Freestyle riders who perform tricks on BMX bikes often install a gyro detangler or opt to ride brakeless. Doing this allows a rider to do barspins without the brakes getting in the way and limiting the motion.
Because a barspin requires the front wheel and handlebars to rotate completely around, brake lines would make this trick impossible. Do BMX bikes have brakes?
Most BMX bikes are equipped with just a rear brake; however, some can have both front and rear brakes. Many riders choose to remove the brakes so they don’t interfere with stunts and tricks. Riding without brakes forces the rider to learn how to slow down effectively, preventing and minimizing injuries.
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Do BMX Bikes Have Front Brakes
When you buy a BMX, it will usually come with front and rear brakes. The factory standard often involves product safety standards rather than practical applications.
If you have a BMX custom-built, it will naturally come with the parts you asked for.
Moreover, most experienced BMX riders change the brakes or remove them entirely based on what they are comfortable with.
Some BMX riders prefer linear-pull brakes for the best stopping power and features.
The Adventure Cycling Association explains that this style is known to “provide excellent stopping power… and are the lowest maintenance of these three options. Linear-pull brakes are not likely to leave you completely brakeless, and, if you do have trouble… any bike shop will be able to help you adjust or fix a linear-pull brake.”
Another popular option, the U brake, is a little harder to replace. However, they are also known for their excellent stopping power.
If you are considering changing your stock brakes, it’s essential to look at all the options, but these two are the most common for BMX.
I also recommend looking into the differences between rim and disc brakes because how you ride effects which style will help you stop most effectively.
Do BMX Bikes Have Pedal Brakes
BMX does not have pedal brakes. This style is also known as a foot brake, and they are more commonly found on children’s bikes and some cruisers.
Although the BMX style started as a kids’ bike for playing and mimicking motocross, modern BMX are not strictly children’s bikes despite their small size.
The two styles of brakes you find on BMX bikes are the linear-pull V brake and U brake. Both of these styles are entirely operated by hand.
The advantage is that this frees up your feet to pedal for speed, which is more labor-intensive, thanks to the smaller wheel diameter on a BMX.
Since BMX is traditionally ridden in a standing position, pedal brakes would be more liability than a benefit for riders.
Shifting your weight is a normal part of riding, and BMX bikes are meant for hilly dirt tracks, racing, and jumping.
It would be impractical to have brakes that engage when you push back when you travel up and down hills. In particular, it would make jumps harder to land safely.
Do All BMX Bikes Have Brakes
Not all BMX bikes have brakes. Some riders prefer to go entirely brakeless to reduce weight.
Plus, removing the brakes means you have no brake lines, which frees up the handlebars to turn further.
Three hundred and sixty degrees (or more) rotation can be a significant advantage for tricks like the bar spin.
You can ride BMX with two brakes or just one. Some riders prefer like also having a front brake, but those who ride with a single brake use a rear brake.
This is a practical consideration as it provides the best stopping power for a single-brake setup.
How you choose to ride is up to you, but I strongly recommend starting with brakes until you are familiar with your bike and have the skill to ride with less or no brakes.
In the meantime, check out this video for a few smart tips on how to have better BMX brakes.
Why Do BMX Bikes Only Have One Brake
BMX bikes are a challenge to ride. Having smaller wheels offers several advantages, but it also requires more effort.
You quite literally have to push the pedals around more times to cover the same distance as a larger bicycle.
As a result, anything that makes it easier to ride is an advantage, and that’s why BMX riders drop the front brake.
Without a front brake, the weight on that end is less. Plus, it frees up some motion.
BMX bikes sometimes have only one brake because the rider is experienced and rides frequently enough to make a significant difference.
Why Do BMX Bikes Have No Brakes
BMX riders with no brakes have removed them because it helps them accomplish their goals.
Those cyclists who prefer park or street riding often choose this route because it cuts the weight and frees the bike up for stunts.
Basically, there’s no need for brakes when you aren’t planning to slow down until you’re done.
Do Pro BMX Bikes Have Brakes
Except those who only do stunt performances, Pro BMX riders have brakes on their bikes. However, most pros only have a single rear brake.
Racing on BMX requires a ton of energy, and like riding a marathon, the more weight, the harder it is on the athlete as they move over long distances.
Anything that cuts the weight even slightly is an advantage.
Helpful Tips To Know If BMX Bikes Have Brakes
The only way to know if a BMX bike has brakes is to look at it. Unless you are looking to buy a new BMX, it always depends on the rider, style, terrain, and personal preference.
Here are some helpful tips to know if BMX bikes have brakes.
- Stopping with only a front brake is more likely to send you over the handlebars as the front wheel stops, but the back is still in motion. Alternately, a back brake will slow itself, and whatever is in front of it will slow as well because of the drag of the non-moving wheel behind it.
- Dirt jumping BMX brakes are usually equipped with a single disc brake.
- You might find a foot brake on a kids model BMX, but they aren’t commonly installed. Most BMX riders are advanced enough to handle a hand brake since BMX was created for racing and doing tricks. Typically, young children or inexperienced riders start with a different bicycle-style, and by the time they are ready for BMX, the need for pedal brakes has long since passed.
BMX bikes are specialized. This style is meant for dirt tracks, stunt parks, and roads, so they don’t need the same large diameter wheels as a city cruiser, and they certainly don’t need the breaks of a mountain bike.
Though most factory BMX bikes have two brakes, more experienced riders typically ditch the front brake to lower the weight and offer more range of motion.
Some trick riders even prefer to go utterly brakeless so that any BMX can have zero, one, or two brakes, depending on the rider’s preference, needs, and experience level.