History of BMX

Despite the supremacy of road biking and mountain biking, BMX bikes have not been left far behind. Although they feature simple operation and design, they can support particular weights and conquer challenging terrain that can’t be achieved by other bicycles, such as mountain bikes.

The bicycles originated as traditional bicycle offshoots, and they have now evolved to include a wide range of riding styles for different users. While the bicycles appear easy to understand, they are actually highly complex, and buying one that is not the best fit for you can lead to a lot of regrets.

In this article, you will get insights into the history of the BMX bike.

What Is A BMX Bike?

In general, a BMX is a bike that is intended for stunt riding and racing. Street and freestyle riding have become a significant part of BMX, with several bicycles managing both.

BMX is actually short for “bicycle motocross” due to the origins of the bicycle and its use, which were for motocrossers wanting a bike like that for riding on dirt courses.

In today’s market, the term “BMX bike” refers to the original race bikes and dirt bikes, vert bikes, parks, street bikes, flatland bikes, and freestyle bikes.

It is virtually impossible to see significant differences in BMX bikes from one style to another despite the variety of design styles.

History Of BMX Bikes

History Of BMX Bikes

While it is not precisely known when BMX biking first began, it can be traced back to the early 1970s, when it was perceived as a form of bicycle motocross. This was before other disciplines emerged.

While an assumption can be made that early BMX biking methods may have developed in overseas countries, such as the US, it wasn’t until 1971 when the motocross-focused a documentary that BMX started emerging.

Although the movie was mainly focused on motocross bikes and other kinds of off-road motorcycles, its opening credits scene is mainly responsible for gaining American attention, primarily in Southern California.

Early forms of BMX cycling are spotlighted in the time when credits were being opened, which include footage of makeshift BMX bikes being ridden by boys around dirt trails and vacant lots, as well as casual race settings.

After a while, other kids caught on to the fad, and many bought Schwinn Sting-Ray bicycles, just like they had seen in the movie.

Parents whose kids were interested in motocross could use this as a compromise if they were not willing to buy costly motorbikes or had no desire to have their kids ride them.

Sting-Ray bikes paved the way for BMX bicycles that feature large seats, aggressive design, small frame set up, and tall handlebars.

In the past, Sting Ray was modified by BMX pioneers to resemble a motocross bike so that dirt courses with jumps and other obstacles could be handled with more ease.

By 1977, BMX races started to pop up all over the west coast, with loosely organized competitions.

​The American Bicycle Association was established during this time for the purpose of providing more organizations with formal authorized events.

As the years went on, BMX racing grew and spread to a place in the summer Olympics in 2008, where it remains an official event now. Many races occur across the globe, from Hong Kong to the birthplace of BMX, Southern California.

In the mid and late 1970s, freestyle BMX riding became famous thanks to pioneers like Bob Haro, who rode in the city and around pools, like road style skating becoming popular around the area

It was common for riders to rip off ledges, steps, homemade quarter pipes, and pretty much anywhere else they could get air. A strong emphasis was placed on stunt riding, including flips, spins, and grinds.

From that point forward, further improvements continued in BMX bikes, with free-form renditions giving an all the more substantial edge and whatever other segments that support repeated drops and hard effects. Pegs also appeared around this time.

Towards the end of 1970s, skateparks began to accommodate many competitive circuits and freestyle BMX riders, such as the American Freestyle Association, helping organize contests on quarterpipe tracks and flatland.

During the 1980s and 1990s, even more changes took place in sports, with flatland and vert becoming more prevalent.

Nowadays, BMX bikes are essentially the same; they only need a few modifications and adjustments to make them suitable for their specific riding styles.

A BMX bike has not significantly changed since the 1990s, including children’s-style BMX bikes, or balance bikes, which are the most mainstream bicycles the children are figuring out how to ride.

Types Of BMX Bikes

Here are the types of BMX bikes.

Racing

Racing BMX bike

An original BMX bike, the race features high-speed sprints around dirt tracks that feature turns, berms, and jumps, leading to an action-packed, fast-paced course that must be navigated carefully while avoiding obstacles.

BMX racing bikes were designed to be extremely lightweight yet still able to maneuver and steer well, so the rider can control his or her speed and be as fast as possible.

Freestyle

Freestyle BMX bike

This type of bike is designed for a wide range of riding styles, such as BMX sprints and skatepark halfpipes. They aren’t as fast as racing bikes, which is shown in numerous ways.

Freestyle BMX is primarily founded on stunts and airs instead of rapid racing or jumping.

Vert

Vert BMX bike

Also referred to as a halfpipe, verts are double-sided ramps imitating the old-style skateboarding and BMX ramps where riders bounce off empty pools to get air when launching off the edges.

Halfpipes differs in terms of height, but most of those you’ll see at professional competitions like the X-Games are more than 8 meters high.

When riding a halfpipe or vert, the rider will launch back and forth to each side and perform flips, twists, and more. In addition, the metal coping on the edges can be ground, and there are often extension boxes on top of the vert as well.

Street

Street riding can be described as any freestyle riding that is conducted on a city’s streets. This can be accomplished with rails, walls, stairs, ledges, and anything else the user may incorporate while performing stunts and tricks.

A bike designed for pavement usually has smoother tires for greater traction, a heavier frame to handle the impact, and brakes on both the front and rear for added safety. The bike typically features front and rear disc brakes.

Park

BMX Bike Parks

Many BMX riding parks are set up with many ramps, quarter pipes, boxes, rails, bowls, and even stairs and halfpipes. So, this is more of a standardized form of street riding.

Parks can have wood and cement features, necessitating a bike set up just like a freestyle BMX bike. The bike will have double brakes, a thick frame, smooth tires, and a smaller crank and cassette.

Conclusion

BMX bicycles are relatively stockier and much smaller than other bikes on the market. They feature a typical frame configuration and utilize larger tires for convenient traction. Multiple gears are rare, and hand brakes are employed only on certain types. The bicycles are intended to handle the challenges of various BMX courses and riding styles while minimizing the number of moving parts as possible.