Riding BMX Bikes With No Brakes: (What You Should Know) – Bicycles In Motion

Riding BMX Bikes With No Brakes: (What You Should Know)

No Brake BMX Bikes

Having no brakes on your BMX bike is becoming more and more popular in the BMX community.

Riding a BMX bike with no brakes means that you can’t stop the traditional way with a hand brake or by pushing back on the pedals.

Having no brakes on your bike can be dangerous if done improperly and should only be attempted by skilled riders who know what they are doing.

This article will cover everything you need to know about riding a BMX bike with no brakes.

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BMX Bike With No Brakes

Riding a BMX bike with brakes or no brakes, which do you prefer? Traditionally, BMX bikes will come with a handbrake for slowing down or you can push backwards on your pedal to stop.

On the other hand, bikes with no brakes require you to be creative in order to slow down or stop. You can slide your feet on the ground, slowly put your foot on a tire to come to a stop, or you can ride up a hill to slow down.

Bikes with no brakes are popular in the BMX community because it allows riders to perform tricks easier without the brake cord and handle in the way as the handlebars twist or stopping suddenly when landing a trick from a jump because of pushing backwards on the pedal.

It is difficult at first and should only be attempted by experienced riders who know what they’re doing.

How Do You Ride BMX Bike With No Brakes

Riding a BMX with no brakes is tough at first but once you get used to it, there are some benefits.

No brake bikes give you more control while doing tricks and feel much lighter under your feet since you don’t have anything weighing you down.

You can ride the bike just like you would ride any other bike without having to worry about what will happen if you accidentally hit the lever on the hand brakes or push back on your pedals too hard while trying to stop.

The only downside to riding a BMX bike with no brakes is not being able to stop quickly when needed.

The quickest way to slow down is by putting one of your feet on top of the front or back tire and slowly pushing pressure down in order to come to a stop. 

If you push down too hard on your front tire, your back end will come up into the air and you could flip over your handlebars.  Another way to slow down is to skid your feet across the ground.

Once you have the basics of stopping under control, you can then learn different tricks like spinning your handlebars around or jumping off ramps.

Riding a BMX without brakes can make it difficult to learn if you’re not used to this kind of need for control, which is why I recommend starting out on your own driveway or in an empty parking lot before advancing onto more challenging surfaces.

BMX Tricks With No Brakes

There are a lot of awesome tricks that you can do with your BMX bike. These tricks can be done with or without brakes.

If you ride with no brakes, it doesn’t open up new tricks that you couldn’t do before. It might just take a slight adjustment of body movement or control in order to pull off the same trick.

Below are the top 5 tricks that you can do on your BMX bike if you have no brakes:

– Handlebar Spin – This trick can be performed anytime in the air, like going off a ramp or a bunny hop. While in the air, spin your handlebars around 360 degrees. A variation to this is while in the air, turn the handlebars 90 degrees and then bring them back the direction the first came from.

– A Manual – This is a trick where you are on the rear wheel while riding and not using the pedals. It is one of the most fundamental and first lessons taught to beginners. This trick is all about balance. Pull up on the handlebars to bring the front wheel in the air. Ride as long as you can on just the back wheel.

– Bunny Hop – This trick is where you pull both the front and rear tire off the ground at the same time. Start at a slower speed and pull up on your handlebars and push forward so your whole bike leaves the ground together. Try to get as much air as possible.

– J-Hop – This trick is similar to a bunny hop however instead of both wheels coming off the ground at the same time, your front wheel goes up first and then your back wheel. Pull up on your handlebars and lean back on your bike. When the front wheel is up in the air, immediately push forward. That will bring the back tire into the air as well.

– 180 Degree Turn – This trick is done while in the air so it’s easier if you are going off a ramp. It can be done while riding on a straight path however it is a little more difficult. Ride at a decent pace and then lift the front wheel off the ground by pulling on the handlebars. Then push forward on the handlebars while in the air. Finally turn your body with the bike in the air and land so the front tire is now in back and you are facing the opposite direction.

How To Stop A BMX Bike With No Brakes

Stopping a BMX bike with no brakes can be a little tricky if you’re not experienced. You must not panic or try to put yourself in a position that you can be injured if you don’t stop.

Below are 5 ways that I use to stop with no brakes:

1. Drag your heel on the grand with one foot slowly until you come to a stop. This is not recommended for high speeds.

2. Place your foot on the top of your back wheel and press down.  Your foot will pinch between the tire and the frame and will cause the bike to stop. This will wear out the tread on your shoes if you do it a lot, but it will slow the bike down quickly.

3. Plant your foot on the ground and then lean the bike over to the side. Skid the back tire around 180 degrees until the friction has stopped the bike.

4. A brakeless drift is an alternative to number 3 and it is to not plant your foot on the ground and just turn your body sideways and kick out the back tire to make it skid.  The friction will cause the bike to slow down. This will take practice because if you do it too fast, the bike could fall over.

