Bike brakes generally have an explicit, safety purpose: to help you slow down or stop in an instant whenever and wherever you want to.
BMX bikes (also referred to as bicycle motocross) aren’t the same as your traditional bikes. They’re mainly made for off-road racing and stunt riding. Each BMX Bike is equipped with at least a brake, and the most common is the rear brake. However, most BMX riders prefer to remove the brake, so the cables aren’t getting in their way, especially when doing stunts, tricks, and barspins.
There’s a published report that each bicycle, regardless of its type, must have either front and rear brakes, or rear brakes only. Furthermore, BMX bikes aren’t an exception to this case. Still, removing the brake is directly dependent on the rider.
Now that you’ve learned that BMX bikes actually have a brake with them when purchased, you’ll want to know the reasons why some riders or cyclists choose to remove them. We’ll also delve much deeper on frequently asked questions about BMX bike brakes, such as brake types, how they work, and the legality of riding a bike without any brake.
Are BMX Bikes Supposed to Have Brakes?
BMX bikes should have at least a rear brake, as it plays a vital role in keeping your ride safe. Otherwise, you’ll likely end up causing accidents or facing troubles with the law.
In most countries or regions, traffic laws require cyclists to have a stopping system to prevent themselves in an emergency situation. If you’re found to have no brakes, you’re likely to be the cause of the accident involved.
Nevertheless, riding a BMX bike with or without a brake entirely depends on the rider’s preference. Yet, it’s crucial to check the area (where you’re going to cycle) if the state mentions rules and regulations about bicycles. While some implement strict bike practices, others allow riding BMX bikes without brakes —only if you have a fixed-gear.
How Many Brakes Can a BMX Bike Have?
As mentioned, BMX bikes should come with at least one brake. Yet, they can be ridden with two brakes (front and rear), one brake (rear), or none at all. All of these primarily depend on your cycling needs, preferences, and styles.
What’s more, the number of brakes a BMX bike can have is also built upon the type of the bike itself. For instance, BMX racer bikes must have a solid rear brake, while freestyle BMX bikes have removable brake mounts. Meanwhile, vert and flatland BMX bikes have double brakes.
Types of BMX Bike Brakes
BMX bikes aren’t equipped with the same style and type of brake. No matter what kind of design your BMX bike brake has, it’s still there for a purpose. That is, to keep you safe and allow you to stop whenever you want.
Basically, any BMX bike can come with either of the three designs: U-brakes, V-brakes, and coaster brakes. Each type is operated differently as well.
U-brakes are the most common type of brake system available for a BMX bike. They’re most famous for freestyle and flatlands BMX bike riders because of their standard fit, perfectly paired with detanglers (Gyro). What’s more, front and rear U-brakes have a cable running through the bike’s Gyro that allows stunters to do 360-degree rotational tricks without getting the wires tangled up.
Meanwhile, the V-brakes stopping systems are most popular in the world of dirt-jumping and racing BMX bikes. This is because they’re more lightweight and encompass more stopping power than the U-Brakes. They’re also referred to as direct-pull brakes, known to have no existing mechanism between the arms and cable.
V-brakes are looped at the rear rims’ edge and come with rubber pads. Pulling the lever connected to the handlebar stops the bike as the lever and rim collide and create friction.
And finally, coaster brakes are considered an old-school type of bike brake. This is because you need to pedal backward to let the stopping system happen. Coaster brakes are placed into the rear hub. Due to this, freestyle BMX bike riders aren’t fans of this type of brake when cycling because it is somewhat difficult to maneuver.
Do People Ride BMX Without Brakes?
Expert and professional stunters (or cyclists) are typically the types of riders who don’t use any brake or stopping system when riding their BMX bike. This is because they already know how to control and maneuver their BMX bike. As such, they already have a good grasp of speed and control calculations.
It’s worth noting, in this case, that professional BMX bikes still have a brake in them when bought in the market. Most BMX racing contests also require each rider to have a functional rear brake to avoid such accidents on the platform. So, instead of removing the brakes, BMX bike riders opt not to use the brake at all.
As a precaution, it’s recommended not to remove the rear brake, especially when you’re a newbie in BMX bikes. Alongside this is the proper use of safety gear, like a helmet and elbow and knee pads when riding your BMX bike on the street. It’s still best to learn BMX bike tricks and stunts with brakes. If not, you’ll likely end up too much time perfecting your first trick.
Why Are Some BMX Bike Riders Go Brakeless?
Bike brakes, clearly, can save lives and prevent accidents on any road. And as mentioned, professional BMX bike stunters remove those brakes for several good reasons (but this shouldn’t mean you have to remove them too, unless you can control your bike entirely).
Reasons why some BMX bike riders go brakeless include the following:
- Reduces the bike’s weight, perfect for tricks
- Lets riders do a nonstop barspin stunt
- Improves your riding balance
- Lets you unlock your skills for additional and new tricks
- Increases your confidence, thus, more fun to ride
However, removing the brake also has its drawbacks:
- Limits your speed (you can’t go full when riding without one)
- Difficulty stopping the BMX bike when you need to
- Decreases your chance of learning brake tricks
- More prone to accidents
How Do Riders Stop Their BMX Bike With No Brakes?
Brakeless BMX riders stop their bikes using their feet by placing one on the rear wheel. These riders have shoes with treads that create similar friction like brakes or rims. However, this technique only allows riders to slow down their bike. There’s no way to make a full, forced stop when using your feet as your bike’s brake.
And you probably guessed it right. This also means you need to buy shoes more often (and tires because of the resulting incompatible friction), which might be a little uneasy on your wallet. Nonetheless, nothing is more excellent than moving a finger to reach the brake for a full-stop mechanism.
Is It Illegal to Have No Brakes on a BMX?
Many states required bikers and cyclists to have at least one brake system because going brakeless means more accidents on the road. Besides, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission released a report stating that all bicycles must have either front and rear brakes, or rear brakes only. Also, riding a brakeless bike is illegal in some states. BMX bikes aren’t exempted from this rule.
Top 3 Best BMX Bike Brakes From Amazon
RUJOI bike brake set provides the tools you need to perform stunts with safety and excellent performance. The manufacturer boasts state-of-the-art packaging that’s easy for you to install on your BMX bike.
The set comes with a V-brake kit, four-piece brake pads, and two sets of bolt screws. What’s more, you can quickly adjust the tension and spring by positioning your bike’s fork correctly. Nonetheless, the RUJOI brake set complies with the EN1466, letting you stop your BMX bike smoothly without making any noise.
Another BMX bike-friendly brake set is from the Odyssey, with its 1999 brake set and lever. Moreover, the package comes with the necessary tools for easy setup, regardless if you’re replacing either the front or rear brake.
You’ll get an extended reach of calipers, longer bolts, and adjustable cable that generally fits standard BMX bikes. They’re an ideal choice for beginners and kids.
Finally, the TEKTRO 930AL V-brake with lever set has a quality exceeding its price tag. It encompasses a dual-tension linear spring system, which gives you a sufficient stopping power mechanism when you need to.
It comes in impressive packaging, which includes a set of levers, housing, and cables. Customers who already have this BMX bike brake mentioned that it’s durable and long-lasting.