Trick, Stunt, Jump or Glide: Beginners Guide To Buying Your First BMX Bike

You want to purchase a BMX (Bicycle Motor Cross)  bike because you crave speed, quality and endurance in your biking experience.  Buying the right BMX to fit your recreational sporting  needs is key to getting the most out of your ride and out of your bike. This brief guide will assist you in making your first BMX purchase an appropriate choice.

While some sports that you can take advantage of begin with play involving trial and error, BMXing is not that type of sport. BMX bike riding is akin to race car driving in that it is a marriage of person and machine. The machine needs to be properly manipulated to perform well in the sport and to keep the rider safe as well.

Top 10 Best Beginner BMX Bikes For The Money (2017)

we've focused on quality cheap BMX bikes in the under $500 - $1000 range, but prices change all the time - the price you see listed on the product page is always the correct current price!
BIKESOUR RATING
Redline MX24 24 Inch Wheel BMX Bicycle4.9 Stars (4.9 / 5)
Framed Twenty6er BMX Bike4.9 Stars (4.9 / 5)
Redline Romp Freestyle BMX Bicycle4.9 Stars (4.9 / 5)
SE Bikes Ripper BMX Bike4.9 Stars (4.9 / 5)
Redline Asset 20 Inch Freestyle BMX Bike4.9 Stars (4.9 / 5)
Fatboy Assault Mini BMX Bicycle4.8 Stars (4.8 / 5)
SE Bikes Everyday BMX Bike4.7 Stars (4.7 / 5)
Bounce Guerrilla Mini BMX bike4.7 Stars (4.7 / 5)
Framed Impact 20 BMX Bike4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)
Mongoose Legion L100 20" Wheel Bicycle4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

Having a comprehensive buying guide to assist your purchase is a great way to start because like it or not this will have to be an informed purchase in order to avoid unnecessary expense and an overall waste of your time. If you don’t get the right bike it also increases the chances you may injure yourself.

Get ready, get set and go enjoy the sport of BMX. Utilizing this guide will ensure you and your BMX  will enjoy every minute of the interaction as you achieve the exhilaration you desire. We know a bike can’t have feelings but you will have to check for a pulse when you jump off of this thing! That is why you have fallen in love with the sport!

How You Want to BMX Dictates Your Entire Purchase

First things first: The style of BMX bike that you require is contingent on two key factors:

  • Are You A Beginner to the Sport?

If you are totally new to BMX sporting then you are going to want to purchase one of the entry level bikes. You also are going to want to purchase a BMX with a braking system. Unlike other normal riding bicycles, brakes are not a given on a BMX bike. The brakes are omitted because the bike is much easier to maneuver without the brakes. For example when you need to spin a braking system can get in the way. Always make sure in your excitement to pick out your brand new bike that you check to make certain that brakes are included if you want them. As a beginner brakes should be a part of your bike until you build your skills and comfort in BMX sporting.

  • What Kind Of Biking Do You Want To Do?

Within the BMX world there are several genres of the sport. It is recommended that you experience the sport’s different factions before purchasing a bike. The BMX bike does not translate well on different surfaces meaning that a dirt bike will not necessarily give you what you need in a park. As a result you need to know what experience you are seeking prior to purchasing your first BMX.

If you want to go full throttle and hit both the dirt and the park consider investing in more than one bike so that you have the correct tool suited for each experience. Here is a brief overview of the different factions of BMX sporting so that you will be able to answer the salesperson when they ask “What are you into?”:

