5 of the Best Fixie Chains You Can Buy in 2021
Jump straight to the top 5 best recommended chains by clicking on the table below or read the intro section to get guidance on what to look for in a chain.
|1. HL710L Fixie Chain||$$|
|2. 710SL Fixie Chain||$$|
|3. K710 “Kool” Fixie Chain||$$|
|4. Z410 Fixie Chain||$|
|5. KMC City Hunter Fixie Chain||$$$|
If you’re still weighing the options, you can compare the chains on this list on Amazon to get a side-by-side comparison.
What to Look For in a Fixie Chain
You’re going to see a lot of KMC chains on this list. That’s because they produce most of the commercially available bike chains.
Even Shimano chains are made by KMC.
A note on prices. Many of these fixie/single speed chains are around the same price point. Personally I wouldn’t go below a certain price threshold because I ride brakeless. If you feel comfortable bombing hills on a really cheap chain, you can find plenty for about $10 on Amazon.
All of the chains on this list are dependable for casual use. There’s one at the end which is what I would consider “performance grade” if you’re looking for something that will really take a beating in freestyle riding, on the track, or even under rigorous fixie bike courier conditions.
What Makes a Fixie Chain “The Best?”
Riding fixed puts an intensive strain on the drive train, especially if you ride brakeless. That’s why you need a stronger, specialized chain.
Although geared bikes use the much more common 3/32-inch chains, you’ll need a ⅛-inch chain if you’re riding a fixie. These heavier chains are also used on BMX bikes, so it’s not hard to find a chain that fits.
Just make sure you have the appropriate sprocket and chain ring, because they’re not interchangeable.
Can I Use a Regular Chain on a Fixed Gear?
Fixie bikes require a single speed chain. Fixie chains are made thicker to handle the more intensive strain on the bike’s drivetrain that comes with riding fixed.
If you’re converting a bike into a fixie, you can run the 3/32-inch chain with the original crankset.
It’s possible to find chainrings and cogs that fit the smaller 3/32 chain, but you’re taking your life in your hands if you run that brakeless. They’re fine for single-speed or if depend on brakes.
The only real benefit to the narrower chain is that it’s lighter and quieter.
What Makes A Bike Chain More Expensive?
Price difference in chains comes down to coating & materials.
Cheaper chains are made of lower grade steel, which is usually strong enough but just weighs more because of the proportions of the alloy.
When you get into the coating, that’s when you can notice real performance differences between chains. Low-end coating produces much more friction and therefore works less efficiently. That means your pedals strokes don’t transfer as much energy to the wheels
For example, KMC’s half-link chain will run noticeably smoother than the far cheaper Z410.
The Best Fixie Chains Recommendations
Let’s get into the best fixie chains for your ride in 2020. The names of these chains are all numbers and letters, so I’ve made it easier for you to make a decision based on your riding style by including my own name for each chain.
1. The KMC HL710L Fixie Chain
The HL710L fixie chain provides an excellent balance between value and performance. It’s the modern half-link style chain, which means it’s easier for finessing the ideal chain tension.
Shorter links give you more precise control over the length of the chain, often eliminating the need for a chain tensioner.
The real advantage of the half-link is the increased durability. Because both the inner and outer links are integrated into a single link, there are fewer stress points to ensure a longer working life. Besides that, it looks pretty cool.
Another nice feature is the hollow 9.5 mm pin. Without sacrificing durability, you save a bit of weight for a more responsive, smooth ride.
If you are a rigorous rider or you ride freestyle or brakeless, spending a bit more for the half-link chain will save you money in the long run.
KMC HL710L Fixie Chain Features
The half-link design is not only durable, but adds a nice unique pop to the bike’s aesthetic.
A half-link design uses fewer pins and creates more stability.
Choose from virtually any colour for the chain’s powder-coat finish to match your bike’s colour scheme.
2. KMC 710SL Fixie Chain
KMC’s Heavy-duty 710SL fixie chain is designed specifically for BMX and track bike usage. With 112 links it can handle even the biggest gear ratios plus the anti-drop construction makes for a long service life.
A flat outer surface ensures that freestyle fixie riders won’t run into any problems if they are chain-sliding as part of a trick line. Hollow plates and pins make this chain fairly light, in fact it’s the lightest fixie chain you can buy without spending way too much money.
The sharp corners also give it a unique appearance which you can further customize with one of many available colours.
However, note that the master link is NOT painted, which may be a drawback if appearance is a big part of why you love fixies.
3. KMC K710 “Kool” Fixie Chain
If you ride fixie freestyle or take an aggressive approach to brakeless riding with lots of skidding, this is the chain for you. It’s really just a sturdier version of the KMC 710.
It is truly super heavy duty, and between that and its anti-drop design which it shares with the KMC 710 it’s a favourite of messengers and couriers all over North America.
This chain only comes in silver and black, but if you ride hard enough to need a heavy duty chain you’re probably not worrying about whether the chain matches your grips.
4. KMC Z410 Fixie Chain
Cheap chains can be a good option for casual riders or commuters. Although certainly not suitable for brakeless riding if you want to keep all of your front teeth, cruisers and commuters can take advantage of the lower cost.
Of course, what you save in dollars ends up costing you a bit more in weight. Most commuters and casual riders probably won’t take issue with that if they’re looking for something which will take them from A to B.
This chain is nothing special and it looks the part. Although the fresh white powder coating over the whole chain does get dirty quickly, it looks pretty clean when it’s new.
5. KMC City Hunter Fixie Chain
If you really need to be sure your chain doesn’t break, you’re a fierce brakeless rider, or have the budget to blow on a swanky high-performance chain, the City Hunter is for you.
It’s also the only chain I’ve been able to find which has a flawless 5-star review rating.
Perhaps the most heavy duty fixie chain on this list, the KMC City Hunter is fully nickel plated and has a unique oval structure. That manufacturing process saves a great deal of weight, but the non-standard shape makes it more expensive.
Orange-coated inner plates offset the shiny nickel exterior, making this a one-of-a-kind chain sure to turn heads in fixie circles.
This fixie chain might also be your best bet of you hit the velodrome since it’s built for high-performance use.