Are BMX Bikes Comfortable to Ride?

by | Oct 7, 2023 | Tips & Guide

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BMX bikes are a type of off-road bike that was originally made for racing and doing tricks and stunts. BMX bikes are made to handle jumps, bumps, and not being on the road. They have small frames, knobby tires, and low seats.

Most BMX bikes only have one gear and are made with strong steel or aluminum frames and parts that can handle rough rides. They are great for flips and tricks because they are lighter and easier to move around than mountain bikes.

BMX bikes are designed to be used off-road, but some riders do ride them on the road and use them to get to work. But are BMX bikes comfortable to ride on smooth, paved roads every day?

In this article, we’ll dive into the unique design of BMX bikes and analyze the pros and cons when it comes to comfort. We’ll look at the anatomy of BMX that impacts comfort such as bike fit, ride duration, and riding surface.

With this guide, you’ll know when to use your BMX bike every day and when it’s better for stunts and riding off-road. Let’s look more closely at how BMX bikes are built and how you can make them more comfortable for everyday rides.

What Is a BMX Bike and Is Riding One Comfortable?

A Rider in mid-air on BMX Bikes

Bicycle Motocross also known as BMX. Off-road riding is the primary mode of operation for BMX bikes. The short answer is NO when it comes to using BMX bikes for commuting. These bikes are comfortable for short-distance riding and stunts, but not for long-distance riding.

BMX bikes are easily distinguished from other bikes by their tiny wheels and frames. They are made in a way that makes riding them in harsh settings, such as skate parks or pump tracks, quite simple.

BMX bikes also have a lightweight build, thick, stable tires for long-lasting riding, and a lightweight design.

There are many different types of BMX. Every BMX style is a little bit distinct and was created especially for a specific type of riding or riding competition.

Read More: Best BMX Bike Tricks for Beginners!

Anatomy of a BMX bike.

A Concept Design of BMX Bike

Small and light frames

BMX frames are not at all like regular bike frames. Most BMX bikes have top tubes that are 18 to 22 inches long, while most mountain bikes have top tubes that are about 25 inches long.

Because they are small, they are very flexible and easy to move around. This helps with tricks and stunts.

Also, BMX frames are generally made of steel or aluminum metals, which make them light. To control, they need less body weight.

But bigger riders may feel squished in the small size. And because the frame doesn’t have support, it can be rough to ride on rough ground.

Worn-out tires

BMX tires have a rough, knobby tread design that helps them grip loose dirt, mud, and surfaces that aren’t on the road.

The tough, thick tires can take the shock of jumps and drops without getting a hole.

But when the road is smooth, the knobs make it harder for the tires to roll, which slows you down. And the tread can make noise when it’s on the road.

Low seats

The seats on BMX bikes are set very low so that riders can do tricks and keep their center of gravity low.

But the low seat means you have to ride aggressively, hunched over. Not as good for riding for fun.

BMX seats that are hard and don’t have much padding can also be painful after a while.

Single Gear

A lot of BMX bikes only have one gear. That easy-to-take-care-of form works well for trick riding.

A single gear, on the other hand, can make it hard to ride up hills or for long runs. For travel or long rides, you might need to make some changes.

Build That Lasts

Parts of a BMX bike are made to last and take hits, from the frame to the wheels to the cranks.

Some comfort features, like springs, are lost because of the tough build. The ride will be hard.

What makes a BMX bike different from a regular bike? BMX bike vs. regular bike

As previously said, BMX bikes are used for stunt racing and bike tricks. Because of this, these bikes are made differently. On road bikes, the tubes are 45 inches long, but on BMX bikes, they are 20 inches long. You can tell that the BMX bike’s body is not as big. 

The tiny size of the tires and the high handlebars give them the appearance of a child’s bicycle. Also, BMX bikes are not the same as standard bikes because they don’t have any fenders and only have back brakes.

 Pros of BMX bikes 

  • They are light and easy to move, which makes them great for a fun ride and messing around.
  • One good BMX bike costs about half of one good mountain bike. This means that BMX bikes are not that pricey.
  • Because they only have one speed, these bikes don’t need as much maintenance and fixes.
  • Perfect for skate parks and BMX tracks in cities, where you can do tricks and jumps.

Cons of BMX bikes

  • BMX bikes aren’t good for long rides or traveling.
  • Sitting in the seat on these bikes is a terrible way to ride.
  • When riding a BMX bike uphill, it can be hard with only one gear.
  • There is no cushioning like on mountain bikes, so the body takes more of the force.

Does Commuting on a BMX Bike Make Sense?

While BMX bikes are suitable for short-distance (a few miles at most) riding for bikers, it is not suggested to use them for long-distance commutes.

What makes BMX bikes suitable for quick commutes?  The bike has a number of issues, such as an awkward riding posture, no rack or fender attachments, weak brakes, and unpredictable handling.

