THE SOURCE
BMX BIKE BUYER'S GUIDE

100% RIDER OWNED AND RUN

BMX BUYER'S GUIDE

SourceBMX is a 100% Rider-owned and run store - we live and breath BMX! That’s why we know that choosing a BMX bike can be a little daunting, especially if it is your first bike or you are buying for someone else, like your child. This handy guide has been created to give you all the tools you need around sizing and what level of bike you will need to meet your needs. Further down the guide we break down each part of a BMX bike so you can really get your BMX bike Knowledge up to scratch!

We hope you find this useful and please remember we’re here to help - just chat to us on our live chat service, pick up the phone or get in touch through our Contact Us page

STEP 1. BMX SIZING

The first thing to get right is the sizing of your bike. BMX bikes are measured in two ways, the size of the wheel (20” is the standard BMX Wheel size) and the length of the frame which is gauged by the top tube measurement. Below is a guide to what size you should be looking for. note there is some overlap in sizes as personal preference also comes into the equation.

BMX Bike Size Chart

< IMPERIAL (FEET & INCHES) --- METRIC (CM) >

STEP 2. wHAT lEVEL dO i need?

As with all things there are many levels of BMX bikes available ranging from “beginner” - for those of you just starting out all the way up to fully “pro” bikes. See below for what best describes you

Youth BMX bikes

I NEED A SMALLER THAN NORMAL BMX BIKE

Youth bikes use a smaller wheel than the standard 20” to better fit a smaller rider (See size chart above) Youth bikes are largely spec’d to beginner level bikes and are perfect for the little guys who are just starting out.

bEGINNER BMX bIKES

I'M JUST STARTING OUT AND WANT A SOLID RELIABLE BIKE TO GET STARTED ON

Beginner bikes are designed to be your first BMX bike. If you are planning to go to the skatepark, trails or start riding to see how it goes then a beginner bike will be perfect for you. If you are already hitting the skatepark every night then you may want to look at the intermediate level of bikes. A good thing to remember here is that we don't sell any “bad” bikes and all our bikes are fully upgradable with after-market parts,

INTERMEDIATE BMX bikes

I'VE BEEN RIDING FOR A WHILE AND NEED A BIKE TO TAKE ME TO THE NEXT LEVEL WITH BETTER PARTS

A mix of performance parts and affordability; intermediate bikes cover a broad price range and essentially apply to all models which are not an entry bike and equally not quite a pro bike but fall somewhere in-between. Intermediate bikes will cover the needs of most of today’s riders, whether it be their second bike, having moved up from the entry level range or even their 3rd or 4th bike.

PRO BMX bikes

I WANT A BIKE THAT LOOKS AND FEELS LIKE A CUSTOM FULL OF AFTER-MARKET PARTS WITHOUT THE CUSTOM PRICE

Pro Level bikes feature a host of refinements, like lighter and stronger tubing, after-market pro level components and rider endorsements. The only way to get a higher quality bike than these are to build your own custom bike.

BMX BIKES EXPLAINED

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT BMX BIKES?

We’ve broken down a BMX bike below and explained each part in detail so you know what to look out for when buying a BMX Bike!

1. Frame

All bikes start with the frame. Entry to intermediate level bikes generally use hi-tensile steel tubing but look for 4130 chromoly for increased durability and less weight on higher level bikes. The Geometry of the frame also makes a difference to how the bike will handle, This generally comes into play on higher level bikes. You can learn more about frame geometry in our Frame Buyers Guide.

2. Forks

The same principle as the frame with regards to material; Chromoly being lighter and stronger than Hi tensile. Look for CNC’d steerer tubes for greater durability and tapered legs for weight savings and a cleaner look.

3. Handlebars

Handlebars or just ‘bars’. Same principal for materials – 4130 is best and multi-butted tubing saves even more weight by thinning out the tubing where strength isn't as much a concern. The size is a personal preference with ‘rise’ referring to how high they are. Generally there are 2 types of bars, 2-piece and 4-piece, these refer to the amount of tubes which make up the bars - the function and feel of the bars are the same with the 4-piece offering a more durable bar but with extra weight.

4. Headset

There are 2 types. A-headsets are the traditional type with external cups (where the bearings sit) whilst integrated headsets have sealed bearings that sit inside the frame itself. Integrated headsets save weight, look better and last longer but traditional A-headsets work just fine.

5. Brakes

Some riders use them and some don’t. If you’re new to BMX or live on top of a hill then use a back brake! All of our complete bikes are sold with brakes whilst higher-end bikes come with removable brakes that can easily be removed/installed. Although the bikes are rarely pictured with front brakes all of our bikes come with them in the box

6. Front Hub

Look for sealed bearings here on higher end spec bikes; they’ll last longer and require less maintenance than the loose ball versions. There are also two types of axle, male and female. The female axles offer a cleaner look but both fit all types of forks and bike.

7. Rear Hub

There are three main types. A freewheel hub, and the more reliable and responsive cassette hub or Freecoaster. Cassette hubs come with smaller gearings (typically 9t) and are found on most decent bikes these days. Semi-sealed cassette hubs are good whilst sealed is better and a branded after-market hub even better still. Also look out for Freecoaster hubs on higher end bikes - these allow you to fakie (go backwards) without the need to pedal backwards at the same time.

8. Gearing

The relation between the front sprocket and rear freewheel or cassette hub. The smaller the sprockets are, the more weight is saved and the more clearance there is when riding ramps or grinding. A 25-9t is considered the best on complete bikes.

9. Rims

The outside of the wheel. These come in single or double wall versions. Double wall is strongest and is more important on the rear which takes more abuse than the front.

10. Tyres

Branded after-market tyres are best here. The sizes (width) of tyre vary and depends on personal preference of the rider. 2.2" wide is about average.

11. Cranks and BB

Cranks take a lot of abuse on a bike and need to be strong enough to match your level of riding. Tubular cranks are best whilst branded cranks are better still. There are 2 types of Bottom Bracket (BB). U.S are the largest and normally come with unsealed bearings. The Smaller Mid BB's are nearly always sealed and as result are stronger, last longer and require minimal maintenance.

12. Pedals

Most bikes come with plastic pedals now; branded versions tend to be the best. Alloy pedals last longer and grip better but hurt your shins more when your slip and also usually weigh more.

13. Seat

There are 4 types of seat. Railed or combo seats are found on the entry level bikes whilst Pivotal or Tripod seats are found on intermediate to pro bikes; These seats are easier to install/adjust, save weight and have more choice for replacements if you ever want to change your seat without having to update your seat post too.

14. Stem

The bit that holds your bars to the forks. All stems are comparable in strength but CNC’d versions are lighter and offer a much cleaner look. They either clamp the bars from the top (top loader) or the front (front loader).

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