Have you ever wondered about the history behind BMX bikes and how they have evolved over time?
Ride along with us as we study the story of BMX and its journey from an underground activity to a globally accepted style of biking. You will discover some amazing facts about these bikes that would leave you astonished!
BMX bikes are specialized bicycles designed to emulate the moves of motocross bikes. They typically feature a single speed, sturdy frames and responsive brakes, usually without shocks. BMX bikes have been part of the cycling scene since the mid-1970s, when manufacturers began producing a simpler, smaller version of beach cruiser style bicycles to meet the demands of dirt track racing. Since then, they’ve evolved in terms of their structure and design to become some of the most popular bicycles among all age groups.
This article will explore how BMX bikes have changed over time by focusing on three main aspects – frame design, components and suspensions. We’ll discuss why certain frame designs have remained popular while others disappeared due to technological advances or trends in materials used. Also, we’ll take a look into why certain components are essential when it comes to optimizing performance and comfort during races or when freestyling with your BMX bike. Finally, we’ll consider how suspensions were incorporated into later versions for an extra level of safety for those taking risks with their riding style.
Definition of BMX bikes
BMX, an abbreviation of Bicycle Motocross, is a type of bicycle that typically features smaller frames and wheels than those of most typical mountain and road bicycles. BMX bikes are designed to survive the hard knocks and high jumps that are normal with BMX activities such as freestyle tricks, racing or off-road riding.
BMX bikes were initially designed for track racing and dual slaloms, with their ubiquitous 20-inch wheels designed for maneuverability rather than speed. Today’s BMX bike can be used for virtually any kind of biking one wishes to do: street riding, park/trail riding, dirt jumping, vert/ramp jumping and more. All-around performance is the goal today in BMX bike design — more robust bikes with larger frames and bigger headsets used in multiple riding styles on various terrains. Nowadays, an array of manufacturers offer a variety of BMX bikes catering to different levels needs in terms of prices, components and sizes.
Importance of BMX bikes
BMX bikes were created as racing bikes to allow riders to compete in events focused on bicycles became popular in the late 1970’s. This type of bike enables riders to perform stunts with greater ease than on any other type of bicycle. BMX bikes are designed for optimal speed and agility, making them a great choice for racing and performing tricks.
The importance of BMX bikes is multifaceted, from their influence on sports culture in general to the sheer physical fitness that comes from riding one regularly. In terms of active participation, BMX biking has become an integral part of many people’s lives and brings together communities in a shared passion. The popularity and overall mass appeal of BMX riding has also made it into a very important part of sports culture all around the world, unifying nations as well as cities through competition and cooperation.
In addition to its positive implication on sports culture, regular cycling on even basic level provides a whole range of health benefits. The agility acquired while learning how to pull stalls, barspins and tables can be extremely useful while practicing other types of sports activity like surfing – allowing the rider to appreciate air time better when jumping waves – or snowboarding – being able move both sides while carving down a mountain peak. Developing control over body accents and having more fluid quick movements due to constantly training your reaction time helps maintain muscles toned but also helps with developing strength even in tight spaces including grip strength when going up stairs or simply using rails in your local park for tricks like tire slides or grinds.
Ultimately, what sets apart these type pf cycles from all other forms is fun factor – from casual rides after school between friends or urban missions around public spots looking for new lines, takeoffs or parkings lots with smooth cement with no cracks will unlock absolute joy for few hours — making BMX bikes something never forgotten by any rider that has ever had one parked in his/her back yard!
Purpose of the guide
The purpose of this guide is to provide historical and educational information about the evolution of BMX bicycles, from its beginnings as a recreational hobby of motocross enthusiasts to its modern-day designation as an extreme sport.
Using data gathered by BMX historians, this guide covers various eras in the history of BMX bikes, such as the influence of bikers like Bob Haro on the development and design of bikes, changes in technology over time, regulations and modifications for areas where BMX biking is popular, and events that are major milestones in the history of BMX racing.
This guide aims to offer a comprehensive overview on the past, present and future developments in BMX bicycles.
Components of a BMX Bike
A BMX bike has many components that separate it from other style bikes. Each component is designed to help with the dirt, big air and skatepark tricks that make the sport of BMX racing so exciting.
