The Best Single Speed Chain Tensioner in 2021 | Top 7 Picks

Ask any bike enthusiast. When it comes to using single speed chain tensioner, almost everyone’s using the high-end ones that have got heavy-duty aluminum construction, adjustment features, and double pulley design. At least the new bikers have done their homework on these stuffs.

We don’t know what type of chain tensioner you’re using right now, but if it doesn’t have all these features we’ve just mentioned, you can’t call it the best single speed chain tensioner at all.

Imagine you’re riding your bike and it’s not making any sound at all. A smooth riding experience; that’s what you’re going to get. Want to get your hands on a single speed chain tensioner that will blend in with your taste?

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Read the reviews and take your pick.

Why Do You Need a Chain Tensioner – Is It Necessary for Fixie?

A chain tensioner is used when one wants to convert a multi-speed bike to a single speed one. It can be used for a bicycle that faces both horizontal and vertical dropouts. The chain tension is provided from the floating pulleys with the spring adjustments built within.

Getting a chain-tensioner can be a great idea for various reasons. While you won’t require one right after you purchase a new bicycle, it can be a pretty noteworthy item to equip in your vehicle after you ride it a couple of times.

When a chain becomes too long, it might start to come off abruptly, which in return might jam the wheels. In such cases, getting a chain-tensioner would be the best thing you can do for your safety, and of course, for your bicycle.

Thus, to fully take precautions and equip oneself with the best gears, a chain-tensioner is a must-have item for any avid cyclist.

What to Look for in a Single Speed Chain Tensioner – Buying Guide

Now that you know why bike chain tensioners are crucial for your vehicle, knowing which features to look for when purchasing one should be your main priority. Below we have provided a list of factors one should take into account before purchasing a chain-tensioner.

Brand Value

Of course, knowing the value of a brand beforehand is crucial before any purchase. A brand says a lot about the products being sold, so you should definitely do thorough research on the manufacturer and their worth before placing your order.

Product Value

When searching for a single speed chain tensioner out of the lot, one should always pay attention to the price as well.

While it does seem like the most expensive one would probably be the best out of many others, the range can change according to the quality.

We would therefore suggest you not shop blindly and instead inspect each product properly first. Oh, and also do keep within your budget. We don’t want you going broke here now!

Quality

Quality is another very crucial factor to take into account before purchasing a chain-tensioner. The quality of the product you are interested in plays a big role in its longevity and durability as well.

Features

This is a no-brainer for many, but we’re still going to go over it briefly for the newbies here.

Before purchasing a bicycle chain tensioner, reading out the features of the product is a must-do, as this will let you figure out what type of bike the chain tensioner can be used on.

Customer Review

One can know a lot about a product just by checking the ratings of it and reading the reviews for further details. Customers leave honest and unbiased reviews while describing their experiences with the product, so do read that section if you don’t wanna get duped by shady retailers.

Top 7 Single Speed Chain Tensioner

Now that we’ve got the nitty-gritty of chain tensioner’s out of the way, let’s get into our product reviews for the day (that rhymed well!).

1. CyclingDeal Aluminum Chain Tensioner

Right off the bat, we will be looking at the Single Speed Tensioner from the brand CyclingDeal. This product of theirs is said to be one of the top quality tensioners to have been manufactured in Taiwan.

The product will fit single and multi-speed chains, coming equipped with a width of 3/32’’ only and not 1/8’’. This tensioner is made from aluminum alloy, which weighs about 250g, so it’s pretty lightweight as well.

Thanks to its simple design, the product can provide tension to a single speed bike in a flexible and minimalistic way, as the chain tensioner is framed right onto a derailleur hanger.

Pros

  • Strong aluminum construction
  • Chain tensioner comes with adjustment features
  • Moderate width compliments multi-speed chains and bike types as well
  • The chain hugs onto a derailleur hanger

Cons

  • Small cogs apparently don’t work with the tensioner
  • Not ideal for oval-shaped chains

2. M-Wave Chain Tensioner

As for our second product, we have this incredible single speed mountain bike chain tensioner from the brand M-Wave. The product can match any chain line along with any angle. For any bikes with vertical dropouts, this product is perfect for the purpose of single-speed conversion.

Like our previous product, this one is also made in Taiwan, and it weighs almost 0.25 pounds. The great thing about this chain tensioner is that it can hold everything in place really tightly, therefore protecting the frame from all kinds of external damage as well.

Ideal for small bikes, to even those specifically built for mountain riding, this aluminum chain tensioner by M-Wave is a force to be reckoned with!

Pros

  • Holds chain tightly and ensures protection of the frame from damage
  • The tensioner is adjustable with the chain-line and the angle
  • Great for single speed bikes which face vertical dropouts
  • Good choice for small mountain bikes

Cons

  • Poor quality of cogs

3. Q2 Single Speed Chain Tensioner

Next up on this single speed chain tensioner review, we have this amazing one by the brand Q2. Weighing only 19 ounces, this chain tensioner is super lightweight, and that surely catches our eye.

Constructed with heavy-duty CNC alloy, this baby sports a matte black shade with a laser-etched brand logo. Whether you own a mountain bike with many gears or a heavy-duty commercial one, this bad boy can convert any bicycle to a single speed one.

