BMX stands for Bicycle Motocross and the bicycling sport is based on motocross motorcycle racing. The sport is generally thought to have started in the late 1960s. Schwinn was accredited for making the first BMX style bike which was called a Sting Ray. By the mid 1970s, many bicycle manufacturers recognized the growing popularity of the sport and started building bikes specifically for young bmxers.
BMX bikes come in many different sizes so that a diverse range of people can enjoy them. Riding can continue well into adulthood.
BMX bikes are used on dirt tracks for racing, in extreme games on ramps, and half pipes, and used for recreational purposes.
An important factor that the bikes have is their lightweight construction which is crucial for jumping and racing. The most popular metals used are aluminum and chrome moly (an alloy made from cromium and molybednum). Aluminium is particularly common in BMX race bikes, where the extra strength in the welds between joints is of extra use, as these areas become more stressed in races. Chromoly is heavier but more economically priced. Steel frames lack the lightness and strengh of chrome moly and aluminum frames but are less costly. Steel is a suitable choice for younger or less experienced riders. If you pay more for your frame, it will be lighter and stronger than if you elect to buy a cheaper frame. Buying a less expensive frame may obviously be a good idea if you do not intend to ride the BMX regularly. If you do intend to ride it regularly, it is well worth taking the plunge and buying a lighter, stronger, more expensive frame material.
A genuine BMX bike can be distinguished from regular bikes since nearly all of them have 20″ wheels (24-inch-wheel “cruisers” are the exception), upright handlebars with crossbars, small saddles, long cranks, rear hand brakes (front brakes are rare), and knobby tires to assist with traction in loose dirt. Handlebars found on 24-inch BMX and jumpers will be slightly shorter in rise than those found on 20-inch bikes. In addition, BMX bikes have only have one gear with one chain in order to do tricks. Generally, the bikes have padding in place on the crossbar, the straddle bar, and the gooseneck.
Brakes are important since BMXers require pure stopping power. Linear-pull brakes offer the ultimate grip.
There are basically 3 types of BMX bikes. They are jump/dirt bikes, racing bikes, and freestyle/stunt bikes.
Racing bikes are lightweight, durable, have knobby tires and are made to get around a track quickly. They can also be used for off road riding. Racers are usually the lightest of the BMX style bikes.
Freestyle bikes are used for performing flatland tricks, aggressive street riding and getting vertical at skateparks. They come with axle pegs for doing the tricks although some manufacturers leave them off so you can choose your own. They have a heavy duty frame and tires that are designed for pavement. They are mainly used in skate parks but also a great bike for riding to school or the store.
Freestyle bicycle wheels are usually heavy duty with 36 or 48 wire spokes. “Mag” wheels, made of sturdy nylon, are available too. The tires are 20 x 2.125 or wider. Unlike the other BMX types which have knobby tyres, the freestyle bike has smooth tires which make it suitable for road riding. Accessories include a GYRO (enables the handlebars to swing 360° without tangling in the brake cables) and stunt pegs (allow the rider to move around the bike) to assist in stunts.
Jumpers (or Dirt Jumpers)
Jumper bikes are a crossbreed of freestyle and racing bicycles. They bridge the wide gap between BMX bikes and freestylers (beefier than the former; lighter than the latter). Jumpers have a solid frame and knobby tires. The tires are the most heavily treaded of any of the BMX types. Their brawny wheels normally feature 36 rugged 13-gauge spokes. They usually don’t have front brakes. These bikes are generally used for trail riding and jumping in yards. Even if you do not plan on doing lots of jumps but instead want to ride down the beaten track, then this is the bike for you.
BMX sizes are mini for riders 4-to-6, junior for riders 6-to-9, expert for riders 9-to-13 and pro for riders 13 and older. Pro and expert bikes are sometimes available in XL (Extra Long) sizes.
|Mini||Low standover height, 155-mm cranks, 20 x 1 1/8″ tires||4 to 6 yrs old|
|Junior||Slightly larger frame than Mini, 165-mm cranks, 20 x 1 3/8″ tires||6 to 9 yrs old|
|Expert||Longer top tube than Junior, 170-mm cranks, 20 x 1.5-1.75″ tires||9 to 13 yrs old|
|Pro||Full-size frame, 175-180-mm cranks, 20 x 1.75-2.2″ tires||12 and up|
Popular BMX bike brands include Diamondback, DK, Mongoose, Haro, GT, SE, We the People, Huffy, Eastern, Forgotton, and Intense.