Volar Motorcycle Chain Review
Volar Motorcycle Chain Review
I thought I would add some general motorcycle info to the blog this year.
Being a cheap guy, I am always looking for a good deal, but it’s not easy finding info on non name brand gear, real evaluations on brands you might find on eBay. All the info either comes from the people selling it or is feedback on how well the sale went, but not on the item itself. So I thought I would add some posts about things like that along with posts about the route. We will start with chains. I have two motorcycles and both have chain drive. Over the years, I have changed my share of chains but I still find the subject kind of daunting because there are so many choices. Right now I find myself with a lack of funds and in need a new chain for my 06 V-Strom 1000. I have wondered the net lately, looking for cheap motorcycle chains.
Finding cheap chains is easy, they are all over eBay. Trying to figure out which one is any good is the hard part. Finding good information on the longevity of a chain is even harder, so I am going to experiment, do my own test. Buy a cheap chain and keep track of the service life and report back here on this post.
Right now the bike has 34,850 miles on it and is on it’s third chain. The original chain lasted just 13,391 miles. I was a little disappointed at that mileage, thinking it should have lasted twice as long, hell, the original chain on my ZZR 1200 lasted about 30,000 miles, but I do some dirt road riding with the V Strom, so that could have contributed to the low mileage. Then again, Suzuki could have put a cheap chain on the bike to begin with.
My first replacement chain was an EK MVXZ chain that lasted a little under 15,000 miles. Better, but not by much. I then replaced it with what is on the bike now, a JT chain and sprocket set purchased on Ebay, cost for the chain alone is about half of the EK ($66.00) and it lasted less than half of that chain life, just shy of 7000 miles. In fact, it's been toast for about 1000 miles or more. I am having to adjust it just about every 300 miles or less.
Before you begin to wonder if I cared for the chain, yes, I did lube the chain with spray on chain lube, I cleaned it just once, but toast in 6000 miles! I think it’s simply a piece of shit chain.
Here I am going and getting another cheap chain, but this one makes some claims that it is better than the JT one, like tensile strength of 9,850 lbs, about a thousand lbs over the JT chain so in theory it is better. We shall see. In this little test, I am going to lube it well and keep a record of that lubing, to see what kind of mileage I can get out of this chain.
The chain I am buying is a Volar from a company called D2Moto, selling on eBay. One advantage, other than the price of $55.99 with shipping, is that it is already the correct amount of links for the bike so I won't need to cut the chain to fit like I do most of the time. Most chains are sold in set lengths and are cut to fit, getting a chain in the 112 length that I need saves that step.
1-7-14 Update: Received the chain today, three-day shipping, not bad. I live in central California and it came from Southern California via USPS standard shipping.
1-10-14 Mileage 34, 977 0 Miles on the chain
Update: Installed the chain today. Easy, and I found that the chain came with two master links, a clip type and a press type. I used the press type because, from what I have read, it is stronger than the clip and a bike as powerful as the V-Strom 1000 should never be used with a clip link, in fact, I was going to order a no name chain from eBay but it included a clip link, and the Volar advertised a press type. The eBay write-up never mentioned that it came with both. Nice touch, even though I didn't need it.
I set the slack and went for a short ride and re-checked, just to make sure. I should have 20-30 mm of slack and it's at 25 mm now.
I used a Motion Pro PBR tool to removal and install the chain. I got it a year ago after messing around trying to flair the master link with a cheap tool that I had bought at harbor freight. I was not confident at how safe the chain was after using that tool. It's the second time I have used the PBR, which stands for Punch, Break, Rivet, and I was impressed at just how easy it was to use. The instructions are easy to follow and when I finished I was satisfied that I had a safe and secure chain.
1-12-14 Milage 35,093 116 Miles on the chain
First ride, up into the Sierra Foothills today. checked the chain slack after returning home and it's just about the same, maybe its 26mm slack, so it only stretched about 1mm in this first 100+ miles, not bad. The chain was still warm from the ride.
1-17-15 Milage 35,294 317 Miles
Road to work two days this week. I just hecked chain slack again today and it's at 32 mm, so it's stretched 7mm in the 317 miles that I have put on it. it's now 2mm out tolerance so I will tighten it again today. I have never checked new chains like this before, in fact I have put the new ones on and forgot about them for a couple months before I would check the slack, so I don't know if this is normal or not. I would expect that a new chain would stretch more in the beginning, then settle in. We shall see how this one goes.
5-4-15 Mileage 38, 353 3,376 Miles on the chain
It's been some time since I checked in with the post and I though it was about time.with regular lubing, I just did the firs chain adjust in 3000 miles and it was just a little out of range. It was about 32 or 33 mm stretch and it should have been between 20 and 30mm. I adjusted it to about 23 or 24 mm. I am very happy with this. for an inexpensive chain this is very good.