Choosing the perfect BMX, Freestyle or Trick bike can be confusing as there are so many brands and styles to choose from. Here are some tips and tricks to finding the exact rig for your needs and save a few buck on the purchase.
Find out how tall you are and look for a frame size that fits you as closely as possible. This will ensure that your bicycle is comfortable to ride and performs accordingly. Also take into consideration your weight and choose a light, medium or heavy frame accordingly. This will ensure that the frame can handle your height and weight in order to last as long as you might need it to.
There are several different types of tires that will be available for your bicycle build. Depending on what kind of surface you are going to be riding on will determine the tires you will need. A smooth tread will be most effective on hard surfaces such as asphalt or hard packed dirt. These tires will also be good for skate parks and ramp parks. If you wish to ride on trails or softer surfaces you will want to choose tires that have a higher tread or even knobbies. This will ensure the highest amount of traction in loose dirt or soft pack terrain.
Depending on your riding style you will want to check out several different types of rims for your build. If you are planning on riding aggressively by jumping or performing tricks you will want to choose a very rigid double walled rim. These can be very strong and light and can handle a lot of punishment. Harder riding styles will require a more robust rim while cruising and recreational riding can use a lighter single wall rim. Make sure you choose the right rim for your style of riding to avoid problems later.
Again there will be different types to choose from. The trade off here is in the form of weight. The harder styles of riding will require heavier equipment while leisurely styles can save the weight with lighter bars.
Here is where you have a lot of choices. U-Brakes, V-Brakes and even Disc Brakes are available. The different types of brakes will directly effect your style. If you are into tricks and jumps you may want to choose a brake that allows some modulation in the amount of brake applied at any given time. U-Brakes are excellent for a modulated style of braking while V-Brakes are more like a switch as they are fully on or fully off with very little modulation in between. Disc Brakes are good for adverse environments such as wet or muddy conditions where a rider may require consistent braking power.
Here is an easy choice. You will want large aluminum trap or cage systems that are light and strong. Rarely do BMX style riders use clip-less or road pedals. Pick your favorite accent color and just make sure they are large, light and strong and you will be happy with your choice.
Don’t scrimp here as the chain is the main transfer system of power from your feet to the rear drive wheel. You want to choose a chain that is heavy duty, low maintenance and reliable. Some of the worst injuries happen when a chain snaps while under hard pedal force. Just make sure you keep it lubbed and check for wear periodically. Most riders complain about weight but in this case a few extra grams will actually be a good thing when dropping into the pipe or jumping a long distance. A good chain is recommended even in light riding conditions as this is the main drive for the bicycle.
This will determine the top speed and/or the amount of power you want. A large front sprocket will have low power from a dead stop but will allow the rider to achieve a higher top speed. These are usually used on cruisers, flat track and racing bikes. A small front sprocket will allow ample amounts of off the line power but will not allow a very high speed and these are usually equipped on park or trick bikes. There are several sizes in between so choose what best fits your style.
These are usually fairly close in size but a smaller to medium sized gear is recommended. Carefully match the front and rear sprockets to enhance your style of riding and the amount of power or speed you may require. Ask your dealer what the best combination might be for your style and you will find their knowledge very helpful in this area.
This is part of the braking system. Usually racers only require a rear brake, if any brakes at all, while park and trick riders use front and rear brake systems. A Gyro or de-tangler will allow 360 degree rotation of the front forks and handlebars without tangling the brake cables up. A Gyro can be an essential option for trick, park and half pipe cycling. You can choose different types that range in price so get what you need and make sure that the system is low weight and low maintenance. Once adjusted and tuned properly a gyro can come in handy when doing your best competitive riding.
This is an essential part that will wear your hands out or allow you to ride for hours. Get grips that are durable and comfortable. It doesn’t really matter what style you ride as long as the grips can take the punishment while remaining plush and comfortable. Stay away from cheap compounds that are hard unless you plan on wearing gloves.
Another important option. Get something that is comfortable and long lasting. The seat and the grips are probably the most personal choices that a rider can make. Some prefer low and hard compounds while others want taller and softer compounds and materials. If you plan on riding for long distances or for long periods of time then comfort will be the biggest issues here. Some downhill BMX riders prefer no seat at all.
When choosing your rig make sure to ask a lot of questions and explore all of the optional equipment. Save weight when you can and re-enforce the load bearing areas of the system. Look for local sales and coupons to help save some money. The best time to buy a complete rig is in the off season when sales are low for local dealers and they offer incentives and discounts for otherwise expensive BMX systems. If you have come this far then it is time to choose a color and scheme for your rig and then get out there and huck it up! Have fun but most of all wear safety equipment such as a helmet and knee pads. Make sure your equipment is well maintained and ready to ride. If you do this then you will be able to enjoy years of recreational riding and your bicycle will be up to the challenge when you need it.