Moreover, BMX bikes have few gearing options, so they’re good if your commute is short and there aren’t many hills.

Can BMX bikes be used on public roads?

BMX bikes are best suited for off-road riding, hence they are not recommended for usage on public roads. These bikes’ sturdy, lightweight, and compact frames let you to accomplish bike acrobatics and leaps on your rough off-road terrain. This explains the BMX bike’s fame.

Why BMX is Uncomfortable to Ride?

A Cyclist Doing performing on a BMX Bike in a Tournament

Ride Duration – Short Rides vs Long Distances

You can ride a BMX bike quickly and for short periods at skateparks, mud jump courses, or BMX race tracks. Because they have an aggressive shape, a low seat, and no support, they are best for rides that last less than 30 minutes.

It can get uncomfortable to try to go on rides of an hour or more on a straight BMX bike. When you’re riding with your back arched, your hands, arms, and elbows are under more stress. And the smaller seat doesn’t have much padding or support for long amounts of time.

Since BMX bikes don’t have any kind of support, the rider feels the road movements directly. The repeated hits wear out muscles and joints faster. When you ride for miles at a time, this hurts your neck, back, and knees more than it does to help them.

If you ride for exercise or to get to work every day, you should keep your BMX rides to 5 to 10 miles at most. Give your upper and lower bodies a break by standing up often. When you can, look for smooth bike routes. Also, think about adding more comfortable grips, a spring seat post, and tires with less moving resistance to the bike.

BMX bikes are fun for short bursts, but they become a test of fitness if you ride them continuously for more than 30 minutes. For the most pleasure, keep rides short and quick. Or, if you want to go farther, look for a more comfortable bike.

Road Surface: Smooth Pavement vs Rough Ground

BMX bikes are designed to absorb impacts and roll easily over rough, uneven ground. Because they don’t have springs and have a strong frame, BMX bikes can handle dirt jumps, wooded roads, and rough terrain.

On smooth roads, though, this tough build makes the ride rough and stiff. Because BMX bikes don’t have any shock-absorbing features, they take all the vibrations from the road right to the rider.

When you drive on concrete roads and hit cracks, bumps, or potholes, it hurts like hell. When you ride your bike on concrete, the knobby tires make it harder to move, so you have to work harder.

To make the ride less rough, look for bike routes and side streets that aren’t too busy. However, BMX bikes will never be as smooth on roads as a bike with good suspension.

Standing up every so often gives your body a break from the constant movements of the road. You won’t feel as safe from bumps as you would on a mountain bike, though.

Comfort-wise, BMX bikes are best when riding along dirt paths and through grassy areas. The thick, sticky tires smooth out rough surfaces, and the simple design makes it easy to go over and through obstacles with little effort.

So stay away from paved roads as much as possible and use the BMX bike’s skills in rougher, off-road conditions to get the most comfort. For better comfort on roads, you could add parts like bigger tires and a suspension seat post.

How to Make Your BMX Riding More Comfortable?

How to Choose the Right Frame Size for a BMX?

For ease and balance on a BMX bike, it’s important to get the right frame size. BMX frames come in very small steps compared to mountain bikes or road bikes. The total length of a BMX frame is usually between 18 and 22 inches.

For the best fit, stand on your heels over the top tube of the BMX frame. Allow about 2 to 3 inches of space between the tube’s top and your crotch. Any less than that, and it will be hard to get on and off the bike. If there are more, it means the frame is too small.

Keep an eye on the standover height as well. This is the height of the top tube above the ground. Racers who want to win look for lower standover heights, around 7-8 inches. This makes it easier for them to swing their legs over the bike. But smaller standovers can make riding less comfortable and less stable for casual riders. To feel more stable and at ease, look for a standover height of 9 to 11 inches.

Height charts aren’t the only way to tell. Because BMX seat posts can be changed, frames of different sizes can often be used by riders of different heights. Take the bike for a test ride to make sure the frame gives you enough room to stand up and that it feels stable but quick to turn. If you get the right frame fit, riding a BMX bike will be easy and let you handle it quickly and easily.

BMX Bike Size Chart 

When it comes to sizing, there is generally only one main frame size for BMX bikes, though the total length can vary slightly between models. The major factor that changes between BMX bikes is the wheel size, which is selected based on the rider’s height and age.

There are three main types of BMX bikes 

  • True BMX, 
  • Racing BMX, 
  • Freestyle BMX. 

Each is designed for a different riding style and purpose.

Use the BMX bike size chart below to help determine the proper BMX bike and wheel size for your height or age. It’s important to accurately measure your height and cross-reference sizing info from the bike manufacturer. Visiting a bike shop and testing different BMX bike sizes is also recommended.

