Since so many ask me for advice, here are the six best tips for new BMX riders.
Whether you’re dreaming of nailing those jaw-dropping tricks or just cruising around with style and flow, you’re embarking on an incredible journey.
But HEY, let’s not forget – starting something new can be a bit daunting, right?
Don’t sweat it!
I’ve got your back with six essential tips to set you up for a smooth and fun ride.
BMX isn’t just about having the coolest bike or the flashiest moves; it’s about riding smart and safe.
So, I’m here to guide you through the essentials, from gearing up for safety to choosing the perfect bike size for you.
We’ll even dive into some beginner tricks, bike maintenance, and the secret to speeding up your progress
Ready to roll?
This post covers:
- 6 Best tips for new BMX riders
- Conclusion: Don’t skip the basics!
6 Best Tips For New BMX Riders
For more tips and tricks, check my tutorial on how to start BMX riding.
1. Wear Safety Gear
Before jumping onto your BMX and chasing those adrenaline-pumping moments, let’s discuss something super important – your safety gear.
Don’t be the one courageous enough not to wear it – you’ll hurt yourself, which can keep you off the bike for a long time.
It’s not just about looking cool; it’s about riding another day to nail that perfect trick.
So, let’s break down the essentials of your BMX armor.
Luckily, the BMX safety gear today is much better and slimmer than it was 20+ years ago when I started.
- Helmet: This is non-negotiable! A good BMX helmet can literally be a lifesaver. Look for one that fits snugly, is comfortable, and meets safety standards.
- Knee & elbow pads: Falls are part of the journey, and your knees and elbows are particularly vulnerable. Investing in durable knee and elbow pads can save you from nasty scrapes and bruises.
- Gloves: BMX isn’t kind on the hands, especially when you’re learning. Gloves protect your palms from blisters and give you a better grip on the handlebars. Plus, if you take a tumble, they’ll protect your hands from cuts and grazes.
- Shin guards (!): Your shins will thank you for this one. Shin guards protect against pedal strikes and other impacts. They’re a must-have, especially when you’re practicing new tricks and jumps. There’s nothing worst than a shinner.
- Ankle guards: Not many talk about these, but I think ankle guards are crucial when you start riding BMX. I still wear them today, because hitting the ankle bone is SO painful.
- Appropriate footwear: Ditch the flip-flops and opt for sturdy, closed BMX shoes with good grip (I prefer Vans’s slip-ons). They’ll keep your feet secure on the pedals and protect your toes if your bike gets too close.
Remember, each safety gear is a line of defense against injuries.
While they might not prevent every scrape, they significantly reduce the risk of serious injuries.
Must haves for me are: Helmet, shin guards and ankle guards. Plus, I also wear a brace on the knee I had surgery.
But the more protection you have initially, the more confidence you’ll have and likely progress faster.
2. Get The Right Size BMX Bike
Choosing the right size BMX bike makes all the difference.
Here’s how to ensure your BMX bike is the perfect match for you.
The first thing you’ll want to look at is the wheel size.
If you’re tall enough to jump on a 20″ BMX bike, that’s great.
But if not, don’t worry; there are plenty of smaller options available, too.
Depending on your height, you’ll need a top tube that allows you to comfortably reach both the handlebars and the pedals without feeling cramped or overstretched.
I created a complete BMX bike size chart guide for everyone.
You also want to look for material: Does the bike use Chromoly parts or high-tensile steel ones?
Opt for the former if you’re serious about your bike riding. However, bikes smaller than 20″ usually come with high-tensile steel, but that’s OK because the impact is usually not as significant.
Remember, if you’re buying a bike at a local BMX shop, test it out! Try different sizes and notice how each bike feels.
Getting the right size BMX bike is about handling, control, comfort, and safety.
When your bike fits just right, you’ll feel more confident, and your riding skills will improve faster.
3. Keep The Brakes On
It’s time to talk about something that might not seem as flashy as tricks and jumps but is just as crucial – your bike’s brakes.
I know the idea of riding brakeless is exciting, but WAIT for it.
Keeping the brakes on, especially when just starting out, is all about mastering bike control and ensuring safety.
