I replace them every season or so (more often if stretched – I use a chain checker every month or three) with FSA brand chains, ’cause they’re cheap. Is there an advantage to using pricier chains? If so, why? And is KMC, SRAM, Shimano, Renthal et al worth the extra coin?
I’ve always gone with Shimano or SRAM but still replace every season… Honestly though if you stay on top of checking your chain, don’t have breakage issues, and are happy with your shifting performance I see no reason to change what’s working for you.
I’ve been through a few brands, and for me, Shimano seems to last he longest. Shimano’s chains have never broken on me either, while others have. I will say, though, what has extended chain life for me most significantly was when I went to chain wax versus an oil. I used to clean my chain every time I oiled it. Now, it gets cleaned far less, and I just add more wax from time to time. Before wax, I’d run though at least a couple of chains a season, starting each season with a new chain, and probably over extended the use of chains. Now… one chain a season. For reference: I do have a Shimano XT drive train. I tend to stay in higher gears when climbing, so I do put a good amount of pressure on the drive chain. I don’t ride wet/muddy conditions, but sand/fine dirt is common. As for cost, I guess I never really paid attention to the difference between chains.
I am not hard on chains, but still from reviews I decided to go with Connex (on most of our bikes, they don’t make a 12 speed chain yet) and for me they work great and I love the quick disconnect master link.