KMC 10.73 CHAIN
rrp £19.99 270 grammes
KMC X10.73 chain is a ten speed model with decent spec for the asking price. Tipping the scales at a moderate (g) weight conscious riders might want to look elsewhere but 114links should cater for most solos. KMC assure us it plays nicely with Sachs, Shimano or Campag groups, too which makes it a pretty appealing OEM upgrade/workshop staple.
Talking of which, KMC are quick to extol the life-extending qualities of their “unique” SP treatment. SP stands for “Stretch Proof”, which is a bit misleading, since chains don’t stretch, they wear...
Delving deeper, this concept basically means they’ve managed to reduce friction between inner plates and pin, theoretically giving them longer lives. Obviously, this will also depend on riding conditions, lubes used and owner involvement. Then of course we’ve the X family’s chamfered links for speedy, precise shifts and silent running.
These also sport a subtle, though seemingly hardy grey nickel plated finish. An ideal candidate for my lightweight tourer, dressed in a bloody but unbowed, mix n’ match Tiagra/105/FSA drivetrain. Having offered it up to the 50/36 11-28 drivetrain, I pruned a couple of links and joined it in situ using the missing link system.
KMC’s link works in exactly the same way as big S and Sram’s systems. Probably worth buying a couple of spares, especially before a tour, since replacement is recommended every 3 splits. Most of us will use the old school brush on technique (photo) or run ‘em through clip-on cleaners but sometimes a longer soak in the parts washer or roadside removal is needed.
Ours has proved completely dependable and done everything I’ve asked from it in some particularly testing conditions. Run initially with the factory lube, I was struck by the chains’ serenity, even when provocatively shifting at the last minute with my full 85 kilos dancing on the pedals.
We’ve no means of testing lateral stiffness scientifically here at Seven Day Cyclist and there is no denying that fresh cassettes and cables play their part but the solid feel and light shifts have allowed me to concentrate on riding, whether grinding along the climbs, kamikaze descending, or just cruising at 85rpm.
I’m as lazy as the next rider, so fed ours wet lube and just rode for three weeks and 350miles with cursory wipes of the outer links. Despite regular exposure to waterlogged rural roads, I wasn’t surprised to find the plating free of the dreaded orange taint. However, the system seems to purge mucky cocktails of dung, derv and grit better than I’ve come to expect.