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Can You Use a Road Bike Chain on a Mountain Bike?( Quick Solution)

Yes, you can do it, road bike chains are also installed on mountain bike drivetrains if the internal width and diameter of the side plates of road bike chains are exactly compatible with the width and thickness of the cogs and cassettes, and cranksets of your mountain bike. most of the time usually road bike chains would not on a mountain bike, the big reason behind this concept is that if you use an 8-speed road bike chain on a 9-speed MTB bike, then the chain would not work, and if you are using a 9-speed road chain on a 10-speed MTB cassette, then it will also not work, one thing becomes clear from this briefing, it is not possible to use different cog chains of a road bike on a different cog of mountain bike cassette, both cogs and speeds of a road bike chain and your mountain bike should be equal, same and compatible with each other.

Length Difference:

Mountain bike and road bike chains are different in their lengths due to differences in the length of chain stay tubes of road and mountain bikes, you have to measure the length of the chain stay of both road and mountain bikes by comparing the lengths of the chain is smaller or longer then you have to adjust its length by chain breaker and other chain tools.

Difference In The Crankset And Number Of Cogs And Teeth:

There is a large difference between the cranksets of road and mountain bikes and also the number of cogs and teeth of both bikes, there are large categories of road bikes that have single front cranksets and other categories of road bikes have two or three cranks rings and contains many numbers of teeth on the crankset, you have to look for the compatibility of cranksets between both bikes.

Chain Width:

Chains also have different widths, and it is necessary that these widths should exactly match the spacing between the cogs of your mountain bike cassette, if the chain and spacing do not match with each other then you should face a lot of difficulties when you shift your gears from higher to lower and lower to higher gears. because the side plates of the chain would constantly rub and scratch with the cogs and teeth of the cassette, it will result in ruing and damaging the cogs, cassette, and teeth of your drivetrains swell as along with the chain.

Are 9-Speed And 10-Speed Road And MTB Chains Interchangeable?

9-speed chains are not interchangeable and replaceable due to their different widths and diameters between their inner plates and pin-to-pin distance but 10-speed road and mountain bike chains are swappable and can easily be replaced and interchanged with each other.

Directional And Non-Directional Chains:

New modern and expensive bike chains are directional chains but old and traditional chains are not directional, those cassettes, cogs, and cranksets of road bikes that are compatible with directional chains are non-compatible with non-directional chains.

Cassette Width:

Road bikes cassettes are thinner in diameter while mountain bike cassettes have a thicker diameter, which means both of these cassettes would also require different width chains, if the cassette width of your mountain bike would matched the chain width, then you can easily install road bike chain on a mountain bike.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Using Road Bike Chain On  A Mountain Bike:

Road bike chains are not as durable as mountain bike chains, this difference is due to the riding trails, terrains of both of these bikes are different, road bike trails are smooth and comfortable while mountain bike terrains are hard and aggressive, it is the reason that normally road bike chains are not recommended for mountain bikes. when you install road bike chains on MTB  you will travel dirty, muddy, and wet trails, small dust particles and dirt on the trails would constantly penetrate deep within the chain links and the cassette cogs, which will decrease the lifespan of the road bike chain.

SRAM 12-Speed Chain:

SRAM 12-speed chains of both road and mountain bikes have different widths and different lengths than the other speed chains, due to which 1 2-speed road bike chains are not compatible with mountain bikes.

High-End Road Bike Chains:

High-end road bike chains are different from normal road bike chains because high-end chains contain small cutouts on both left and right sides of their plates, the main purpose of these plates is to reduce the weight of the chain which will also help in reducing bike weight, the manufacturers have started producing these designs in road bike chains to give a smooth and comfortable ride on road trails, but these chains are not as strong and firm as mountain bike chains, so if you install these cutout chains on your mountain bike when you are climbing uphills, you have to face a big risk of breaking or cracking of chain from cutout points, mountain biking components and parts are much stronger and stiff for aggressive terrains but road bike components are not as much durable and stiff.

Width Of Chains:

Mountain and road bikes are divided into many categories of speeds which are given below:

Park Tool is the most famous brand of biking and cycling, this brand owns all the tools and bike components, park tool has also suggested the specific values of the cog diameter and thickness of the chains based on their speeds, which are described below:

  • 6-speed chain=7mm
  • 7-speed chain=7mm
  • 8-speed chain=7mm
  • 9-speed chain=6.7mm to 7mm
  • 10-speed chain=6mm
  • 11-speed chain=5.5mm
  • 12-speed chain=5.5mm
  • and 13-speed chain4.9mm

All of these speed chains have different widths based on the different diameters and thicknesses of the cogs and their cassettes. it shows that when you are installing a road bike chain on a mountain bike you have to look for the rear cassette of your bike and the diameter of the cogs of your bike cassette to make the road chain compatible with the mountain bike drivetrain.