Buying a BMX Bike
November 16, 2004 1:20 AM   Subscribe

I'd like to buy a BMX bike. I'm willing to spend quite serious money. I don't know much about them. What's good?
posted by nthdegx to Food & Drink (3 answers total)
I'm not a BMX rider, but I skate, and skating and street BMX riding intersect a bit.

I hear S&M makes good bikes. Haro has been making some good bikes again.

And surprinsingly, Huffy. Yeah, Huffy, makers of crap K-Mart bikes for decades. Somewhere something happened and I guess they realized they were making/importing pure crap, and they broke back into the BMX scene like some kinda freaky dual Vulcan-gun weilding death bot. I was checking out a Huffy street/vert BMX/freestyle bike at a bike shop the other day and was highly impressed with the quality of the frame, the components and the design. My brain couldn't handle the fact that it had a Huffy badge on it. Massive cognitive dissonance.

It depends on what you're looking for. Are you actually looking for one of those ultralight orthodox Bicycle Motocross racers? Or are you looking for the new style street/extreme BMX that people use for jumps, vert, and street riding?

The former I know little about these days.

The latter there's plenty of magazines about at any well stocked newstand. Check out the magazine rack at a Borders or Barnes and Noble if you don't have anything else available.

These new style "BMX" bikes are heavy, beefy mofos weighing up to 40-50 pounds. Look for double or triple walled rims, high spoke counts, heavy machined alloy components, super-beefy steel frames. These bikes are made to handle being tossed to the pavement from a story or three in the air, as that's the kind of impact they take on bailouts from a halfpipe or pool, or even on optimal landings on jumps and such. They *need* to be that beefy, because if you snap a pedal sticking a hard landing, or your seat tears off the post or the handlebars wimp out, it could easily be fatal.

And yeah, apparently the good rigs cost some serious money. Guessing and extrapolating from how much a good mountain bike setup costs these days, figure you're going to spend about $400-600 USD on the entry level, if not more. (The Huffy I was looking at was $550+, which almost made me choke. "A. six. hundred. dollar. Huffy?!?! WTF!?", and then I started to notice the quality of the build and the components, and the fact the beast weighed 40-odd pounds, even though there wasn't any spurious crap on it.)

But if you choose a good bike shop and a good manufacturer, you get what you pay for. Many of these bikes are hand-built here in the states from the frame up, with the only imports being the components and tires. The rim components are probably imported as well, but hand built here.

If you don't have a BMX/street bike shop that specializes in those sorts of gravity-taunting, injury-prone sports, check out any serious mountain bike selling shops. They often have decent BMX bikes as well, and if there's nothing available in the area, they'd probably have the easiest time special ordering you one.

The best advice of all would be to find out where - if any - the local jump track is. If you can find some place where kids/teens *and* grizzled old freaks are busting out the tailwhips and flares off of Dr. Seuss-looking dirt ramps, you've found where to ask about bikes. Or anywhere where there's the same kind of folks trying to grind down the local architecture with their axle-pegs.
posted by loquacious at 8:02 AM on November 16, 2004

Awesome. Thank you, loquacious.
posted by nthdegx at 9:04 AM on November 16, 2004

I also second loquacious' advice of finding a local park and asking around. If you're good on your board, show up with it and show off first. You'll get a lot more respect (and honest answers) than showing up empty handed and asking geeky newbie questions.

In my life I've had a ton of bmx bikes but I'm not into it anymore and recently sold my last one on eBay after it sat for, oh, 5 years or so. I'm too freakin' old. :) I've had Norco, Redline, GT, Haro, PK Ripper (oh, the days!), and, most recently, a Hoffman. My favorites were the Ripper, the GT, and the Hoffman though of those companies probably only Hoffman is respectable (or around) these days. I never did any ramp stuff though, just street. I paid C$800 for the Hoffman which, when I bought it, was probably about us$525. I believe it was 1997. It was a Sugarbaby.

Oh, in addition to the skatepark Q&A suggestion, ask around for some BMX forums then go online with your questions. You also may be able to pick up a good used bike going that route.
posted by dobbs at 10:33 AM on November 16, 2004

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