The Short Answer is:
BMX bikes are single speed bikes, meaning they have only one gear ratio and no derailleur.
BMX bikes are a popular type of bike that is often used for stunts, tricks and jumps. However, there is some confusion about whether BMX bikes are fixed-gear or single-speed. Fixed-gear bikes have a fixed cog in the back, while single-speed bikes have one gear in the front and one freewheel gear in the back.
In this article, we will explore “Are BMX Bikes Fixed Gear or Are They Single Speed?” and explain the differences between the two.
Table of Contents
Differentiating Fixed Gear and Single Speed
BMX bikes are not fixed-gear bikes, as they have a freewheel mechanism that allows the bike to coast when not pedaling. To understand the difference between fixed-gear and single-speed bikes, we can look at the rear hub of the bike. Single-speed bikes have a freewheel mechanism, which allows the rider to coast without pedaling, while fixed-gear bikes do not have this mechanism.
Here are some other differences between fixed-gear and single-speed bikes:
Fixed Gear Bikes
- The rear cog is connected to the rear hub, so as the wheel rotates, the pedals rotate as well.
- You cannot coast on a fixed-gear bike. When you are in motion, the crank at the pedals is always turning.
- Fixed-gear bikes are often used for track cycling or racing due to their simplicity and efficiency.
Single Speed Bikes
- Single-speed bikes have a freewheel mechanism that allows the rider to coast without pedaling.
- They are often used for commuting or casual riding due to their simplicity and ease of maintenance.
- Single-speed bikes can be converted from geared bikes by removing the derailleur and cassette.
Common Features of BMX Bikes
Here are some of the common features of BMX bikes:
- 20-inch wheels: Most BMX bikes have 20-inch wheels, although there are some exceptions like 24-inch-wheel “cruisers”.
- Lightweight frame: BMX bikes have light and sturdy frames, and the higher the price, the lighter these bikes get.
- Thick and steady tires: BMX bikes use thick, fat tires for better traction and shock absorption.
- Upright handlebars with crossbars: BMX bikes usually have upright handlebars with crossbars that provide better control and stability while riding.
- Small saddles: BMX bikes have small saddles that allow riders to move around more easily while performing stunts or tricks.
- Long cranks: BMX bikes have long cranks that provide more leverage for pedaling and better control while riding.
- Rear-hand brakes: Most BMX bikes use rear-hand brakes for stopping power.
BMX bikes come in different types, including racing, freestyle, dirt, and flatland. Each type has slightly different frame geometry and features optimized for a certain type of riding.
For example, racing BMX bikes tend to have lighter materials and slightly different frame geometry and sizes, while dirt BMX bikes feature tires with thicker and wider treads for better grip on potentially loose surfaces. Flatland BMX bikes have a smaller and more compact frame to ensure better clearance during trick and stunt execution
BMX Bikes: Single Speed by Design
BMX bikes are a popular choice for riders who enjoy freestyle urban riding, racing, and dirt jumping. These bikes are designed to be lightweight, durable, and easy to maneuver. Single-speed BMX bikes are a great option for riders who want a simple, low-maintenance bike that is easy to ride.
These bikes have either two or three gears and are known for their simplicity and reliability. If you’re looking for a single-speed BMX bike, there are many options available. Hyper BMX Bike 29 Inch is a great option for adults who want a bike that is park-ready and has a padded seat.
Fiend Type A BMX Bike is another great option for adults who want a high-quality bike that is designed for freestyle riding. Overall, single-speed BMX bikes are a great choice for riders who want a simple, reliable bike that is easy to ride and maintain.
The Perception of Fixed Gear in BMX Culture
Fixed-gear bikes, also known as fixies, have a unique place in BMX culture. Here are some perceptions of fixed-gear bikes in BMX culture:
- The better feel of the bike: According to Boardman and Obree, riding a fixed gear provides a better feel of the bike.
- Kinetic superiority: Fixed gear drivetrains are kinetically superior to other bicycle drivetrains because there is a more direct transfer of energy from the rider to the wheel.
- Ultimate bike: Some fixed-gear adherents contend that their bikes are the ultimate and all others are pretenders.
- Growing presence: Fixed-gear bikes are becoming a growing presence on the streets of New York, ridden by messengers and non-messengers alike.
- Connected to the road: Some people believe that riding a fixed-gear bike helps you feel connected to the road and is good for training.
- Culture: Fixed gear bikes have their own culture and have seen tremendous growth in popularity over the past years.
