I want to start this article by asking you a question: Do you own a bicycle? If so, you should be familiar with the chain. You know, that chain on your bike that makes it move smoothly and without too much effort from yourself. Now, do you know what we’re talking about when we say speed chain? It is pretty similar to the chain on your bike but is designed specifically for making it go faster. Even though they can make a huge difference in how fast you’re going, speed chains are often overlooked by people who don’t know how beneficial they are.

Speed chains are mainly used to smooth out bumps that you might hit while riding on uneven roads or cobblestones. By doing this, you can make your ride go faster and more smoothly. There are many speed chain manufacturers out there today who claim to have the best speed chain for your bike, but in our opinion, they all serve the same purpose: making your ride smoother and faster.

Unlike conventional chains, which focus on strength rather than smoothness, speed chains concentrate more on the latter. This is done by using a chain link that is longer than standard chain links. This works because it allows the chain to move up and down with your gears as you go over cobblestones. Furthermore, these chain links are smaller in size, which will enable them to be very flexible compared to other chain types.

So, are 11 and 12-speed chains the same?

No, they are not. I know there is a “slight” difference in gear ratios between an 11-speed chain and a 12-speed chain. The balance is very slight – for example, for Shimano XT M8000 or SRAM X01 compared to the YBN chain. However, to notice this little difference, you have to be an excellent rider, or you have to stand up very often during climbing!

A lot of bikers wondered about this question – are 11 and 12-speed chains the same? If they are not, what is the “slight” difference in gear ratios between them?

Here I explain what chain is actually in front of us. The 10-speed chain uses a unique chain link – Hardlink to save space inside chain links. The older chain used “open Hardlink” when only one side was closed, and Hardlink had a standard pin. Newer chain links use completely symmetric Hardlinks, which are closed on both sides. There was an idea to produce an 11-speed chain with common chain links, but someone found out that the normal chain link is too flimsy for a drive train and can fail or break very easily!

The 11-speed chain does not use a “standard chain link” but instead uses a unique shape of chain links – Shimano Hyperlink. The picture below shows that chain uses a unique chain link with more bends than standard chain links.

The 12-speed chain would require another idea of a new chain link, so they use almost the same chain link which Shimano designed for the 11-speed chain. The chain uses two chain links per chain link – one side of the chain is “standard Hyperlink,” and another side is Shimano’s Micro Spline!

To summarize:

  • 10-speed chain uses Hardlink which can be opened from both sides
  • 11-speed chain uses particular chain link – Shimano Hyperlink
  • 12-speed chain uses a particular chain link – Shimano Micro Spline (they can use two chain links on each chain link!)

Now you know why 11 and 12-speed chains are NOT the same! You can see some differences between them when you look closely.

Are you wondering how many speeds your bicycle has?

The chain of a bicycle is what allows for the motion that propels it forward to happen. There are different “speeds” or “gears” on a bike, which means that there are different sized chainrings in front and back to allow for more or less tension when in motion.

Getting the proper chain for your bicycle is essential, as it ensures that there is a suitable chainring and cog to allow for the appropriate use of gears on a bike. To check how many speeds your bicycle has, you will need to take a close look at your motorcycle’s front and back chainrings. At the center of each chainring, there is a number. This number corresponds to the number of teeth on the cog, determining how hard it will be to pedal at certain “speeds” on your bike.

If you are looking to get your chain repaired or need new chainrings (front and back), there is no better person to talk to than the employee at your local bike shop. They can help you out with all of these things!