For those who haven’t tried Squirt Lube, you owe it to yourself to give it a shot. We’ve reviewed it quite a while ago and continue to use it. It just works – really well.

Now, they’re working out a partnership with KMC to buy raw, unlubed chains and presoak them in Squirt. This eliminates the recommended step of degreasing them before first use of Squirt and primes them for clean, smooth and quiet use. The “Squirted” chains will be available in 9, 10 and 11-speed chains likely by end of year or very early next.


  1. 9 out of 10 bikes I pull out of boxes come with KMC chains. I have not once been impressed by their 8,9,10 and now 11 speed chains. I have ran their 1/8″ chains on my SS and BMX bikes forever without incident, but you couldn’t pay me to ride one of their geared chains. I have seen way too many issues with their chains over the years. The Squirt lube is top notch stuff, but I don’t see a benefit for them in this situation. I say run the chain recommended by the manufacturer of the derailleurs and or cassette and you’ll be better off.

  2. Problems with KMC chains are directly related to miss-shifts and improperly adjusted derailleurs. Has nothing to do with the chain, everything to do with the user and the mechanic. If you don’t clean the gunk off and relube they will not shift properly. I’ve installed hundreds upon hundreds of them and have yet to see these “issues.”

  3. Jeremiah, I was referring to new chains and in some cases I have even gone as far as to remove the new chain, completely clean the chain in a water based solvent tank and re lubricate it with a myriad of lubes in an effort to curtail the inconsistencies. It boils down to the tolerances that are allowed to pass at KMC. I stated above that I have ran their BMX and SS chains without incident for over 10 years, but I am simply not impressed with any of their geared chains, I simply think that they are not held to the same QC standards as other companies. I have had customer after customer come back to me after swapping the KMC chains out with a Sram or Shimano chain to match the spec on the bike and they have confirmed that the issues they were experiencing had subsided. I know that I have also had customers use KMC chains without incident for the life of the chain, once again let me reiterate that not all KMC chains are faulty, but I notice more drivetrain noise, less consistent shifting, and more tolerance issues (e.g. multiple width measurements with variances on the same chain, with the variances being so large that certain links will rub both the cassette cog above and below the current gear.) I have also seen more KMC chain failures than almost Sram and Shimano combined. I am not trying to be too harsh on KMC, I just don’t understand why they get so much positive press when in my experience they have been mediocre at best.

  4. As a matter of fact, I would be willing to back up my claim and report my findings. I currently own the following:

    – Cannondale System Six with Shimano 105 and a 6700 chain
    – Surly Cross Check with Sram Rival and a PC-1071 chain
    – Santa Cruz Butcher with Shimano XT and a Shimano HG94 chain

    Since I am the one of the two people usually making the call on wether to replace the KMC chains I mentioned above (I manage a service department in the Denver Metro area) I would be willing to run KMC chains for the rest of this year and report back with my findings. If this interests anyone I would love to hear some feedback.

  5. yeah kmc chains don’t shift well pretty often. they were often the nail in the coffin for an old sram road drivetrain

  6. Kyle,

    I would actually be very interested in what you found there. I personally have a caad10 with a hollowgram and 2012 red, and I was having horrible chainsuck issues shifting down from the big to little ring. I inspected all of the teeth on the chainrings, found no burrs or deformities in any of the teeth that could cause a hangup. I had a KMC 10sp chain lying around, so I figured what the hell, and sure enough, put the new chain on, and zero chainsuck since then. I do agree with you, I have always found it best to run the same manufacturers chain with the rest of the drivetrain, but for whatever reason in this instance it worked for me. I’ve had about 1500 miles of trouble free operation since the install. I’m curious what your findings would be.

  7. KMC plusses; competively priced, MISSING LINK

    run one on 2X10 compact road bike,FSA and Shimano, 2X10 29’er. Shimano;,and 1X10 650b. Wolf tooth and SRAM.

    No problems.

  8. The greatest myth in bicycle maintenance is the maligning of factory chain grease as a protectant for shipping. If you take the manufacturers’ words for it, factory grease is the most effective and durable chain lube available. Please, for the love of all things holy, do not soak a new chain in solvent. You will conscript your chain to a life of squeaking and constant, but futile, relubrication. Instead, gently wipe the grease from the surface with a microfiber cloth dampened with WD-40 or Tri-flow, wait overnight, and apply your preferred lube. I have been using squirt this way recently and am very impressed.

  9. Kyle,
    KMC makes Shimano chains just so you know. I can say though that there is a difference. But yes, the chains you run are made by KMC.

  10. KMC manufactures Shimano’s chains. For the most part, the only difference between the two is the name on the plates and how the chain is connected. Any difference you notice in shifting is due to a difference that day in the stuff between your ears.

