People aks, if BMX bikes are good for commuting?
Commuting can be tricky. Queues, trains, subways, and everything in between get tiring very quickly. But riding to work on a bike can significantly improve the commuting experience.
The question is, are BMX bikes good for commuting? NO. BMX bikes are not good for commuting. Why? Because you’ll almost definitely break a sweat when riding up hills and long-ish to long journeys will be pretty uncomfortable.
If you have another option, we’d recommend commuting on that bike instead of your BMX.
However, if you don’t have another option, you can commute on a BMX after you’ve made a few adjustments.
We’re going to explore the ins and outs of this exact conundrum. By the end, you’ll be able to figure out whether it’s time for a new bicycle style or not.
Let’s start by taking a look at the types of BMX bikes available.
Types of BMX Bikes
The OG BMX
The original BMX started all the other types in the late 1960s. These bikes are designed to be ready to race on dirt tracks.
They’re incredibly good for speed and short-distance runs since they consist of grippy tires, a durable back brake, and an incredibly lightweight frame.
Put simply, they’re a non-motorized version of motocross motorbikes.
The Freestyle BMX
These came into being not long after the original BMX was created. It is used for hardcore street riding, achieving air at a skatepark, and performing tricks on flatland.
They sport a durable construction so freestyle BMX bikes aren’t as lightweight as the original style. Generally, the wheels are made from nylon.
However, heavy-duty versions have 48 wire spokes to increase the sturdiness.
The Dirt Jump BMX
These guys are designed to jump (hence the name). They are pretty much the love child of the original BMX and the freestyle style.
These bikes are super sturdy and feature knobby tires with one rear brake.
Usually, these bikes are used to jump ramps at the skatepark (or your garden, whatever floats your boat) or cruising trails.
The Flatland BMX
Flatland BMX bikes tend to come with specialized pedals and 4 pegs. On most BMX bikes, you’ll find just two pegs since people prefer to grind on one side only.
However, flatland bikes are for more complicated tricks, hence why they’ve included a couple more.
Alongside this, the flatland styles are made with an almost vertical headtube. This helps you to turn sharply so performing tricks is easier.
The Race BMX
Race BMX bikes are the most unique type. They are made from carbon fiber frames, pedals that clip in, and brakes.
Surprisingly, the tires are more akin to road racing bikes than the other BMX styles we’ve discussed here.
The pedals allow you to push and pull to ensure maximum speed. However, they’re slightly more dangerous as you have to unclip to perform tricks.
Related reading: Are BMX Bikes Fast / BMX vs Mountain Bike Which One Is Faster?
BMX Commuter Conversion
How to Make Your BMX Better for Commuting
Tip Number One: Modify the Saddle Height
Standing up on your bike for long periods while commuting can quickly become exhausting and just an overall nuisance.
So, raising your seat will help to make your journey more comfortable.
Ideally, you should ensure your saddle is roughly the same height as your waist.
This means your leg can be slightly bent at the lowest point of your turn.
Tip Number Two: Change the Saddle Type
Typically, BMX bikes come with little plastic seats. These are designed for trick riding where you’re not sat down. However, this isn’t great for your commute.
Thankfully, there are lots of different saddles out there for you to choose from.
Try to find a padded seat to improve your comfort.
Tip Number Three: Fit a Brake
Brakeless riding is fab for learning tricks and forcing yourself to commit to actions on the track.
But, riding brakeless on a road during your commute is incredibly dangerous.
Generally, all types of BMX bikes will allow you to fit a front and rear brake.
However, if yours doesn’t let you do this, fit a back one at least.
How to Be Safe Commuting On Your BMX
Safety is key! Whether you’re riding on the road or performing tricks in your friend’s yard, you need to be as safe as possible when doing so.
One: Wear a Helmet
This is essential for any type of bike riding. As we all know, drivers are unpredictable which could lead to you paying the price for their irresponsible actions.
Wearing a helmet greatly reduces this catastrophic risk.
There are plenty of helmets to choose from. Just make sure there isn’t any damage done to it beforehand and you’re good to go.
Two: Tighten the Bolts
Even if you aren’t commuting with your BMX, you should remember to tighten the bolts every half a year regardless.
Simply grab a set of fallen keys and some grease. Then, go over the stem, bars, and everything in between.
Remember, you want to tighten the bolts over a few passes.
This way, you’ll ensure everything stays nicely aligned and you won’t overtighten anything.
Three: Add Some Lights
Generally speaking, your BMX won’t come with lights already attached.
So, you will need to fit some (or simply fit a couple of reflectors) before you use it to commute.
This way, drivers will be able to see you clearer — especially in the winter when the days become shorter and the darkness takes over.
Related reading: What Size Bike Do I Need / Bike Size Chart – 7 Bike Size Guides Explained
Alternative Bikes For Commuting
Option One: Folding Bikes
These are perfect for commutes. They are easy to take into coffee shops, carry, and fit under your desk while you’re working.
On top of this, they’re amazing if you don’t have a lot of storage space at home.
And you don’t need to spend much time maintaining them. Just get on and go.
Option Two: Urban and Recreational Hybrid Bikes
These are a mix of mountain bicycles and road bikes. The shape comes from the former but the wheel size and style comes straight from the road bikes.
The main goal of these bikes is to provide comfort and be practical. Put simply, you can race and commute with these.
Option Three: Lifestyle Hybrid Bikes
Lifestyle hybrid bikes are made for those of you who want to cycle to work during the week and go for family rides on the weekend.
They are amazingly low maintenance, most of them won’t even need you to maintain the gears! Oh, you can even find styles with baskets so you can pop to the corner shop for milk in the morning.
Option Four: Singlespeed Bikes
As you can probably gather from the name, these bikes have only one gear ratio.
It’s great for those of you who want a no-fuss, no-headache bike-based commute.
There are lots of styles to choose from. Whichever one you pick, there aren’t any gears to worry about.
All you need to do is get on and start pedaling.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, you can use BMX bikes for commuting. However, you’ll need to make some adjustments before you do so.
Otherwise, you won’t be very comfortable, nor will you be particularly safe on the road.
After all, safety is the number one consideration here!