BMX bikes are an excellent choice for executing magical stunts and mid-air jumps and for street racing. But have you ever thought of taking your BMX bike from the local streets to the off-road? If so, can a BMX bike go off road?
BMX bikes are ideally not best for off-road riding as they lack suspension, reliable brakes, and gears. However, due to their robust and lightweight build, you can take on less aggressive trails and dirt paths.
However, this only applies to shorter distances. But what if you take them some miles further and on more rugged terrains? This guide shall answer that.
We’ll look at when BMX bikes are suitable for off-roading, why you should never take them off-road, and some of the upgrades you can do to your BMX bike to make it a hero off-road.
I will also recommend the best BMX bikes that you can use off-road. Later, I will answer some of the questions regarding the topic.
Let’s get started:
In haste? See our most recommended off-road bicycle motocross bikes below:
4 Best Off Road BMX Bikes to Consider:
- Mafiabikes Kush 2 20-inch BMX Bike: Best for Trails
- Mongoose Legion BMX Bike: Alternative Choice for Trails
- Elite 20-inch Freestyle BMX Bike – Best for Dirt Riding
Why Can A BMX Bike Go Off Road?
If you aren’t sure if you can take your BMX bike for the off-road ride, check out these two reasons why off-road BMXing is possible:
1. BMX Bikes Are Sturdily Built
BMX bikes are not just your ordinary bikes. They are resilient and strongly built to take on rough riding and withstand abusive off-road usage.
Their frame construction speaks volumes. Most BMX bikes frames come from aluminum, steel, and Chromoly alloy, which are robust enough to withstand the rugged nature of the off-road.
These materials are cheap, but they are also robust to withstand challenging terrains. You can tell that from these two BMX bikes, which are best for trails: Mongoose Legion BMX Bike and Mafiabikes Kush 2 20-inch BMX Bike (Check on Amazon)
2. BMX Bikes Are Lightweight
Most BMX bikes are lightweight. Though they are made from solid frame materials like steel and Chromoly, that does not define their weight.
They usually weigh much less compared to other bikes. The light weight makes them more maneuverable and portable.
But does that mean that you should regularly ride a BMX off-road? The answer is NO! Let’s see why next.
Why BMX Bikes Are Not Good Off-Road
Now, here’s why BMX bicycles are not suitable for the off-road:
1. BMX Bikes Come with Small Wheels
As you know already, BMX bikes have smaller wheels. While small wheels are fair for racing, high mid-air jumps, stunts, and tricks on the streets and skate parks, they aren’t the best off-road.
A BMX’s smaller wheels won’t thrive well on off-road terrains. So, while they may do well on dirt like it’s the case of the Elite 20-inch Freestyle BMX Bike (Check on Amazon), you may have a hard time going over stones.
2. BMX Bikes Are Single Speed
Unlike other bikes that come with many gears, BMX bikes only have one gear.
When tackling the rugged off-road terrains, you will need to shift gears depending on the terrain. However, that’s not the case with BMX bikes.
The one gear is not sufficient enough to perform well off-road. Depending on the distance, shifting is vital in boosting your range, which is often the case with off-road riding.
Relevant: Do BMX Bikes Have Gears?
3. BMX Bikes Lacks a Suspension
Mountain, hybrid, trial, and touring bikes do well off-road because they all have a suspension that soaks up the heavy bumps, enabling you to ride smoothly.
Unfortunately, BMX bikes lack a suspension system, and this is one of the top reasons BMX bikes are not suitable for off-road. Your body will take the rough hit, and you wouldn’t want that.
4. BMX Bikes Come with One Brake
Many people say that BMX bikes come with bad brakes. Well, this is not true. BMX bikes come with only one brake that is sufficient for doing jumps, tricks, and stunts.
But sadly, the one brake is not adequate when using a BMX off-road. That is because riding off-roads revolves around riding over deep potholes and challenging obstacles where you will require sufficient braking power, something BMX bikes cannot offer.
Relevant: Do BMX Bikes Have Brakes?
5. BMX Bikes Have a Low Seat
When riding off-road, you will need to ride when seated. If you ride for long hours standing, you will likely get a sore or numb bottom.
While BMX bikes have a seat, it’s typically lower, thus uncomfortable to sit for long hours. Overall, the sear is there to help you do the stunts safely and not sit on.
