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All Bikes Are Not Created Equal - What Makes BMX Bikes Different?

Oct 12, 2007
Everyone knows what a bicycle is and how to use it, but you know that a BMX bicycle is not just your run of the mill bike. What makes a BMX bike different and special when compared to any other bike in the neighborhood?

The BMX bike is one of the fastest growing bikes on the market. In the 1960's, BMX bikes began as knock off versions of motocross motorcycles. BMX bikes were used to play in the dirt. Riders were seen jumping and racing around dirt tracks, as well as, around their neighborhoods on BMX bikes. Kids who were typically uninterested in motocross or racing wanted to get their hands on a BMX.

So, what is particularly different about the BMX that has taken the bicycle market by storm? You can identify a BMX bike from your average bike in a number of ways. Specific features of a BMX bike include standard 20 inch tires. The tread on a BMX tire is much different when compared to your average bicycle tire. A regular bike tire may have a few grooves or ridges, but a BMX tire tread has large knobs and crevices to help gain traction and maintain control in the dirt. Rough terrain would be too much to handle for an average bicycle tire, but BMX tread can get the job done.

An average bicycle frame is rather heavy when compared to the frame on a BMX bicycle. The lightweight frame sets BMX apart from other recreational bikes. The sturdy, yet lightweight, frame of the BMX can withstand shock well. The durability of the frame is necessary for riders who want to really play and the dirt.

How does BMX keep their frames so light and durable? An average bicycle frame may be made from stainless steel or another inexpensive metal. BMX frames are formed from aluminum or chrome steel. Aluminum will not rust and is extremely lightweight. These qualities help to make a BMX frame both durable and practical. This is especially important for youngsters interested in performing jumps and stunts on their bike.

BMX bicycles typically have only one gear. Unlike other sports and recreational bicycles, a single chain and no gear shift. This variation from the norm allows riders to pedal with ease in multiple directions. The ability to pedal both backwards and forwards on a BMX bike allows for easier stunts, tricks, and jumps. Can you pedal backwards up a hill on any other bike?

Padding is standard on a BMX bike. You may find padding in as many as three locations on a BMX. The crossbar between the handles, the gooseneck, and the straddle bar are common areas for BMX padding to be prevalent. Safety is of utmost concern when enjoying your BMX bike. The wide range of activities during BMX competition make the padding a necessity when it comes to safety.

Another unique safety feature found on a BMX bike is seen in the stem. Four large bolts help to increase durability and stability of the frame during rough landings. A rider may place their body weight on the handles during a stunt. For this reason, extra safety precautions must be in place.

BMX bikes are built differently from an average bicycle to meet the high demands of riders in competition. Lightweight frames and durable parts make BMX stand out from the rest. Safety features are extremely important to protect riders during stunts on uneven terrain. Noting such differences between a regular bike and a BMX, it is easy to see why BMX bikes are so popular.
About the Author
Gregg Hall is an author living with his beautiful wife and family in Navarre Beach, Florida. Find more about bicycles as well as bicycle clothing at http://www.bicyclepartsandclothing.com
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