Frame – The frame of a BMX bike is typically made from lightweight 4130 chromoly steel or aluminum alloy. The frame is constructed in two main parts: the main triangle and the rear triangle. It also includes seat stays and chain stays that connect at the bottom bracket to form a rear triangle and a top tube, seat tube and head tube to form a main triangle.
Handlebars – Handlebars come in various sizes, rise and sweep angles to fit differently sized riders for different riding styles. BMX handlebars are usually chromoly steel with steel stems for additional strength, but aluminum alloy bars are now becoming popular too. Most bars have 4-5 degree upsweep and 10-13 degree backsweep but other variations have been seen such as zero sweep bar and mini bar designs for a smaller rider size or particular disciplines like street or park riding.
Forks – The fork on a BMX bike houses the front wheel axially by way of an axle at its center attached to dropouts on either side of it’s legs using hardware called axle nuts or quick release levers (QRs). These forks are typically made from either 4130chromoly steel, carbon fiber, aluminum alloy or magnesium depending on how much weight the rider wants to save without losing strength required for landings in big tricks or jumps.
Wheels – Most wheels today are composed of three parts – hub,spokes and rim- made from materials such as stainless steel alloys aluminum alloys ,and titanium alloys respectively as well as more diverse composites such as carbon fiber more recently used in wheel manufacturing .Today’s modern BMX rims sizes range from 20″ up to 36″. Additionally ,rims can come built in single wall,double walled ,or triple nailed configuration all of which helps strengthen them against impacts during landings .
A BMX bike frame is the backbone of the bike and it largely dictates how durable, light, and maneuverable your BMX will be. Nowadays, metal alloys are used to construct BMX frames and this has improved greatly over the years in terms of weight reduction, relative strength and stiffness. Old school BMX bikes used a heavier chromoly material, which is still seen on many higher-end BMX bikes to this day.
The tubing measurements have also changed over time as new designs have demanded lighter yet stronger frames, with some bikes now featuring thicker down tubes and chainstays for increased stiffness. The shape of frames have also progressed from the straight designs in old school days to much more bent around ‘suicides’ today which allow for adjustable top tube length but also decrease standover height – making them ideal for flatland riding.
Wheels and tires
The wheels and tires of a modern day BMX bike are much different than when this style of bike originally became popular in the late 1960s and early 1970s. At that time, most BMX bikes featured magnesium or steel bicycle-style rims. These were mated to smaller diameter knobby rubber tires, similar to those found on a dirt bike or miniature motorcycle.
Today, BMX bikes feature significantly sturdier rims comprised of materials ranging from aluminum alloy to chromoly steel. The wheels also include strong internal radial lacing that provides more strength without compromising the bike’s nimble maneuverability, vibration absorption or dynamic response. The tires themselves are usually about an inch wider than older models and with deeper tread for better traction, lower rolling resistance and overall comfort for the rider.
Brakes and drivetrain
The introduction of brakes and drivetrain components revolutionized BMX bikes, largely due to the ability for riders to control speed and their overall riding experience. Prior to these components, BMX bikes had been without brakes and operated on a one gear drivetrain system. With the use of these components, riders could now re-adjust the gearing sequence of their bike in order to better engage with various terrain types and riding styles.
At first, a brake mechanism was added that required a cable to connect the lever at the handlebars with the braking system at the rear hub. This was activated by pulling on the cable when either handbrake lever was pressed. This mechanical system was then gradually replaced by hydraulic (disc) braking systems which provided greater control for riders navigating through jumps or tight corners. A further development of this technology led to the creation of V-brakes which allow for quicker movement of cables but requires more stopping power than hydraulic disc brakes.
The development of derailleurs later enabled riders to change their gear ratio within a few seconds by quickly shifting between one front gear and three rear gears using thumb shifters or twist grip shifters located near their handlebars. Nowadays BMX gears are generally set up so that they have a wider range (e.g., 16 matched with 32 teeth) as opposed to having more teeth but less range (e.g., 8 matched with 24 teeth), reducing weight while providing increased clearance during larger jumps or banked corners.
