City Guides » Bike Week

Easy as BMX

Sometimes a cyclist’s got to switch gears. If your curiousity leads you to BMX bikes, Matthew Ritchie says there are some things you should know before buying



Sick of the standard bicycle commute and looking to spice it up with some bunny hops and nose wheelies? There are a few things to consider when purchasing a BMX bike for the first time.

Complete beginner bikes generally range from $400 to $600. For starters, look for a bike frame that is made of 7075 aluminum alloy---which is light and durable---and titanium spokes that help to withstand the heavy impact of BMXing.

Ideal Bikes' Ryan Kuryluk says the difference in cost between a starter ride and a higher-end make are the smaller components. Most bikes have good frames, but the components on a cheaper bike will wear out over time. Expect to upgrade occasionally by purchasing better treads (around $30 each) and new grips for your handlebars.

And brakes? Don't even worry about it. Bike retailers legally have to sell them with brakes attached, but according to Kuryluk the majority of BMXers ride without them. "With BMXs a lot of times your back wheel gets out of true, so for your brakes to work well it has to be perfectly straight," he says. Instead, look into buying a durable pair of skate shoes to use for braking with your back tire or dragging on the pavement. And if that wheel does get a little crooked, don't worry. Ideal Bikes can fix that up for $10.

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