October 12th, 2010
By Emiliano Jordan
Fresh off of interbike we placed a KMC order and “quietly added” them to our store. Let me take a second to not so quietly introduce you to the new additions.
X10SL 10 Speed DLC Chain
The new X10SL ten speed DLC coated chain takes advantage of a Diamond Like (Carbon) Coating [wikipedia], on it’s outer plates, to blacken them. The effect is impressive and does give a deep black color to the chain that goes well with the red. As a result of the plating the side to side ‘slop’ that develops in chains could be lessened and this could result in less bushing wear. For now though I’d consider it an aesthetic achievement and wait to see if there’s any significant performance increase, though I wouldn’t hold my breath.
The only way I could envision any sort of performance increase is if KMC used DLC on the pins and inside of the bushing along with the plates. This sort of application for DLC is currently being used by KCNC for some of their higher end parts such as the Morion M3 headset and “Knife” pedals to strengthen light parts.
KMC Chain Tool
The new KMC chain tool is impressively versatile but not totally innovative. First order of business on the chain tool is adjusting it to the proper size of you chain. This is easily achieved by adjusting the bottom knob on the tool which will raise or lower the plate used to hold the chain. With this you could use this chain on anything from 1/8″ track chains to 11 speed Super Record. The next adjustment that can be made is dependent upon if you are breaking a chain or pressing in a pin. The plate turns from either a slot (pictured) to allow the old pin to slide out or to a hardened concave surface to rivet the chain’s new pin. Of course the tool’s pins are replaceable and we’ll be adding them to the site soon.
Again, in my eyes, this was KMC’s most impressive new product and it has a lot to do with it’s simplicity, ease to use, and that it will lighten my tool box. There isn’t really any small or delicate looking bits and it’s simplicity of design leads me to believe it will be fairly indestructible.
Digital Chain Checker
KMC’s new digital chain checker is easy to use and accurate down to .01mm. Or if you like, 1.0 × 10-5 meters. By simple squeezing the tool together with your thumb and index finger you can slide the checker into the chain. Simply let go and the gauge will expand and instantly give you a measurement. Simple, fast and reliable, a great addition to a tool box for someone who cares to regularly check their chain.
Master Link Chain Tool
Another simple yet oddly useful tool(s) are KMC’s new master link installer and remover, simply labeled “close” and “open.” Installing master links isn’t so bad but taking them off… Small channel locks and needle nose pliers be gone, you can now open the most stubborn master links by simply inserting this tool around the link and giving it a firm squeeze. You’ll also be able to install a master link quickly and easily with no fuss at all. I can see every mechanic from home to shop using the opener as it’s regularly something that comes up. The installer not so much but with as little room as they take up I’d pack one anyway. They should last a good bit to given their hardened steel construction and won’t chew up your fingers with their rubber grips.
That’s it for new products, but before I let you go I want to show you a chain that’s about a year out. I don’t see any real application for my current self but more for my BMX riding high-school self. It’s half link design also incorporates a plate on the outer part of the chain, as it’s wrapped around crank and cog, that wraps from pin to pin. The plate is designed to deflect and absorb any impacts without damaging the bushing and therefor weakening the chain. It’s of course going to come in a variety of colors to match your Vans or hair and will slide all the way down that ledge in front of the police headquarters without doing any damage that won’t let you sprint away.