What Is A BMX Bike? – Small Bikes, Big Competitions And Fun

What_Is_A_BMX_Bike

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As a kid, most of us either owned a BMX bike or knew someone who had a BMX bike. These seemed to be the bikes that all kids want, but these bikes aren’t just for kids, yes they are small but it’s what they are designed to do and BMX competitions are very popular around the globe not just for kids but in the adult world too, so this post is to give you a better understanding of just what is a BMX bike?

Back in my day in the 90s, if a mate had a BMX bike, it was like the bike to cruise around the streets on and for them to be the ones to give lifts by getting someone to stand on the back pegs or in some cases they would have front pegs so there would be 3 of us on one!

It’s only as I got older that I began to realise that these aren’t kids bikes, there are actual big competitions in BMX biking and a world championship! I have never owned one myself, but my nephew has one and I couldn’t resist jumping on it when I went with him to the local park where there happened to be a little BMX track, the poor lad had to try to kick me off it I was having so much fun!!!

Understanding The Bike

Firstly people are probably wondering what does BMX stand for? It stands for Bicycle Motocross. Basically it’s a bike designed for off-road use but not just for dirt, there are different types of tracks which are very similar to a motocross track with humps and jumps, but I’ll cover more of the different BMX disciplines later in this post.

Understanding_A_BMX_Bike

BMX frames are made of various types of steel, aluminum and carbon. The cheaper low end BMX bikes are typically made from steel, whereas BMX bikes at the high end are made from chromoly or high tensile steel. These bikes are smaller than your normal bike and they have a very simple frame set up and they use thick wide tyres to help with traction and also shock absorbtion.

It’s very rare to find a BMX bike with multiple gears and contain very basic braking system, or some types won’t have any brakes at all!

BMX bikes are designed to be very strong, light, simple and rigid and easy to ride and maneuver with only the slight different features between the intentions they are designed for.

History Of BMX

BMX actually started back in the early 1970s in California when kids started to race their bicycles on dirt tracks which drew the attention from motocross stars at the time. By the mid 1970s, BMX racing became huge and purpose built tracks were starting to be built with children even racing their standard road bikes off-road!

There was a documentary back in 1972 about motorcycle racing called “On Any Sunday” which has an opening scene of kids riding their bikes off-road and this documentary is said to have helped spread the word of off-road cycling around the USA, which then triggered manufacturers to start building bicycles designed for this sport by the mid 1970s.

As you can imagine, back then and even now, this probably came as a relief for parents who’s kids were inspired by motocross as this became a more affordable sport with the bikes being reasonably priced and the kids can go off with their friends to local parks or tracks unlike buying a motocross bike and then have to tow it or use a van to take it to specific tracks somewhere, and paying for fuel etc.

The Different Types Of BMX Bikes

Here is a list of the different types of BMX disciplines where the bikes may vary in terms of build;

  • Park – This type of BMX riding doesn’t occur on any rough terrain, so bikes for park riding are usually built lighter by reducing the structural strength of certain areas on the bike and these bikes may or may not have brakes installed.
  • Flatland – Precise balance is required for flatland riding on multiple parts of the bike, so these style of bikes have a different frame geometry from traditional park BMX bikes.
  • Dirt – Bikes made for dirt riding are similar to park style BMX bikes but they have thicker tread tyres for better grip on potentially loose surfaces.
  • Race – As you can guess, these are more tailored to gaining speed for racing, so race style BMX bikes contain a larger front sprocket than other BMX bikes to create a high gear ratio to pedal at high speeds and these bikes require brakes.

BMX_Race

  • Street (Freestyle) – Street BMX bikes are the bikes that usually contain the metal pegs attached to the axles to allow the rider to grind on rails for example. Also, these street BMX bikes are usually heavier and stronger than traditional park or dirt bikes due to the extra strain of the hard flat road surfaces. Usually street bikes will have no brakes installed so that the rider can show off some skills which involve spinning the bars completely round without any brake cable in the way and riders typically use their foot on the tyre to stop or slow down.

BMX_Freestyle

  • Dirt jumping – This is where the riders ride the bikes over jumps made of dirt or soil to become airborne. Dirt jumping evolved next to BMX racing and also a bit of mountain biking where the rider jumps off mounds of dirt and if they are good enough, perform a midair trick. The aim of dirt jumping is more about who can do the best midair tricks than it is to complete a course in the fastest time.

BMX_Dirt_Jumping

Things To Consider When Buying A BMX Bike

First of all it’s important to understand what type of BMX riding you will want to ride or take part in as listed above as this will help filter out the bikes designed towards your need.

Size – Always refer to the manufacturers guide size for the bikes you are reviewing. Don’t assume that the same size frame will suit you or a child across the different manufacturers. The bike needs to be big enough to ride comfortably and this is a very important step when looking for any bike.

Weight – This all depends on the riding style you are choosing to do as BMX bikes are manufactured towards riding styles in terms of lightweight for jumping as an example or heavier due to the construction of the bike to withstand impact from free styling on hard surfaces.

