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  1. #1
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    Xtr m981 chain vs dura-ace chain

    Are the same or similar chain?
    Can I use both in mtb or road without problems?
    Thank you!

  2. #2
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    Unlike 9 speed chains, which were fully interchangeable between MTB and road, the Shimano 10 sp chains are optimized for their respective chainring shift ramp profiles. So ideally, you shouldn't mix and match the 10 speed chains.

    That said, the differences are relatively modest, so using the "wrong" chain will still provide reasonable functionality. You may get marginal degradation in your shifting performance, more noise in some gears, etc.

    The original Shimano road 10 speed chains (ex: Ultegra 6600) were symmetric, but the newer road chains (ex: Ultegra 6700) are asymmetric, as are all the 10 sp MTB chains. Asymmetric means the inner and outer plates are shaped differently, with the goal being the inner plate is optimized for climbing up to larger sprockets in the rear, while outer plates are optimized for climbing up to larger chainrings in the front.

    The benefits of these optimizations are incremental, which is evidenced by the decent performance one gets from non-Shimano symmetric chains from Wipperman or others. Or consider that I've seen people with 10 sp MTB chains installed backwards, and they still function well enough that the owners hadn't even complained of poor shifting.

    Still, if you're shopping for a new chain for a Shimano 10 speed MTB drivetrain, there is little/no reason to use a Shimano road chain. If you're trying to save money, just use the XT (HG94 or HG95) or SLX (HG74 or HG75) chains. They are shaped identically, and will shift just as well. There may be some minor differences in wear characteristics due to differences in finish.

    My chain advice is: better to use cheaper chains and change them more often, than to use more expensive chains and change them less often.

  3. #3
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    Thank you so much! 10 points.
    I just got a shimano cn-m981; id like to compare it to my last kmc SL I was using in my 3*9 (now im a 1*10 guy, lets see how it goes).
    Thank you again! I was thinking to buy a dura-ace (with silk tech too) cause it was cheaper and there is stock... but then I decided to buy m981 from a friend and now after reading you im happy for not buying dura ace.

    Have a great week.

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