Posted 10 months ago

Moto Racing General

BMX And Its Unknown Facts

BMX And Its Unknown Facts
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BMX is an acronym for Bicycle Motocross. A BMX bike is made for off-road racing and trick riding. 

BMX originated in California in the 1970s. Inspired by motocross riders of the time, people started to race their bikes on dirt tracks. 

In fact, BMX bikes were designed to get more people into motocross, but it soon developed into a sport of its own.

The history of BMX may seem like the story of the backyard or the front lawn, and that’s absolutely right. But it’s more than that. Here’s the tale of our favorite tiny bike.

The true story begins sometime in the 1970s when these bikes were first developed. It started off as a result of the popularity of motocross taking off as a sport in the USA - the name is inspired by motocross, standing for Bicycle Motocross. 

So what’s a BMX bike anyway? 

The bikes we know as BMX started out as a model of bicycle that was easy to customize on your own, so you could get it to cover the types of terrain that you wanted - from asphalt to dirt tracks, to the custom-built BMX circuits that were popping up as the sport gained popularity.

History of BMX

BMX began during the early 1970s in the United States when children began racing their bicycles on dirt tracks in southern California, inspired by the motocross stars of the time.

The size and availability of the Schwinn Sting-Ray and other wheelie bikes made them the natural bike of choice for these races since they were easily customized for better handling and performance.

BMX racing was a phenomenon by the mid-1970s. Children were racing standard road bikes off-road around purpose-built tracks in California.

What makes a BMX different from a regular bike?

The BMX design is small, strong, lightweight, and transportability. Good BMXs are designed to withstand a lot of rigorous off-road riding. 

You can distinguish a BMX bike from a regular bike in a few ways. Mainly, they are characterized by their small frame size, wheel size, and distinct U-shaped handlebars. They are very basic bikes. Only having simple parts, they’re easy to build, maintain and fix.

The most obvious difference between a BMX and a regular bike is the wheel size. BMX wheel sizes vary from around 16” - 26” but the standard size used by most BMX riders is 20”.

BMXs have low frames and seats, which enables the rider to move more freely on the bike. This is especially useful when controlling the bike on jumps and around tight corners.

BMXs have high-rising U-shaped handlebars. This is important because the bike is very low to the ground. The handlebars have to be high to reduce slouching and keep the rider's back comfortable. The high front end and low back end work together well, giving the rider more control and leverage to do jumps and tricks.

BMXs only have one gear. Single-speed gearing is preferred by BMXers because it’s light, hard to break, and easy to maintain. 

The different types of BMX

As the sport developed, BMX riders began to specialize in different sub-disciplines of the sport, which have grown into their own similar but separate entities. 

BMX racing and BMX freestyle were the original sub-disciplines. However, BMX freestyle can be further broken down into Street, Park, Dirt and Flatland. 

Most BMX riders will take part in all of these activities at some point, but most specialize in a single area. Each area requires a slightly different type of bike.

BMX truly flourished when the backyard game went national, and of course, international, in the hands of riders that took the sport beyond what we thought was possible.

These include people like Jimmy LeVan, whose tremendous and heartwarming full-length feature can be watched here, and by the likes of Vert and X Games champion Mat Hoffman. For a local hero look no further than Mansour Al Safran, our OP BMX trickster, who exudes a special kind of irreplaceable cool as he freestyles with ease.

Over the years we’ve been blessed by so many household names, but what makes BMX truly special is that anyone can ride and go and feel the thrill of it for themselves.

International development

In April 1981, the International BMX Federation was founded, and the first world championships were held in 1982. 

Since January 1993, BMX has been integrated into the Union Cycliste Internationale.

In 2003, the International Olympic Committee made BMX a full medal Olympic sport for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China, and Maris Strombergs (male, for Latvia) and Anne-Caroline Chausson (female, for France) became the first Olympic champions.

Many talented BMX riders go on to other cycling sports like downhill, including Australian Olympian Jared Graves, Eric Carter and youth BMX racer Aaron Gwin. Multiple world and Olympic champion track sprinter Chris Hoy also began as a BMX rider.

The history of BMX is still being written today, but people like you, and the athletes continue to develop the sport.


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