Encyclopedia  |   World Factbook  |   World Flags  |   Reference Tables  |   List of Lists     
   Academic Disciplines  |   Historical Timeline  |   Themed Timelines  |   Biographies  |   How-Tos     
Sponsor by The Tattoo Collection
Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index


BMX (an abbreviation for bicycle motocross) is a form of cycling on bikes with 20 inch wheels. It originated in the United States, where teenagers mitated their motocross heroes on their pedal bicycles. The sport features races on sandy and hilly tracks as well as performances of tricks and stunts on flat ground, wooden ramps or obstacles found on the streets.

BMX bicycles have 20 inch wheels and a decreased frame size. This allows riders to achieve greater control and acceleration than on an average size bicycle. Many BMX bicycles have handlebars which can spin completely around, allowing either the bars to spin independently of the tail(in what is known as a barspin), or the tail to spin around independently of the bars (in what is known as a tailwhip). Until recently, Freestyle BMX bicycles were heavier than the ever-popular low-end mountain bike, as designers made them stronger using materials such as chromoly. However, there has recently been a trend toward lower-weight freestyle bicycles, bringing them closer in weight to traditional BMX racing bikes.

Since 1982, there have been World Championships for BMX Racing, sanctioned by the International Cycling Union (UCI), and 1987 saw the first Freestyle World Championships. Freestyle BMX has been growing in popularity since it became part of the ESPN X-Games in 1998.

BMX racing is being added to the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China.

There are several different styles of Freestyle BMX:

Street Riding is performed on unimproved obstacles found on typical streets. Handrails, ledges, slanted walls, and other common features are used to perform tricks.

Dirt Jumping is similar to BMX racing in that the rider jumps mounds of dirt. It differs in that the jumps are usually much larger and designed to loft the rider high into the air. Additionally, the goal is not to complete the course with the fastest time, but rather to perform the best tricks with the best style.

Flatland is performed on smooth, flat pavement and riders test their hand-eye and foot coordination. The riders travel at low speed and stand on various parts of the bike, while spinning it around in various ways beneath them.

Vert riding is done on a halfpipe and allows riders to go higher than any other obstacles. Consequently this is the most dangerous form of BMX and is considered somewhat elite. Matt Hoffman, also known as the godfather of bmx, has taken vert to the next level with "airs" (vertical jumps) as high as 26 feet above the top of a vert ramp.

Park Riding is performed in a skate park, and BMX bikes are increasingly being allowed to ride terrain that used to be exclusive to skateboarders. This is the most versatile type of riding and the types of ramps available are unlimited, incorporating elements of all of the various types of riding.

Notable BMX riders include Stu Thompson, Dave Mirra, Ryan Nyquist, Mat Hoffman, Vic Murphy, Chris Doyle, Robbie Mirranda, Troy McMurray, Mike "Rooftop" Escamilla, Colin McKay, Ronnie Chalk, Van Homan, Ruben Alcantera, Taj Mihelich, and Jay Miron.

BMX racing--not freestyle/tricks--seems to have waned in recent years, but there has been an interesting return to the sport from those who participated in it during the sport's peak. While the sport seems to be declining, or just barely staying even, there is a growing number of returning older racers (30+) and even an interest in Vintage BMX (external link). One well known vintage bicycle which has had a lot of attention is JMC Bicycles.

Related: Bunnyhopping

External link