The KMC X11 chain series is getting a few tweaks to optimize it for 1×11 drivetrains. The upgrades come in the way of additional chamfering and shaping, much like SRAM has done with their Eagle chains, to improve durability and smoothness across the ever expanding range of gears on the back of the bike.
Going from one end of the cassette to the other puts a real strain on the links, particularly the inner links, as they come onto the chainring and off of the cogs at an extreme angle. Here’s how KMC is making that process a little smoother…
Chamfering one one side of the outside of the outer chain plates helps with shifting (A), but it’s not on the opposite side, which helps the chain get picked up to shift.
To reduce friction at cross chaining, they added a small notch (B) to clear teeth and used more drastic and extended chamfering on the inner face (C, below) that wraps farther around the ends of each plate.
The “X” in the name comes from the X-shaped recess (D) on the inside and outside faces of the outer chain plates, and those X bridge shapes get more pronounced. As shaped as everything is, the chain is non-directional, making installation much simpler.
The design will work just as well as their regular chains on a 2x system, but it should work better on a 1x system. As such, it’ll replace all if their chains for the North American market, offering different levels of chain to more or less mimic the current collection’s tiers. So, you’ll have the X11SL (hollow pins, cut out plates), X11EL (cut out plates) and X11 (solid pins and plates). They’ll also have a 1×10 optimized versions (X10…), something they say will help all the riders that are modifying their current setups to be wide-range 1×10.
When they hit production, retail packaging won’t have the “-1” on them, it’ll just be the X11SL, etc, but distributor and sales literature may note them as X11SL-1, etc., since the old version may remain in the line for some markets. Expect to see DLC coated versions, too.
Available mid summer. Also check out their new Klick Link quick connector introduced at Taipei Show earlier this year.