How to choose the right BMX (freestyle)

This is what you need to know when buying a bmx

Most non-bmx riders see bmx bikes as kids bikes and don’t recognize the differences in geometry (what makes one bmx bike feel different from another) or the differences between a $200 department store bike and a $1000 pro level bike from a bike shop like Joe Mamma Cycles. We are here to help you navigate the differences and guide you to the best bmx bike for the rider your buying for.

From frame materials, to quality of parts, here is a break down of the majors.

Frame material
Hi-tensile and chromoly are the two that you will find in freestyle frames. Hi tensile is great for cheaper bikes, but is much heavier than chromoly and not as strong. Chromoly is strong and light but comes with a higher price tag. You can also find bmx frames that will give you a mix of booth (often referred to as trimoly) allowing for a great combination of strength, weight savings and affordability.

Sealed vs unsealed
This refers to the bearings used on the wheels and the bmx frame at the crank set and head-tube (or steering). Sealed bearings are the way to go when it comes to heavier or more aggressive riders. The seals on the bearings keep the bearings running smother and will not develop ‘play’ through regular wear and tear as fast as a non sealed bearing. Unsealed bearings are great for affordability and serviceability, but do not run as smooth or fast as sealed. Unsealed are great for beginner, lighter or non aggressive riders on a budget.

Double wall vs single wall, is as simple as it sounds. Double walled rims have a second wall running through the entire rim on the inside. This makes it much stronger but also adds weight. Single wall rims are great again for lighter weight riders or non aggressive riders; lighter weight but less strength.

Crank length
Until recently crank length had never been something to consider buying a complete BMX because almost all complete BMX bikes came with the same crank length. Now riders that prefer more technical tricks tend to prefer smaller crank arms. Shorter cranks arms allow the bike to spin easier and make it easier to find the pedals when removing your feet for certain tricks like tail-whips. Longer cranks give you more leverage to accelerate quicker and are more stable when “airing”. These are concerns for intermediate to more advanced riders and should not be too big of a concern for beginners.

Size or Top Tube length
This refers to the frame size and how the bike feels. Big BMX bikes have a 21inch top tube and small BMX bikes will have a 20 inch tops tube. It’s important to to have a bike that suits the riders needs and their riding style. Putting a 11 year old on a 21” top tube bike, because they really like the colour is going to result in an un happy rider that can not safely ride the bike. We can help advise you on a size that will suit the rider so that they are going to be safe, fun, and be able to learn quickly.

This is the overall style of the bike. Shorter wheel bases and steeper steering for street and technical riding; longer wheel basis with “slacker” steering for park and bigger airs.

This gives you the basic rundown, but Joe Mamma staff is always happy to help you select the right BMX bike for your budget and riding style. Give us a call, fire us an email, or stop by the shop.

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