One of the most popular children's bike categories is BMX, which stand for Bicycle Moto Cross. While people often throw around the BMX term generically, when you're shopping for one, it's important to understand that there are three different types of BMX bikes: the true BMX bike, the freestyle bike and the dirt jumper or just "jump" bike.
What's the difference between all these different types of BMX bikes? That's what we're here to explain. After you've read this article, visit a shop and check 'em out to see the differences yourself!
BMX Bike-Types Chart
True BMX bikes started it all, back in the late sixties. They were knockoffs of motocross motorcycles and were designed for racing over jumps and around berms in the dirt. Pretty soon kids everywhere had them, racers or not. BMX bikes are still designed for racing, although your child doesn't have to race to enjoy the light weight, speed and dirt-worthiness of these machines. In fact, lots of kids use theirs mainly for getting to school and back.
They usually have 20-inch wheels (24-inch-wheel "cruisers" are the exception), knobby tires, upright handlebars with crossbars, small saddles, long cranks and rear hand brakes. The frames are light and sturdy, and the higher the price, the lighter these bikes get.
BMX bikes are generally made of reliable chromoly steel or aluminum. Chromoly frames are a bit heavier and more economical. Aluminum frames are lighter and are often made of oversize or exotically shaped tubing. Besides weighing less, aluminum is also rustproof. So, if the frame gets scratched, there's no need to rush to touch it up.
BMX bikes also come in different frame sizes. The chart below shows the approximate fit based on rider age. Final fitting is best performed by the bicycle shop. Note that Pro and Expert bikes are sometimes available in XL (Extra Long) sizes as well.