BMX Bike Reviews
BMX Bike History
BMX bikes, or bicycle motocross bikes, are made for use both casually or for sport. BMX got started back in the early 1970′s as kids used to race their bicycles on dirt trails, imitating their favorite motocross superstars of the time. The Schwinn Sting-Ray was the bike of choice, as it was widely available and the size of the bike was suitable for dirt racing. The movie On Any Sunday, a motorcycle racing documentary from 1972, is given the credit for making BMX a widely-known sport. In 1977, the ABA (American Bicycle Association) was created as a national sanction for the sport of BMX. In April 1981, the International BMX Federation was founded, and they held the first world championships in 1982. In January 1983, BMX was integrated into the Union Cycliste Internationale.
BMX bicycles are designed for a number of different purposes besides racing. Different models are produced for riding on the street, dirt jumping, or for use in a park. BMX bikes are made using various different types of steel. Cheaper, low-end bicycles are made using aluminum or steel. The mid-range models are built out of chromoly or hi tensile steel. The high-end, best-of-the-best, BMX bikes are built out of 4130 chromoly, or generation 3 chromoly. The common size for the front axle is 3/8”, although they are sometimes 14mm. The rear axle is always 14mm thick, being that it has to withstand much more abuse than the front axle does.
With the introduction and popularity of the cassette hub, BMX bicycles have began to use smaller gearing setups. Most older BMX bicycles featured a 44/16 gearing setup, while newer bikes are using gearing such as 36/13, 33/12, 30/11, 28/10, 25/9, and as small as 23/8. The advantages of using smaller gearing are its riding clearance and light weight. The freewheel hub is not used much any more, due to the fact that the smallest freewheels can be made is 13 teeth. This number is larger than most riders prefer. Also, freewheel hubs tend to lock-up or jam more frequently.
Most freestyle BMX bicycles feature front wheels with 36 spokes, although wheels with 48 spokes are often used to their added strength. Rear wheels are often the same, with 36 spokes being used for dirt jumping bikes and 48 spokes being used for street bikes, as they tend to have to withstand more frequent and harsher impacts. The average wheel size for BMX bicycles is 20 inches, although racing bikes may also use a 24 inch wheel. Dirt jumping and freestyle BMX bikes can have wheels as small as 16 or 18 inches for younger or smaller riders. Companies such as Sunday and Haro have produced freestyle bicycles with 24 inch wheels for larger riders, or riders who may not feel comfortable with the smaller 20 inch wheels.
BMX bikes can be used for a number of different purposes. The original purpose was racing. Racing BMX bikes are usually light weight and feature knobby tire for gripping in the dirt. Dirt jumping is also a popular sport which uses BMX bikes, and there are even bikes built specifically for this purpose. In this sport, riders launch from dirt jumps and perform tricks while in the air. The BMX bike can also take to the streets, with sports such as freestyle BMX and flatland BMX. Street BMX riding consists of using everyday terrain such as stairs, curbs, benches, tables, handrails, and pretty much anything to perform tricks. Flatland BMX consists of doing tricks using nothing but the flat ground, which makes for a pretty good show.