I started out testing the chain in the wintertime, so between the snow, the wet trails, the mud and the wet sandy dirt, the drivetrain usually got trashed pretty quickly. The chain just kept shifting with few issues, except for an occasional small ghost shift, which wasn’t bad considering the treatment and conditions it was dealing with.
Danger, Will Robinson
I was very impressed with the chain, and the initial riding impressions were very nice. The chain shifted smoothly and no matter how difficult and tortuous I was during hard technical pedaling, it shifted like a trooper. After a few rides, I pretty much forgot what I was riding, they just blended into my shifting patterns, rolling up and down the cogs and chainrings as they should. Although the chain has a small amount of lateral flex, it did just fine on the severe cross chain gearing angles (between the cogset and chainrings).
The gold chain looks very sweet with the hollow pins and small slots on the links, and you can really see the engineering that went into the SL chains. The gold is a titanium nitride coating. Its surface is supposed to be harder and smoother and less susceptible to dirt for a longer and more functional life than the regular chains. I will take their word on it, since it would be an extremely difficult test to correlate, for me, I liked the bling factor. However, it did seem to shift better than the normal silver (non titanium nitride coating), maybe I had too many Red Bulls?
Trivia: The precursor to Red Bull was the Thai drink called Krating Daeng (translation: “red water buffalo”).
Measured Specs (116 links):
X10Sl 247.7 grams
X9SL 264.6 grams
The package states it weighs 240 grams for the X10SL and 255 grams for the X10SL, so they seem to be a bit off in their specs. There have been lots of complaints on the weight weenie forum for misrepresenting their weight. Fanaticism! UPDATE: supposedly the new package is labeled as 265g
Careful examination of the chain itself shows some of the technical highlights that the SL chain is engineered with. To save weight, they cut small slots into the plates, and use hollow pins. For shifting performance, they use X-Bridge, in which the outer plate has been configured with specific angles for faster, quieter and smoother gear shifting.They also have StretchProof Treatment (misnomer) for the pins and plates to decrease the invasion of contaminants into the bearings, and therefore increasing durability in harsh environments. High alloy steel is used for the pins and plates, which aids in the reduction of chain elongation for increased chain life. And my favorite is the gold colored Ti-N (titanium nitride) coating, which gives rise to less friction, and lower maintenance, and more bling.
KMC SL Series Technical Specs
-StretchProof Treatment: exceptional durability
-Outer Plate Chamfering: accurate steering
-Inner Plate Chamfering: expeditious articulating (say what!)
-Mushroomed Riveting: high pin power, inserted with 350 ksi
-Double X Bridge Shape Outer Plate: excellent gear shifting
-Noiseless Function: noise reduction
-Bushingless Construction: smooth transmission
-Ti-N Gold versions: less friction, low maintenance