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Are BMX Bikes Good for Trails? (Explained!)

BMX bikes are always a popular choice amongst avid bikers who love to perform tricks or go fast and pick speed up in their races. While they can also be used for regular commuting, when it comes to trail roads, it gets tricky. 

Are BMX bikes good for trails?

BMX bikes aren’t advised for trail rides. While these bikes are known for their speed changes, swift mobility, and sturdy strength- for mountain trails a bike needs to have shock absorption, better climbing stats while also able to handle a variety of terrains, which are traits BMX bikes don’t have.

For a bike to be good on a trail, a rider definitely needs brakes and appropriately sized tires that will not skid out on a twisted or slippery section. Being able to control the speed is necessary as well. While BMX bikes can work in these scenarios but it is not the best idea.

Can you ride a BMX bike on trails?

You cannot ride a BMX bike on trails. Technically speaking, you can- any trail can be ridden with any bike, but it is ultimately a matter of how optimized it is. For example, a BMX bike can be used to be for commuting, but in the end, an all-around, regular basket bike will be a better choice.

In the same vein, you can ride a BMX bike on trails but it will be uncomfortable and probably very risky since the lack of shock absorption and brakes tend to make a recipe for disaster.

A few reasons why you cannot ride a BMX bike on trails

A few of the reasons have been mentioned already, which will be explained more below. To start with, 

Lack of gears

Gears on a bike let you control how you can use the bike by managing the speed and traction on the trail. Since BMX does not generally come with that option, it makes for a bad choice.

Low seats

Mountain trails are a form of longer riding where comfort is key. The terrain changes and is usually unpredictable most of the time.

BMX bikes have low seats since the rider is usually up on their feet pedaling and moving around to perform tricks. This means comfortable seats are not a priority which does not work with trail riding.

Lack of suspension

Riding a hardtail requires a suspension at the front, which BMX does not have. This means instead of using the frame and build of the bike, the rider has to use their body as the suspension and work through the bike properly and “correctly” to keep the wheels working.

Basically, the bikes are not optimized for climbing or riding down the downhills fast which would make the rider go through hassels.

The controllability (or the lack of it) can be a risky issue as well. Unless a good, professional rider is using the bike on the trail, it will not be a good idea to use a BMX bike for a trail ride.

Is BMX better than a mountain bike? Which one to choose for trailing?

BMX bikes and mountain bikes have their own niches where they shine the best. BMX performs best when needed for races and trick performances, whereas mountain bikes are as the name suggests, for biking up paths up in the mountains and hills.

For trailing, a mountain bike would be a better choice. This does not mean you cannot ride a BMX up a mountain, it is just that an MTB will make the ride smoother and more hassle-free.

BMX bikes are lighter which makes for easy trick performing whereas mountain bikes are heavier so the user has better control over it.

For trailing you need comfortable seating and firm, stable control and frames- which are features mountain bikes have, therefore the better choice.

What bikes are good for trails?

There are a couple of bike types that will be good for trail rides but a few notable choices are

Touring bikes

Touring bikes are a good choice for they are built for longer rides with gear over distances. Their frame is sturdy enough to support heavy carriage with attachment options.

Endurance bikes

These bikes are named so because they provide enduring comfort since they have a more relaxed shape that keeps you comfortable for longer rides. The wider tires provide traction so it is easier for a variety of terrains.

Adventure Road bikes

These bikes are also known as all-road bikes, any-road bikes, and even gravel bikes. This means it’s a versatile bike that allows longer trips in the sun, touring, and even regular commuting.

You can also use mountain bikes for trail rides, but make sure you are aware of how heavy they are and can control them fairly well.

Can you convert BMX to a mountain bike?

You can convert your BMX into a mountain bike. The features of MTBs are flat handlebars, wide tires, and suspensions.

Usually, you can change the stem and bar which can work with the fork you already have on the bike. You also need to add the gears and chains accordingly. You can look to change the tires as well.

In the end, it depends on what features you want on your bike and how much you are willing to pay for the parts and expertise. Just keep in mind it means your bike will get heavier which would mean tougher climbing.

BMX or mountain bike for a child?

So, you are planning to buy a bicycle for your child but now are left with the question of which one you would go for. BMX bikes are great for stunt performing while mountain bikes are more for sturdy excursions.

The key differences between these two types lie in the tires, brakes, and gears on the bikes. 

The general consensus is that BMX bikes are preferred by 9 to 10 year olds for someone younger will not be getting any air with a BMX bike.

Unless they show specific interest towards racing on BMX tracks, you can look into cheap yet top-of-the-line bikes made for them.

On the other hand, mountain biking is regarded as a fun hobby for most kids and their families which can be utilized as regular cruising bikes for later.

BMX is for performing tricks, jumps, and stunts at the skate park. Mountain bikes are designed for terrain trails which are exciting for going downhill tracks.

Keeping these features in mind, it is ultimately on you and your kids to decide which kind of bike they would prefer.

What are BMX bikes good for?

While people may associate BMX with kids, but this type of bike is becoming increasingly popular amongst adventurous adults as well.

BMX bikes are good for thrill-seeking stunts, daredevil tricks, and those who wish to perform with their bikes. They are also known as a prevalent choice for racing as well.

The standard frame size, slick thinner tiers, and the one-speed gear allow regular urban riding as well as casual showing off at your skate park as you get to build up speed over short spurt of distances.

Are BMX bikes good for cruising?

BMX bikes are made for short bursts of speed and mobility, so longer rides are not optimal. This means BMX bikes are not good for cruising.

If the plan is to go for longer than an hour cruise, BMX is not the call. This bike is designed to do a long of things, however, these said things do not include longer rides. The design structure, durability, and size work together to make BMX bikes perfect for what it is built for.

That being said, some believe is cruising is all about the setup where keeping the seat post high enough might make it work for you. 24-inch wheels should make it easy to ride your BMX on most terrains. 

For cruising the first thing you look for is comfort, and the second is sturdiness or durability, so if you think you can get these qualities from your BMX, the worlds your oyster and any terrain is your own park. 

BMX bikes are basically designed for quick bursts of sprints and jump so you can freestyle however you wish to. This means this bike is made to be mobile yet strong.

But for trail rides and longer cruises, you need something that is more comfortable and provides more control and friction.