We’ve been looking lately at less pricey O-ring chains. So when ours wore out, with our low funds we went looking for less expensive parts and found colorful O-ring chairs from Volar being sold online.
Newer ones don’t need a replacement that often, but when they wear out, they still have to be replaced. Our bikes all feature chain transmissions, and it can be challenging to go over the large variety of choices out there. Getting information about equipment that isn’t from a name brand can be hard.
The posts on items you might find at the big online stores either are put up by sellers or are comments on how transactions went. There isn’t much on the quality or features of the items themselves. So it makes sense to share our experiences by putting up this guide to Volar chain reviews.
Volar Chain Reviews: Let’s Take A Brief Look
About The Volar Chain
The chain we tried is the Volar brand that comes from D2Moto, who sell these online. These are O-ring chains with solid bushings and riveted master links and feature tensile strengths equal to that of most original parts. So these links seem to have good specs.
One benefit of their designs is that there’s a range of different numbers of links. If there’s one with the proper count to fit your sprockets, then you won't have to shorten the chain to get it fitted.
Most chains are marketed in fixed lengths that you typically need to cut to fit, and buying one that fits right off is convenient.
Decent 9,850 lbs. tensile strength
Protruding bushings reduce kinking
Shot-peened and pre-stretched
Quad-stake riveted to absorb shocks better
Riveted master link has to be pressed to fit
Riveting tool required
Not a known top brand
With These Features
This Volar chain is one of many cheap chains sold online, but it has some good specifications such as high tensile strength, which is actually superior to that of many aftermarket parts.
It should perform just as well as other well-known replacements.
Thus, we lubed and mounted the 120-link version on our Hondas VT before the season began, and logged our cleaning and lube jobs to figure how much mileage this chain could give us before it stretches out.
It’s a good thing that the rivet master link is in the package. This must be pressed to fit in with a specialized PBR tool or at the shop, which can cost a bit. Note that the tool isn’t included and this is an important step, buyers must follow the installation instructions correctly.
Volar makes a modern O-ring chain that comes in several lengths and colors. Newly mounted and lubed, it runs smoothly enough, almost as smooth as the original that we can remember.
With routine checks involving cleaning and lube jobs after really wet or muddy days, the first few adjustments saw it stretched some 10mm over specs, which are pegged at between 20-25mm. It seems durable enough to last 10,000 miles if properly fitted and regularly lubed.
Some 30-33 mm of slack after a few hundred miles of rides seems to be normal with these links, after which the chain settles in and keeps on rolling with good maintenance. This isn’t the very best performance, but it’s more than good enough for an O-ring model costing less than hundred dollars.
For Whom Will This Chain Work?
From our experience, this Volar chain is on track to give us at least half the operating life of original and name brand parts.
We found that it’s best to check and adjust the links at least every 3,000 miles or so. And this with regular cleaning followed by spraying with a waxy lubricant after wet or dirty days.
Other cheap replacements rarely reached beyond 6,000 miles on the mostly road and some hard-packed dirt without wearing out, but we figure these should reach at least 10,000 with proper maintenance.
Figuring to replace sprockets at that point and with this chain’s lower cost, then we’ve spent half that of the best chains from EK and others.
Riders who need a decent yet economical chain will be happy with properly fitted and maintained Volar. But if you try these, don’t expect them to last as long as well-known aftermarket parts, let alone factory original.
Searching for inexpensive transmission part is the easy part, as they’re found everywhere online including at Amazon. It’s figuring out which brand is reliable enough to use safely that is the issue.
It would be good if more owners would share their experiences about these brands with other bikers. I did my own testing by ordering a cheap Volar and then tracking its condition over time. D2Moto usually ships within a day, which is nice. Checking the instructions, we set slack to spec then re-checked play in the links after a few short rides.
After a little over 100 miles on the Volar, we had a shop on one of our routes check for slack on the warm chain before heading for the city. It did not increase much, it seems. At most a millimeter more within the first hundred miles logged, which is ok.
After a week and another two hundred in mileage, we checked and saw the slack had reached 30 mm. Thus this chain stretches at least 5 mm or so within the first few hundred miles of use. Most riders will do this routine checking and will just go ride out every time, but we were logging how the Volar performed initially, and this seems to be typical of their roller and bushing design.
You would expect brand-new links to stretch out more at first. I always figure that these would eventually “break-in” and after adjustments, stay mostly taut for the next few thousand miles, and this seems to be the case here. Well, we’ve racked up almost 4,000 miles on our Sportster, which already had more than 30,000 on its frame.
After continually adjusting to 25 mm every 2,000 miles the bike continues to run well. For a budget chain, this performance isn’t bad.
If you’re interested, here’s a video about Volar:
Volar Motorcycle Chain Reviews By Users
It’s a nice colored chain but it requires a pressing tool for proper installation. The chain is readily installed, for it’s of high quality and should last some time with regular use. I’ve had this mounted on my bike for about a year or so. Out of the package, the links were already oiled well.
I spoke to someone from Volar and she mentioned that Volar chains are manufactured in China but are not OEM’s from some factory then sold under the Volar brand. The tensile strength of their chains reportedly reaches 9,800+ lbs. This is higher by a thousand than that of comparable chains from RK and DID.
Volar has stopped recommending clip-type master links and their current models currently ship rivet master links, and they report a lot fewer issues now. They have also upgraded their roller design to be sturdier, at 2.4mm in thickness.
Take A Look At Major Options
One thing when installing these colorful chains, it turns out that both clip and riveted or pressed types of master links are included with current models that are shipping.
It’s better and safer to use the riveted type of master links as these are reported to last better than the clip-types, especially for motorcycles with motors displacing 1000 CC and up.
Big and powerful bikes should never mount chains linked with clips, which we stopped using long ago. Still, it’s good to have options rather than none at all, especially for such a low price. Online product information on the big sites do not state this fact prominently, so it was a nice surprise that makes for good value.
A Quick Guide To Cleaning Chains
Nowadays, many motorcycles run on O-ring chains with linked rollers that slide best while clear of dirt and grime. Seals will eventually leak lube; chains will stretch and dry out over time.
Gunk can accumulate on the rollers and quickly lead to wear owing to mechanical stresses. That’s why we clean and lube our chains every so often, so as to clear the debris as well protect against corrosion, keeping the chains rolling smoothly.
You should inspect and if needed clean and lube transmission chains every 300 miles or so for peace of mind and smooth running. Clean debris off with a wire brush plus a dunk in penetrating oil if necessary. Following the wipe down, spray lightly with a dry waxy lubricant like DuPont’s Teflon Chain-Saver.
You might want to read this. And also a quick clip:
A Bike’s Only As Good As Its Chain
Quality chains that are lubricated well can really enhance a bike’s efficient operation. OEM chains can last tens of thousands of miles. Cheaper chains may not last as long, but they can save you some money that you can put towards more repairs that are more critical as well as delayed maintenance for your bike.
For peace of mind on the road, it’s always a good idea to check and test newly installed gear, as we did with our Volar chain reviews. Well, we found that swapping chains could be easy and affordable with good budget parts like Volar.
We think these are likely to be fine less dusty ground such as roads and hard-packed tracks. With regular lubes and adjustment, this chain should keep you rolling smoothly and safely for many thousands of miles.
If you liked reading this article, do leave a comment and let us know what you think of our volar motorcycle chain reviews.