May 29th, 2017
Bike riding is not like bike riding in the early days! Now bike riders can take it to the extreme and perform tricks, stunts, and some wild balancing acts. It began with motocross racing and has since become one of the most popular extreme sports. Freestyle BMX riding is a creative way to use those bicycles that were originally designed for racing. Small dirt bikes have been popular with many kids since they were introduced and along the way, freestyle riding became a part of the X generation.
Street riders ride on public streets and on private property using anything they can find as a ramp. Almost anything can be used as an obstacle and that is what makes street riding so popular. Street riders are not bound by what skate park designers have laid out for them. It gives the rider creativity to learn harder and more difficult maneuvers and tricks.
Street bikes typically have two to four axle pegs for grinding and are usually the sturdiest and heaviest of BMX bike.
Freestyle BMX began in the late 70s or early 80s and the first freestyle World Championships were held in 1986 in Vancouver, Canada. Now freestyle contests are held regularly all around the world and include X games, Metro Jams, Backyard Jams, and the BMX Freestyle World competition. Freestyle bikers can perform some outstanding and amazing tricks and many more tricks are being developed each day. Many tricks that have been around for a while are being combined to make newer and more difficult tricks. Here is a list of a few of the basic tricks and how they are performed.
Manual: This trick is done while riding with the front wheel in the air. It is a coasting wheelie and the rider is not pedaling.
Nose Manuel: This trick is similar to the manual but a little harder. The rider balances his bike on the front wheel instead of the back.
Air: You can do this trick by simply getting your bike into the air by jumping off a ramp, or bank and landing with both feet on the pedals.
Grind: This one looks hard. It is sliding bike along an object instead of using the wheels. This could be the metal edge of a ramp, handrail, or ledge.
Fakie: This is simply riding backwards. The trick is that most rear bicycle hubs will rotate backwards while the back wheel is rolling backwards.
Bunny Hop: This trick involves getting the bike off the ground without using a jump. The rider pulls back on the handlebars and jumping up. Then he pushes forward on the handlebars to level out in the air.
There are many more tricks and are classified in different categories. There are grind, air lip, and flatland tricks. Many take plenty of practice to perfect. Some riders have progressed to the level they have big name sponsors for many of the freestyle competitions.
Freestyle bikes are different from regular riding and dirt bikes. They all use 20-inch wheels and the top tubes are usually 20-21 inches long. Most riders will build their own bikes. Street rider bikes also have smoother wheels while dirt riders will have tires that are knobby for better traction on dirt courses. Some dirt bikes are equipped with only rear brakes and some riders prefer bikes with no brakes. A typical freestyle bike should be simple, strong, and light and nimble. Most bikes are set up by rider preference and will vary from one person to another. Some bikes will have fewer spokes so they will be lighter than normal and a smaller front sprocket for increased mobility.