How to Choose the Best BMX Bike - Tips & More!
BMX bikes are all about fun and BMX style riding is loved by adults and kids alike. Inspired by the motocross riding style and dirt jump tracks, the first BMX riders were mimicking their favorite motocross riders at local tracks and backyard jump lines. When wanting to jump into the exciting world of BMX riding choosing the right BMX can be a daunting task with all of the options available on today's market. We're here to clear the water and give you a strategy when shopping for a new BMX bike. Our guide will ensure you're well educated on the modern offerings as well as know what type of BMX bike best suits your specific needs. Thanks for reading along!
Maximize Your Budget
BMX bikes cover a broad spectrum of price points and it's not always obvious what seperates a $200 BMX bike from a $1,200 model. Knowing what you expect to get out of your new bike, as well as what your ridin goals are will help narrow down where you fit in regarding price point. You want to purchase enough bike to push your riding to the level desired, but don't want to buy more bike than you need and be left without essential accessories or a maintenance budget. Be aware of your budget, maximize if efficiently, and you'll end up with the right bike for your riding goals.
Respect Your Skill-level
We all started from the bottom, and there's no shame in what level your BMX skills are at! No entry level BMX rider wants to invest in a pro model bike without knowing that the added benefits from ultralight design and performance components will directly improve their riding experience. Often times a higher end model will have a higher cost to maintain and replace parts. Viceversa if you've been riding for a while and are looking to upgrade you definitely don't want to sell yourself short when looking to improve your riding.
Know Your Riding Style
Within BMX riding there are several different disciplines and a rider can fall into any one of them, or more than one. Each style has specific demands that affect frame geometry and design, component specifications, and price. Certain models are considered well rounded and suitable for riding across disciplines, while others are specialized for their distinct niche. Know what riding style you wish to get into and capitalize on a BMX bike that will provide added performance for your personal taste.
Street: Urban riding at it's finest. Street BMX is focused on the urban infrastructure and use the cityscape as their skatepark. Stairs, rails, banks, drops; the options are as endless as your imagination out there.
Park: Park riders are regulars at the local skateparks. Commonly shared with skateboarders, BMX park riders are after ramps, bowls, rails, and manmade features found in bike and skate parks.
Flatland: One of the more intimate disciplines of BMX. Flatland riders are limited to their body and the bike, nothing more, to perform tricks and stunts. This style of riding is often practiced in parking lots, basketball courts, and the garage. Balance, coordination, and strength come into pay when performing flatland tricks.
Dirt Jumpers: Go big or go home. Dirty jumpers are designed to catch air and take impacts. Jump lines chocked full of berms and doubles are typical sights at a a dirt jump park. These BMX bikes run wider tires and can feature a front suspension fork to aid in landing big airs.
Race: The niche that started it all. BMX racing is at the core of the BMX bicycle's existence. Originally BMX was the adaptation of motocross racing to standard bicycles. These bikes feature tight racing geometry and are made of the lightest weight materials. They are not designed to take impacts and abuse typical of other BMX riding styles however it's up to you how far you push your new bike!
BMX bike frames come in different types of construction, each with unique benefits and drawbacks. The material your bike is made of can greatly affect the ride quality, performance, and cost.
Chromoly: Steel is real. Chromoly is one of the most common metals used in BMX frame fabrication. Commonly found in frames, forks, handlebars, and other components; it's strength to weight ratio is great and the metal is extremely durable.
High-Tensile Steel: Commonly referred to as "Hi-Ten", is extremely durable yet sacrifices weight for the level of strength. These BMX bikes are on the heavier side of the market but with the use of Hi-Ten steel these bikes are the strongest and most affordable options in the BMX line up.
Alloy: Aluminum is the metal of choice for BMX racing. Ultralight and still plenty strong, alloy frames will have you pulling new records at your local pump tracks. These frames are not designed to take the abusive impacts associated with street riding or big airs, they are specifically designed to be fast!
Carbon Fiber: Carbon frames are not too common in the BMX world, however they are making their debut in the race scene for valid reason. Carbon fiber provides the ultralight qualities of aluminum and the durability of steel in the same package. Getting the best of both worlds comes with a higher price tag, but many racers will opt for this style frame for the speed, strength, and vibration absorption.
Components & Small Parts
When shopping for components and small parts for your BMX bike it's best to start with reputable brands within the industry. We carry the brands CULT, Subrosa, ODI, Odyssey and more! Name brand parts are going to be more durable, lighter weight, and look nicer than generic components. Bearings are a common component found on the BMX bike responsible for the moving parts on the bicycle. Bearings often come sealed or unsealed depending on the quality and price of the BMX bike. Opting for sealed bearings on a bike may come with a higher price tag, however savings in the long run can outweigh the difference in cost. Sealed bearings are much less prone to weather damage and require less maintenance than their unsealed counterpart. The wheels, bottom bracket, and headset are all common parts that riders prefer to have sealed bearings on for a smooth, efficient ride, all season long.
BMX Bike Sizing
Despite BMX bikes all appearing to be "small" compared with standard bicycles, there is a great importance on selecting the right size and style BMX for your body type. A bike that improperly fits can cause discomfort and create more potential for injury. Top tube length is the major indicator in sizing a BMX bike. You want enough leg room to not hit your knees on the handlebars, and a rider with longer legs will opt for a longer top tube length. Below is a general guide to BMX bike sizing for kids and adults.
Rider Height & Top Tube Length
|Rider Height||Top Tube Length|
In addition to the right size frame, there are options in wheel size as well. While the majority of BMX bikes on the market are 20" there are options for smaller wheels ideal for freestyle tricks to bigger wheels for cruising around the city. It's best to try out some different models and see what wheel size feels best under your feet. Below is a chart showing typical wheel size related to riding style.
Riding Style & Wheel Size
|Dirt Jumper / Trail||20" - 24"|
Now that you're armed to the teeth with information on BMX bikes and riding styles it's time to buy! Keep in mind if you order a bike and have it shipped to your home it will arrive in a bike box and it will not be fully assembled. General assembly left to be done out of box includes but is not limited to; installing the pedals, handlebars, front wheel, and setting up the brakes. If this is your first time building a bike we recommend you have it shipped to our store for free assembly and in store pickup or have it assembled by your local bicycle mechanic. This ensures a professional build and will provide the highest performance and safest experience for a new rider. Now enough reading, it's time to get rolling on your new dream BMX bike! Keep it rubber side down!
Thanks for reading our article on how to choose the best BMX bike. If you have any questions or want BMX bike, parts, or gear recommendations drop us a line and we'll get you rolling! We also have a great article on How to Choose the Best Kids' Bike, How to Choose The Best Bike Pedals, and How to Choose the Best Bike Shoes.