8 Best MTB Chain 11 Speed in 2023 (Reviews and Guide)

If you are an adventurous free-spirit cyclist who likes to pedal through the wild and beautiful scenery in your city or town, you are the right place. Maybe you are confused about which brand chain has the best features… stick around to find out more about the best 11-speed MTB chain.

Every cyclist, I believe, has had to deal with a jacked-up chain that endured a big fall or a terrible collision. It happened to me one Wednesday evening while outback racing with my colleagues. I hit an unforeseen rock so hard I almost got thrown off my bike.

Assessing the extent of the damage revealed that my 8-speed chain would not support any further rides. So, I settled into researching more about chain replacement types and because I wanted to upgrade my bike’s speed capacity, I aimed for the 11-speed chain models.

Here’s what I know.

8 Best MTB Chain 11 Speed  – A Comparison Table

SLA Gold Chain
8.6 ounces
Nanotube Chain
9.4 ounces
Connex 11SX Chain
9.5 ounces
6800 Ultegra Chain
10.4 ounces
Potenza 11 Chain
10.9 ounces
Super Light Chain
8.4 ounces
X11- SL Chain
9.6 ounces
CSL H11-CR Chain
9.9 ounces

8 Best MTB Chain 11 SpeedComparison Overview

SLA Gold Chain 

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Zero Friction Cycling has committed years of service to identify the best chains to market to the world. This in-depth research is what makes them ideal for 11-speed chains. The best quality about the SLA Gold chain has got to be it is smooth syncing with high-performance lubricants.

The chain is made from hardened Chromium Carbide and the weight could be overwhelming for some. To take care of this, a rider may opt to replace the Carbide with a Titanium piece for more manageable weight capacity.


  • SLA – superior lubricating aid
  • PowerLock Link
  • Chromium Carbide Pin and roller
  • Compatible with Shimano, SRAM or Campagnolo
  • Quick Link pen

The chain comes with a QuickLink pen to facilitate easier and more accurate installations of the chain system to your bike. The PowerLock link keeps the chain in place even as you pedal at high speeds. This chain has the superior lubricating aid that keeps the chain in great condition and facilitates connections with other branded cassette types.


  • Low friction performance
  • Gold standard
  • Smooth-shifting
  • Durable
  • Works best with high tech wax lubes


  • Heavy metal design


The SLA Gold chain is a worthy selection of an 11-speed MTB chain because it is compatible with 3 other cassette types like the Shimano, SRAM, and Campagnolo models. An alternative to switching the roller and pin material to a Titanium version also speaks volumes about this subscriber.

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Nanotube Chain 

This chain features a special process in which an 11-speed Shimano or SRAM chain is thoroughly cleaned and then infused and enforced with Nanotech lube.

The mechanism employed is such that it minimizes the friction caused to the contact surfaces which allows for a quieter ride.


  • Great performance
  • Low-friction
  • All-weather
  • Durable

This 11-speed chain is conducive for use whatever season of the year you feel inspired to go out for a spin. The chain will measure differently in terms of weight and links depending on whether it is a Shimano product or SRAM.


  • Good for all-weather
  • Minimal surface friction
  • Lasts long
  • Doing good


  • Long process


This kind of process of Nanotech Lube coating makes for a chain more durable than the wax versions and one that can weather any storm. Regardless of the weather, this chain will help you cycle faster and will serve you for a longer time with the necessary care you put into it.

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Connex 11SX Chain

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Loved and appreciated by many professional riders, the Connex 11SX is a top of the line brand designed with stainless steel inner plates to prevent any effects of corrosion. The bike ride is strong, stable, and efficient which might be why it is so popular.

The outer plate has a Speed Wing that helps with the quick and responsive adjustments to be made seamlessly. This chain is long-lasting and shows great strength on off-road races.


  • Stainless steel plates
  • Speed Wing
  • Reusable split link
  • Directional chain

Connex’s split link is reusable which makes thorough cleaning easy and cheap to do. After cleaning, be certain to fit the link and chain in the right way to avoid skipping. This chain is shaped directionally so if it is installed the wrong way, your chain will be prone to damages.


  • Anti-corrosion
  • Perfect for MTB
  • Responsive adjustments
  • Strong and stable ride


  • Heavy bike chain


Combined with the latest plate geometry, inner stainless-steel link, and the nickel coating, this chain is perfect for high performance and anti-corrosion properties. The chain is designed directionally to help you get your chain fittings right every time.

