Shimano Dura-Ace vs Ultegra vs 105 Chains

By : Mr Mamil
Updated :

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The page compares the 11 and 12-speed Shimano Dura-Ace, Ultegra, and 105 chains.

Key takeaways

  • Shimano 12-speed road chains (Dura-Ace, Ultegra, 105) are the same as 12-speed mountain bike chains (XTR/XT/SLX).
  • Sil-Tec coating is applied to all 11 and 12-speed chains, except for the 12-speed Ultegra chains. The difference lies in the amount of coating for each chain.
  • Only a 10g weight difference between Dura-Ace and Ultegra/105 chains.
  • Dura-Ace chain pins have a hollow design to save weight.

Shimano 12-speed chains

Anatomy of a Bicycle Chain
Anatomy of a Bicycle Chain

The Shimano 12-speed chains for road and mountain bikes are the same, although they have different names. For example;

  • Dura-Ace vs XTR
  • Ultegra vs XT
  • 105 vs SLX

The biggest difference between the 12-speed Dura-Ace, Ultegra, and 105 chains is the surface coating (aside from the price).

  • Dura-Ace chains have Sil-Tec coating on the inner and outer plates and rollers. The pins are hollow and have a chrome coating.
  • Ultegra chains aren’t treated with Sil-Tec.
  • 105 chains have Sil-Tec coating on the inner plates.

The table below shows the differences between all three Shimano 12-speed chains.

ComparisonDura-Ace (12s)Ultegra (12s)105 (12s)
ModelCN-M9100CN-M8100CN-M7100
Price (USD)*$69$46$33
Price (EUR)*€78€53€39
Links116, 126116, 126116, 126
Weight**249g254g254g
MaterialSteelSteelSteel
Outer plates coatingSil-TecGrayGray
Inner plates coatingSil-TecChromeSil-Tec
Rollers coatingSil-TecNoneNone
Pins coatingChromeChromeNone
Pin designHollowSolidSolid
Comparison between Shimano 12-speed Dura-Ace, Ultegra, and 105 chains

Notes :

  • * Recommended retail pricing. Depending on the retailer, the chains are available at lower prices. The price is for a chain with a chain connector.
  • ** Weight is for a chain with 116 links, excluding the chain connector.

Shimano 11-speed chains

Compared to the 12-speed chains, the 11-speed chains have more Sil-Tec coating across the Dura-Ace, Ultegr, and 105 chains. The difference lies in the amount of coating for the chain’s parts.

  • Dura-Ace chains have a complete Sil-Tec coating.
  • Ultegra chains’ inner and outer plates are coated with Sil-Tec.
  • 105 chains have Sil-Tec coating on the inner plates only.

The table below shows the differences between all three Shimano 11-speed chains.

ComparisonDura-Ace (11s)Ultegra (11s)105 (11s)
ModelCN-HG901-11CN-HG701-11CN-HG601-11
Price (USD)*$53$42$33
Price (EUR)*€65€49€38
Links116116116
Weight247g257g257g
MaterialSteelSteelSteel
Outer plates coatingSil-TecSil-TecGray
Inner plates coatingSil-TecSil-TecSil-Tec
Rollers coatingSil-TecNoneNone
Pins coatingSil-TecChromeNone
Pin designHollowSolidSolid
Comparison between Shimano 11-speed Dura-Ace, Ultegra, and 105 chains

Notes :

  • * Recommended retail pricing. Depending on the retailer, the chains are available at lower prices. The price is for a chain with a chain connector.

What is Sil-Tec coating?

Shimano Sil-Tec coating
Shimano Sil-Tec coating

Sil-Tec is Shimano’s surface treatment technology, where fluorine particles are embedded onto the chain surface.

Sil-Tec is found on Shimano’s mid to top-of-the-line chains, the difference being the amount of Sil-Tec coating applied.

Benefits of Sil-Tec coating :

  • Increased lifespan. The Sil-Tec coating makes the chain more resistant to abrasion and increases the lifespan of the chain, cassette, and chainrings.
  • Reduced friction. The slippery surface allows the chain plates and rollers to glide efficiently over the cassette and chainring.
  • Quieter drivetrain. Shimano claims the Sil-Tec reduces chain noise as high as -2.7 decibels.