3,000 should be enough to replace the chain. However, it also depends on how much you use the bike. Bikes used frequently might need to have the chain replaced more often.

How To Clean Your Bike Chain?

By now, you should understand how to set up the chain and remove it when needed. Cleaning your bike chain is one of the most important parts of the chain and it should always be in optimal condition. You can use a simple hose to rinse down some of the dirt. However, dirt stuck between the cogs might force you to remove the chain. We would recommend deep cleaning the chain now and again.


When selecting a bike chain, you need to make sure you find the right option. There are plenty of bike chain options on the market today. However, the right one should work best with your bike. We hope this guide has given you more information about the bike chain and the different options. Let us know in the comment section if you have any questions.

About Martin

I am Martin, I am the author of this blog. My main interests include cycling. That's why this blog was created. I have always been interested in technology and how bicycles are made, so I built one myself.

Leave a Comment