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6800 Ultegra Chain 

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This is Shimano’s iconic model that’s both efficient and affordable to the wider population. Chamfered plates swift by the 11-speed setups testify verified and impressive test results. A bayonet “Quick Link†is an added feature that helps put you out of the misery of snapping your chain together by the use of a rivet.

This chain features bigger gaps that load well with the waxed lubes. This chain is designed to last long so regular maintenance every time before and after your bike ride will guarantee you many years of service.


  • Runs fast
  • Durable 11-speed option
  • QuickLink tech
  • Bigger gaps


  • Smooth pedaling experience
  • Easy to install and adjust
  • Loads and runs well


  • Wears fast on SRAM cassettes


These Ultegra 6800 by Shimano are superbly ideal for any kind of rider. The bigger gaps incorporated in their design make for easy chain installation and better cassette grip. However, using this chain on an SRAM cassette will see it wear down much more quickly.

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Potenza 11 MTB Chain 

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This chain features minimal teeth jumps in between cogs and thin spacing in the sprockets. To install the chain, the ultra-link pin system makes it effortless. The pins are aligned to the outer link’s surface.

The minimal spacing between the sprockets minimizes contact with the chainring and this provides a smooth and quiet ride with a quick-shifting mechanism. Contributing to this further is the re-shaped hollow pins and the outer links.


  • Outer-Aligned pins
  • Harmony with sprocket and chainring
  • Lighter and thinner chain

A special lubricant has been administered to the chain to make it more efficient and to secure a top-notch quality performance known by Campagnolo users. With the chain being lighter, it would surprise you to find out that this makes the link stronger.


  • The strong and narrow chain
  • Hollow pins
  • Smooth and quiet shifting
  • Durable


  • Needs tool for installation


This hardy bike chain guarantees its rider a powerful performance and a quiet ride with a reliable shifting system. While you need to buy the chain tool for installation, it is a one-time purchase that should serve you many years to come.

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Super Light Cycling Chain 

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This is an 11-speed MTB chain. It features 114 links with perforated bolts which makes them super durable and even more responsive and effective in energy transfer.

Because it is compatible with most other brands such as Shimano, Campagnolo, and Sram, they have included the connector to make that installation easier.


  • 114 Links
  • Pin Length – 5.5mm
  • Non-directional design
  • Double X Durability
  • X-Bridge Systems
  • Nickel Plated

Unlike other premium 11-speed MTB chains, these Super Light model by KMC does not feature the directional design. This is identified when one side of the chain is colored and the other not. Correct fixing of the chain dictates that the colored side should be outward-facing.

Otherwise, your chain would be backward and it could lead to terrible accidents. Thankfully, you don’t have to worry about that with this chain type.


  • Lightweight chain
  • Compatible with multiple drivetrains
  • Super durable
  • Quiet and quicker gear shifting
  • Easy to mount
  • Includes connecting link



I love the fact that I can use this chain on different cool drivetrains and that my purchase would come with a connecting link. Coupled with its shimmery silver color, it’s lightweight and ease of installation, this chain is a real steal.

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X11 SL Chain

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This is a long-lasting chain alternative to pick from because it is compatible with several complete bikes and it works seamlessly. This chain calls for extra care in maintenance because any prolonged neglect will lead to corrosion.

Rusting, however, is well mitigated by the use of the Ti-Nitrade light coating with a sleek finishing to match Shimano’s high standards of quality.


  • Slotted links
  • Lightweight chain
  • Medium durability

While the slotted links add to the aesthetic and lightweight aspects of the chain, they also leave it a bit too weak and susceptible to crunches and extreme torque power.


  • Lightweight design
  • Multi-compatible


  • Chain could snap
  • Poor shifting performance


This slotted link chain takes into consideration the weight and aesthetic factors while leaving out the functionality and performance elements. This chain is best suited to riders who like to go fast for fun but not necessarily to race or win a competition.

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CSL-H11 CR Chain

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This type of chain is capable of fulfilling the needs of almost any rider out there. This high-performance 11-speed self-lubricating chain proves superior resistance against stretch. With this benefit, there is less wear through the entire drivetrain contact surfaces.

With less resistance, comes more accurate shifting. Connecting and disconnecting the chain is quite easy to do even for a beginner because there is a quick-release link that facilitates that.


