BMX bikes may not be as popular as road and mountain bikes, the fact is they are now competing with them. They even do better than road and mountain bikes in scenarios like load handling and tackling difficult terrains. Not as simple as they seem to be, BMX bikes some knowledge prior to its buying and usage.
Here, we present you with a beginner’s guide to using BMX bikes. By the time you are done with it, you’ll be able and prepared to use BMX bikes and learn new tricks about them. Before start riding a BMX bike, we need to know what BMX Bike really is.
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What is BMX Bike?
A BMX bike is an off-road bike basically used for racing and stunt riding. It is capable of handling both street and freestyle riding. Now this “BMX bike” also refers to bikes used for dirt, vert, park, street, and flatland riding.
BMX beginners are always advised to go for top BMX bike brands to have the feel of BMX bikes right from the beginning.
Some Basic Disciplines of Freestyle BMX Bikes
Before start using or riding a freestyle BMX bike, one needs to know about the basic disciplines of BMX bikes.
1. Street Riding
It is usually done in public places like streets or town square where there are a lot of obstacles to allow tricks. There one can use obstacles like stairs, pavement curbs, etc. to perform street riding. You have to master different tricks because the location varies so do the obstacles. The frame of bikes for street riding will be a bit heavier because it will require some extra reinforcement to deal with the impact. Be creative and enjoy street riding.
2. Park Riding
It’s the oldest method of BMX riding dating back to the 60s. Park riding is usually done at skate parks using the ramps and transitions. You need to have the feel of ramps as they are much steeper and slippery than they look on TV. For park riding, the bike should be set like a street freestyle BMX bike with smooth tires, a thick frame, double brakes, and a smaller crank. There are some BMX specific indoor parks where you can have a go at park riding.
3. Flatland Riding
It is a different and interesting riding style than the rest. The other styles usually have jumps and mid-air flipping, flatland requires touching the flat ground. There are no external features so all tricks are performed by a rider on the bike. Flatland riding is often known as ‘breakdance’ riding as riders pivot and balance the BMX bike on a hard flat surface. Usually, tricks like walking across the frame and spinning on one wheel are performed in this case.
Vert is also known as ‘halfpipe’ because it is a double-sided ramp inspired by skateboards. Old BMX riders prefer this type when riding inside of empty pools to get air when launching off the edges. If you have seen X-games, the bikes used in such competition are Vert. Vert rider launch in the air by going back and forth and performing a number of tricks. Sometimes, you will find extension boxes on top of vert as well.
BMX Bikes – Protective Gear
When you start riding the BMX bike, it is pertinent that you have all your protective gear on. You don’t want to get hurt anyway and the protective gear will help you in that. Here is mentioned the protective gear you should have…
You shouldn’t be riding a BMX bike without a helmet. In fact, you should have your helmet on riding any bikes. It hurts when you are sliding down a vert on your back or hitting a grinding pole even when you are wearing the helmet. Imagine what will happen without it. Always go for a better brand when purchasing a helmet, it will cost you some extra bucks but will definitely save you from worse scenarios.
2. Knee and Elbow Guards
You need to invest in knee and elbow guards. It becomes more important if you’re going to hit the trails and dirt jumping. You can wear them under your pants easily. Both soft and durable guards are available. If you are going on flatland or park riding, a bit more durability is preferred. Don’t ever go with soft guards on concrete as they will be trashed.
3. Wrist Guards
Some riders don’t consider the wrist guards essential but it is advisable to wear them. You have just started riding a BMX bike so it is good to have all your protective gear on. Your wrists could get exposed when you crash or fling your hands to protect your face. These guards reduce hyperextension in your wrists with protective sliders.
Gloves reduce the risks of grips rubbing and blisters in BMX riders. They are also significant in event of a crash. They reduce the impact when you are sliding down the trial or concrete. They let you have the feel of your rear brake in addition to increase levels of comfort and durability. BMX gloves are also not that expensive so, nothing’s stopping you from having them.
Some Tricks for Beginner BMX Riders
You have bought a BMX bike and have your protective gear on, now it’s time for you to have some basic BMX tricks up your sleeves. The tricks are different for different types of BMX bikes but we will mention some general ones here.
1. The Manual
Manual is a trick where you ride along pulling the handlebars back, you lean back having your buttocks over the rear wheel. In this way, you can coast forward and have the front wheel elevated. In order to do well in this trick, you need to have your arms straight and let the body control the manual. Now, maintain the balance by shifting your body weight to keep the front wheel in the air.
2. Bunny Hop
A bunny hop is an important building block of almost every trick. To perform bunny hop, you need to pull up handlebars. Now the front wheel is elevated and the handlebars are in forwarding position, make your paddles up and back using your feet. You go up off the ground and balance your bike midair then land smoothly. You may have to feel some shock while doing so which you’ll absorb using your elbows and knees.