Monday, October 3, 2011

Shopping for Chains

My uncle recently bought some replacement chains for his wife's new Catrike Speed! It got me thinking about the difference btw chains. SRAM makes 4 different 8-speed models:


I called them up asking for the differences btw them since their website all had the same description and no details on how to decide which to get. At varying price ranges, I'm wondering what I'd be missing by getting the cheaper PC830 vs the PC890.

To my disappointment and I suppose expectation, Kyle who answered the phone was a bit hesitant. There were lots of silent moments in the conversation and "um's" and "uh's". When I asked if there was a recommendation of one vs the other for mt bikes vs road bikes, he didn't seem to have an answer either. The quality and longevity of all 4 chains he said was the same. So the difference?

How smoothly the gears shift. I suppose I don't really care how smooth it shifts. Plus I'm sure that has a lot to do with the derailleur hardware. So lesson learned? PC830 or other cheapest chain indeed is fine for me. There's no real need for me to get anything else fancier. I suppose if I had the top of the line derailleur and I didn't have to buy 3 chains at a time, I might consider the higher end "smoother" chain to go with my hardware, but that's not the case right now. PC830 it is!

UPDATE: 10/4/11
Dan gave me some value able information about the differences btw the chains. Please take a look at the comment from him below!


  1. The PC830 does not have hardened pins and is more prone to stretching.
    PC850 and above has hardened pins
    PC870 and above is chrome plated
    PC890 has hollow pins and is the lightest.

  2. @Dan

    Thanks! I'll update my posting with your info. I wish SRAM was able to tell me that themselves. Their rep wasn't nearly as helpful as your quick comment. Much appreciated!