- Safety comes first: As a beginner, your first goal should be to ride safely. Brakes are essential for controlling your speed and stopping quickly to avoid accidents.
- Learning control: Good braking technique is fundamental in BMX riding. It helps you learn how to control your bike in various situations, plus, learn some tricks much easier than without brakes.
- Building confidence: When you know you can stop or slow down whenever necessary, you’ll feel more confident trying new things. This confidence is key in gradually pushing your limits and trying complex tricks.
- Practice braking techniques: It’s not just about slamming on the brakes; it’s about learning to use them smoothly and efficiently. Practice different braking techniques, like feathering the brakes (lightly tapping them) for gradual slowing (some use this technique during a manual), or applying more force for a quick stop (which can help for tail taps, fufanus, etc.).
- Transitioning to brakeless: Some experienced BMX riders prefer a brakeless setup for certain riding styles. However, this should only be considered once you have mastered control and are fully aware of the risks involved. It’s a personal choice requiring a lot of skill and experience.
Remember, in BMX, control is just as important as speed or style. Brakes are a fundamental part of that control.
They keep you safe, help you learn the nuances of bike handling, and build the confidence necessary to progress in your riding.
So keep those brakes on, learn how to control your bike and only then decide whether or not to go brakeless.
4. Learn & Master Basic Tricks (!)
Ready to dive into the heart of BMX riding – the tricks?
Starting with and mastering the basic tricks is like learning the alphabet before writing a novel.
It’s essential, and here’s how you can do it in style and with confidence.
Start simple: Begin with the most fundamental tricks like bunny hops, manuals, and basic jumps.
Check these how-tos:
- How to manual on a BMX bike
- How to bunny hop on a BMX bike
- How to fakie on a BMX
- How to 180 on a BMX
- How to feeble grind on a BMX
- How to double peg grind on a BMX
These are the building blocks for all advanced tricks. Perfecting these will give you a solid foundation and help you understand the mechanics of your bike.
Progress at your own pace: Don’t rush it. Everyone learns at their own pace, and it’s okay if it takes time to nail a trick.
Patience and persistence are your best allies. Remember, even the pros started with the basics.
Practice regularly: Consistency is key. Regular practice helps build muscle memory and confidence.
Find a safe, open area to practice without too many distractions or hazards.
I was riding empty parking lots and curbs most of the time when I started.
Focus on form: Pay attention to your body position, how you handle the bike, and the timing of your movements. Good form is crucial for executing tricks correctly and safely.
Seek advice & learn from others: Watch videos, join BMX communities/groups, or (optionally) find a mentor.
Learning from experienced riders can provide valuable insights and tips. Don’t be shy to ask for advice or feedback on your technique.
Celebrate small victories: Every time you master a new trick or improve a little, celebrate it. These small victories keep you motivated and excited about learning more.
Mastering basic tricks in BMX is about understanding your bike, building confidence, and setting a strong foundation for more advanced stunts.
Forget about tailwhips, backflips flairs and other advanced tricks. You need to master the basics, like manual, 180s, 360s, grinds, etc. first.
For trick ideas, refer to my list of easy beginner BMX tricks.
Note: I also have plenty of how-tos on my YouTube channel.
5. Learn Basics Bike Maintenance
Keeping your BMX in good shape not only ensures a smooth ride but also extends the life of your bike.
- Regular cleaning: Dirt and grime can affect your bike’s performance. Clean your BMX regularly, especially after a dusty or muddy ride. Use a gentle cleaner, a soft brush, and a rag to keep your bike looking and functioning at its best.
- Check your tires: Proper BMX tire pressure is essential for good handling and to prevent flats. Regularly check and adjust your tire pressure according to the riding conditions. Also, inspect your tires for wear and tear and replace them if worn out.
- Maintain your chain: A well-lubricated chain is crucial for smooth pedaling. Clean and lubricate your chain frequently, especially if it looks dry or dirty.
Inspect brakes & cables: Your brakes are vital for safety. Regularly check brake pads for wear and ensure the brake cables are not frayed or sticking. Adjust the brakes if they feel loose or unresponsive.
- Tighten bolts: BMX riding can loosen parts of your bike. Periodically check and tighten the bolts, especially on your handlebars, seat, and wheels. This prevents unexpected parts from coming loose while you’re riding. (It happened to me, and it sucks!)
