BMX Chain Tensioner

Searching for the best BMX chain tensioners? Understanding the right tensioner can be the difference between a smooth ride and a frustrating one.

Our top pick, the Box Three Chain Tensioner, stands out for its exceptional quality and reliability. In this article, we'll explore various types of tensioners, discuss when to replace them, and highlight top brands.

Whether you're a seasoned BMX rider or new to the sport, you'll find valuable insights to enhance your ride.

Overall Pick

box three bmx chain tensioner

Box Three Chain Tensioner

  • Lightweight
  • Strong Materials
  • 'Lollipop' design for stability
  • 20mm adjustability range
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Only for 10mm axles
  • Limited compatibility
  • Single-hole design may not suit all
  • No color variety
  • Potential availability issues
$15 from Danscomp

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Box Three Chain Tensioners offer a blend of simplicity, efficiency, and durability for BMX riders. Made from 6061-T6 Aluminum, these tensioners are both lightweight and strong, thanks to Box's extruded and CNC machined manufacturing process.

They feature a unique "lollipop" design with a single-hole setup, which not only reduces weight but also aids in maintaining the rear wheel's position when tightened. This design is particularly beneficial for ensuring consistent chain tension without the misalignment that often comes with fitting BMX wheels.

Weighing just 37g, the Box Three Chain Tensioners are surprisingly light, making them an ideal choice for bikers who are conscious about adding minimal weight to their setup.

Specifically designed for 10mm axles, these tensioners offer a 20mm adjustability range for wheel position, providing sufficient flexibility for different bike setups.

The inclusion of stainless steel hardware with an ED black finish adds to the durability and aesthetic appeal. Furthermore, the anodized finish with laser-etched graphics not only enhances their visual appeal but also contributes to their longevity by protecting against wear and tear.

However, it's important to note that these tensioners are not compatible with 15mm or 20mm axles, limiting their suitability to bikes with 10mm axles only. This could be a downside for bikers with different axle sizes. Nonetheless, for those with compatible setups, the Box Three Chain Tensioners are a robust and efficient choice for maintaining optimal chain tension.


  • Material: 6061-T6 Aluminum
  • Process: Extruded & CNC Machined
  • Hardware: Stainless Steel w/ED Black
  • Finish: Anodized w/Laser-Etched Graphics
  • Axle: 10mm
  • Wheel Position: 20mm
  • Weight: 37g

Affordable Pick

dmr tugs bmx bike tensioner

DMR Tugs BMX Tensioner

  • Prevents chain stretching.
  • Maintains rear wheel alignment.
  • Affordable price.
  • High-quality construction.
  • Easy installation.
  • Only for 10mm axles.
  • Limited to single-speed bikes.
  • Not suitable for all bike types.
  • Requires reputable purchase source.
  • May require adjustment over time.
$25 from Danscomp

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The DMR Chain Tugs are an essential accessory for cyclists, particularly those using single-speed rear wheels on BMX or fixed gear bikes. The tugs are CNC machined to fit 10mm axles and are proudly made in the UK. Retailing at around £16, they offer excellent value, considering the average price in the Chains category is £34.94

When considering the DMR brand itself, the Chain Tugs stand out for their affordability. The average price of DMR products is £58.39, making the Chain Tugs a budget-friendly option without compromising on quality. In fact, within the DMR brand, only 9 products are cheaper than these tugs.

You may have noticed this product garnering reviews recently, scoring 9 out of 10 in quality, which places them among the top products in the cycling category. They've also received a 92% price ranking, further emphasizing their excellent value for money.

Customer feedback and reviews have consistently highlighted the tugs' reliability and functionality. Users have found them indispensable for maintaining proper wheel alignment and chain tension, which are critical for optimal bike performance.

The tugs are particularly praised for their robust construction and ease of installation, suitable for both seasoned cyclists and those new to single-speed bikes.

Premium Pick

gt g1 bike chain tensioner

GT G-1 Tensioner Review

  • Easy installation and adjustment.
  • Durable and long-lasting.
  • Compatible with various bikes.
  • Sleek design with color options.
  • Improves chain stability and performance.
  • May be pricier than some alternatives.
  • Limited color options available.
  • Bulkier compared to some models.
  • Not suitable for all bike types.
Buy from Amazon

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The GT G-1 chain tensioner is a significant upgrade for any BMX or mountain biking enthusiast. Designed with the robustness and precision that GT is known for, these chain tensioners are both reliable and effective—making them our premium pick for this list. Constructed from durable materials, they promise long-lasting performance even under the rigors of intense biking.

An ease of installation and adjustment are easily this product's best features. This user-friendly aspect makes it a go-to choice for both professional cyclists and hobbyists. You don't need to be an expert to fit these tensioners onto your bike, and once installed, they hold the chain in perfect tension, reducing the risk of chain slippage or breakage. This feature is particularly crucial for those involved in competitive racing or undertaking challenging trails.

Another impressive aspect of the GT G-1 is its compatibility with various bikes. Whether you own a BMX or a mountain bike, these tensioners can adapt seamlessly, making them a versatile component in your biking toolkit. This universality is a significant plus, considering the diverse needs of cyclists.

In terms of aesthetics, the GT G-1 Chain Tensioners have a sleek design that complements the look of any bike. They are available in different colors, allowing riders to match them with their bike's color scheme.