  1. Dirt Riding – This faction of the sport entails the rider hitting the dirt. It is a matter of preference. Whether you want to ride on the smooth pavement at a bike park or you want to feel the grit and course texture of dirt as you spin, jump and trick on your BMX bike. The main difference with the dirt bikes are that they have a sturdier tread on the tires.
  2. Park or Vert Riding – Vert stands for ‘vertical” and relates to the ramp jumping experience of BMXing. These bikes refer to the bike parks that you may want to experience and ride in. The park/vert BMX bikes are better suited by reducing the weight of the frame of the bike. The tires also feature a thinner thread than the dirt bikes simply because the thicker thread is not necessary – no dirt, sand, rocks or gravel. Park/Vert Bikes and Dirt Bikes are also called Freestyle Bikes: aptly named for the tricks, stunts and jumps – in no particular order – freestyle – that are primarily the function of these bikes.
  3. Street Bikes – These heavier versions of BMX bikes are for the street riding. They are built to last and endure on the street where many things are encountered. The frames are denser and are made to withstand whatever the street territory can put out.
  4. BMX Racing Bikes – Bicycles made for this genre of the sport feed your need for speed. Racing bikes usually have brakes for the obvious reason that if you are racing someone else you are going as fast as you possibly can on the bike and you are going to have to stop as quickly as possible as well. These bikes are lighter in weight. They also have larger sprockets and a higher gear ratio in order to amp up more efficiently and quickly.
  5. Flatland Riding – This faction is all about grace and light under pressure. Being able to maneuver and do the slower speed jumps and spins is what makes this sport a sheer delight. These bikes are built with different geometric configurations so that they are equipped to support a more intricate performance.

Types/Styles of BMX Bikes

Before you were into BMXing you would flip on a sport program on a lazy Sunday afternoon and marvel as the daring dynamos spun their BMX bikes on the dirt mountains and go on to tell their story. Now that you want to participate in the sport to a level where you want to purchase your very own bike there is a lot to consider. This sport can be dangerous especially if you have the wrong equipment. Getting the right bike is of paramount importance.

Not only do you have to be cognizant of how you want to play the sport you also have to be aware of what level of play you want to enter the game at:

  1. Youth – If you are buying the bike for a child the youth BMX bikes are smaller and better suited for him or her. Because of the nature of the sport how the bike fits the rider is super important. The rationale is that kids grow so fast everyday that you could turn around and the kid has outgrown the bike in no time. Typically, as a result of this line of thinking parents buy a bike that their kid can grow into. This cannot be the case with BMXing. The right size at every age is key to safety and the ability to maneuver the bike. At the youth level you are looking for brakes in most cases and a sturdy bike that will make learning the sport safer and easier for your youthful BMX rider.
  2. Entry Level – As an older adolescent, older teen, young adult or young-at-heart adult new to the sport; the entry level BMX is where you want to be as a first time buyer. These bikes feature standard 20-inch wheels which is a component you want to look for with your bike. This bike is designed to facilitate ease with learning stunts, jumps, and tricks.
  3. Mid Level – This level BMX bike is where the custom packages come into play. The sport continues to advance and now it is OK to get a bike off the rack. Ten years ago that was not a good idea and bikes were customized to fit the individual to prevent BMX fails. The Mid Level bike is designed to be the next level up from an entry level affording the rider more power and a lighter frame. This level is also where customized bikes build from. Depending upon your adaptation  to riding and your skill building prowess after your entry level experience you can go to a mid level bike (either customized or off the rack).
  4. Pro Level – These bikes are not for the BMX babe at all. These bikes are fully customizeable and for riders who do a substantial amount of riding and or are serious about the sport and devote a good deal of time to learning new and challenging stunts, jumps and tricks. These pro level bikes are for the BMXer who wants to get the most out of the sport by investing the most into the sport. In short, a rider who approaches BMX biking as a professional.

Features and Components to Look For:

It seems like there is a lot to know just to make a good purchase of a BMX bike. Honestly, there is a lot to know before hand and no way around it. The tricks, stunts and jumps take a lot of practice to appear as simple as they seem. Once you get the right bike in your hands – you are good to go.