  11. KMC may make their chains but they would be forced to meet Shimanos QC standards, not their own. Still validating what Kyle is saying.

  12. I had a 10-speed Chain KMC on my Cannondale 29 “Flash Carbon 1 of 2011 series of it. Has not worked well for a long time in my eyes.
    Had then the combination Cannondale SISL crank, 39/26, with SRAM XO XG 1080th 11-36 cassette and SRAM XO rear derailleur medium cage.
    The behavior scarf I felt it was not very good at the KMC chain.
    I then had the SRAM PC-1091R raised and immediately established a very positive switching behavior.
    The KMC simply turns rougher and not as perfect as the SRAM.

    Have now for something more than 10000 km, changed the entire drive train!
    Now I have the SRAM XX XG-1099 cassette and SRAM XO Type 2 medium cage rear derailleur mounted. Otherwise I have returned to the SISL crank the Truvativ XX 39/26 chainrings and the PC-1091R chain.

  13. Thanks to Squirt my Bike misses a fair bit of paint behind the crankset. It washes away during a marathon et voila: chainsuck. Now I degrease a chain with Hope Sh*t shifter and use normal Shimano teflon lube. It last a lot longer, and doesn’t washes away. I haven’t had chainsuck since the elimination of squirt out of my toolbox. In all conditions.

  14. If you compare the chain that comes on a complete bike to an aftermarket chain then of course the OEM chain is going to be built down to a budget and not as good. Brand has little to do with it.

    On the subject of the article I find it hard to believe that KMC would “ship” chains dry. Taiwan manufacturers are well aware of how fast things start to corrode on their humid island let alone on the open sea. The only way that this could work is if the chains are being lubed in Taiwan.

  15. After letting this simmer for a bit, looks as if I shall be buying a KMC chain at work tomorrow for the cross bike. Additionally, I was aware that the components that make up a Shimano chain are manufactured by KMC. I feel that there are enough differences to say that there’s a noticeable increase in performance.

  16. KMC may make some of the lower-end Shimano chains (I can’t verify that they do or don’t), but everything I’ve ever seen at the 105 level or above is most certainly made in Japan, not in Taiwan, where KMC is based. So while Shimano may not necessarily make their own chains, it seems unlikely that KMC crossed the water and set up shop in a different country with a high cost of labor. What seems more likely, given Shimano’s proprietary nature and expertise in metal manufacturing, is that Shimano makes their own chains in one of their many factories.

  17. Clarification: KMC only makes Shimano’s HG, IG and UG series of chains, CN series chains are made in Japan. Whether by Shimano themselves or another maker, I don’t know, but if it says “Japan VIA”, it was made in Japan.

  18. My normal routine –

    KMC x10sl – ebay – $40
    T-9 aerosol Can 16oz – West Marine – $15 per can.

    I usually get 3 or so chains and a can maybe twice a year. Keep those chains so fresh and so clean clean!

    Never tried any dry lube though, this stuff looks interesting.

  19. Forgot to say, KMC x10sl is a great chain, for me much better than Sram 1090 and better than DA chains. I have no ties to any brand, I just go through a lot of chains!

  20. Love the KMC chain with SRAM Red. It’s the only chain I use on my bikes. I’ve also heard that KMC makes several other factory chains.

  21. Long lasting chains for MTB riders.

    New chain- clean in ultrasonic jeweler cleaner with mineral spirits, heated to 180 deg. for 45minutes.
    Soak in tub of isopropyl alcohol or Acetone to remove all residual petroleum coatings.
    Lube each roller link with Dumonde Tech (standard formula) and wipe clean with a rag moist with alcohol.

    Dirt/mud doesn’t matter. Chain will not collect dirt, remains clean and rolls squeak free and lasts longer than any other method. I know it works as my chainrings/chains last considerably longer than using any other method riding under the same conditions.

  22. The grease chains are pretreated with is a decent lube in controlled clean conditions(i.e. dry road riders) but it eventually collects dirt particles and begins the process of griinding the rollers/pins down.
    Removing the heavy grease is the only way I have found to keep this process under control.

    I am also very skeptical of any of the heavy/viscous lubes like squirt and others that advertise as enviro friendly. There is no substitute for a thin volatile carrier that evaps away leaving a high quality lubricant coating like Dumonde Tech, Progold, others.
    Thick lubes just do not find their way in the tiny clearances necessary to lube the roller/pins which is the key purpose to a good lube.

  23. Before making too many assumptions about what makes a good chain lube, I’d advise people to read the Friction Lab’s results of chain lube testing.

  24. I beat the holy hell out of my chain running it on either the dryest downhill or the wet muddy downhill. I mean it takes everything! I have never had issues, am a bike mechanic myself and completely recommend KMC over others.

    Used to use squirt in the shop, good stuff. Sounds like a good combination.

What do you think?