When standing over the BMX frame, you want a minimum clearance of 2 cm between the top tube and your crotch. This allows for easy mounting and dismounting. Before selecting a BMX bike, make sure you know how to properly measure the frame size. With the right-sized BMX bike, you’ll enjoy responsive handling and comfort while riding.

Rider HeightFrame SizeTop Tube LengthStem LengthBar LengthBar WidthCrank LengthGearing Size
Up to 4’4”Micro15-16.5 inches25-35 mm2-2.5 inches20”-22.5”145-155 mm41-43/16
4’2″ to 4’10”Mini16-17.5 inches30-40 mm2-3.5 inches21”-23.5”155-165 mm41-43/16
4’6″ to 5’1″Junior17-18.5 inches40-45 mm3-5 inches22”-25”160-175 mm42-43/16
5′ to 5’4″Expert18.5-19.5 inches43-48 mm5-7 inches25.5”-27”170-175 mm42-43/16
5’2″ to 5’6″Expert XL19.5-20 inches43-48 mm6-7 inches25.5”-27”170-175 mm42-43/16
5’3″ to 5’8″Pro20-20.5 inches50-55 mm7-8 inches27”-28”175-180 mm43-44/16
5’7″ to 6′Pro XL20.5-21.25 inches50-55 mm8+ inches28”180-190 mm44/16 & above
6′ & abovePro XXL21.25-22 inches52-60 mm8+ inches28”180-190 mm44/16 & above

FAQs on Is Riding a BMX Bike Comfortable?

1. Can You Ride a BMX Bike in the City?

Indeed, BMX bikes are suitable for riding in cities, but they won’t perform any better than city bikes as city bikes are the greatest choice for nighttime riding on city streets.
Nevertheless, if you wish to ride your BMX on city streets, you need to install strong brakes and elevate your saddle to maximize your comfort.

2. Are BMX bikes quick?

Indeed, BMX bikes are faster than hybrid bikes as they have a single-speed gearbox and a 55-inch wheel. Single-speed hybrid motorcycles typically have a 70″ gear ratio. A bike’s speed is determined by its gearing; a smaller gearing size results in a faster ride, and vice versa.

3. Can Grownups ride BMX bikes?

Yes, riders of all ages can ride BMX bikes. It is untrue that kids are the only ones who can ride BMX bikes. Adults can ride 20″ and 24″ BMX bikes, however anybody may ride them. Using the BMX bike size chart above, you may choose your size based on your height.

4. A BMX bike: can you sit on it?

On a BMX bike, you can sit while riding, yes. However, doing bike stunts while seated is extremely unpleasant for the rider, making it unfeasible as well. Moreover, the extremely low saddle of these bikes makes pedaling rather difficult. Standing on BMX bikes makes pedaling them simple.

5. Is riding a BMX bike difficult?

Indeed, BMX bikes are more difficult to ride than other bikes due to their ineffective brakes and quicker gearing (55″) than hybrid bikes. Riding BMX bikes presents some problems for the novice. Riding these bikes under the supervision of your coach or seniors is advised.

6. What size adult BMX bike is appropriate?

Regarding BMX bike sizes, let me inform you that the frames of these bikes are available in a single size (though brand-specific variations may exist). The tire size is the only variable. For adults, 20- and 24-inch-wheeled BMX is the finest alternative. You might also review the size chart that was previously stated.

7. Is riding a BMX similar to riding a bike?

Indeed, why not? even if it’s a bike as well. Just be sure to get the strong brakes fitted and train yourself flawlessly on BMX bikes. In addition, lift the saddle if necessary. Then, no one can stop you if you ride them just like a regular bike. But riding a BMX bike like a regular bike is not realistic.

Conclusion on Are BMX Bikes Comfortable to Ride

I hope this article on Are BMX bikes comfortable to ride was helpful to you, In summary, I’ll add that while BMX bikes are designed for stunts, tricks, and off-road use, they can be made more suitable for regular riding with some modifications.

The compact frames, knobby tires, and low-slung seats that enable daring maneuvers also limit comfort and practicality for daily use. Factors like proper bike fit, short ride durations, and smooth surfaces will help maximize comfort on BMX bikes.

Customizations like suspension components, padded saddles, and adjustable handlebars can also enhance the ride experience. However, limitations remain in terms of long distances, bump absorption, and overall ergonomics.

For casual riding around town, commuting short distances, or relaxed trail riding, BMX bikes can work with the right setup and expectations. But longer road trips or frequent all-day use will likely prove unpleasant and painful.

BMX bikes shine for quick thrill-seeking rides and terrain park challenges where their sturdy construction and responsive handling excel.

For comfort over long stretches, options like hybrid bikes and mountain bikes are better suited to absorbing impacts and accommodating your body’s needs.

With an understanding of their strengths and limitations, you can have fun on a BMX bike while avoiding discomfort. Just respect the purpose-built nature of BMX designs for off-road exploits over pavement cruising when evaluating comfort.


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