Brakes – As mentioned above, some BMX bikes aren’t equipped with brakes at all, so it’s important to take note whether you need brakes or not such as for racing or everyday use, you will need brakes.

I always advise, if possible, go to a bike store where you can try out different BMX bikes for size and test ride to get a better understanding of which bike suits you and sizing, then jump back online and search for the best deals in the bike you have chosen in the correct size with the correct components.

List Of BMX Bikes

Here is a list of some BMX bikes I have found on the market that may be worth a look at if you are looking for a BMX bike. These are in no particular order;

1. Mongoose 20 U Legion L100 2020 Complete BMX

Mongoose_20_U_Legion_L100_2020_Complete_BMX

This Mongoose BMX bike contains a freestyle frame geometry, removable brake mounts and an integrated headset. Mongoose has over 40 years of experience in the BMX world and is even recognised by the pro athletes with their feedback. The Legion series has everything a BMX rider could want! This bike would be a great choice for a beginner but also someone who is more advanced!

Check out the latest prices on Amazon UK

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2. Framed Impact 20 Men’s BMX

Framed_Impact_20_Men’s_BMX

This bike is designed for the adult riders. Aimed at beginners, but probably more for the advanced beginners who already have experience on BMX biking. The frame is made from HiTen steel so this allows lighter weight to gain some height on those jumps. The bike also features some brand named parts which you might find on the higher end BMX bikes so it is sure to last you some good years if taken care of properly.

Check out the latest prices on Amazon UK

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3. Mafiabikes Kush 2 20 inch BMX Bike

Mafiabikes_Kush_2_20_inch_BMX_Bike

This is another great bike for beginners and comes in many colours as well. A lightweight BMX with a very high specification, big 29.5″ Bars with a 9″ rise, alloy single wall front rim and double wall rear rim, 2.4″ Lagos Crawler Tyres, Tapered Fork Legs, U-Brake, and 25/9 Gearing.

Check out the latest prices on Amazon UK

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4. Sunday Primer 16

Sunday_Primer_16

The Sunday Primer BMX is aimed at kids between 6 and 10 years old and what a great bike this is for those kids who want to get on a skate park and start learning and practicing some skills at an early age. It must be said that it is fascinating to watch these kids who have amazing skills on a BMX bike at such a young age. Sunday’s unique geometry helps riders quickly adapt to bigger bikes as they grow.

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5. Haro Mirra Pro Tribute

Haro_Mirra_Pro_Tribute

Dave Mirra was the spark that revitalised Haro in the mid 1990s. Frame: 100% Chromoly Mirra Tribute Frame with Integrated Head Tube, Pierced Top Tube, Wishbone Seat Stays, Fork: 100% Chromoly Fork with Internal Threaded 1-Piece CNC Steer Tube, Tapered Legs and 5mm Dropouts, Bars: 100% Chromoly 8.75″ Bars with Haro Lineage Hevron CNC Alloy Top Load Stem and Cranks: Haro 1978 3-Piece Chromoly 3-Spline 175mm. This bike is more on the higher end of the BMX scale in terms of price, so it is probably more suited towards the more experienced or extreme BMX rider.

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Is BMX Up Your Street?

I hope this post has given you a better understanding of what BMX biking is and what BMX bikes are and the different types of riding.

Hopefully by now you have made the decision on whether BMX biking is for you or not or maybe your kids might like to try it out. It can be a fun sport and where I live in the UK, I know many places that are local which have either a skate park or BMX race tracks that are free to use when there are no race meetings on.

BMX

Check out more BMX bikes on Amazon UK or Amazon US.

Thank you for reading this post, why not post a comment below with your thoughts around BMX riding to start a discussion or maybe you have a question.

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10 thoughts on “What Is A BMX Bike? – Small Bikes, Big Competitions And Fun”

  1. Great read on BMX even though I was always more a Schwinn rider this is still a great informative post on BMX. I had no idea Mongoose and Haro were part of the BMX fam. Thanks for posting.

  2. I’ve known people back in the day who were totally into BMX bikes and this was in the 80s. BMX has always been a popular brand and it’s because of their durability. Great read. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks Geri. Yes they were very popular back in the day. They probably don’t seem as popular now as there are so many different bike disciplines but it really is still a massive thing for kids and adults.

  3. I used to think that BMX is a kid’s bike only. Seeing a grownup on BMX was a shocker like WTF is that dude doing, he’s gonna break the kid’s bike 🙂 Anyway, it’s cool to see how many different types there are. A great lesson on history too. I might as well check out that documentary to learn more. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you Ivan, yes that is usually peoples interpretation of BMX biking that it is for kids. I mean I did mess about on a kids BMX bike and found it fun lol so it must be great fun on an adults BMX!

  4. Love these bikes myself, but thinking about getting one as a gift this holiday season. Thanks for the sharing the post. Very informative. Helps a lot.

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