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The BMX bike is primarily a bike, which is designed for performing stunts and tricks. Due to the nature of the design, it is not uncommon to find many BMX bikes without any brakes included. However, the dangers of riding a BMX bike without brakes can far outweigh the benefits. The question remains if BMX bikes need front brakes.
Do BMX bikes Need Front Brakes? To determine whether your BMX bike would need front brakes, you should look at the purpose of the bike. If you are using it for simple commuting, you might not need brakes in the front, and the rear should do. However, those performing complicated tricks and competing would benefit from the front brakes.
The first time you ever hop onto a BMX bike would be one of the most exhilarating moments for you to endure.
The BMX bike is designed to perform tricks and stunts, but many people would often use these bikes to perform advanced stunts. Whether these bikes need brakes has been heavily debated among many top riders.
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Why Are Front Brakes Important On A Bike?
Before you determine whether you would need front brakes, you should consider the reason for the front brakes. Most bikes, including a motorcycle, would heavily rely on the front brakes for their stopping.
Having driven bikes with and without front brakes, I could find a couple of benefits that front brakes offer.
1- Front Brakes Offer Better Stopping
The rear brakes on bikes are often seen as trailing, which might not bring the bike to a complete stop. The rear brake will slow down the bike but does not always bring the bike to a complete stop.
On the other hand, the front brakes would be better for immediately bringing the bike to a complete stop.
2- Performing Stunts
When you are performing stunts in the half-pipe setup, you might need some form of brake that would stop the bike immediately and ensure that you have optimal control over the bike.
While the rear brake would slow down the bike and allow you to gather your balance, it does not bring the bike to a complete stop for those performing stunts.
3- Avoiding Crashes
Once again, we have to look at the rear brakes, and since these brake trail the bike, they will stop the rear wheel, which often skids forward.
One of the main principles of cycling is that you want to stop when you need to. The front brake would provide the instant stopping you would need to avoid some of these possible crashes.
See also: Is A Brakeless BMX Bike Safe To Ride On The Street? (Including riding tips!)
Downsides To Having Front Brakes On Your BMX
Now that we have isolated some of the benefits, we should also consider some of the downsides, which also tend to be important.
One common question is what the downsides would be if you keep your front brakes on the bike and you aim to perform stunts. Here are some of these drawbacks:
One of the first downsides would be the weight. Unfortunately, the weight of these brakes could be very heavy, which would slow down the bike.
Additionally, the brakes often have numerous cables running from the handlebars to the bike. This would reduce the efficiency of performing certain stunts like spinning the handlebars.
2- Heavy Stopping
One of the downsides to keeping this in mind is also heavy stopping. The downside to having front brakes on your BMX is that you would get used to pulling them.
As we have already mentioned in the previous section, this would provide incredible stopping power. However, many BMX riders often need to trail the bike and only need to slow down.
Best BMX Bike Brakes:
How To Ride A BMX Bike Without Brakes?
One of the questions people would have is knowing how to ride a BMX bike when the brakes are removed. If you don’t have any brakes on your BMX bike, you can look at some of the following tips that should help you get better at riding.
- One of the first things you should focus on is learning bike control. It might take you some time, but you will need to be constantly aware of your surroundings and understand how fast you are going. Being constantly aware would enable you to make the calculations and determine when you need to slow down.
- Losing the tendency to pull the brakes could take plenty of time and skill to master, and you would need some practice. Skidding is the term many people use, which refers to turning the bike to slow it down and stop the bike.
- You will notice that as you become better at riding your bike without brakes, you would improve your balance on the bike. The balance aspect would be needed to stop the bike and skid the bike around corners and obstacles.
Can You Ride BMX Competitions Without Front Brakes?
There is a massive difference between riding with brakes and without brakes, and many competitions will force you to implement the rear brakes on your bike. The rear brakes offer some form of stopping power and control for the rider, which should ensure that safety is still kept in check.
There are no rules in many BMX racing competitions, which would force you to have front brakes, and many competitions understand the benefits of not having them. However, the introduction of the detangler has removed the need to drop front brakes when you are looking to perform certain stunts, which include bar spins.
How Do You Stop A BMX Bike Without Brakes?
While the rear brake is mandatory for competitions, you might want to remove both when you are riding for fun with some of your friends.
Before you go brakeless, you should consider looking at some of the following tips, which would enable you to understand how to stop the BMX bike when going brakeless:
1- Shoe Thread Method
The most common method involves having the right shoes for riding your BMX bike. These shoes often have a durable rubber thread for the outer sole, which would be used to push against the bike’s wheel.
By pushing against the wheel, you would create a lot of friction, which could instantly stop the bike.
2- Skidding Method
The second method is the skidding method, which involves skidding the rear tire to stop the bike. While it is one of the hardest forms of stopping the bike, you can easily skid the bike around corners if you have mastered the skill, and this would allow the bike to slow down.
Unfortunately, it does not bring the bike to a complete stop.
3- Shifting Your Weight
The method of shifting your weight is very similar to that of skidding the bike, However, BMX bikes are all about achieving optimal balance.
By shifting your weight to the front, you can jam your front foot into the front tire, and the additional weight would also slow down the bike. The same is often true for using the rear of the bike to stop.
See also: Are BMX Bikes Good For Commuting? (9 Must-Know Facts)
Is It Illegal To Ride A BMX Bike Without Brakes?
When it comes to the rules of the road, you would need to ensure that you comply. You might be facing fines if you don’t comply. According to the rules of the road, it will be illegal to ride your BMX bike without brakes on the road.
However, those who choose to ride their bikes without brakes would need to keep the bike off-road, which means you cannot ride the bike on the open road.
Many BMX parks would also allow riders to remove the brakes and go brakeless. However, all competition bodies believe it is mandatory to have rear brakes at the bare minimum.
Should I Put Brakes On My BMX Bike?
While I would not take the risk of riding my bike without brakes, it would come down to personal preference and skills when it comes to your BMX bike. If you are comfortable shifting your weight and performing the foot jam stops, you won’t need to worry about having specialized brakes on your bike.
However, the addition of the rear brake does not make much difference to performance, and with a detangler, you could still perform all the stunts you should. I would suggest that having at least a rear brake would serve as a contingency plan when you don’t have brakes on your BMX bike.
The BMX bike does not need a front brake, and most BMX riders would prefer riding without the front brake.
Since the sport is all about momentum, it makes sense to remove the brakes and keep this going. However, the addition of rear brakes is practical and invaluable.
In the comment section, let us know if you prefer brakes on your BMX.
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