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Chain tensioner - For Fixies or conversion to Singlespeed

Fixie frames with horizontal dropouts often need a chain tensioner to fix the rear wheel in a fixed position and to be able to bolt the axle securely and tightly to the frame. This type of chain tensioning is mechanically very easily implemented and keeps the chain permanently at the desired length dimension. This way, the axle of the rear wheel cannot slip even during abrupt braking maneuvers or starts. Another variant is the spring-loaded chain tensioner for single-speed conversion on bike frames with vertical dropouts. To convert a bike with gears to a fixie or singlespeeder, the normal dropout does not allow a horizontal shifting of the rear wheel. The chain can only be kept under tension by mounting a special chain tensioner. With a spring chain tensioner you manage to realize your singlespeed bike project with a few simple steps!

What to look out for when buying a chain tensioner?

The most important thing to look for when buying a chain tensioner is to consider the dropouts you have. There are vertical and horizontal dropouts on bikes. Both types of construction require different types of chain tensioners. The simple and plain option is frames with horizontal dropouts. Here, the rear wheel can be moved to the rear and thus the chain can be tensioned. In theory, such a frame does not need an extra chain tensioner at all. In reality, however, the hobby mechanic with only two hands often despairs. For this reason, there is a little help in the form of the chain tensioner for horizontal dropouts. A well thought-out screwing device brings the rear wheel easily into the right position and the chain on tension.

Frames with vertical dropouts, on the other hand, require a special chain tensioner. This often looks like a shifting arm of a conventional gear shift and works very similarly. The chain is kept under tension by a spring and roller. While this design doesn't look quite as fancy as the horizontal dropout version, it does a super job.

The most important questions in brief:

  • Which dropout does the bike frame have? Vertical or horizontal?

Fixed Gear or Singlespeed Bike

The difference between a fixie and a singlespeeder is technically very simple, but in practice this difference is significant. A so-called singlespeed bike, just like the fixie, has only one gear and is very similar to a normal bicycle besides the lack of gears. On a fixie or fixed gear bike, this single gear is fixed. So the rear hub does not have a freewheel like on conventional bikes. The singlespeed drive is often used on BMX or dirt bikes. The fixed gear, on the other hand, is often found on track bikes or city fixies. A major difference between these two drives is that you always have to pedal with the fixed gear bike. This can be exhausting in the long run, especially downhill, as you have to pedal of course. For this reason, some Fixies do not have conventional brakes, as the riders bring the bike to a halt by "counter-holding". However, we advise against this in every respect, because your bike is thus officially no longer roadworthy.

Whether singlespeed or fixi with horizontal or vertical dropout on the frame, in our shop you will find the right chain tensioner to get your bicycle chain on tension.