Shimano 12 speed chain test – SLX vs XT

The durability of both chains was surprisingly low in this test. I have previously gotten more than twice the range from an SLX chain. The riding conditions were very rough during this review. The drive train was repeatedly submerged in mud during an 85km race, and the cassette was getting pretty worn. But that doesn’t matter, the test still shows the difference between the chains.

  1. Excellent review, Knut! ??. Clever splicing the two together!

    I d like to see you test the XTR chain as well.

  2. Nice work. I had researched these chains some weeks ago while looking to buy a spare. Early on I read that the difference between the SLX and XT chain, in addition to the price, was that the SLX chain did not have the Sil Tec coating. But the package clearly indicates that the coating (or treatment- I don’t know) is there as well. I heard that the Sil Tec was intregal to the Shimano shift system performance. But your test reveals there is some manufacturing tolerance difference between the two chains, and a resultant different wear schedule. So it looks like XT is the way to go. Thought there might have been a deal to be had, but this is rarely the case.

  3. My chain is XT 11sp. I ride flow trails in dry conditions (yes it’s dry most of the time where I live in Australia) and I’ve done 3700km on my XT chain. Cleaned and lubed with Rock "n" Roll Blue every 2 hour ride. Drivetrain is complete XT 11sp including Shimano shifting cable and casing.