Handlebars and grips
The first BMX bikes that were crafted in the late-1960s featured a style of handlebar known as a “gooseneck”, which was fixed onto the frame and fork. This design was adapted from motorcycles of the time, suiting them to jump higher, bigger, and faster.
As technology progressed, variations of this handlebar style began to emerge, some featuring multiple layers and offsets.
The mid-1970s saw the introduction of handlebars with more flexibility and modern designs, called the “Toddler Bar” due to its resemblance with a training tricycle. This sparked further development into other styles such as U-brake bars, 12 bars and steel straight bars which was popular at the time amongst freestylers. In addition to this came grips that enabled riders to firmly divert their attention away from their hands/arms/shoulders when undertaking jumps or tricks.
In contrast to flatland bike enthusiasts who mostly used straight handlebars all year round, Race and Freestyle bikers continued experimenting with new design concepts even until the 1990s which saw great leaps in terms of innovation in bike components including handlebars. With time, stylish riser bars made their way into being from 1994 onwards. In 2018, BMXers now have access to different options including alien spacer bars, traditional hi-tensile bars or integrated frames for different riding styles.
Riders now have access to various types of grips according to personal preferences or based on factors like weather conditions as well: From foam blocks, mag foam grips to regular flanged rubber grips and even glue on bar ends for extra protection during big air transfers!
III. BMX Riding Tips and Techniques
BMX riding has become increasingly popular since the 1970s. As you become more advanced, you will want to learn some basic and intermediate riding tips and techniques. BMX riders have developed their own terminology and tricks to describe their actions. Here are some of the most common terms used in BMX:
-Drop-in: Dropping into a ramp or jumping off the top of a quarter pipe (sometimes called the lip) is referred to as dropping in.
-Grinds/slides: Inverts, such as barspins, tailwhips, and even bonelesses require grinds or slides when setting up for them. Locking down on a rail or coping with a peg for an extended period of time is referred to as grinding or sliding.
-Tabletops/launch ramps: Tabletops (in a halfpipe or mini ramp) refer to launching yourself up and over an obstacle — like jumping from the flat bottom onto the top of the wall — and then coming back down again after having done your trick in midair.
-Flatspin Tricks: Flatspin tricks involve spinning around while not leaving your feet — like spinouts and whip stalls on both sides of a jump box.
-Bunny Hop/Scrubs/Woops: Bunny hopping is when you launch off one jump face enough to clear multiple jumps without losing speed, creating an “S” shaped pattern when viewed from above—also called scrubbing or whooping (as pictured below).
By understanding different terms used among BMX bikers, you will be able to enhance your knowledge of biking safety practices, join conversations about tips at trails with other bikers and move up quickly through practicing different forms of biking methods without getting too injured while doing it!
Proper stance and balance
In BMX, proper stance and balance is essential for achieving the best results when riding. It starts with the basics of finding the right foot placement and making sure your feet don’t interfere with chainring teeth or sprockets. Both feet should remain on the pedals at all times for maximal control over the bike, with only an occasional lift off to help move a foot from one pedal to another if needed.
Keep your weight well balanced in order to maintain traction throughout turns, which will also enable you to keep up momentum. When leaning into turns, shift your weight back a bit toward the rear wheel area – this will put more weight on back wheel and give you better traction.
Always try to stay light on your seat as much as possible too – standing up when going over bumps or taking jumps can help here too. With this position, you’ll be able to guide the bike more accurately and have more control overall.
Basic tricks and maneuvers
Since the early days of BMX, riders have been pushing the boundaries of what is possible with these small bikes. As an ever-evolving sport, there are a wide range of techniques and tricks which can be performed on either street or dirt tracks. The ‘basic’ manoeuvres can be described as completing a full rotation in the air, including forward and backward flips, tailwhips and barspins.
The basic skillset for all riders starts with a ‘grind’- learning to balance on rails or boxes around the course or skatepark. Once mastered, it is also important to know how to control your speed by scrubbing/skidding along other obstacles if you find yourself going too fast. This will help you to prepare for bigger tricks such as hopping onto ledges or gaps between two platforms. An array of handrail ‘grabs’ and styles are also included in this transition stage: frontside/fakieollie (launching off the platform), table tops (jumping up onto the obstacle without grabbing your bike during flight), tail whips (spinning your rear wheel 180 degrees mid flight) and more!