5. Ride parallel to a curb and pull up on the handlebars so the front tire is on top of the curb and the back tire isn’t. The back tire will skid on the curb and slow you down.

Is It Safe To Ride BMX Bike With No Brakes

No, it’s not safe for the average bike rider or amateur BMX rider. For the most part, you would only use a brakeless bike if you are an experienced rider and have protective gear on, like a helmet and pads.

There are some people who can do pretty impressive tricks with their BMX bike because they have no brakes, but this is really only possible if you have done it before, so be careful!

It is important that you know what you are doing before even attempting to ride a BMX bike without using brakes.

It’s also very important that when you do start riding a BMX bike with no brakes, that you don’t take any risks and stay in control of your speed at all times.

Is It Easy To Ride A BMX Bike With No Brakes

BMX bikes with no brakes can be difficult to ride at first. It’s important that you have a good knowledge of the basics before attempting to remove the brakes.

Once you have learned the different ways to slow down and stop, riding a BMX with no brakes becomes second nature.

How To Remove Brakes On BMX Bike

Removing the brakes on a BMX bike is a relatively easy task. The tools required are a 10mm wrench, along with a 5mm and 2.5mm allen keys to remove the brakes and mounts.

Follow the steps below to successfully remove the brakes.

1. Flip the bike upside down and remove the left brake arm first, followed by the right one. Use 5mm allen key to remove bolts on the back wheel brake. Turn counterclockwise in order to remove the bolts.

2. Then remove the straddle cable from the brakes by unscrewing the bolt that clamps the cable to the brake housing.

3. Next, pull the barrel adjuster back through the slit in order to remove the cable from the frame. Use a 2.5mm allen key to remove the bolt that connects the tab to the frame.

4. Finally, use 5mm allen key to unscrew the bolt on the brake lever connected to your handlebars. Then unhinge the brake lever from the handlebar. Pull the cable out and the brakes are removed.

Should I Go Brakeless On BMX Bike

It is not recommended to remove your BMX brakes if you are a beginner, as this will limit how well you can control the bike.

For beginners, it’s best to stick with easy tricks and grow more confident in those before attempting more complicated ones.

If you decide to remove the brakes, be mindful that in the beginning, you’ll instinctively reach for your break if you need to stop.

So it may take some time until you get used to this change and learn how to control your speed without relying on a brake.

To successfully ride the bike with no brakes, make sure you learn other braking techniques such as controlling your balance to slow down.

In the end, it’s up to you whether or not you want to remove your brakes. While some riders might feel more comfortable without them, others may prefer to keep them on. 

If after trying to ride without them for a while and not feeling safe enough, just put the brakes back on.

Why Do Some BMX Bikes Have No Brakes

Some BMX bikes don’t have brakes because riders want to remove the weight of a brake system on the bike and also, so the brake handle doesn’t get in the way when doing tricks.

Trying to grab the handlebars after a trick can be difficult if you have an additional brake lever that you have to take into consideration.

Another reason some BMX riders remove the brakes is because it increases the bike’s maneuverability.

The rider can accelerate faster because the bike is lighter, which is an advantage when riding a BMX on city streets.

Do All BMX Bikes Have Brakes

BMX bikes usually come with brakes when you buy them from the store.  However, you can remove the brakes if you want to, which will give your bike a unique look and feel.

BMX bike brakes can come in three types: Coaster brakes, V-brakes and U-brakes.

A coaster or pedal brake is activated if you start to pedal backwards. The brake is incorporated into the rear hub and it allows the bike to roll forward without moving the pedals, but as soon as you start pedaling backward, the braking system activates.

Coaster brakes require less maintenance and there are no cables to deal with.

Having this type of brakes make if very difficult to do certain tricks and maneuvers because you have to keep your feet still through the trick and not put any pressure on the pedal or you will stop.

The V-brakes & U-brakes are both controlled by a hand lever mounted on the handlebar.

V-brakes are more common on BMX racing bikes because they are lighter and more powerful because there is no mechanism between the cable and the arms.

U-brakes are more common on freestyle BMX bikes because they are designed to be out of the way, mounted underneath the chainstay and come across over the tire.

Is It Illegal To Have No Brakes On BMX

It is illegal to ride a BMX bike on the road with no brakes because there is not a reliable way of stopping if a car or pedestrian enters the crosswalk.

Because of this, BMX bikes are sold with at least one brake system to comply with current laws. Once you take the brakes off, you can only legally ride it off road or on a track.

Final Thoughts

Riding a BMX bike without brakes is not something to be taken lightly. If you are an experienced rider, then go ahead and give it a try with the understanding that crashes are likely going to happen, and injuries can occur.

However, if you are a beginner, I recommend steering clear unless you want to risk being injured.

Brian Smith

Brian is the founder of Bicycles In Motion and an avid cyclist for 17 years. On the weekends, he enjoys exploring new bike trails and countryside roads to enjoy the outdoors.

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