  • Chromium-plated
  • Hollow plate
  • Lightweight
  • Self-lubricating technology
  • Quick Release link

While still in manufacturing the chain is thoroughly lubricated on all the moving parts to minimize wear and the need for regular chain lubrication. This chain is then coated with a treatment of Teflon which has great adhesive properties to keep it together.


  • Protective chromium plating
  • Needs no frequent lubrication
  • Easy to mount and unmount
  • Long-lasting


  • Requires maintenance


Although this chain has been built with a self-lubricating mechanism, it doesn’t rule out the need to check your chain and do a little extra maintenance. This will prolong the life of the chain and ensure that it is always operating optimally.

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Emphasis should be placed on buying a chin that is of the same brand as your bike’s cassette. This will eliminate any hiccups in terms of setting up your new chain.

Connex 11SX, in my opinion, seems to be the most versatile in design and featured benefits. It is made of stainless steel material, has a directional design, and includes a speed wing that simply helps you go faster by facilitating quick and immediate system responses.

The chain is the prime source of power that enables your bike to move with ease. A great bike chain improves your riding experience and adds an element of fun to it. If you are stuck trying to make a selection, you could use this review as a guide.

Things to Consider When Buying the Best 12 Speed MTB Chain


Based on the number of cogs I the rear cassette, different chains will be suitable for varied bikes. Most cogs require a narrow chain to fit in the gaps and the narrower the chain is, the longer it lasts. Because the links on a 12-speed chain are less likely to rub on the adjacent cogs, they are said to last longer.

Brand Compatibility 

As a general practice, most brands create their chainrings and cassettes to work in tandem and it’s a great idea to pick the chains that are brand specific to your bike. Some bike equipment may be harder than the type of chain you select for your bike and this leads to quicker wear and poor performance.

However, many chain brands are built to work well with multiple bike brands.


Adjusting your bike gears and the responsiveness of your bike chain to these prompts sets a huge difference between fast and slow-performing bike chains. A change in a chain plate shape and tooth profiles on both the chainrings and cassettes influences quick and smooth transfer.


A link chain produces over 30,000 surface-against-surface movements per minute at a normal pedaling rate. This presents a lot of friction on the bearing surfaces and that means that even hot an dusty summer roads could bring in grit and dirt.

Some chains are anti-cold or wet environments and would fail when introduced to snow, rain, mud which would result in chain creaks, rusting, and grinding. While it is responsible to consider riding conditions, it is best to select a chain that can handle multiple situations.


While some enthusiastic riders may want to consider every painstaking aspect of their biking experience, saving watts through minimizing mechanical drag is not quite significant. With a tried, tested, and reported 2% difference in watts saved, it’s best to rather focus on the chain’s durability.


Any passionate cyclist takes pride in their bike and dedicates considerable time, money, and energy towards keeping it in tip-top shape. The chain has the potential of being the most ignored component of a bike.

To save yourself the embarrassment of having to disrupt the whole group’s activity because your rusty chain got blown up, you must regularly scrub and wax your chainrings and cassettes.

Pitch & Width 

The pitch on a chain is the distance from one barrel to the next and it’s always been an eight-inch. The most difference between them is the outer and inner width.

Single-speed MTBs were one the craze and they featured the same eight-inch pitch but a different width. That wider width works best on a single-speed chain with the wider chainrings but cannot be compatible with the geared MTBs because the chain won’t sit on the teeth.

12 speeds MTB widths measure the same eight-inch pitch dimension but their widths keep getting narrower and the linkage gets more specific and detailed. They measure 5.2mm as compared to the 10 speeds width at 6.3mm.

At this level of purchase, your decision should largely be dependent on your bike’s brand.


Is it possible to use an 11-speed chain on a 10-speed cassette?

Yes, it is possible. The 1x chainring system will match the internal measurements of the chain and work effectively with an 11-speed chainring. However, the same I not true for the latest Shimano designs which are a perfect match with the internal parts of the 11-speed chains.

Are SRAM and Shimano 11-speed cassettes compatible?

The most honest answer is yes, they are compatible. Their spacing is the same and they are cross-compatible. That is not the same case with their shifters and derailleurs which are not cross-compatible.

How long do I go before replacing my MTB chain?

When you get close to the 3000 miles mark, it is time to start planning on your next bike chain. Of course, this is determined by your riding style and frequency. Most professional cyclists tend to replace their chains between three weeks to a month.