In a market dominated by big names, chainls like the Wipperman Connex sometimes find it hard to get a look-in. But this chain is worth a look-at. In fact, it's hard to ignore. Mainly because the 10sG appears to be made of gold.
We'll come back to the colour in a moment. The other thing that's striking about this chain is the shape of the outer plates. Compared to most other chains, where the plates are pretty much a figure-of-eight, on this chain they're less indented, with virtually straight edges on top and bottom.
The manufacturer , German chain specialist Wippermann, reckons these straight plates make for more accurate shifting, and say the Connex 10sG is completely compatible with Shimano, Sram and Campag 10-speed systems. We ran it on two chainsets (Sram and Shimano) during our test. The shifting was smooth and clean, coping with all the gears, but we didn't notice any difference. It seemed no better or worse than running a Shimano or Sram chain on the relevant kit.
So far, then, it's like for like. Where Connex may have the edge is durability. We haven't been riding this test model for long enough to really give a judgement on that, but our spies in the bike repair business confirm that Connex chains wear well - meaning more miles per pound spent - and making them especially ideal for winter riding, plus of course cyclo-cross. We'll report back as the miles mount up. Connex chains also have a good record for being strong - possibly something to consider if you're a big rider and have trouble with other brands occasionally snapping.
With that strength you might expect Connex chains to be heavier, but there's not much in it. According to Wipperman, 110 links of Connex 10sG weigh in at 260g. We made it 305g for 114 links and including the joining link. Compare this to, say, the Shimano Dura Ace 7800 chain, with 260g for 100 links, while the Sram PC1051 (for use with Force, Rival or Apex rings and cassettes) has a manufacturers claimed weight of 277g for 114 links. We're talking gnats.
When it comes to connecting the chain, the term 'quick link' is used as a generic term these days for a link to join together the two ends of the chain by hand, instead of using a rivet tool. Connex was the first to develop this idea, and the link on this 10-speed chain is very quick and easy to use (while doing this test we found the Sram link a bugger to remove), which again is ideal for a winter chain which you'll be taking off more often for cleaning and maintenance. Note that on the Connex link there's a top and a bottom, and it has to be fixed the right way round. Always read the label.
Finally, we're back to the colour. This goldie lookin chain (in reality it's brass coated, not real gold, in case you wondered) certainly stands out, and would be de-rigour on a street bike. On a road bike, we're not so sure. It might bling things up nicely, or it might just be tacky. If you're thinking the latter, fortunately this chain is also available in other materials: plain steel, nickel and stainless steel (branded as 10s0, 10s8 and 10sX).
Cost-wise, the recommended retail price (for the gold and nickel/stainless steel variety) is £45, but you can find this chain on the main on-line stores for around £40. This compares with the aforementioned Sram PC 1051 and Dura Ace 7800 (both around £35-45).
A good chain with a reputation for being strong and hard-wearing, and a very easy no-tool link, especially ideal for CX or winter use. Not sure about the colour though.
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Make and model: Connex 10SG 10-speed chain
Size tested: blingin' gold
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
The Connex website says of the 10s family of chains: 'At a width of 5.9mm, these chains are compatible with all 10-speed systems available on the market. Premium materials, combined with extremely chamfered shaped outer plates, guarantee a long and dependable life and outstanding shifting performance.' On the shifting we couldn't see any difference, while our spies in the bike trade would agree that these chains are definitely hardwearing.
Did you enjoy using the product? yes
Would you consider buying the product? yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? yes
Age: 50 Height: 5ft 10 / 178cm Weight: 11 stone / 70kg
I usually ride: an old Marin Alp My best bike is: an old Giant Cadex
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, club rides, sportives, mtb,