BMX bikes originated in the early ’70s when kids took to dirt tracks to imitate motocross races. What started as some good clean fun quickly became a very competitive sport, and as a result, the demand for BMX bikes and parts became higher and more specialised, and a number of subcultures formed.
Even today, BMX bikes are still very trendy and BMX racing is part of the UCI, and it’s an Olympic sport. Professional BMX riders are supported by sponsors, and they compete in various events. If you’re considering buying a BMX bike, there are a couple of important things you need to think about in order to make sure you buy the right one. BMX bikes aren’t the most affordable ones, so it’s worth doing your due diligence before spending your hard-earned money.
The most popular BMX discipline is freestyle. Freestyle bikes are designed to withstand the abuse that comes with riding in skate parks and performing dirt jumps. This means the materials and parts the bike is made of should be durable, yet lightweight for easier maneuvering. BMX race bikes, on the other hand, are designed with speed, acceleration, stability and agility in mind. But here is where things get complicated. Freestyle BMX riding includes a couple of sub-disciplines, and there’s a lot of crossover within them. For that reason, most people get an all-rounder model that’s versatile and can be ridden in multiple disciplines, such as park and street riding.
BMX bikes can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars, depending on the materials it’s made of and the brand that makes it. Most BMX bikes for children cost $200-$400, and they typically come with high-tensile steel frames and one-piece cranks. Most kids models don’t have sealed bearings, or they’re only found in the rear hub. Mid-level BMX bikes cost anywhere from $500-$1000 and they’re suitable for beginners who are just diving in the world of BMX. Most of these bikes feature quality Chromoly frames, two- or three-piece cranks and parts like stunt pegs.
BMX bikes that cost over $1000 are often custom-built and come with the strongest and lightest parts. These bikes feature strong rims, light hubs and sealed bearings. Some of the most popular brands that manufacture BMX bikes are the timeless WeThePeople, Colony, Fit Bike Co. and Eastern. The great thing about buying a Colony BMX bike, for example, is the wide range of replacement Colony parts, allowing you to upgrade, fix or customise your bike however you want to.
As you can see, the materials the BMX bike is made of will dictate its price. Most entry-level and freestyle bikes are made from Chromoly 4130, which is a steel alloy providing superior strength when compared to other types of steel. Chromo steel can be made thinner, which makes it lighter. But it can also be reinforced around the joins and ends for extra strength. The reason steel is such a popular material to manufacture BMX bikes and replacement parts is because it’s resistant to wear, it’s easy to work on, and provides more comfort. For racing, however, lightweight aluminium is the preferred material. High-end BMX race bikes are usually made using carbon fibre as it’s even more lightweight than aluminium, and it provides vibration dampening.
BMX bikes are ridden by people of all ages and sizes. Even though the wheel size of most BMX bikes is the same, the frame size is different in order to accommodate the height of the rider and their riding style. Most freestyle BMX bikes feature 21-inch top tubes so that you have enough room to swing the bike under you when performing tricks. Furthermore, they have shorter seats that are easier to whip. The only exception to this rule are flatland bikes, as they’re lighter and feature shorter tubing for better control and balance. Race BMX bikes feature slacker head angle and a longer wheelbase that allow the rider to sit further back on the bike for better handling and stability at a higher speed. Race BMX Bike frames come in a wider range to accommodate the rider age spread that BMX races see.
Where to Buy BMX Bikes and Parts?
BMX bikes can be found in most bicycle stores, although the range may be limited. There are also BMX-exclusive stores that are run by dedicated BMX riders who can guide you into making the right purchase. Shopping at these stores is recommended if you want a custom-built bike. You can buy online directly from the manufacturer, which reduces some of the middleman costs. For example, you can shop directly at Colony BMX for bikes and replacement Colony parts. However, the downside to shopping online is that you can’t inspect the bike, see if it fits you and take it for a test run.