What’s the Difference Between a BMX Bike and a Regular Bike?

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Buying a new bike may seem like a relatively simple and straightforward task. They all have brakes, wheels, seats, and handlebars, right?

Ok, so that may be true, but there are different kinds of bikes out there, and each one is suited for something different.

Today, we want to take a closer look at the difference between a BMX bike and a regular bike. For the record, by “regular bike”, here we are referring to a good old mountain bike. So, what’s the difference?

What’s the Difference Between a BMX Bike and a Regular Bike

1. Cost

One of biggest differences that you will notice right off the bat is that BMX bikes are going to cost you a fair bit less than a regular mountain bike.

There are a couple of reasons for this. First of all, regular bikes are generally much larger and heavier than BMX bikes, which means that more materials are used in their construction.

The more materials are used when building anything, the pricier the end product is going to be. Smaller and lighter BMX bikes cost less because of that very same fact, because they are smaller and lighter.

There is also the fact that mountain bikes often have 14, 21, or even 28 gears, which therefore requires an advanced drivetrain system with high quality derailers and gear shifters, all things that a single speed BMX bike does not have or require.

Simply put, fewer components allow for a lower cost, generally about half the cost.

2. Riding Style – Long Distance & Speed vs Short Distance

Another one of the main differences between BMX bikes has to do with their speed and their intended purpose.

If you take a look at both road and mountain bikes, those big wheels combined with their ability to switch into high gears allows them to go really fast. The ability to switch into different gears also comes in handy when riding uneven terrain.

With a regular bike, you can gear down to climb those big hills, and you can gear up to gain speed on big descents.

The gears on a regular bike also allow you to travel long distances with speed, and without having to expend too much energy. This is not something you can do with a BMX.

Therefore, unlike regular bikes, BMX bikes are not designed for speed, for long distance commuting, or for maneuvering hilly or mountainous terrain.

On the other hand, due to the fact that BMX bikes don’t have gears, and because they have small wheels, they are ideal for travelling short distances in a leisurely manner.

Moreover, they are ideal for short bursts of speed on courses and stunt tracks, or in other words, for building up enough speed to fly off that awesome jump.

3. Travelling vs Tricks

The main difference that you need to be aware of here is that BMX bikes are more or less designed for one single purpose, and that is to do tricks. This is the main reason why BMX bikes don’t have gears.

Having a gear system, such as a regular bike with 21 gears, leaves the bike far more susceptible to damage and to malfunctions.

All of those gears and moving parts can cause issues, especially when heavy impacts are involves, such as when you land a big jump.

With a BMX, that single gear system can withstand a lot of punishment, and the chain is not likely to come off.

However, if you were to do a big jump with a regular bike, chances are you won’t be able to do many before the gears break down.

Furthermore, BMX bikes are also much smaller and more compact than regular bikes, which makes them much easier to maneuver in the air. It’s much easier to do a backflip on a BMX than on a full size regular bike.

What’s the Difference Between a BMX Bike and a Regular Bike

4. Suspension

Quite simply, BMX bikes don’t have any suspension, what most of us would refer to as the shocks. A bike’s suspension system could not handle those heavy impacts from landing a jump.

They would bottom out and break in no time. A BMX bike has no need for suspension, nor would the regular suspension system on a normal bike be able to handle tricks and stunts.

Other Notable Differences

There are a few other smaller differences between BMX bikes and regular bikes that are worth noting.

  • Due to the fact that BMX bikes don’t have advanced gear systems, and often only come with a single brake, it means that they require less maintenance. There are less moving parts to be broken, and therefore they require less maintenance, which in the long run also leads to saving money.
  • BMX bikes are nice for in the city, especially if you are travelling short distances. Their small and lightweight nature makes them easy to maneuver in tight spaces, whether on small sidewalks or roads. On that same note, a BMX is easily carried up a flight of stairs, they can fit into elevators with ease, and they won’t take up much space on your apartment balcony either.
  • BMX bikes have smaller wheels, usually between 20 and 24 inches, whereas normal bikes have wheels between 26 and 29 inches in diameter.
  • Mountain bikes have larger and more flexible frames to provide for a smooth ride, whereas BMX bikes have smaller and stronger frames to resist repeated and heavy impacts.


Although both regular and BMX bikes consist of frames, wheels, handlebars, and more, as you can see, they are very different things, and they have vastly different purposes, strengths, and disadvantages.

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