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Differences Between BMX and Mountain Bikes

We get asked this a lot because some people don’t realize that BMX and mountain bikes are not the same thing. The designs for each are very different and reflect the different uses they’re intended for. A BMX bike is meant for tricks, jumps, and quick maneuvering in the air and along the ground while riding on paved surfaces, tracks and jumps. ¬†They aren’t meant to have much of a top speed or to be ridden long distances. Mountain bikes are designed to for longer distance rides over natural and much rougher terrain, up and down mountains, riding through forests and across fields in search of camping, swimming, or fishing spots. Here’s more of a breakdown:

Small & Hardy vs Big & Flexible Frames

Because BMX bikes are used for big jumps, they have to sustain lots of hard impacts with the ground. That’s why their frames are made to be very strong and rigid, and are generally smaller. Mountain bikes, however have larger frames that are more flexible to better absorb the constant bumps and shocks of rougher terrain rides. ¬†They also usually have places to attach accessories such as bottles, air pumps and so on.

Wheels & Tires

Wheels for BMX bikes are smaller, usually between 20 to 24 inches, and are made more rigid to allow for quick changes in direction. They’re also made with heavy laces so they’re strong enough to sustain hard landings. Mountain bike wheels are usually in the 26 to 29 inch range, with larger and thicker wheels to better absorb constant bumps while rolling over rocks, logs, and other debris on the ground.

No Suspension vs All The Suspension

This is a big one, as BMX bikes come without any suspension but mountain bikes always come with some kind. BMX riders want as much quickly accessible power as possible to generate quick sprints as they come to jumps, ramps and rails. They use their legs and body absorb the impacts of landings, and otherwise they’re only used on smooth and paved surfaces so they don’t need any suspension. Mountain bike riders, however, use their bikes on rough terrain that have constant bumps and jolts, and for the sake of their own spines and rear ends they need some suspension to allow for a more comfortable long-distance ride.