BMX Bikes: How to Avoid a Bad Choice

Choosing a Bike
February 12, 2019
BMX Bikes: How to Avoid a Bad Choice

BMX Bikes: Why We Don't Sell Them

BMX bikes are not carried here at sixthreezero. And that is not by coincidence, that's strategic. We at sixthreezero are a comfort-focused bike company. And BMX bikes by their basic design and nature are not designed for comfort. Their design is ideal for other aspects of riding. This can consist of performing tricks or putting people on pegs to ride on the back. A lot of younger riders like BMX because they are easy to maneuver. You can pop wheelies easier, but we don't condone that here!

Our riders and the bikes we develop are more focused on how do we take the pain away while riding? How do we get people in the most comfortable position? So they can mount and dismount with ease. What can we do so riders don't feel the residual pain effects from having taken a nice, long bike ride? The way BMX differs from the bikes we offer at sixthreezero varies from segment to segment.

We Focus on Niche Areas

At sixthreezero, we focus on a few niche areas. Number one: comfort bikes, which also blends with comfort and city bikes. We have a heavy emphasis on cruiser bikes. And we're now getting more into hybrid and commuter bikes. For non-enthusiasts, commuter bikes are also a part of hybrid bikes. The biggest difference between comfort bikes and BMX is bikes is the frame size.

Moving on to frame size and riding position. A BMX bike is a small frame. And it's designed to be small for the agility to perform jumps and tricks. On average, when you see BMX riders. You at least know BMX is a sport. Those guys are riding over dirt mounds, dirt trails, jumping, and things of that nature. For that kind of activity, you want a bike that's going to be:

  • Lighter
  • Has the ability to cut through the air
  • Has whip potential

Comfort Bikes vs BMX Bikes

When you compare that to, say, a comfort bike, a comfort bike, you don't care about the agility of the bike. In fact, for a comfort bike, the weight doesn't matter to the rider. Unless you're trying to ride fast or carry it upstairs or something.

What you're most concerned about on the comfort side is the positioning of the rider. As well as shock absorption. Most of the time on a comfort bike, you'll see a front fork with a shock. This shock allows for the bike to go up and down and to absorb incoming bumps. You would never see that on a BMX bike. Another difference is going to be between the riding position. In a BMX bike, the rider is going to be low and hunched over. How the bike affects your back and your knees are not of concern in the BMX category.

Comfort Category

Whereas in the comfort category, you're going to make sure that that frame:

  • Puts the rider in an upright position
  • Ensures their back is back, and their arms are nice and out in front of them
  • Relieve as much pressure off of their joints as possible

So I would say, generally speaking, riders over the age of 40, it would not be ideal to be riding a BMX bike. Unless, of course, you still want to be out there jumping dirt trails and doing crazy things like that. Then, by all means, pick up a BMX, have some fun.

Cruiser Bikes Compared

Looking at how BMX compares to a cruiser bike, it's like a comfort bike. The difference between a cruiser bike is you don't see the kind of shock of absorption you get on a comfort bike. Cruisers are more about style and riding position. And when you look at a BMX, a big difference between a cruiser and a BMX is going to be the handlebars.

On a BMX bike, you want to see straight bars right out in front of the rider's body. This will allow the arms to a position at a tenser angle. Thus, providing riders increased mobility. When you're looking at a cruiser, the handlebars are way bigger, and your arms bow out a little bit wider. As a result, your arms are not in a position that's conducive to quick turns. Consequently, it's a slower turning movement.

I would compare it to the steering wheel of a Porsche versus the steering wheel of a bus. When you see someone driving a Porsche. You'll notice that the steering wheel is of course tighter. It's also smaller, and closer to the driver. When you visualize driving a bus, you imagine a big steering wheel. Of course, it turns a lot slower, and the bus driver's in a much more comfortable position. It's kind of a similar comparison to a cruiser and a BMX.

