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TPE17: KMC goes to 12 speed with Gold Ti-Nitride chains

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Much as they did with the X11 to optimize for 11-speed systems, the new KMC X12-1 chains get fine tuned for 12-speed drive trains. The X-Shift pattern involves much shaping, with chamfers, cuts, and slants all designed to make it run silent and shift fast across the entire cassette range. And up front, presumably important if road bikes start going to 12 speeds, too.

On top of that, they’re not offering it with this gold-hued titanium nitride coating to make it shift even better by helping it stay clean…

Hit that link up above for closeup detail of their plate shaping and an explanation of why it helps.

The X12-1 chain will be available in full gold, gold/black and silver, but the most benefit comes from the full gold model. They say the Ti-nitride coating creates an ultra smooth surface that sheds mud and grit more easily, and a cleaner chain means smoother pedaling, faster and more precise shifts and less of that grating noise that constantly reminds you you’re wearing out that very expensive 12-speed cassette.

KMCchain.com

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Anonymous
Anonymous
6 years ago

“they’re not offering it with this gold-hued titanium nitride coating”

Speedy_G
Speedy_G
6 years ago

Last photo is of an 11 speed cassette…

Darryl Duck
6 years ago

picture shows an 11 speed cluster

myke2241
myke2241
6 years ago
Reply to  Darryl Duck

Look at the second picture.

TheKaiser
TheKaiser
6 years ago
Reply to  Darryl Duck

The chain on the cluster is also a different model, with hollow pins and cutouts in the side plates.

Sam
Sam
6 years ago

12 speed as in Sram eagle?

TomM
TomM
6 years ago
Reply to  Sam

Was going to ask the same. What other 12 speed drivetrains are there, as generically described in the article?

myke2241
myke2241
6 years ago
Reply to  TomM

Who has a 12spd system besides Campy?

dockboy
dockboy
6 years ago
Reply to  myke2241

Campy is still at 11. Tiso made an 11 speed system for a while, don’t know if they still do, but the only major maker to go to 12 is SRAM, and so far only on their Eagle mountain kits.

Ashley Kirk
6 years ago
Reply to  TomM

Sram eagle is just a brand and model name .KMC are independent thus their chain can work with any 12 speed group set (although not many exist atm)

Jason
Jason
6 years ago

“…and less of that grating noise that constantly reminds you you’re wearing out that very expensive 12-speed cassette.”

Does 1×12 really make a grating noise in top/low cogs?

carlos
carlos
6 years ago

I like KMC chains and think they’re great value for money. All the TiN-coated chains I’ve seen have been line-of-sight coatings where only external visible surfaces were coated. None of the contact areas were – where the effect of the coating would be needed. As is, the chain will stay cleaner to the eye because TiN has lower surface energy (mildly hydrophobic). Not sure how this can improve performance, friction, shifting or wear though.

TheKaiser
TheKaiser
6 years ago
Reply to  carlos

Agreed, there doesn’t seem to be enough attention to this point with TiNi in general. In the top pic above, with black/gold color scheme, it appears that the rollers are coated, but the pins and inner plates aren’t. Then, in the bottom pic, the pins are coated (although we can’t tell if that was done pre, or post, assembly) but the rollers aren’t. In addition to that point, I have always wanted to know what the actual lifespan of TiNi coatings are on the inner contact surfaces. I mean, sure, it is hard and wear resistant, but it is thin as h311 too, and it certainly won’t last forever when subjected to abrasive grit. So, do you end up with a super hard 1-2 micron layer that still only lasts 2 rides on the inside wear surfaces, or does it actually genuinely extend the lifespan of a chain?

carlos
carlos
6 years ago
Reply to  TheKaiser

Yes, if the contact surfaces are coated and substrate is smoother than the coating thickness then it should definitely reduce friction and extend lifetime. 1-2 micron is a common thickness. Much thicker (5-10 um) and excessive internal stresses start to build up and coating can delaminate.

sad
sad
6 years ago
Reply to  TheKaiser

i had the chain from the last pic which is in fact the 11s chain. of course as you point out some part wear the coating quickly but in reality thats totally fine.
the reason is that where the coating goes away, there isnt much grit or water – its just where the metal contacts.

At the end of the day, tini coating will still help a lot with durability and glide. Is it worth the price though? Personally I dont think so. The chain itself will wear out before rusting or drag becomes an issue with or without tini… the tini coating seems much more interesting on the cassette cogs that don’t wear nearly as fast.

TheKaiser
TheKaiser
6 years ago
Reply to  sad

I don’t see how it will “help a lot with durability and glide” if it “wear(s) the coating quickly” “where the metal contacts”. In my understanding, the majority of both the wear and friction in a chain comes from the metal on metal contact surfaces inside the chain, and if that is where the coating is first to go then the remaining intact coating on the outer plates performs very very little useful purpose (other than looking cool).

Mercianrider
Mercianrider
6 years ago
Reply to  carlos

The coating on the non-contact surfaces will make a difference though, as dirt stuck to the sides will eventually be flung or rubbed onto other parts of the drivetrain the chain contacts.

boo
boo
6 years ago

was wondering why the chain on the last pic looked wide… 11s chain.

tyler get some sleep

Christopher Shelley
Christopher Shelley
6 years ago

How many gears will it drop down when you back pedal? 3 or 4?

doug
doug
6 years ago

I find that if I ride my bike enough, I wear out chains far faster then they “rust”. I ride the low end SRAM 1110 and 1030 series and frankly just riding the bike(s) keeps rust from ever appearing, maybe that’s just me.

J D
J D
6 years ago

Call me crazy, but I love running 11speed chains on my 10 speed road bike groups, 10spd on my 9spd mtb, etc. Truly feel as if shifting is livelier. Wonder if a 12 speed chain on a 10spd gruppo would be overkilll……

joel w pontbriand
joel w pontbriand
6 years ago
Reply to  J D

agreed, i’ve been doing that for years! i don’t think it’s all in our heads!

Dustytires
6 years ago

Doug is right, ride a lot, wear out chain. Get new chain before it hurts your expensive cogs of any count. If you want to look pimp, get the expensive chains, they should still be replaced before their wear affects the cogset and ring.

josh otstot
josh otstot
6 years ago

were can you actually buy this??

Will Ratsoy
Will Ratsoy
5 years ago

Is there a place that you can buy this chain?

Edzoba
Edzoba
5 years ago
Paul
Paul
4 years ago

I dont buy the advantages of the exotic chain materials. Instead, I fastidiously maintain my chain and drivetrain. Its cheap, and effective.

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