Welcome to our 10-minute guide to BMX for beginners.
Need to grab a regular dose of adrenaline, but also a sport that doesn’t completely break the bank?
Riding BMX is for you.
In our detailed guide to starting BMX, we’ll cover everything you need to know to get started.
From which BMX bikes are best for beginners, through to a essential gear guide, how to do tricks and even how to modify and customise your BMX.
We’ve even added a section on how to build dirt jumps.
In part 1 we’ll look at the essential equipment you’ll need for starting BMX, or you can choose a section using the links below.
Ready to get started?
The Essential BMX Equipment List
Before you start learning tricks on your BMX, you need some gear.
That’s why we’ve put together this essential equipment list for BMX.
It goes without saying that you’ll need a bike.
But, which BMX is the best for beginners?
Well, there’s a tonne of bikes on the market that will be the perfect entry level bike.
What you’ll be looking for is a bike that can be used on a multi-purpose basis; for flatland, park, street and dirt.
As you progress as a rider, you’ll start to develop a style. And, you’ll be able to customise your bike to suit.
Buying the right BMX first time round will mean you can customise it, rather than replace it.
We’ve put together a quick BMX buying guide designed for beginners.
These are the things you need to look out for before you make a purchase.
BMX Size Chart
What size BMX do you need?
Buying a BMX that’s the wrong size is going to make learning tricks difficult, and riding extremely uncomfortable.
The BMX sizing chart below gives an idea of what size bike you need. There is some slight crossover, as there are certain heights whereby the rider would be suited to two different wheel sizes.
However, if you’re a young rider, it’s a clever idea to buy the frame size at the higher end of what you can ride.
That way, when you grow, you won’t outgrow your bike.
|18”||3ft 5”- 4ft 4”|
|20”||4ft 4” and above|
Which BMX Should You Buy?
When you buy your first BMX, you’re going to be limited by one main factor; price.
There are plenty of cheap BMXs out there (some are under $100), but if you’re planning to learn fast and ride hard, they won’t last.
The components the cheap BMXs are made from, are junk.
You’ll need to grab a bike from a reputable brand such as Hoffman, Mongoose, Wethepeople or Haro.
We’ve created a guide to the best BMX bike brands here.
How Much Does A Good BMX Cost?
If you plan to buy a bike from a top BMX brand you should be expecting to set aside $150-300.
That’s going to give you a bike that’s good enough to work with as a beginner.
You can then customise it with parts that improve its performance, and better suit your riding style.
Like any extreme sport, you shouldn’t be riding BMX without protective gear.
Whether it’s sliding down a vert on your ass, or hitting your head on a grind pole, it hurts.
And that’s even when you are wearing protective equipment; imagine how much it hurts if you’re not!
If you want to protect your noggin when you bail, you’ll need a good BMX helmet.
Helmets are not designed specifically for beginners, or experts; it’s a one size fits all approach.
As I mentioned in my post on the best motocross helmets, I don’t take any chances when it comes to my head.
Sure, you can save yourself a few dollars by going with a cheap and unknown brand. But, for how little BMX helmets cost, I’d always lean towards well-known brands with good reviews.
Compared with cheaper BMX helmet brands, they’ll have a better fit, superior comfort and more importantly, better protection.
In the world of BMX, you’ll want to be heading for bike shops selling helmets such as Triple-Eight and Pro-Tec.
Knee & Elbow Guards
Price: $30-40 per pair
Next, you’ll want to invest in some knee and elbow guards.
If you’re plan is to hit the trails and start dirt jumping on a BMX, you can get away with a soft padded knee and elbow guard. Preferably, you’ll wear them under your pants and jersey to protect them in a crash.
There’s a tonne of choice here, as the pads provided by mountain bike protective brands will be suitable. That includes the likes of 661, Troy Lee Designs, Fox Racing and Dainese.
For those that prefer to ride flatland, street or park, you’ll want something a little more durable.
Concrete is going to eat soft knee and elbow guards alive. After one fall, they’ll be trash.
The best elbow and knee guards with a protective outer shell (for the money) are available from Pro-Tec.
Wrist guards are not what most BMX riders would class as essential.
So, do you need wrist guards for BMX?
That’s down to personal preference. If you’re taking no chances when it comes to protecting your wrists, then it’s advisable to wear them.
Make no mistake. When you crash, you will fling your hands out to protect your face, and that leaves your wrists exposed.
Wrist guards are designed to prevent hyperextension (and breaks) in your wrists, but they also have protective sliders on the hands.
The only downside to this, is that you’ll struggle to ride comfortably if you also plan to wear gloves.
Gloves for BMX riding will give a little protection against your grips rubbing, and help to prevent blisters.
But in the event of a crash, they also offer a little protection too. They’ll take the brunt of the impact when you’re sliding down the trail, a vert, or even concrete.
Pretty much any BMX, MTB or MX brand will make gloves suitable for BMX.
They are all low profile enough that you get the feel from your rear brake, but offer decent levels of comfort and durability too.
Brands such as One Industries, Oakley, Fox Racing and 661 all make a tonne of different gloves from $15 upwards.
A worthy side note…
If you’re not fussed about buying the new 2018 lines that have now been released, search for “2017” BMX gloves.
Brands will discount last year’s stock by up to 40%.
The last item on our BMX gear list is a set of sturdy BMX shoes.
When you’re landing tricks, you’ll be trying to absorb some big impacts through your body.
Unlike mountain bikes, BMXs don’t have suspension. So, anything you can do to help absorb this impact is going to make a difference.
Top BMX shoe brands create shoes that offer good ankle support. More importantly, they have a thick sole that helps to absorb impacts.
Cheaper shoes start at around $30, although some can be as much as $80.
Brands worth mentioning are DC Shoes, Etnies, Globe and Osiris.
There’s a crossover for shoes suitable for DH biking, skateboarding and BMX, for sure.
Next: How To Do BMX Tricks