You have probably already seen a BMX bike that has no brakes on the streets and parks. Have you ever wondered why is it like that?
Most cyclists tend to put brakes on their bikes, even the fixed gear bike users, so that they can stop and slow down their bike immediately if needed. That is why it is absurd to see BMX bikes with no brakes at all. But there is a reason for that.
Why do BMX bikes have no brakes? The reason why most BMX bikes have no brakes is that BMX riders don’t rely on stopping power as much as other bikes. BMX riders do tricks. They do not race. They don’t need strong brakes to slow down their bike because they are not going very fast. Also, they remove their brakes to perform barspins.
Today, we are going to talk about BMX bikes and their braking system. I will be answering various questions related to our subject based on my research and personal experience. Also, I will tell you the brakes BMX bikes have. If you are ready, let us move on!
Are BMX Bikes Supposed To Have Brakes?
BMX bikes usually have brakes when you buy them in bike shops. However, BMX riders that are dedicated to riding parks or streets choose to remove the brakes and ride brakeless. But some bike shops sell BMX bikes with no brakes, but there are only a few of them.
BMX riders are different. Some of them are riding their BMX bikes with two brakes, some with one brake, and the experienced ones ride their BMX bike with no brakes at all.
How Can BMX Bike With No Brakes Stop?
There are two types of BMX riders. First is the freestyle BMX riders. They are the ones that do tricks and make people go wow. The second type of BMX rider is the BMX racers who compete in a racing competition.
Freestyle BMX riders don’t go very fast like the BMX racers. A typical freestyle BMX trick is performed at a speed of 10-15 km/h, while BMX racers dash at a speed around 57- 63 km/h.
Those BMX riders that perform tricks have brakeless bikes. They use their feet as their brake. They plant it onto the rear tire of their BMX to slow down their speed if they go fast.
However, this kind of method is dangerous on busy streets. But in street or skate parks, which is a secure environment since there are no cars around, it is a trend. You will see lots of BMX freestylers that have brakeless BMX.
Why Do Most BMX Bikes Have No Front Brakes?
The reason why most BMX riders don’t put brakes on the front of their BMX is that without a front brake, you can move your bike easier and your bike will become less heavy.
Beginners usually insert a front brake on their BMX bike, which is fine since they are still on the beginner level. It is essential, but not for experienced ones. As you become more adept at riding a BMX, you might find that front brakes are more of a hindrance than a solution.
Is It Safe To Ride A BMX Bike With No Brakes On The Street?
No, especially if you are still a beginner. You need brakes when you ride on the street with your BMX bike so that you can stop or slow down your bike immediately if needed. Also, don’t forget to wear your helmet when you ride on the street even if you have brakes.
Should I Put Brakes On My BMX?
Yes! You should put brakes on your BMX if you are a beginner or if you will ride through the streets. But if you already know what you are doing, you can remove it if you want to. But still, you need to be cautious, especially on the streets.
Brakes help beginners to accomplish their first tricks. If you started riding a BMX bike with no brakes, you take much longer to perfect your first trick and you will be more likely to get injured.
Taking off your brakes and riding it on the streets is not that dangerous if you are already an adept BMX rider. However, if you are going to ride on trails or downhill, I recommend that you keep your brakes even if you are already an expert. It might save your life and prevent you from getting injured.
However, I don’t push you not to remove it. It is still a personal choice that must be done by you. If you feel that you are ready to ride without your brakes, then remove it. If you decide to take your brakes off, I suggest you keep the brake mounts because maybe some other day you change your mind and put it back. Without mounts, it could be a pain in the ass.
What Brakes Do BMX Bikes Have?
The brakes BMX bikes have are V-brakes and U-brakes. Both can be controlled by a hand lever mounted on the handlebar of the BMX bike. BMX riders that compete in races use V-brakes, and it is mounted to their rear rims. They use V-brakes because they are lighter and more powerful than U-brakes, which is essential for racing.
How Do BMX Brakes Work?
Both BMX brakes offer the same purpose. However, they have different designs, which is why they operate in different ways on BMX bikes. Let us check how V-brakes and U-brakes work!
V-brakes are commonly seen on BMX riders that compete in racing. Why? Because it has more powerful braking and is lighter than any other brake. These brakes are not good for BMX riders that love to perform tricks because it might interfere with their body or clothes.
V-brakes on BMX bikes loop over the edge of the rim with rubber pads on each side of the rim. V-brakes need cables to work. The cable is routing along with the frame of the BMX bike from the handlebar lever. When you pull the lever of a V-brake, they pull more cable, which is why they provide a powerful grip on the rim. You will have a better stopping experience with V-brakes!
On the other hand, U-brakes. U-brakes are the most common type of BMX bike brake system. They are the standard fit on all freestyle BMX bikes. U-brakes are durable, have a simple design and cable routing.
Through the Gyro headset, riders can perform 180 and 360 degrees handle bar spins and tailwhips easily. This brake is only used for the rear brake of the bike. The cable of the brake is routing through the stem with a hollow stem bolt to the fork steerer tube and along with the frame to the brakes. Because of this, it avoids tangling dilemmas.
Do BMX Bikes Have Pedal Brakes?
For kids that want to learn bicycle riding, the first bike their parents usually buy is a BMX bike. Even me! My first bike is a BMX bike. This is where I learn to ride a bike with no training wheels. It is small and perfect for kids!
A coaster brake allows children to learn balance and the fundamentals of controlling a bicycle. It is also easier because the coaster brake allows the BMX bike to roll forward without rotating the pedals and crank. How? Because of its awesome rear hub!
The hub is called the coaster hub. It serves as brakes for BMX bikes. It functions when the cranks are pedaled in a reverse direction. It has internal brake shoes stored inside a metal shell. When the BMX rider pedals backward, the brake shoes expand, slowing the bike’s speed.
For kids, this kind of brakes is the best. It is the easiest and less hassle way to slow their bike if they go full speed. Also, the hands of kids are small and not strong enough to pull a lever brake that is why coaster brake is great for them!
Pros And Cons Of Going Brakeless On BMX Bike
We all know the importance of brakes in bikes. It saves our lives! However, some people tend to remove their brakes on their BMX for some good reasons but it can still be a bad idea for those who are just starting out. Let us take a look at the pros and cons of going brakeless on a BMX bike.
Let us start with the pros first.
The pros of going brakeless on a BMX bike are:
- Reduces the weight of the bike
- Makes you look cool
- Endless barspins
- Make your BMX bike look cleaner
- It will make your confidence higher
- Easier to do tricks
Now, let us check the cons:
- You can’t go full speed
- You can’t stop the bike immediately if you go full speed
- You are more prone to accidents if you are less experienced
- You will not be able to do brake tricks
Having brakes on your BMX bike is a personal preference. You can go brakeless if you feel confident enough to drive your BMX bike without brakes. However, my advice for beginners is to use brakes first because it will be easier for them to learn their first trick.
When beginners like you become experienced, they can choose to go brakeless or not. If you choose to go brakeless, make sure to drive cautiously and wear a helmet to avoid accidents.
Sources: bmxtime.com, keepitgnarly.com