Hybrid Bikes Win Hands Down

Now let's compare hybrid bikes to BMX bikes. The hybrid bike category can run the gamut. In other words that means it can perform the complete scope of biking capabilities. Even as an expert in the bike category, I admit there's sometimes a blurred line of what makes up a hybrid bike. Moreover, anything classified as a cruiser, road bike, mountain bike, or a comfort bike. Can fall into this hybrid category.

Usually, hybrid bikes take bits and pieces from other styles and then mixes it all together. For example, you might have hybrid bike tires that are like cruisers. But you may have handlebars of a BMX. So when we're comparing a hybrid bike to a BMX bike, it's a difficult comparison. However, the riding position may be more like a comfort bike. It kind of depends on what niche you're looking for. As an example, let's say you are an enjoying a casual rider who has back pain and you still want to ride on trails. Yet, you also want to be able to ride on the pavement at a fast pace. In this case, a hybrid bike would be for you.

Upright Riding Position Matters

But you what if you want to make sure your back is upright? You may opt for a hybrid bike that has an upright riding position, but a more aggressive handlebar. This is because you still want to turn fast and go as fast as possible when downhill.

There's a lot of different hybrid bikes. That each fills a variety of niche riding types and circumstances. For instance, if you're going to ride on a trail, down the street, or over a lot of curves. You're going to want the cross-functionality of a hybrid bike. If you're going stick to a bike in a specific category. We call this term "standard riding."

Commuter Bikes Compared

Earlier I mentioned commuter bikes and things like that. I mean, that falls under hybrid. I would say when looking at that, compared to BMX bikes, there's not a lot of similarities. Their biggest difference would be the tire size. Again, the focus of BMX bikes is not for speed. The wheels are small, so they're designed more for agility. Small tires allow the rider to maneuver in the air, tracks, or jumps with decent speed. But, when you increase the tire size, it's going to allow you to go much faster. In the case for BMX bikes having a 26-inch tire versus a 20-inch tire would make jumps and tricks more difficult.

Tire Size Basics

When you look at BMX compared to all other bikes. The number one difference between an adult BMX bike and an adult bike in any other category is tire size. An adult BMX bike will have 20-inch tires. For an adult bike in any other category, the smallest tire size is 24-inches. You can see already how much smaller a BMX bike is going to be from this information. The way we can help someone at sixthreezero who's looking for a BMX bike. Is that we can first try to identify if a BMX bike is even right for them.

Here are a couple of major buzzwords in the biking industry: BMX, road, and mountain bikes are the three words that people know when they think bikes. And a lot of people walk in, and they say, "I want a BMX bike." In my opinion, BMX is not the right bike category for most people. Especially for recreational riders. If you only want to ride around town and prefer ease, BMX wouldn't be a good choice. Other than the fact that a lot of people know BMX. They also may like the look of it. In this case, I'd first want to dig a little deeper to understand what are their actual needs are. And, I would say with BMX, the needs and the use cases are specific.

The Best Crowd For BMX Bikes

If a younger rider is looking for a BMX, and they have a specific need of, "I want to go off jumps, and I want to do tricks". I would back away and say, "We're definitely not the right company to guide you on that." Also if I asked this potential rider the question of, "What do you want to do with your BMX?" And they said, "I want to go crazy big air and do fun things." I'd say, "Okay, great. You need to go to another bike brand and talk to them about it because we can't help you."

But if they are looking to ride around town. And they said they want a BMX. I would say, "Let me show you something else in the comfort cruiser or hybrid category that will suit you better." And I would want to ask a little bit more about their body pain.

Questions I ask every potential customer:

  • How many miles do they want to ride?
  • How hard do they want the riding to be?
  • What kind of maintenance and safety features do they want?

So once I could answer a lot of those questions. If at the end of it, everything still leads me back to BMX. My final answer would be "Okay, it does seem like you need a BMX." And I'd be happy to find you them an expert in that field to get them the right bike.

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BMX Bikes: How to Avoid a Bad Choice in 2019 | sixthreezero