Finally, the durability of these tensioners cannot be overstated. Built to withstand the stresses of aggressive riding, they ensure that your bike's chain remains in optimal condition for longer. This durability translates to fewer replacements and repairs, offering great value for money in the long run.

Budget Pick

box two hole bmx tensioner for chain

Box Two 2 Hole

  • Precise adjustment for ideal chain tension.
  • Protects frame dropouts.
  • Two mounting holes for ample adjustment.
  • Available in black and silver.
  • Robust construction.
  • May require mechanical knowledge to adjust.
  • Compatibility not universal.
  • Limited color options.
  • No additional features beyond tensioning.
  • May not suit all bike styles.
$20 from Danscomp

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The Box Two is a high-quality component designed for precise adjustment of chain tension on most bike frames. It features two mounting holes, offering ample scope for adjustment to achieve the ideal chain tension.

A robust construction of the tensioner helps to protect frame dropouts, ensuring a secure fit and minimizing the risk of damage to the frame from chain movement. Available in black and silver, it offers a sleek look that can complement any bike design.

It's important to note that, there are some limitations to consider. The adjustment process, while precise, may require some mechanical knowledge, which might be a slight barrier for less experienced cyclists. Additionally, its compatibility with different bike frames, although extensive, is not universal, so it's important to verify the fit for your specific bike model.


  • Material: 6061-T6 Aluminum
  • Process: Extruded & CNC Machined
  • Hardware: Stainless Steel
  • Finish: Anodized w/Laser-Etched Graphics
  • Axle: 10mm
  • Adjustability:
  • Wheel Position: 30mm
  • Weight: 55g

What is a BMX Chain Tensioner?

A BMX chain tensioner is a component designed to maintain the proper tension of the bike's chain. It's crucial for BMX bikes due to the dynamic and high-impact nature of BMX riding.

The tensioner ensures that the chain remains snug against the gear sprockets, reducing the risk of chain derailment or slippage, which is particularly important during stunts and jumps.

It also helps in keeping the rear wheel aligned, enhancing the bike's overall performance and the rider's control.

Chain tensioners come in different types, including integrated and external models, to suit various BMX designs and preferences. They are key for a smooth and reliable BMX riding experience.

How to Install a Chain Tensioner

Prepare Your BMX

Start by stabilizing your bike, ideally using a bike stand. If you don't have a stand you can just turn your bike upside down and balance it on the seat and handlebars.

Remove the Rear Wheel

This makes it easier to access the area where the tensioner will be installed. For integrated tensioners, you will only need to loosen the wheel but any other types will require the wheel to be removed.

Attach the Tensioner

For external tensioners, align it with the dropout slots and secure it following the manufacturer's instructions. Sometimes you need to put one of the tensioner holes over the axle, other products will just push on the axle.

For integrated tensioners, the process will vary but you will normally need to screw it through a threaded hole at the corner of the frames rear triangle.

Install the Wheel

If you have to remove the wheel, just install it again with the chain tensioner attached. If you're using integrated then skip this step.

Adjust the Tensioner

Once installed, adjust the tensioner to achieve the desired chain tension. Make sure your wheel isn't tightened too tight when you do this.

Why use a Chain Tensioner on a BMX?

Using a chain tensioner on a BMX is useful for several reasons. It ensures the chain remains tight, enhancing riding performance and safety.

Tight chains prevent slippage during tricks and jumps, ensuring smooth power transfer from pedals to wheels.

Additionally, maintaining proper chain tension reduces wear and tear on both the chain and sprockets, prolonging their lifespan.

What to Look for When Buying a Chain Tensioner?


Ensure the tensioner fits your BMX frame and wheel size. Check for compatibility with your bike's specific requirements.

Material and Build Quality

Look for durable materials like steel or aluminum. A robust tensioner withstands the rigors of BMX riding.


A good tensioner offers precise adjustability for optimal chain tension. This feature is vital for fine-tuning your ride.

Installation Ease

Consider how easy it is to install and adjust. User-friendly designs save time and hassle.

Brand Reputation

Opt for reputable brands known for quality. Research and read reviews to gauge reliability and performance.


Balance cost with quality. While higher-priced models often offer better durability, there are budget-friendly options that don't compromise on essential features.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are chain tensioners important for BMX riding?

BMX bikes have dropouts that are normally around an inch or two long. When inserting your BMX wheel axle each side will have all that room to move, making it rather difficult to get them even and stop one side of the tire rubbing.

As well a lining up the axle, you also need to keep the chain sufficiently tight so it doesn't slip or fall off when riding. Chain tensioners are fitted between the axle and the ned of the drop out and will keep the wheel perfectly still while you adjust them before tightening the bolts.

Are there different types of BMX chain tensioners?

There are two main types: integrated tensioners, built into the BMX frame, and external tensioners, which are attachable and come in various designs like screw-in or bolt-on.

What are the top BMX chain tensioner brands?

Most top BMX brands have released BMX chain tensioners. We found the best brands were Box, DMR and GT Bikes.

How often should I replace my BMX chain tensioner?

Replace your BMX chain tensioner based on wear and usage. Regular inspection is key. Signs of significant wear or failure to maintain tension are indicators for replacement. I have found that unless you're removing your wheel a lot they will last an exceptionally long time.

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