Last updated: 16/10/2022

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Nowadays, enjoying yourself to the limit and in a healthy way is an option with BMX bikes. Practising this extreme sport nowadays is very safe, thanks to the advances that have been made, what could be more fun?

On this occasion we will provide you with information about the features and specifications that you should take into account when choosing a BMX bike that suits your requirements. We will also provide you with a detailed comparison to make your buying process easier.




Summary

  • BMX stands for Bicycle Motocross. It is an extreme sport discipline that emerged in California (USA), during 1969, whose main element is a BMX bike.
  • Scott Breithaupt was the first to use a bicycle to recreate the manoeuvres of his motocross idols. Nowadays, there are different types of BMX cycling, the main ones being racing and freestyle.
  • There are BMX bikes for beginners and intermediate riders that adapt to any modality. In addition, these vehicles are designed to be ridden on any terrain.

The best BMX Bikes: Our Picks

Buying guide: What you need to know about BMX bikes

A BMX bike is a vehicle used for BMX cycling, an extreme sport inspired by the 1970s.
(Photo: picard/ Unsplash.com)

What are BMX bikes?

A BMX bike is a vehicle used to practice BMX cycling, an extreme sport that has its inspiration in the 70s, in California, where there was a furore for the practice of another discipline with the same characteristics, that is, Motocross. This is where the name Bike Motocross or BMX comes from.

How did BMX cycling come about?

During 1969, Scott Breithaup took the decision to use his bike to imitate the manoeuvres of his motocross icons, other young people felt identified and the demand for velocipedes increased in the USA and Europe, specifically in France, Holland and England.

Later, observing the boom in BMX cycling around the world, bike manufacturer Al Fritz studied the anatomy of a motorbike and brought it to BMX bikes for young people. He succeeded in boosting the popularity of the sport, which has been recognised as such since 1977 following the creation of the International BMX Association.

What are the parts of a BMX bike?

The end result Al Fritz came up with was a BMX bike, consisting of the following elements: A frame constructed from aluminium or steel that functions as a support for the two wheels, a seat and a handlebar. The size tends to vary depending on the age of the rider.

The wheels: the size varies between 36 and 48 spokes, the latter are higher in price but have greater resistance to absorb every impact on slopes or bumpy roads. On the other hand, 36-spoke wheels are lighter and benefit in terms of speed. If you use the wrong ones, you could hinder your performance or worse, damage your bike.

Brakes. Normally, when the purpose is to perform manoeuvres, the brakes are located at the rear to give the rider control, but if you’re looking to win the competition, you’ll need front and rear brakes. When performing tricks or manoeuvres, the front brakes should not be incorporated, as in case of a mistake the rider may lose control of the vehicle and fall over the handlebars.

As for the handlebars, they can vary depending on strength and weight, so the bars of a perfect stunt bike are shorter and have a lower angle, i.e. they will be steeper to improve the rider’s control over the bike.

On the other hand, BMX bikes used for racing have longer handlebars, which benefit the rider when performing fast movements; simultaneously they are lighter than those used for freestyle.

BMX is the acronym for Bicycle Motocross. It is an extreme sport discipline that emerged in California (USA) in 1969, the main element of which is a BMX bike.
(Photo: graf/ Unsplash.com)

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a BMX bike?

Today, BMX cycling is a discipline that encompasses a variety of acrobatic modalities, including: Dirt, park, freestyle and flatland. Each variant is practised under different conditions, on tracks, with ramps, among others.

Therefore, all these characteristics make BMX bikes an instrument of fun, necessary for risk lovers. In the following, we will show you a comparative table of advantages and disadvantages:

Advantages
  • They are very resistant bicycles
  • They have very good manoeuvrability
  • They require little maintenance
  • They are compact
  • They never lose their economic value.
Disadvantages
  • Not suitable for long journeys
  • They are not made for pedalling in the saddle
  • They do not perform well on long climbs

Without a doubt, buying a BMX bike is one of the best investments you can make if you are an adventure lover, you will enjoy moments of adrenaline while practicing a sport that is not within the traditional.

Street BMX or BMX Park Bikes – What should you pay attention to?

Among the different types of BMX biking are: Street BMX and BMX Park. The former, as its name suggests (street), is practised on the streets and the latter in skateboard parks.

