What makes a BMX bike different from a regular bike?

BMX bikes are different from regular bikes on many technical aspects and use purposes.

Generally, people use a regular bike to cruise around town, exercise, do some grocery shopping, or just for daily commute.

A BMX bike is different in that it is used mainly to do tricks, stunt riding, racing, and other cool performances.

If you’re curious to find out more, let’s keep reading on below.

What Is A BMX Bike?

Mongoose Legion Freestyle BMX Bike

BMX biking is the type of sport that is a cross between biking and motocross. Why is it a cross anyways?

This is because although motocross is super exciting and fun, many parents wouldn’t allow their kids to do it.

Because motocross is quite an extreme sport that may have a high amount of risk and injuries.

That is why BMX is born and BMX bikes are invented. It still keeps the fun part of motocross yet makes it safe enough so kids of all ages can pick up and have fun.

BMX Bikes vs Regular Bikes

Size

In general, BMX bikes are smaller than most regular bikes. Still, this depends on the size you’re getting. But the BMX bike body is almost always smaller.

Like regular bikes, they usually measure BMX bikes using the tire size. You will often find BMX sizes from 20 up to 29 inches.

There are smaller tires for kids who are beginning to learn how to ride a BMX bike.

However, unlike regular bikes, they also measure the BMX bikes in another different way. That is, by the top tube length.

The reason why they do this is because it helps riders find the sweet balance point when they do tricks like lifting the bike up and spin.

Top tube length ranges from 15 to 22 inches. Short riders can choose the shorter tube length. And taller riders can choose longer ones.

There are cases in which the short riders ride a long tube as well. This depends on their personal preferences.

So, when you’re shopping for a BMX bike, make sure to check what kind of size the manufacturer is talking about. Then, you’re good to go!

Handlebars

The Framed Impact 20 BMX Bike

On regular bikes, you will often find handlebars like the bullhorn, backswept, riser bars, or drop bars.

If you look closely, none of those handlebars has a horizontal bar across. This is where BMX bike handlebar differs from a regular one.

BMX handlebars are very high. They are kind of like those Harley’s handlebars–well, kind of. This design is inspired by the motocross sport once again.

It keeps the traditional design to help riders get the same feel like they’re doing motocrossing.

Also, BMX handlebars are usually constructed using a 2-piece and 4-piece assembly. There’s not a real advantage to each of them.

Even though we may say that the 2-piece handlebars are stronger because there are fewer welded points on them.

Pegs

Pegs are those tubes you see BMX riders have on the axes of their wheels. People can put 2 pegs on the rear wheels or 4 pegs on both of them.

Regular bikes don’t have pegs. This is because people who use regular bikes don’t really need them.

These little tubes are for the performer to put their feet on while doing tricks like lifting up the bike and spinning 360 degrees.

Pegs are great tool to help beginners get used to their BMX bikes and learn how to balance more easily. When you are more advanced, you can take the pegs off if you want.

Stem

The stem is an important part in a BMX bike because it directly affects the performance of your ride or your moves.

On regular bikes, many people don’t need to worry too much about the stem. Because a few inches difference won’t affect their easy cruising by much.

There are 2 most common types of BMX stems:

  • Front load
  • Top load

These 2 types are very simple to understand. Basically, the front load stem accepts the handlebar from the front.

That means you put the handlebar on the stem from the front side. And the top load stem takes the handlebar on the top down.

That means you install your handlebar from the top down onto the stem. Pretty simple, right?

What you should keep in mind is the rise and reach of the BMX stem.

Rise is simply how high the stem is. Reach is how far out that stem is from the center where the handlebar is hook on.

Usually, the top load stem has a much higher rise than the front load one. If you’re doing barspin tricks, go for the stem with a shorter reach. Because that makes it easier.

If you’re riding long trails, a longer reach is fine to keep you stable along the ride.

Gears

Redline MX 24 BMX Bike

This is one of the most important differences between a BMX bike and a regular bike.

With a regular bike, you will often find 1 to 21 or more gears. Some bikes even have Flip-Flop hubs to alternate between riding modes.

But BMX gears are very simple. The bikes usually have only 1 gear with no shifters.

BMX bikes don’t have shifters because they are not needed. Mostly people use these bikes at the parks, for jumping or riding flatland.

There’s no rough terrains to conquer. So there’s no need to make the bikes heavier.

There are 2 most common gears you will find on many BMX bikes:

  • Freecoaster hub
  • Cassette hub

The main difference between these hubs is the ability to pedal backward. With a freecoaster hub, you can pedal backward, making it a great choice for flatland and freestyle.

With a cassette hub, you can’t pedal backward. This makes it amazing for doing BMX racing at high speeds.

Other Accessories

BMX bikes don’t usually have a kickstand. Having one just makes it troublesome and difficult to perform tricks.

You will usually find regular bikes with a kickstand to help riders park more easily without scratching the bikes.

BMX riders don’t really care if their bikes have a few scratches. They are into this sport for the fun, challenging, and exciting moves.

BMX bikes absolutely don’t have a front basket or pannier. Nope, you don’t do your grocery on a BMX bike. That is the job for a regular cruiser bike.

Also, you won’t find any rear cargo racks, cup holders, shock absorbers on BMX bikes. Comfort bikes or mountain bikes have those features.

When to Choose a Regular Bike

The Elite BMX Bike Destro

You can safely choose a regular bike when you just need a low-cost transportation around town, to your school, to work, or to the grocery store.

If you want a hassle-free bike, choose a fixed gear. If you have back pain, choose a comfort bike. If you love riding your bike on the mountain, a mountain bike is your best bet.

Also, if you love cruising around town on the weekends or to the beach, check out some cruiser bike models. Those are the most suitable for this specific need.

When to Choose a BMX Bike

BMX bikes are for daredevils who love extreme sports. Obviously, it is not for the faint of the heart.

So, if you want to do jumping tricks, barspins, high-speed racing with your friends, then a BMX bike will be the best choice to satisfy your love for fun and adventures.

Don’t choose a BMX bike if you have back pain, knee pain, or wrist pain. It may just make your body pain worse.

If you’re shopping for your sons or daughters, then a BMX bike will be a great gift that will make them smile and enjoy every moment of the ride.

Conclusion

As you can see, the main differences between BMX bikes and regular bikes are based on the use purposes. When you look at a bicycle, if you see a horizontal bar across the handlebar, you know instantly that it is a BMX bike. This is the easiest feature to recognize. Hope the post was helpful. See you in our next posts!

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