As it stands you have gained information to help you put some thought into:

  • the type of BMXing you want to get into
  • the level of BMX bike that will fill your needs and get you into the sport

now consider…

  • what features and components to look for in the individual bike you want to make your own
  1. Weight – should be a feature of the bike that you consider when buying. As stated above certain factions of the sport require varying weights for ease in performance. This should be a factor you consider throughout the buying process. Understanding the requirements to perform the sport and the corresponding weight you need for your bike should be a component you keep in mind
  2. Frame Construction – if you can find a 4120 Cromoly constructed frame as opposed to a steel frame you will find it is lighter to maneuver and stronger for endurance. Usually entry level and mid-level bikes do not feature this construction material but it is a feature to be aware of and to seek since it will improve your overall experience with the bike
  3. Brakes – be ever mindful of whether or not the BMX bike has brakes. At minimum, rear brakes should be used as a beginner
  4. Sprocket – the front sprocket should be no larger than  25-30t.  A larger sprocket may make it more difficult to perform tricks, stunts, and jumps as it makes the bike heavier. A larger sprocket also means that it is a good chance the bike is an older model since the newer bikes feature the smaller sprocket.
  5. Bearings – keep your bearings in mind as you shop. Sealed bearings are better than unsealed bearings since the sealed ones translate to better wear and tear on your bike. They are less likely to become loose and need repair. Check to make certain you are sporting sealed bearings in the: rear and front hubs, bottom brackets, and headset.
  6.  Double Walled Rims – are a must when it comes to your BMX. It stands to reason that this is the preference since the  single walled rims get dented.

Getting The Proper Size

Now you have done all of your homework and you have actually made it into the BMX bike shop! You will probably not find a bike that is of poor quality in a professional BMX bike shop. Ideally the sales staff is going to want you to have the perfect bike to fit your needs and they are going to help you achieve that goal.

If you are taller or significantly shorter than the heights that are outlined you can consider getting a customized BMX bike. This is not the type of bike that you can simply raise the seat on and get the added height that you require.

Talking to your salesperson will clear up a lot of sizing questions you may have. Starting with a sturdier bike may be a remedy if you are a hearty-sized individual. Remember the other factors that come into play (namely the type of biking that you want to do and the level that you are currently on) as you consider the size of your body and how you fit on the bike.

Even if the salesperson wants to size you up on sight, insist that they do a proper measurement of you to get the best fit. The top tube is the measuring guide on a BMX bike. The general rule is if you are 5’7″ tall or under your top tube should measure 20.25″. If you are a rider who stands at 6′ tall or more your top tube should be 21″ or more. Your salesperson will know what bike frame is appropriate for your height. Just be certain that you are measured. As stated, these factors along with the other considerations of the type of riding and the level of entry will come together in an appropriate selection for you.

Ready to Hit the Trail or the Park?

Take advantage of the information you can ascertain on the internet in terms of the history of the sport. This sport is ever evolving and there are new items, innovations on bikes, new tricks, stunts or jumps that come into existence all of the time.

Visiting a chat room of bikers is a great idea so you can learn first hand how to stay on top of the sport and on top of your bike unless you are turning it out for a stunt. Viewing BMX fails online may prevent you from having them.

Wearing a helmet and protective padding is a wise choice and a requirement at many trails and parks. Though this guide does not go into detail involving these items. This is something you would do well to look into to ensure you are properly protected before you ride.

Happy Trails – or  Happy Bike Park As The Case May Be

Don’t be enamored of the shiny colors or the bells and whistles on the bikes. Look past the shiny polish to make certain the components you need are in place to ramp up your BMX experience to the level you require.

As you advance in levels of BMX biking you will probably have to purchase different off the rack bikes (complete) you may opt to customize your next bike. BMXing is a multi-layered and nuanced sport. If you stay involved with the sport you will need new equipment at some juncture. This guide is designed to help you purchase your first BMX but can be used for subsequent purchases as well.

Either you have made an educated, well-researched decision and purchased your BMX bike or you are about to. Enjoy your sport confident that nothing stands between you and your best performance. Practice well, be safe and BMX to your hearts content knowing you have the proper tool to rule the BMX road.

BMX bike park via PhoS/Pixabay, CC0

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