Earlier this year, KMC updated their X-shaped chain plates with additional chamfering all around the edges to make them shift evem smoother. That improved shaping is available on their top of the line DLC (Diamond Like Coating) chains in a growing rainbow of colors.

If you prefer the murdered out, all-black look, the new X11EL Blacktech chain might be for you…


All new is the X11EL Blacktech “extra light” chain for 11 speeds. Not DLC, and it’s not a coating, which means the color will stay because it’s essentially part of the material. It’s a 2-part process that first treats each individual piece, then done again once it’s all assembled, so it’s all black even inside and between links, but the “how” of it is their secret. It doesn’t add any slickness, just good looks, but is very rust resistant. 256g for 118 links. Available now, €50 same as XL11 Ti-Nitride Gold.

They’re also getting into E-bike sprockets because their chains were wearing out the stock sprockets and customers were complaining. So they designed something stronger for the Bosch mid-motor system up front and the NuVinci (20t) and Shimano (17-21t) internally geared hubs out back.



  1. Greg on

    They should have done the double treatment with the DLC chains. Always bothered me that the DLC was not applied in the most important part – between the links and roller.

  2. Allan on

    How long does the color last before getting scratched off?

    Also a “murdered out black chain” is easy… Just don’t clean your chain and voila, black chain!

    • Eirik on

      I have had the blacked out on my DH bike for a season now, and it’s still black. (I clean and lube it after every ride, which helps prevent wear.) I also have the black and red chain (X10SL DLC version), which first was on my DH bike for 2 seasons before I switched it over to my commuter ratbike 2 years ago, which is still going strong and has a lot of colour left.

      I never buy anything else. I used to wear out 2 chains a year on my DH bike, but after switching, I can run them 1,5-2 seasons. I’m not sure why, Might be the slippyness or hardness, but they last me a lot longer than any other chains I’ve tried. Well worth the extra cost.

      • Brian Baker on

        No he isn’t talking about spelling out numbers he’s talking about spelling the tip if the line when I’m sure you meant top of the line. Later in the last paragraph he wrote Bosch mid motor system up fromt when I’m sure he meant up front. A few small things but just saying people are paying attention to the details.

    • Kernel Flickitov on

      On the flipside for the last few years since SL11 has been available I get a solid 3k miles from them every time. On two bikes, one Shimano one Campy.

    • John McNulty on

      I get at least 3000 miles out of KMC X10SL’s. I clean the chain every 200 miles or so with Rock N’ Roll Gold and my chains seem to last just fine. Of course, I do live in California but I use my chains hard though doing plenty of low-rpm climbs at threshold power in training and I compete in plenty of races as well.

  3. Tyler Benedict on

    Greg, the DLC is more of a coating and eventually wears out but would also add material between the links, which would probably make movement a bit too tight for optimal performance. It’s more about decreasing friction between the chain and gears.

    Chris, they’ve done black DLC, but not this “treatment”, which is new.

    All, I posted this from my phone while walking the Eurobike halls, so between autocorrect and speed, bad spelling happened. Yes, AP style dictates that single digit and sentence-starting numbers be spelled out, but we don’t always stick to AP style.

  4. crbike on

    I love the new black and blue chain I purchased, but man is the packaging way overkill. It’s no wonder their colored chains are so expensive, it’s all in the packaging. I felt a little better about it once I saw the box that the sram etap group comes in.

  5. duder on

    I’ve been looking for a chain with superior optical stability…

    Who am I kidding, I’m a sucker, and that pink chain would look dope with my blue frame.

  6. Jeff on

    I overheard the KMX rep talk up the DLC coating to a few customers at an event last year and what he was saying seemed far fetched. Later on that day I picked up a DLC chain and after I installed it on a bike that currently had a XL 11 chain, I’m a believer, never thought a chain could make that much of a difference, a difference that I would equate to running ceramic bearings in all your drivetrain parts.


COMMENT HERE: (For best results, log in through Wordpress or your social media account. Anonymous/fake email comments may be unapproved or deleted. ALL first-time commenter's posts are held for moderation. Check our Comment Policy for full details.)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.