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How to Shop for BMX Bikes

Author: Shawna Penton


The Bicycle Motocross, better known by its acronym BMX, has come a long way since its emergence into the world of bike riding in the 1960s.  The BMX today is very different from its infancy, so that it is a buyers’ prerogative to know what their needs and requirements are. 

BMX Riding Types

The BMX bike can be used in many different ways.  There are generally five different riding types such as “Cruiser”, “Dirt Jumping”, “Freestyle”, “Overlap”, and “Racing.”  These terms are self-explanatory in that the “cruiser” is used by casual cyclists on paved paths; “dirt jumping” is for stunts or performances; “Freestyle is on flatland with tricks on ramps or blocks; “Overlap” is riding that combines “freestyle” and “dirt jumping”;  and “racing” are on dirt tracks that includes jumps and turns on dirt surfaces.  With that said, the buyer must first determine how the BMX bike will be used.

Chromoly & Components

All bikes are made up of different parts and components that come together to form the bike itself.  There is the bike frame, brakes, handlebars, axles, wheels, tires, seats, and a few more other sections or smaller pieces depending on riders’ choices.    While it is not necessary for the buyer to become a bike parts specialist, there are some basic guidelines to know.

Chromoly is strong, lightweight and highly recommended for BMX bikes because it can take the “beating” BMX bikes need to sustain.   At the other end of bike part materials is plastic, and obviously not advisable!  The in-between options can be carefully considered.

Size & Fit

When it comes to bike size, bigger is not always better.  In fact, there are sizing charts for children, men, women and sub-charts to ensure that the right size goes with the primary rider.  Next to rider comfort, rider safety is the next top issue when it comes to proper fitting.  The best way to test fit, of course, is to have the rider try on the lucky bike and ride it around.


It used to be that getting a fully assembled bike is for the more casual and budget limited consumer.  The reverse is actually true today.  Completes are professionally assembled, top quality, and higher priced bikes for the true rider.  Bike manufacturers have taken up the responsibility of assembling, leaving the minor tweaking and regular check-ups to the local bike shop.  Completes are highly recommended so that the buyer can be sure of quality.


In general, you get what you pay for.  However, no bike is built for eternity.  A realistic perspective that balances financial investment, rider enjoyment and bike quality will go a long way.


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