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Let's be honest, you'll only be eyeing up the X11SL DLC chain if you have a posh bike and you want a flash colour-coordinated chain to finish it off. And if that's what you want, and you're okay with the salty £90 price tag (around £60 online), then the good news is that this is also a really good chain.
DLC stands for 'Diamond Like Coating' which is a hard coating KMC applies to the chain to reduce abrasion and wear. The X11SL has other high-end chain features too: the inner and outer link plates are all hollow, as are the pins, meaning that it's light for a chain at 240g for 116 links.
The chain's available with inner plates in a range of colours: black, blue, red, green, celeste, orange, pink and yellow. That means you can match it to your nice posh race bike and it'll look the business. It's simple to fit too, as it includes a KMC Missing Link 11-speed connector.
Once it's on, shifting performance is good and the chain runs nice and quietly with positive and reliable shifts between sprockets and chainrings. If you want to keep the coloured links looking good it's best to use a wax lube that doesn't pick up too much dirt. You won't need a wet lube, though, because you'll be leaving that bike in the garage if it's raining, right?
Is it better than a SRAM Red or Shimano Dura-Ace chain, both of which weigh about the same and can be had for less than £30? Well, not really. It is a lot prettier, though, assuming you keep it clean. That's the real reason to buy one over a pro-level chain from a major groupset manufacturer for less than half the price. It's your money, and your bike will look the business.
Great looking high-spec colour-coordinated chain. Your best bike will thank you, your wallet not so much
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Make and model: KMC X11SL DLC Black/Blue Chain
Size tested: n/a
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Compatible with: Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo 11-speed
Diamond Like Coating
Open innner and outer plate design
Super Light, 243 grams only!
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It looks great, which is mostly the reason you'd fit a coloured chain.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
It looks great.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Maybe for a Sunday best bike
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Maybe
Use this box to explain your score
It's a really good chain that looks super-smart on a posh bike. Hard to score really: you pays your money, etc
Age: 42 Height: 189cm Weight: 92kg
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR, Kinesis Aithein
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.