Ask a Mechanic | Choosing the Right Chain for Mismatched Drivetrains

It is always a good idea to use chains and chainrings from the same brand.

Welcome to our Ask a Mechanic column where our expert mechanic Daniel Slusser answers your bike maintenance questions. If you have a question for Daniel, please post it on our Facebook Wall or e-mail Daniel directly at daniel.slusser@artscyclery.com. Today’s column discusses how to choose the right chain for a mismatched SRAM/Shimano drivetrain.

Question

Hi Daniel, I have a question regarding chain selection. I have a full Shimano 105 drivetrain but with a SRAM Apex crank. Which brand of chain should I go for: Shimano or SRAM? From: Caleb

Answer

Good question Caleb. The shifting difference between the two will be negligible and you likely would not be able to tell the difference between them in this case. With that said however, I would go with the SRAM chain for your application. The correct chain is more important for front shifting than for rear shifting.

Daniel Slusser is a professional bicycle mechanic with over ten years of experience. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from HSU and a master’s degree in history from Cal Poly University. When he is not riding, wrenching, or writing he enjoys spending time with his wife and two children.

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