Pages Menu
Categories Menu

Posted by on Jan 8, 2015 in Equipment reviews | 23 comments

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. 

23 Comments

  1. How has the volar worked out. I ordered one myself and was just curious.

    • Jon

      Missed your post, sorry. It did not work out well, I had to replace after about 7000 miles. I would not order another.

  2. I was getting ready to buy one but after reading your review, I will stay away. Thanks for the update

  3. Lucky mine lasted 1500 now it has a tight spot and makes a clunking sound my tech recommend replacing again wish I looked this up a few months ago

    • Thanks for you comment JohnT, sorry you had to find out the hard way. A least in motorcycle chains, you can’t get something for nothing.

  4. What a piece of shit.. Mine lasted 4000 then rollers broke off

    • Ouch, not good at all..

  5. I got three chains for volar and the lock keeps coming off is this on perpose

  6. I bought a green volar chain for my 03 ninja and after a month and a half and barely 1500 miles on it. I have to adjust it every 50ish miles and it sounds like a rattle snake of you flick it. It barely lasted me a full month before it was completely shot.

  7. This was hella helpful thanks bro

  8. Thanks for the info, I almost ordered one of this… thanks for keeping me away from it.

  9. I’ve had three volar chains go in three to four month intervals with maybe 3-4000 miles each. Two of them snapped on me while riding my 94 vf750c magna, one didn’t make it out of my neighborhood before it started spitting rollers and snapped. Lucky they didn’t bind up around my front sprocket. Steer clear. I bought them because I was shy on cash. Now I still buy cheap chains but not volar. They last me 7000 miles each and have a pretty good early warning on wear so you have time to buy another and wait on shipping and keep riding to a minimum. As a daily driver of at least a hundred miles five days a week they are not a good choice of chain, they made it of cheap metal and the least amount of it. Good for your once in a while bike you’d take out once a month to go bar hopping. Not for anything serious. I’d keep one lying around as an emergency chain if I ever break down I can have someone run it out to me in my rescue bag with some tools I don’t carry on the bike with a master clip link or two. and use it solely until the new one arrived.
    Keep the rubber side down guys.

    • Well this sucks I just got mine in the mail today! Should have read up before I ordered. Thanks for the info though

  10. I purchased a Volar 530 chain for my FJ1200 2 years 10,000 miles ago. It has a tight spot and is full of rust spots and needs replacing. I kept it well lubed with Maxima chain wax lube although I’m told I should use Tri-Flow which I will do in the future. I do not recommend this chain because it is shit and has no longevity.

  11. I purchased a Volar chain 2 years 10,000 miles ago for my FJ1200 with strictly easy riding no wheelies and such. It has already worn out has a tight spot with rust spots as well. I keep it well maintained with Maxima chain wax and tighten regularly. I have been told though the Maxima is not that good and I should use Tri-Flow form now on which I will do. Bottom line is this chain is a piece of shit and I’m still doing some research on what I’m going to buy next.

  12. I purchased volar gold 520 o-ring chain.it only came with a rivet style master link. What a bummer,if l knew that when i bought it l would have purchased a rivet tool as well. Now i’ve got to wait for a tool on amazon. Please include a clip type link as well.

  13. Had a Volar red chain snap on my f4i today not at the master link.. seemed like a stress fracture on the shitty Chinese metal only had 3500 miles. Yes proper tension and lubrication every 300mi Never again…

  14. Volar is a POS. Lasted less than 11 months and less than 5000mi on my 2014 Kawasaki Ninja 1000. I don’t race this bike; only commuting and touring so I would have expected it to last a little longer. The failure is asymmetrical stretch. I adjust the chain on one side, roll forward by half the chain length and the chain is WAY TOO tight.

  15. Thank you sir you saved me $55 yes. Much appreciated. Super day in Springfield Ohio wr250r

  16. I’ve had great luck with these chains. MX and offroad applications may not be worth it but on the street mine work great. Only the master links seem to wear faster than the rest of the chain is the only downside. 1/2 the price makes it worth it.

  17. I have to adjust it every 50ish miles and The failure is the asymmetrical stretch.

  18. Glad I read this review. Thanks.
    2003 750 magna. 16k miles. My chain is shot. I’m putting more miles on the bike now my fair weather daily driver.
    Expenses pbr chain tool $87ish…
    At might put 45k more miles on any combo of bikes I own. So the tool expense depreciates so so.

    Is there a better chain sprocket kit than OEM???

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. What Chain - Honda Shadow Forums : Shadow Motorcycle Forum - […] has a rivet masterlink (probably the black or gold colored one): d2moto | eBay Read this first,…

Post a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *