BMX racing is a highly popular and exciting sport for all ages, which can be enjoyed by all the family. In its purest form, BMX racing is considered an extreme sport, and now is featured in the Olympic Games. However, BMX bikes have a range of uses, and the style of bike is tailored to the way you want to ride it.
BMX stands for bicycle motocross, and BMX racing originated in the USA in the 70s, as a way to enable young people to get involved in motocross, a type of off-road motorcycling. However, it very soon became a sport in its own right. The original bikes used were based on transport bikes and were not suitable for this form of racing, but manufacturers soon started to make bikes that were adapted to the requirements of the sport.
A BMX race is a short sprint over a single lap of a specially built track, usually about 300-400 meters. A maximum of eight riders can compete in a single race, which usually lasts only about 30-40 seconds, but one race starts almost before the previous one has finished, meaning the action is virtually non-stop. The track contains various obstacles to be negotiated, including small hills, dirt jumps, and banked bends, making it an exhilarating experience for both riders and spectators.
Because they were built for this specific type of racing, BMX bikes have many distinctive features. They are much smaller than standard road bikes, with strong fixed-size frames, 20-inch wheels, and high U-shaped handlebars to allow riders to sit upright while racing. They have only one forward gear, and although they are sold with front and rear brakes, racers often remove the front one to save weight.
However, although BMX bikes were originally designed to meet the requirements of racers, different variations of the sport subsequently developed, and different styles of the bike have evolved to suit these variations. Two of the most popular of these are freestyle, and dirt jumping. This means you do not have to be a racer to enjoy the pleasures of BMX bike riding.
Freestyle, or flatland, BMX is about using BMX bikes to perform stunts and tricks on streets, in flat areas like car parks, and in specially designated areas like skate parks. Freestyle bikes have smaller frames and shorter wheelbases, to provide the maximum mobility. They have axle pegs, to enable riders to stand up, plus a freecoaster hub and zero-offset fork, to make balancing easier for a wide variety of stunts.
Dirt jump BMX biking, on the other hand, involves riding off-road over dirt tracks with bumpy surfaces. These BMX bikes are the most versatile of the three styles, and can be used for racing or any type of riding — so this is the type to choose if you are not sure what version of the sport you want to go for. They have extra heavy duty frames, and wider tires with a knobby tread pattern, plus an easier gear ratio.
Racing or riding BMX bikes is a unique sport, ideal for anyone who loves the open air and enjoys a challenge. Because the sport is suitable for all ages, including very young children, it takes place in a relaxed, family-friendly environment, and the emphasis is on fun and enjoyment as much as on competition. Whichever variety of the sport appeals to you, there is a bike to suit your exact requirements. For example, these Cycling Deal BMX Bikes.