Amidst all the technological wizardry of modern drivetrains, it’s easy to overlook one of the most important components of the group. The chain keeps the drivetrain running smoothly, overseeing the transfer of power while holding the system together. Much more than just the connection between the cranks and the cassette, the chain is a perfect loop of interconnected links, each performing with equal amounts of strength and precision.
Shimano boosts chain performance by using an ultra-low friction surface treatment called Sil-Tec to its top tier chains. This process involves applying imbedded fluorine particles to the chain using an advanced plating process that is superior to the simple coatings used in other chains. The benefits of Sil-Tec are significant to the performance of your chain and lead to a better ride experience from start to finish.
Sil-Tec delivers increased water and dirt resistance, which means the chain remains cleaner and dryer in all riding conditions. This enhances drivetrain efficiency, improves shifting performance, and allows the chain's lube to last longer with little interference from the elements. Additionally, Sil-Tech sheds mud 30% more effectively than chains with common Zinc-Nickel (Zn-Ni) plating treatments so riders can focus on the trail ahead and shift with confidence in all conditions.
Shimano Sil-Tec chains also help reduce friction in the drivetrain thanks to the slippery surface treatment. Chains that glide better over the chainring and cassette teeth are more efficient, so less energy is wasted in the mechanical process, and more power is transferred through the drivetrain. This means riders can use less energy and ride faster
The Sil-Tec treatment also increases a chain’s lifespan, especially when riding in mixed conditions. The slippery, efficient chains accumulate less wear and tear as they glide across the drivetrain so they stay newer longer. Chains with Sil-Tec are 20% more resistant to abrasion and will help keep your entire drivetrain running smoother for longer.
Each feature of Shimano’s Sil-Tec treatment contributes to a bike that pedals smoothly and quietly, which riders will enjoy each time they ride. In quantitative terms, Sil-Tec brings a reduction in chain noise of -2.7 decibels thanks to a 60% reduction in rotation-based sliding friction. That’s smooth silence you can hear and feel.
Shimano uses its Sil-Tec surface treatment on many top-tier products, including XTR mountain bike chains and Dura-Ace road chains. Often an afterthought on spec sheets and in riders’ minds, the chain is actually a massive effort of engineering and manufacturing. It’s an integral part of any drivetrain and is one of the easiest and most cost-effective upgrades you can make for your bike.