Taiwan's Taya has been producing chains since 1969 and produces a vast range of different ones, including this 11-speed 'Ultima Lite' model. Taya makes some bold claims about durability and longevity which a few weeks' testing can't hope to exceed, but early signs are that the Onze-115 (UL) is a strong, light chain that's keeping its good looks through repeated riding and washing.
First, let's unravel all the letters and numbers. All Taya's 11-speed chains get the Onze branding. Most are labelled 111 (such as the Ti Gold one tested by Sean), but the 115 offers the 'highest shifting performance', though it wasn't clear on the comparison chart why this should be. The UL bit stands for 'Ultima Lite', weight being saved by both the use of hollow pins and drilled plates. DHT means 'Diamond Hard Technology', a hardening treatment which Taya claims extends chain life, reduces wear on other components, and has self-lubricating properties.
Some of Taya's selling points are a little difficult to evaluate because they're couched in rather shaky English ('Increase thicker hardened layer by doubled at least'), but the claim that its DHT chains have a life of over 7,000km is clear enough, and its website shows graphs comparing its chains to other 'leading' brands, suggesting those wore out in under 2,000km. You will know how much life you can typically get from your own current favourite brand and whether this claim sounds worth a punt, though at an RRP of below £50 you're unlikely to end up out of pocket.
What I can say is that the Taya Onze is very neatly and strongly made. I fitted this to my (Shimano-equipped) mountain bike in the hope that I could snap, twist or otherwise destroy it with some reckless gear changes and in an effort to try to fit a year's chain wear into a month's testing period (no chance!).
So far, it has performed flawlessly, with quiet running, rapid and reliable shifting, and no hint of corrosion. Taya also claims 'mud and water shed off', and I have to say it has stayed remarkably clean despite some puddly riding on peaty moorland in a rain-sodden northern summer.
The 116 links were just enough to reach around the mountain bike's 2x11-speed transmission on my XL frame and should be plenty for road bikes (Taya approves the Onze 115 UL for either discipline). Connection is via Taya's own Sigma connectors. These require a little bending to get them to snap into place (a video on the Taya website shows you how), but once in they are super-secure without any sloppiness. Taya says you should fit a new connector each time you remove the chain and includes an extra pair in the price. Aftermarket, you will pay around £10 for two pairs.
I hope to be able to report back in a year, when I may have something more concrete to say about chain life and whether Taya's claims about reduced transmission wear also stack up. One thing I'm confident about: I'm going to enjoy the ride.
Even if Taya's longevity claims prove ambitious, there's enough that's good to make this chain well worth a try
road.cc test report
Make and model: Taya Onze-115 (UL) Grey 11 Speed Chain
Size tested: 1/2 x5/64x116 Links
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Taya approves this chain for both road and mountain bike use, despite its apparently pared-back look. Taya claims that the DHT feature results in highly extended chain life and reduced wear on other transmission components – which only time will tell. It also claims that the chamfering of the outer plates results in quiet running and great shifting and that seems to be true. Other features Taya highlights are the light weight and resistance to corrosion (one year).
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Diamond Hard Tech: Taya says, in its less-than-perfect English:
"DHT provides the solidest hardened base with extreme hardness performance and self-lubrication feature.
To balance the durability of chain with other derailleur components is an essential task for derailleur parts makers.
DHT hardened treatment does not affect the worn condition of cassettes and chainwheel and that friction-free lubrication helps shield away from the strain and wear on the drivetrain components.
Thanks to the excellent performance in anti-elongation, chain life has greatly increased based on the DHT advanced durability enhancing treatment.
DHT allows TAYA high-end products to compare with the branded chain products in the market with splendid performance in durability. "
Chain elongation of TAYA DHT tested chain sample was not affected until over 6000KM.
By comparison, chains without DHT enhancement started stretch between 800 - 1800KM.
"Sigma Connector" - TAYA Innovated Bike Quick Link which makes the snap together chain fast assembled without requiring an air rivet staking tool.
Sigma's pinhead groove interlocks positively with the top plate, providing unprecedented riveting strength, making the Sigma Connector as strong as any other link in the chain and no issues with the quality for shifting.
There are millions of Sigma Connectors in use everyday around the world, having been in use for over 22 years proving its reliability.
This looks cleanly made, and the subtle plate shaping and drilling, as well as the neatly finished hollow pins, are marks of good quality.
Quiet running, smooth shifting and – so far – no signs of corrosion, though the chain has been on some wet rides over acidic moorland. It seems strong enough to cope with some bodged gear shifts, even uphill on a 30lb mountain bike!
Well, this is the crux of Taya's claims – but to establish whether the chain can run for 6,000 or 7,000km before needing replacement is difficult to prove in a six-week test period. So I'll leave an 'average' rating for now, and let's see if, in the longer term, I can come back and tell you that durability is indeed superior to other brands.
2.14g per link (measured) compares to 2.08g per link for a KMC X11 superlight (claimed) and 2.09g per link for a Shimano Dura-Ace/XTR HG901 11-Speed Sil-Tec Chain (claimed).
For the time being I'm rating on performance and strength. If the Taya lives up to its claimed 7,000km chain life it would be very good value indeed.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
So far, features I can report back on are: quiet running, excellent shifting, resilience to corrosion and quality of construction, all of which seem superior to my usual chain choice. The Sigma quick link is secure, though it does take a bit of fiddling to get fastened and I advise visiting Taya's website for a guide to doing this.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
It's smooth shifting, good looking and strong.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Sigma quick-link isn't the easiest to fit.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Ask me again in a year, but thus far, yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Likewise!
Use this box to explain your score
Since most of Taya's claims relate to chain longevity it's too early to give a final verdict on how the Onze 115 (UL) meets the design brief. What I can say at this stage is that it's strong and well made, the shifting performance is excellent, it runs quietly, seems to be resisting corrosion and matches other comparable 11-speed chains for weight and price. For those reasons it has to be worth considering.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale CAAD10 My best bike is: Tomassini Prestige
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mountain biking