So, I just managed to piece together a complete Sram Force 22 groupset bar the chain and cassette, and I’m wondering which chain to get. I know Sram and Shimano are compatible, and I believe the Sram cassettes are good, but Dave Rome’s article on chains suggests that Sram’s chains are the least efficient. My main concern is shifting performance though which wasn’t mentioned in the article. What should I go for? Dura-Ace? KMC?
I been running a SRAM Red 22 groupset for a few years, as well as SRAM Red 20 before that. Was happy with performance of Ultegra chains and cassettes, but recently shifted to waxing, YBN chains and SRAM cassettes. Have not notice a change in performance, it is qiueter now and expect a much longer lifespan of components https://zerofrictioncycling.com.au/
I use Ultegra chains/cassettes on both of my bikes that have Red22 groups. I tried one Red chain years ago and no more. Expensive and wore very quickly. I’ve found over the years that Ultegra is the best balance of quality, longevity and expense - best bang for the buck. Not so with SRAM chains as much as I prefer SRAM. How to lube? Not touching that one!
If you’re waxing (submerged hot wax in a crockpot) you’ll get pretty good mileage out of any quality 11-speed chain. At the moment, though, you might find better availability from Sram than Shimano.
I’ll be using Ceramic Speed UFO Drip.
Decided to go with the Ultegra chain based on the recommendations here and Dave Rome’s article on chains. It seems like the best balance of efficiency and durability. Managed to get one from Pushys, and they also had the Sram cassette I wanted.
Dura ace chains last an awfully long time, though - the “it’s lightweight race stuff so it isn’t as durable” seems like one of those pervasive myths which sound right but I don’t find any tests which find the DA chains last less. Lubricated with good stuff (like Ceramicspeed) or waxed, they last a very long time.
The cassettes ought to be shorter lived than Ultegra though, because the titanium on the bigger cogs isn’t as wear resistant as steel - but how much of a problem it will be in practice, I can’t say, because I’ve only ridden 11000 km on one (absolutely fine still, but you’d expect it to be).
I’ve always gone for a SRAM Red cassette over a Dura Ace one. All steel, lighter and shifting is just as good. 105 or Ultegra is great though if weight is not a serious concern.
A major reason for me not wanting to go to 12 speed is the lack of cross compatibility between brands.
Dave Rome’s article on chains shows research that the Dura-Ace chain lasted a couple of hundred kilometres longer than Ultegra in terms of stretch but significantly less when measured with a KMC Digital Chain Wear Checker which takes roller wear into account. Though Adam Kerin of Zero Friction Cycling who did the research admitted that, so far, he has a smaller sample size with the Dura-Ace chain and that with more tested he expects it to be better in this regard as it is when compared by elongation.
As for “lightweight race stuff,” it’s only 10g lighter, and its hollow pins make it stronger. It’s not much more expensive either, but I’ve gone with Ultegra for now. Both have the same low friction coating too. Maybe next time.
Regarding cassettes, I’m happy with the Force cassette. I could save 80g for and extra $350 (!) with a Red cassette or 56g for $160 more, but I can’t see the value. I’d rather put that money towards a better set of wheels.
I agree that Red is the better option over DA for weight and durability, but the price of the Red cassette is insane. It’s $350 more (more than three times the price!) to save 80g. I bought the Force cassette. I’ll spend the money I saved on better wheels.
Fair enough! I’ve been lucky to pick up barely used Red cassettes second hand.
Bought an Edco 11-29 cassette for £100 which weighs the same as a Dura Ace one but again is made from one piece of steel. Shifting quality is no worse than Shimano.
I didn’t know about Edco! Those are great value! Maybe next time.