I’ve spent time on the Shimano and the SRAM 8 speed chains and find that the Shimanos shift a little smoother. That may just be due to the fact that my whole drivetrain is also Shimano and they are "designed" to work with eachother. The SRAMs are supposed to work with Shimano components as well but they just weren’t as silky in the shifts. However, the quick links on the SRAM chains are AWESOME when it comes to convenience! I never had any problems breaking a chain with either brand unless I got something caught in the chain or got caught shifting in a bad spot while putting a lot of pedaling torque on the chain. IE: shifting down to an easier gear way too late and having to pedal hard before the shift had completed. I see that more as a technique issue rather than a chain toughness issue. The only KMC chain I’ve ever had was one for a singlespeed 29er I used to own and the design of the SS chains doesn’t require ramps for shifting so I can’t comment on how smoothly they work when you have a regular chain of theirs. It was VERY durable though. I would mash those pedals through anything and the chain just kept quiet and did its job without asking questions. For what it’s worth, I weigh about 195lbs with gear so it would seem comparable. Good luck.
I still rock the 850 on my XC bike. It’s not the top of the line version of their chains but still very sturdy and relatively light. The quick link was the best thing since sliced bread when I first bought it. I can keep that thing clean enough to eat off of! The next steps up in the SRAM line are the 870 and 890. The 870 goes to nickel plating on the links and the 890 uses a different material for the pins I think. I’m pretty sure they all weigh the same. If you are looking for a light chain, go for the KMC X8. I believe they claim to shed about 40g per chain over the Shimano and SRAM chains. I can’t speak to the durability of that model though. In all honesty, 40g of weight off your chain isn’t going to make a huge difference. It’s not going to affect your rolling resistence, as it isn’t on your wheel, and it’s less than 1/10th of a pound. I’d save the money and go with the chain that I know will last longer. Just my two cents.
The main reason i can afford these bike is that i help out at my LBS as well as i am a teacher….Trust me the only reason i help at the LBS is well two things the owner is a friend as well as i get a great discount…
Anyhow as far as 8spd chains we sell from sram two types the PC-850 which we purchase in bulk and is our cheap replacement and then we sell the PC-890 which really is the PC-990 equivalent and it works great…
I suggest using white lightning chain lube on that as well….The chain stays cleaner longer which extends the life of it.
I have a pc 991 sram CrossStep chain right now.I was breaking chain’s right and left from being a clydesdale at 280 plbs..The pc 991 has CrossStep Riveting,,,,1/2" x 11/128",,,114 links/297 g.
I’ll tell you up front I havent had this chain on my bike for all that long,but the price and testimonials are telling me this chain is for me and will last long enough to wear out instead of breaking.
There you go mongoose,that’s my chain story for now,a little premature but It was a relief to find out there was a chain being made that is at least made for heavy duty use.(as in clydesdale use for myself).So far so good,it has not broke yet and I just put it through some abuse climbing chutes and ladder’s and powering over technical rock section’s.
I have had better times with either my higher end shimano chain (forgot the exact name of it) or my current primary chain, a KMC Z-72. Considering that most of my riding consist mostly what Steve mentioned earlier (technical rocks, chutes and ladders). I have also done some serious climbs. Most of which require some shifting. With my KMC chain, I have had smooth shifts along with constant power delivery. No chain bind or hang ups. I have been able to just pedal as hard as ever do and the thing does great. I just also have to clean it at least once a week and lube it before every ride. Other than that, its great. I would buy the shimano chain I once had, but I did eventually break it. I just don’t want to spend that much money on a chain when I am satisfied with what I have. Until it broke though, which was about a year and a half of some hard XC/AM riding, it was great, worked like a charm. If this chain (the KMC) holds out the way it has been, I’ll stick with it instead of the other ones out there. That’s just my experience.