This is the strongest and burliest chain SRAM makes, probably the strongest 9 speed chain made by any manufacturer. Both inner and outer plates are nickel plated and the Cross Step riveting process increases lateral stiffness to better resist the torsional flex and decrease wear. A little added weight for more durability. SRAM's Cross Step chain is the perfect choice for riders who are hard on their bikes, mountain bikes and riding in inclement weather(winter training). As with all SRAM chains, it is connected by the tried and true PowerLink connector.