- Learn to fix a flat: A flat tire can ruin your riding day. Learn how to fix a flat tire and always carry a repair kit (or a spare tube) with you. It’s a simple skill that’s incredibly useful.
- Storage & care: Store your BMX in a dry, clean place to prevent rust and damage. Avoid leaving it outdoors for long periods, especially in harsh weather. (But you can also check my complete guide on how to store a BMX bike.)
- Seek professional help when needed: If you encounter a problem that’s beyond your skill level, don’t hesitate to take your bike to a professional mechanic. Regular professional check-ups can also help maintain your BMX’s condition.
Note: Learn the basic BMX bike maintenance through my how-to.
Maintaining your BMX bike is a rewarding part of the riding experience.
It teaches you about the mechanics of your bike, saves you money in the long run, and gives you a sense of pride in taking care of your ride.
6. Film & Analyze Yourself For Faster Progress
Are you ready to unlock a powerful tool for accelerating your BMX skills?
It’s something you probably carry around every day – your camera phone.
Filming and analyzing your riding sessions can dramatically boost your progress.
Let’s dive into how this simple yet effective method can help you evolve from a beginner to a pro.
I still film myself regularly, and it’s helping me tremendously.
- Film your sessions: Use your phone or a camera to record your riding sessions. Don’t worry about fancy equipment; the focus is on capturing your performance, not creating a cinematic masterpiece.
- Analyze your techniques: Watch your videos to analyze your techniques. Look for things like body positioning, how you handle jumps, turns, and tricks. Identify what you’re doing well and where you need improvement. Sometimes, what feels right in the moment can look different on camera.
- Spot & correct mistakes: Video analysis helps you spot mistakes you might not realize while riding. Maybe you’re not pulling up high enough for a bunny hop, or your turns are too wide. Recognizing these errors is the first step in correcting them.
- Track your progress: Regularly filming your sessions allows you to track your progress over time. You can see how far you’ve come, which is incredibly motivating. Plus, it’s a great way to look back and appreciate your journey.
- Focus on incremental improvements: Use your videos to set small, achievable goals. For instance, if you’re working on a manual, hold it a little longer each time. These incremental improvements add up and lead to significant progress.
- Mental rehearsal: Watching yourself perform tricks can also be a form of mental practice. Visualizing yourself doing a trick correctly helps reinforce the skill in your mind, making it easier to execute when you’re back on the bike.
Remember, the goal of filming isn’t to criticize yourself harshly but to become your own coach.
It’s about understanding your riding style, celebrating your improvements, and pinpointing areas for growth.
Conclusion: Don’t Skip The Basics!
And there you have it, BMX enthusiasts – a whirlwind tour through the essential tips to kickstart your BMX adventure.
As we wrap up, let’s quickly recap what we’ve covered to ensure you’re all set for a session with confidence and style.
- Wear safety gear: Remember, your safety gear is your armor. Helmets, knee pads, elbow pads, gloves, shin guards, and proper footwear are non-negotiable for safe and enjoyable rides.
- Get the right size bike: Like finding the perfect pair of jeans, the right size bike makes all the difference. It enhances control, comfort, and overall performance.
- Keep the brakes on: Brakes aren’t just safety features; they’re tools for learning control and building confidence. Master them before you even think about going brakeless.
- Learn & master basic tricks: Start simple and build a strong foundation. Regular practice, focusing on form, and celebrating small victories will pave your way to advanced tricks.
- Learn basic bike maintenance: Get to know your bike inside and out. Regular cleaning, tire checks, chain maintenance, and overall care will keep your BMX in top condition.
- Film & analyze yourself: Use video analysis as a tool for self-coaching. It’s a fantastic way to spot areas for improvement, track your progress, and accelerate your learning curve.
Each of these tips is a stepping stone towards becoming a skilled BMX rider.
Embrace them, practice regularly, and always keep the fun alive.
BMX riding is not just about the tricks and the tracks; it’s about the joy, the community, and the endless possibilities for growth and adventure.
Note: You can also always send me a message, and I’ll be happy to help. Yo!🤘