Other than that, the chain tensioner can easily be bolted onto a standard derailleur hanger. Note that the product is also very easy to install, therefore being one of the best chain tensioners out there for amateurs. There is also a double pulley design on this amazing chain tensioner.

Pros

  • Easy to install
  • Double-pulley design is heavy-duty
  • Conveniently compatible with mountain bikes
  • Can convert any bike to a single speed one

Cons

  • Slacker than some might prefer

4. SHIMANO Alfine CT-S500

Here, we have the Alfine Chain Tensioner CT-S500 in the color black, straight from the brand Shimano. The product weighs about 0.239 kg and is compatible with almost all kinds of bicycles.

Fitting this chain tensioner to your vehicle will definitely give you an amazing experience. Not only will your drive feel smoother, but you won’t have any chains jumping around from time to time either.

The thread on this fixed chain tensioner is 1/8’’ not 1/3’’, so make sure to use the ideal chain size. Plus,the product can be used to convert an MTB with a gearbox into a single speed very easily as well.

Pros

  • Chain tensioner will ensure a quiet ride
  • Adjustment shims are provided for fine-tuning
  • Product is compatible with mountain bikes as well
  • Very lightweight, therefore, portable

Cons

  • Installation is not too easy as no manual guides are provided.

5. SHIMANO Chain Tensioners

Shimano is back at it again with their magnificent chain tensioners. Ideal for vertical dropouts, this bad boy can be used on sprockets with a maximum of 20 teeth.

The Alfine chain tensioner comes with double rollers in a pulley structure in order to make it easier during installation. Plus, the internally geared hubs make an attachment with vertical dropouts a piece of cake.

With its great tension, you can expect this product to be one of the best fixed gear chain tensioners out there in the market, therefore being a really worthy purchase for new riders.

However, you do have to note that the tensioner is not ideal for 1/8” chains, thus slightly limiting the versatility of this incredible product.

Pros

  • The product has great tension
  • Easy to install
  • Double-pulley structure is convenient
  • It is an ideal choice for vertical dropouts

Cons

  • Not suitable for 1/8’’ chains

6. SHIMANO ALFINE CT-S510 Chain tensioner

Since you liked the previous one, we brought to you another Shimano product, but one that is slightly different than its predecessor. Complete with a super-easy fixie chain tensioner installation, this amazing aluminum product is ideal for vertical dropouts.

Thanks to the wide range of the product, this chain tensioner can work well with rear axles as well. The preciseness of it is mainly achieved with the help of the single-pulley structure.

Coming equipped with a single front chain, the tensioner can be used for vehicles with 16-23T rear sprockets. Anyone facing issues with getting enough tension on hub gears will benefit from this chain tensioner, as it can easily be locked onto one specific area.

Pros

  • The product can be locked onto a specific region
  • Clear instructions provided with the product
  • Ideal for vertical dropouts
  • Single-pulley design makes the tensioner precise in what it does

Cons

  • Construction is apparently rough and not sturdy enough for many

7. Coherny Bike ChainTensioner

And finally, to conclude this list of reviews, we have the Single Speed Bike Chain Tensioner from the brand Coherny. For anyone looking for the ideal chain tensioner to install on their mountain bikes specifically, this product might be the answer to all your problems (Amen to that!).

This chain tensioner is perfect for commercial and mountain bikes, as the lightweight built of it makes it ideal as a single speed converter.

Constructed with high-quality aluminum alloy, this champ is durable as hell and can withstand all kinds of external damage. The floating pulley, on the other hand, is what gives this product its amazing tension at all times.

You will be glad to know spring adjustments are also included in the package, therefore sealing the deal with a cherry on top!

Pros

  • The product is lightweight
  • Easy installation
  • Made from top-quality aluminum alloy
  • Ideal for mountain biking

Cons

  • Instruction manual guide is not provided

Frequently Asked Questions

Let’s take a quick look at some of the questions most customers tend to have when shopping for the right tensioner for their requirements.

How much tension should a single speed chain have?

The tension of a single speed chain should be tight enough so that it doesn’t drop, as too much slack can be a problem.

How do you install a single speed chain tensioner?

First, remove the drive-side axle nut from the bike. The chain tensioner should be placed against the rear dropout.
After that, you need to install the axle nut and tighten the screw to move the wheel back to the dropout.

How do I tighten a chain tensioner?

Loosen the rear tire of your bike and pull it back. After that, check if you have the right tension on the chain and tighten the rear tire back into place.

When should I replace a single speed chain?

Chains should be replaced for single speed bikes when it reaches the 1 percent wear mark.

Is a single speed bike good for me?

If you want to ride your bike easily and enjoy the experience at the same time without having to shift gears now and then, then yes, a single speed bike would be good for you.

Final Words

Owning the best single speed chain tensioner can change your entire riding experience but you have to know if you’re actually using the best one or not. Heavy doesn’t mean the material is good.

If you have a chain tensioner made of aluminum, it’s pretty perfect. You also need to choose whether you should go for single-pulley design or double-pulley. Both are awesome according to their uses in different situations.

As for the brand, even though our first product was something from CyclingDeal, to most people Shimano will get the priority.

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