So, if you want to ride off-road with your BMX bike, you need to upgrade the saddle and raise the seat.
Relevant: Why Do BMX Bikes Have Low Seats?
How to Convert A BMX Bike to Suit Off Road Use?
Fortunately, it’s possible to upgrade your BMX bike to suit the off-road terrain. Below are the upgrades you can do:
a) Raise The Seat
BMX bikes usually have low seats, which help do tricks, stunts, and jumps. These actions are generally achievable when standing.
So, if you want your BMX to suit the off-road terrain, you should raise the seat so that it can realign with the height of your waist. That means you may not use it for tricks that much, but you’ll at least have an off-road machine.
Raising the seat will enable you to ride long-distance, either off-road or on-road, as it promises more comfort.
However, if your BMX bike seat is not comfortable, you can consider replacing it with a more comfortable option like the Velmia Memory Foam Bike Saddle (View on Amazon). This seat comes with a high-quality foam that cushions your butt area.
b) Replace Your BMX Wheels
Another hack that you can try out is changing the smaller BMX wheels with bigger options like those of a mountain bike. There are no guarantees here, however, as BMX bikes usually have a smaller structure, and even if you change the wheels, every other component will be of BMX.
How can you go about it? I strongly advise you to replace your 20-inch BMX wheels with an MTB’s 24-inch tires. They will be a bit bigger and give you more flexibility off-road. And when choosing the best wheels, ensure you select the ones with more treading.
c) Equip The Bike with Multiple Gears
After raising the seat and replacing the wheels, it’s time to work on the gears. As stated earlier, BMX bikes come with a single gear, which won’t give you the power to shift and control the bike on rough terrains.
However, you can install one or more gears. With more gears, you will get the utmost speed and freedom off-road as you can shift the gears depending on the terrain you are tackling.
d) Add A Suspension
Your bike needs to have a suspension to have a comfortable ride off-road. For newbies, BMX bikes lack a suspension.
A suspension absorbs the off-road impacts allowing you to have a good grip on the bike. You are likely to experience low pressure even when tackling potholes and rough off-roads.
The good news is that you don’t have to change the bike fork. You can even replace the seat post or set it with a suspension option.
e) Upgrade The Braking System
One important thing you should not forget when upgrading your BMX bike is to upgrade your braking system. Most BMX bikes lack brakes, and those that do, usually come with only one rear brake.
A good braking system will save you from falls, injuries, accidents, or even damage to your bike. So, if you want to take the sudden off-road shocks or the rough obstacles of the mountainous terrains, you can add a brake at the front to supplement the rear one.
People Also Ask
1. Can You Ride A BMX On Trails?
Yes! You can ride your BMX bike on short trails. These bikes have solid structures to give you maximum control when tackling trails. However, because BMX bikes lack a suspension and have a single brake and smaller wheels, they can be problematic getting through rocks, potholes, and the rugged off-road trails.
2. Can You Ride A BMX Bike On the Street?
BMX bikes are the height of street riding. They thrive ideally on both the urban and suburban streets. You can use them to race and perform stunts on the streets, making them ultimate street two-wheel beasts.
3. Can BMX Bikes Go Off-Road?
While BMX bikes are ideal for street riding, they can go off-road over short distances, especially on less aggressive trails and dirt paths. However, you may have difficulty riding over rough off-roads long-distance because of the lack of suspension, reliable brakes, and gears.
4. Do BMX Bikes Need Brakes?
BMX bikes usually have only one rear brake that works perfectly with stunts, jumps, and tricks. So, quit saying that BMX bikes have bad brakes.
Put in mind that the one brake gives them enough braking power for sports and short races. However, if you want to take your BMX bike off-road, you can upgrade the braking system.
On Average, BMX bikes hit 30 -35 mph on shorter rides. That is pretty decent considering that they come next to the road bikes.
However, tables turn when it comes to long off-road distances, which are not the ideal choice.
Also Read: Do BMX Bikes Have Suspension?
Can a BMX Bike Go Off Road? Closing Remarks:
In conclusion, while BMX bikes are not ideal for off-road riding, you can take on less aggressive trails and dirt paths, owing to their sturdy and lightweight build. You, however, can only do it short-distance as they lack reliable brakes, gears, and suspension.