It is clear that fixed-gear bikes have a unique place in BMX culture, with some riders preferring them for their direct transfer of energy and better feel of the bike. Additionally, fixed-gear bikes have their own culture and are becoming increasingly popular among riders in general.
Advantages of Single-Speed BMX Bikes
Single-speed BMX bikes have several advantages over multi-geared bikes. Here are some benefits of single-speed BMX bikes:
- Simplicity: Single-speed BMX bikes are mechanically simpler than multi-geared bikes, which means there are fewer parts that require maintenance. This makes them ideal for city commuting in all weather.
- Affordability: Single-speed BMX bikes are generally cheaper than their multi-geared counterparts.
- Lightweight: Single-speed BMX bikes are likely to save you several pounds of weight, which makes them easier to maneuver and requires less energy to move the bike forward.
- Efficiency: The drivetrain efficiency of a single-speed can be greater than today’s typical multi-geared bicycles. A straight chain line, lack of chain drag from rear derailleur jockey pulleys, and lack of chainrings, ramps, and pins all contribute to this efficiency.
- Versatility: Single-speed BMX bikes are versatile and can be used for a variety of purposes, including commuting, racing, and off-road riding.
- Low maintenance: Single-speed BMX bikes require very little non-routine maintenance. This means you can spend more time riding and less time maintaining your bike.
In summary, single-speed BMX bikes offer simplicity, affordability, lightweight, efficiency, versatility, and low maintenance. These benefits make them an excellent choice for riders who want a reliable and easy-to-use bike for a variety of purposes.
Customization Options for Gearing
BMX bikes are generally single speed, meaning they have only one gear. However, there are customization options available for gear that can help riders achieve their desired speed and performance. One option is to change the chain wheel/cog combination, which will affect the gear ratio and how the bike feels.
The gear ratio is measured in gear inches, which gives a numerical value to how a particular chain wheel/cog combination will feel. The standard gearing for full-size freestyle BMX bikes is 25t – 9t.
Another option is to buy a custom BMX frame that can accommodate a cassette hub, which allows for multiple gears. This is a more radical solution and will cost more than simply changing the chain wheel/cog combination.
When selecting a BMX bike, riders can choose between buying a complete or custom bike. A complete bike comes with pre-selected components, including gearing, while a custom bike allows riders to choose their own components and customize their gearing to their liking.
In conclusion, while BMX bikes are generally single-speed, there are customization options available for gear that can help riders achieve their desired speed and performance. Riders can change the chain wheel/cog combination or buy a custom frame that accommodates multiple gears. When selecting a BMX bike, riders can choose between buying a complete or custom bike to customize their gearing to their liking.
Frequently Asked Questions Related to the Topic:
Can I convert a BMX bike from single-speed to fixed gear?
Yes, it is possible to convert a BMX bike from single-speed to fixed gear. You will need to purchase a fixed cog and a lockring, which secures the cog in place.
You can also consider purchasing a conversion kit that includes all the necessary components for the conversion. It is important to note that the process may require some technical knowledge and expertise, so it is recommended to seek assistance from a professional if you are unsure about the process.
Are there any benefits to having a fixed-gear BMX bike?
Yes, there are benefits to having a fixed-gear BMX bike. Some of the benefits include easier storage in tight spaces, the ability to perform certain tricks such as backward pedaling and track stands, a harder exercise due to the direct relationship between speed and user effort, and improved cadence.
Additionally, fixed-gear bikes have fewer parts to purchase and maintain, making them easier to balance in place without putting a foot on the ground.
Can I change the gear ratio on a single-speed BMX bike?
Yes, you can change the gear ratio on a single-speed BMX bike. However, it is recommended to make small changes, usually no more than 3-4 teeth in the front or 1-2 teeth in the rear. It is also advised to change only the front or the rear, not both at once, so the change isn’t too drastic.
The gear ratio refers to the ratio of front teeth to rear teeth. For instance, if you have a 44-tooth chainring and a 22-tooth cassette/cog/freewheel, then the ratio is 44:22, which simplifies to 2:1.
Conclusion: Are BMX Bikes Fixed Gear?
In conclusion, while fixed-gear bikes and single-speed bikes share some similarities, they are not the same. Fixed-gear bikes have a fixed cog that is directly connected to the rear wheel, meaning that the pedals and the wheel always move together.
On the other hand, single-speed bikes have a freewheel mechanism that allows the rider to coast without pedaling. BMX bikes are not fixed gear, but rather single-speed bikes with a freewheel mechanism that allows for coasting. Ultimately, the choice between a fixed gear or single-speed bike depends on personal preference and intended use.