Experience with SRAM flattop chains

My bike came with Rival groupset, and since July 2021 I’ve logged 3500 miles / 5600km the Rival flattop chain was stretched out. Its been a dry winter and I’ve kept the bike and drivetrain clean and lubed. Couple months ago switched from Rock-N-Roll Gold to Ceramic’s UFO lube. Just replaced with a Force chain.

The LBS manager has a Red groupset and has at least twice the miles. He puts out more power on intervals and group rides.

Which flattop chain have you been running and how many miles/hours before replacing?

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I got a new bike with Red a year ago and due to some personal issues I haven’t ridden it as much as I normally would, but I’ve been very impressed every time I checked the chain since I was used to change it at around 5000km on my old bike with Ultegra.

Anyway, I have ridden 8500km and it’s still not stretched out. Also I don’t clean and lube the drivetrain very often, but when I do I use the Squirt lube.

In terms of weather I’ve ridden it from early Spring to late Summer, so it was mainly good. I think I got rained on only a couple of times actually.

Regarding fitness I am/was around 260/280w FTP and I like sprinting so I would often add a few 1000 to 1200w 10/15s sprints during Z2 rides, so a couple of times a week at least. The only thing is that I didn’t race at all and I did very few group rides, but I rode a lot of 30-60 minutes climbs at SS which I guess would put some strain on the chain.

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Thanks, similar power and I’m hoping this Force chain lasts longer.

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My SRAM Red AXS flattop chain lasted well over 2x my normal experience with Ultegra & Dura Ace chains. I kept checking it, thinking, “it’s gotta be ready to to replace now,” but it just lasted and lasted.

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Out of curiosity, how are you all checking chain wear with these. They are still 1/2" pitch, so a ruler measurement from pin to pin works fine, but any of the common 2-point chain checkers that rest on the rollers, won’t work properly since the rollers are larger diameter with these chains.

I haven’t checked, but assume Sram, Park or others make a dedicated Flatttop chain wear indicator tool.

ETA: Just found a reference from the master… 3-point is the key, per the very last sentence.


I use the CC-4 Park Tool chain checker and similar to others have had great longevity out of my Force chain despite ‘mixed’ British conditions. Ran about 4000kms so far with wax drip lubes with no obvious wear.

Slightly annoying as I panic-bought a Red chain for far too much when shortages started looking scary. :smiling_face_with_tear:


A few months ago I bought the Pedro’s Chain Checker Plus II tool that is in the pic of the article you linked, that 3-point chain checker is a SRAM approved tool for flattop chains. Just to be sure (no written instructions) we verified by using the tool on a new Trek with Rival chain.

Should have taken a pic because it was so obvious… the LBS manager and I popped the bike on the stand to check the B adjust on rear derailleur and he said “savage, look at that SAGGING” and some serious LOLing and WTF ensued. Y’all would get a serious laugh if I had a picture to share.

I do my share of moderate torque work, and some 1100 watt 5-sec sprints, but nothing unusual except 10 days ago I did a 28 minute grind at .87 IF up a 10-12% grade:

That was probably the last straw, and sadly I should have checked last week when putting on the UFO lube.


Good deal. I don’t have one of these drivetrains yet, but may pick up one of the checkers in a future parts order to be ready.

I recall seeing results from a wide ranging stretch / wear test across mtb and road chains, and remebering the conclusion that the more expensive chains lasted longer than the cheaper ones, and ended up being a lower $ cost per km ridden.

So when top-level chains get discounted, which they can be heavily discounted, i grab one.

The comparison was between GX and XX1, but findings may be portable to road and flat-top.

I also like how with a longer life chain, you’re effectively ‘insuring’ yourself against wearing your cogs and cassette from a stretched chain, so wear on those expensive parts will just be from normal use rather than a mismatch.

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Yup, I’m more concerned about my Red crank and cassette! Last year I picked up 2 Force chains, which is a good thing because I looked last night and could only find Rival $25 chains and Red $70 chains. Slim pickings if you need a flattop chain!

Weird…Mrs. P13 said the same thing last night.



I am still on my first Force flat top chain and my chain checker tool indicates a wear of 0.25 mm (measured a few minutes ago). I haven’t ridden that much outdoors all things considered, but for most of the year I was on the trainer 4–5 times a week. My 1x chain ring looks like it needs replacing soon, but at least from the wear indicator, my chain might last me the better part of this season. I will probably order a replacement just to have it when I need it.

It is hard to tell whether my Shimano DuraAce chains lasted longer: before I switched to SRAM I was rotating between two (waxed) chains, so they didn’t wear much. Nevertheless, I think total wear was roughly comparable. However, I can clearly tell my chain ring is wearing faster, although now all the wear is focussed on a single chain ring rather than spread across two.

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No personal experience and not sure if this applies to your specific chains but Adam Kerin has been doing the rounds on the podcasts, TLDR his testing showed the new SRAM chains were very hard-wearing, long lasting, but are a bit higher friction. He doesn’t like the smaller road rings.

e.g. (he did TTS as well)

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9,000km on a Red AXS chain waxed with Silca Super Secret and not even registering any wear on a Park Tool 12 speed chain checker. I’ve heard of people getting about 15,000k km out of these chains.

Groupset is all Red AXS with 48/35 rings with a 10-28 cassette.


One addendum on my 1x12 Force chainring: while it shows wear, it isn’t as work as I initially thought — the chainrings come with asymmetric, shark fin-like teeth out of the box.