Getting To Know Your BMX
So you have decided that a BMX bike is going to be your "thing". You have picked out the style you want, scoped out the stunts you want to be able to perform and are ready to make that purchase. Well here are a few things you may want to know about a BMX before you make that sale.
One aspect to consider is, of course, price. This may range from as little as $100, on up to as much as $2000, depending on the style and quality of the bike. The price reflects the attention to detail that the builder has applied to the construction, and the quality of the materials used. BMX has been building bikes since the early 1970s, when dirt racing was first becoming popular among young people. Since then the styles and types of bikes available have flourished, from leisure bikes for the hobby freestyle cyclist to high performance bikes used in the Olympic games. The price varies with the different styles of bikes and what they will be used for.
Another thing to be sure about is the type of BMX bike you will be needing. The most common BMX model types are race, freestyle (park, street, and vert), dirt jumping and flat land. Each of these has a specific design which is element to its use. Racing bikes, as well as flat land bikes, are built from lighter materials, such as titanium and aluminum, to allow for greater speed. These bikes are usually smaller as well, and would most likely not hold up to excessive jumps or some of the rougher freestyle stunts. Freestyle and dirt jumpers are generally among the more expensive styles. These bikes are usually made from higher quality, stronger and more resilient materials such as chromoly or hi tensile steel. The reason for this is to help ensure less breakage under the pressures of the much rougher use of these bikes. Chromoly and hi tensile steel are around the same level of strength and weight, so either of these materials would be equally enduring. The highest quality bikes are built with 4130 chromoly, or generation 3 chromoly, this high density material is a steel alloy that has an extremely high resistance to bending and breakage and is extremely easy to weld.
BMX bikes have come a long way since their beginning, now offering bikes for men women and children. This allows a much wider range of users, enabling many, many people to enjoy the BMX experience. When you are deciding on the style and use of your BMX bike you must also figure out what size bike will be needed. First you should consider the length of the top tube, this is usually the most common measurement. The bar running from the handle bars to the seat is the top tube. Typically this bar ranges from 15 to 21 inches, the longer the tube means the longer the wheel base. A longer wheel base will provide more stability when riding at high speeds. Wheel size should be chosen based on the type of riding you will be doing. For street riding and some types of racing the most common wheel size is the 20-inch. But keep in mind that for cruiser class racing a 24- to 26-inch wheel is actually required.
The height of the seat will greatly affect your comfort and mobility during riding. Different seat heights should be tested for the individual rider, and will also need to be considered for the types of stunts you might plan to do. It is common practice, in street riding, to keep the seat in the lowest position. This allows you more room when performing tricks. However, for the more difficult tricks it is suggested that you raise the seat up high, allowing you to pinch the seat with your knees. The more comfortable position when riding is with the seat high.
It is important to remember that the length of the bike and the height of the seat will affect the feel of the bike the most. For instance a very tall rider may be likely to prefer the fit of a shorter bike rather than a taller one. Be sure to make your comfort, rather than your height, the priority when you decide on a frame size. Most bike shops will allow the customer to try the bike out before buying it to ensure a proper fit. You should always try riding your bike of choice first, before buying it, to ensure that the comfort and reach of the bike will suit you. A BMX bike usually appears smaller in comparison to other racers, but this is deceiving, the smaller stature of the bike allows for a lighter, faster machine, as well as allowing for better maneuverability.
Wheels and tires are something to consider as well. The wheels for the BMX are generally lighter than those for other freestyle and jump bikes. However, a standard 32-spoke aluminum BMX wheel may not stand up to the demands of freestyle and jump, so be sure to acquire the correct wheels for the job before purchasing a BMX-specific bike. The better wheels for freestyle and jumping are 48-spoke or mag wheels, which are sturdier than those used in BMX racing. The knobby tread that is standard on BMX tires is the best for speed and traction, however the tires on jump bikes are usually the most heavily treaded of any BMX bike. These are designed more for traction than for speed. Freestyle tires are about 2.125 inches or wider and have a smooth tread for pavement or indoor use. You will generally find axle pegs on a freestyle bike as well, these are used for tricks.
The handlebars of your BMX should also be considered, for the freestyle or jump bikes the bars rise steeper allowing for better freedom of movement when doing tricks and jumps. Whereas the handlebars for race or flatland are generally upright with crossbars, small saddles, long cranks and rear handbrakes. It is important to remember, for safety, that the handlebar grips be fully covered including all metal on the handle bar ends.
Brakes are element to the overall safety of the rider and should always be adamantly equipped for the style of bike you have chosen. The freestyle bike utilizes a cable detangling headset, this headset allows the handlebar tube to spin completely around without tangling the front brake cable. A U-Brake is generally preferred on freestyle bikes allowing for better modulation, or ease of brake adjustment. Typically a jump bike will only have a rear brake unlike the much more complex freestyle which maintains both a front and rear brake.
So whether you choose race, freestyle, dirt jumping or flat land, a BMX is a worthwhile investment. The quality of a BMX is always of the highest levels and the resale value of a well maintained bike is much higher than that of most other kinds of bikes. With its rich history and diverse uses at present a BMX bike can be utilized to achieve the satisfaction you are craving. Remember to try the bike out before purchasing it, and always be sure to check that the bike has the proper equipment for the type of riding you will be doing. Overall a BMX bike is not just a bike, but a tool that can be used to perform some of the most extreme tricks and stunts capable on two wheels, or one in some cases. This machine should always be taken care of properly, and taken serious when attempting any stunt. Be sure to apply the correct type of bike to the correct usage, otherwise breakage will occur. Follow these tips for getting to know your BMX and soon you will be enjoying the awesome experience that is known as BMX!