Street BMX BMX Park
It is used to practice acrobatics in any space on the street It is used to practice on wooden ramps
The frames of this bike measure about 20 inches The frames of this bike measure 25 inches
They are shorter bikes and this allows you to keep your balance They can be used in streets

Scott Breithaupt was the first to use a bike to recreate the stunts of his motocross idols. Nowadays, there are different types of BMX cycling, the main ones being racing and freestyle.
(Photo: darko/ Unsplash.com)

What types of BMX cycling are there?

Before investing in a BMX bike, you need to think about which type of BMX bike best suits your tastes, because each unit has unique characteristics depending on the type it is built for. So, freestyle BMX bikes are smaller compared to conventional bikes.

For example, the frame, handlebars and tyre diameter of a freestyle BMX bike are approximately 20 inches. Also, some are designed for BMX beginners and the rest for expert bikers, the latter are perfect for all types of BMX riding.

BMX cycling has two modalities, racing and freestyle, the latter is subdivided into six modalities. Below, we will give you a summary of each of them:

What is BMX racing?

It is practised on a track similar to those used for motocross; however, instead of wet earth, BMX tracks are made of clayey sand that is compacted to prevent the wheels of the bicycle from becoming embedded in the ground. In this modality, 8 competitors take part and each lane is randomly assigned.

The length of a BMX track ranges from 350 metres to 500 metres. In addition, BMX racing has been an Olympic sport since 2008 and only 20-inch bikes are allowed in the Olympics.

There are BMX bikes for beginners and intermediate riders to suit any style.
(Photo: kopriva/ Unsplash.com)

What are the BMX freestyles?

Dirt Jump: The rider must perform acrobatic jumps that can reach up to three metres in height, starting from a dirt ramp.

Flatland: Generally practised on a flat surface, which can be concrete or asphalt, the athlete will have to perform multiple acrobatics on two wheels. In this variation, balance is the key to success.

Park: This is performed in a skateboard park, specially built with concrete or wood. Each stage has different obstacles, platforms and ramps designed to practice multiple disciplines on wheels, including skateboarding and skating.

Vert: The ramps are built in a semicircular or half-pipe shape and can be between 2 and 3.5 metres high. In this case, the rider must impress the audience by performing all kinds of stunts and jumps with his BMX bike before landing.

Street: This is practised on the streets, using pavements, railings, stairs, walls, etc. as obstacles.

The types of BMX cycling modalities include: Street BMX and BMX Park.
(Photo: alao/ Unsplash.com)

Buying criteria

Selecting the BMX bike that best suits your abilities is not an easy task; however, there are criteria that you should consider before paying. It is always important to consider them before making a decision, as BMX is a sport that requires a lot of caution when it comes to riding. Here are some of them:

Utility

You should consider what kind of BMX you are going to practice, then you will be able to choose the BMX bike you need with better criteria. It should be noted that there are different types of bicycles that adapt to different segments within the same BMX cycling speciality.
The following can be considered as modalities:

  • Race: It is raced on a track similar to Motocross.
  • Freestyle DirtJump: Dirt ramps are used to perform acrobatic jumps.
  • Flatland: Stunts are performed on a concrete surface.
  • Park: Stunts are performed on wooden ramps.

The secret is to know the product catalogue in order to make the best decision when making your purchase.
(Photo: schottner/ Unsplash.com)

Bike size

The size of the BMX bike will depend on your expertise, i.e. if you choose one with bigger wheels (26 inches), you will have more stability in your manoeuvres; otherwise, if you choose one with 20 to 24 inch wheels, you will have less stability, but the bike will be easier to handle.

Safety

BMX cycling is a high-risk sport; therefore, it is necessary to take into account the safety systems that make up BMX bicycles and the accessories that can be purchased. All this, in order to prevent any serious injury at the time of an accident.

Some BMX riders neglect the use of helmets, this is a serious mistake, as the protection of the skull and brain mass is very important when performing acrobatics. In addition, without a helmet, the forehead and jaw are at stake; in this area, the helmet can be either full-face or open-face.

Elbow pads are also important to protect the outer elbows in the event of a fall. Additionally, knee pads can prevent injuries during hard landings with your BMX bike. Then, gloves are incorporated in all BMX modalities, as they improve the grip and protect the hands during manoeuvres.

Special BMX clothing will provide you with a high resistance in case of accidents, as it is prepared to cover and protect your whole body. In addition, special BMX freestyle shoes are a bit more sporty, especially for competition.

(Featured image source: Kopriva/ Unsplash.com)

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