SRAM and Shimano are two of the most popular bike part brands. Their components are on most bikes that you see both on and offroad. Although each brand will try to tell you that you can only use their components and parts together, there is a lot of interchangeability that can be done.
In essence, when SRAM entered the road bike groupset market in 2006, they adopted Shimano’s specifications for its cassettes and chains. It was a savvy move at the time, and SRAM is now as well known as Shimano for quality road cycling components.
So with that in mind, can you use SRAM chains on Shimano drivetrains? Because SRAM adopted the Shimano specifications, you can easily use SRAM chains on a Shimano groups without really any problem.
Using a SRAM chain on Shimano Drivetrain
Being able to do this is great that when a part is worn, you are not tied into being forced to purchase parts and replacements from the same company, which means that you get a choice of the best gear to replace your old equipment.
Check which speed your groupset is first
Before getting too excited, you need to make sure that you get a suitable chain for the Shimano cassette. Less to do with the manufacturer and more to do with which speed Shimano cassette you are running. If you are unfamiliar with groupsets, the speed is just how many cogs your rear cassette has.
You probably have a 10 or 11-speed cassette. This needs to be matched with the same speed chain, irrelative of the manufacturer. A 10-speed chain is significantly wider than an 11-speed chain.
So if you try to use a 10-speed chain on an 11-speed cassette, it may just about work, but there will be a lot of noise, irrelative of what brands are involved.
You can, however, get away with using an 11-speed chain on a 10-speed cassette. However, for durability, you are better of getting a SRAM 10-speed chain to match your Shimano’s 10-speed cassette.
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To get the perfect ride, you are better off trying to stick to the same brand and level of drivetrain.
However, for most of us, there is no real noticeable difference in ride quality or durability if you decide to run a SRAM chain with a Shimano cassette.