As countless tricks have been invented over time, BMX riders will often incorporate moves from different genres of skateboarding such as kick flips, gate grabs and general flip combos -all are suitable for practice on both street and dirt tracks! Knowing when it is appropriate to combine various tricks together can take time to master but once you do so, reacting quickly to any given situation will soon become second nature!
Safety tips for riding BMX bikes
As the enjoyment of BMX bikes has grown, so too has the need to be smart about safety. Understanding and following safety tips for riding BMX bikes will help ensure that riders enjoy their adrenaline-fueled hobby without getting injured. Before hitting the track or dirt trails, be sure to adhere to these helpful safety tips:
- Wear a helmet: A BMX helmet is designed to protect riders’ heads by providing support around the entire skull and chin/face area. It should fit securely with ample cushioning and an adjustable buckle strap.
- Wear proper clothing: Padding can be protective in certain types of falls, and long sleeves/pants made of sturdy material like denim will shield against scrapes and cuts. Clothing with bright colors can also make a rider easier to spot from a distance.
- Start on easy terrain: Before attempting difficult jumps or stunts, become accustomed with riding on flat terrain first in order to assess each obstacle logically and methodically for improved control when taking jumps or turns.
- Stay alert during rides: As many obstacles cannot be seen until it is too late, it is important to remain alert at all times while riding BMX bikes in order to adjust tactics quickly if necessary. If a jump is not up-to-par with expectations, it may be better left unridden rather than progressing unsafely.
- Follow park rules: Whenever riding at equipped parks, read any posted instructions/regulations to ensure proper use of ramps or other structures. Intervening authorities may fine riders if rules are not followed or respected properly throughout a session which could put a damper on an otherwise enjoyable outing!
The evolution of BMX bikes has brought us to a time where they are widely used bikes that are loved by all age groups. Today, BMX bikes come in a variety of sizes with frames for riders as young as two years old and professional riders alike. Manufacturers continue to design new features, components and technology that make a BMX bike both user-friendly and strong enough to take on the most advanced tricks.
Though there is no official governing body for BMX racing, it remains one of the most popular cycling activities and is still growing even in 2020. The sport itself continues to advance with new freestyle moves being invented every day. As long as there is demand for this type of bike, manufacturers will continue creating innovative ideas, keeping the sport alive for many more generations to come!
How have BMX bikes changed over the years?
BMX bikes have changed significantly over the years, with improvements in materials, technology, and design.
What is the history of BMX bike?
BMX bikes were originally designed in the 1970s for motocross riders to practice their skills on bicycles.
Who invented the first BMX bike?
The first BMX bike was invented by Scot Breithaupt, who is considered the father of BMX racing.
When did BMX bikes start?
BMX bikes started in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and the sport of BMX racing gained popularity in the 1980s.
Who made BMX famous?
BMX was made famous by riders like Mat Hoffman, Dave Mirra, and Ryan Nyquist, who competed in X Games and other major events.
What is unique about BMX bike?
BMX bikes are designed specifically for tricks and racing, with lightweight frames, smaller wheels, and knobby tires for better traction.
What was the first BMX bike?
The first BMX bike was the Schwinn Sting-Ray, which was modified by BMX riders to make it more suitable for racing and stunts.
What is the oldest BMX bike?
The oldest surviving BMX bike is believed to be a 1970s Schwinn Sting-Ray, which is now in a museum in California.
How are BMX bikes different from other bikes?
BMX bikes are different from other bikes because they are designed specifically for tricks and racing, with smaller wheels, lightweight frames, and different gearing.
Why are BMX different?
BMX bikes are different because they are designed for a specific purpose, with features and components that make them suitable for tricks and racing on dirt tracks and in skateparks.
- Best Bmx Bikes For Teenager 2023
- Best Bmx Bikes for Tricks 2023
- Best Bmx Bikes for Wheelies 2023
- Best Bmx Bikes Under 200 2023
- Best Bmx Bikes Under 300 2023