How To Make Your BMX Bike Lighter
written by Cycle expert Alex Bristol
Looking to reduce your bike’s weight?
No, I’m not talking about a diet. When you’re trying to figure out a way to pick up speed on your racing BMX or make freestyling stunts easier, having a low-weight BMX bike is necessary. When you’re a beginner, it’s easier to start off with a low-cost, entry-level BMX bike, but if you’re serious about BMX, you’ll need to upgrade it to level up your game.
Whether you’re trying to find affordable ways to lighten your BMX bike, or shave some excess pounds from your BMX bike, getting the lightest bike can help you to reach your potential in BMX. Once you’re ready to upgrade your bike, then you can go hunt down the best BMX bikes.
But there’s more.
Not everyone has the cash to get an ultra light BMX like the pros. That’s why in this article, I will take you through all the tips and tricks to lighten your current BMX bike, especially those that are cheaper and bulkier. From picking out the right tires to switching up some parts, you’ll be able to save some weight and take your biking skills up a notch.
Once you’re ready to improve your bike skills, making your bike lighter is going to give you better control, better results, and try out those cool stunts.
You’re going to love this.
Buy a new lighter bike or upgrade your existing bike?
The most obvious thing to do if your current bike is too heavy would be to check out new lighter bikes. This is a good option if you have the cash and can afford a better bike.
What makes a bike lighter is essentially the parts it has. A high quality, more expensive BMX will have lighter, more efficient parts. Analyze your current bike, and assess where the bulk of the weight is coming from.
If by replacing a couple of decent bike parts with lighter substitutes and you’ll be good to go, then it’s a good idea to simply modify your current bike. If you’ll be needing a lot of money for this or have too many parts to change then it would be best to consider investing this money in a new complete BMX bike.
If you’re looking for ways to make your bike lighter, without buying a whole new bike, then your best bet would be to switch up the parts to save the most weight.
The bottom line:
If you’re planning on buying new and better parts to lighten the bike, then keep careful track of your spending. You might find that if there are a lot of parts that need replacing then it would be more worthwhile cashing it in to afford a new and better BMX bike.
Tips on How to Make Your BMX Bike Lighter
So you’ve decided that you don’t have the funds right now to buy a whole new bike, or maybe you’re just really attached to your current BMX, after all, it’s been with you since the start of your BMX journey. Either way, saving weight is going to help you perform better, and it’s a lot easier than you think.
Get rid of unnecessary parts
The first step is taking a good look at your bike and which parts are indispensable to you. Any unimportant parts will simply add more weight, so be critical of what you genuinely need.
Here are some ideas:
Chain guard: Sure, it protects your chain. But do you really need or can you just be careful
Pegs: Many BMX bikes have 4, but maybe you’re only using two. Or none! You can always add them back on later if you want.
Kickstand: This is not a necessity, so if your bike has this just get rid of it, you’ll get used to not having one.
Gyro: If you’re not using this take it off, you’ll save on weight from the hardware.
Reflectors: If you’ve got a complete bike with some cool lights or reflectors but you never do night riding, then you don’t need them. Take them off for a sleeker look
Brakes: Unlike other regular bikes, BMX bikes generally don’t need from ones, or even any of them if you only do stunts! Just remember to put them back on when you need to.
Seats: Do you actually sit down on your bike? If not, then take it off, you won’t even notice.
Replace with lighter parts
This part will require some money to replace parts with lighter ones and make the BMX lighter, but if you find yourself overspending then remember you can just buy a new bike with lighter parts. Here are some inexpensive parts that will feel lighter and reduce extra weight if you shop right:
Pedals: Go for plastic pedals rather than metal ones if you’re trying to get weight savings.
Sprocket: If you’re not a racer, consider getting a smaller sprocket. With a freewheel hub you can have 36-13 gearing, a casette hub will give you 25-9, 28-10 or 30-11 gear. Your chain will also be shorter and you’ll have more space when riding.
Seat: You can go a lighter seat than your current one, and save weight. I recommend a one piece pivotal seat/post combo since you’ll be able to adjust the angle too. Seat posts and seat tube can be heavy.
Wheels: This can make a big difference and take up a lot of weight. Go for new wheels that are lighter, and if possible try to reduce the number of spokes when you replace wheels, tires, or rims. Kevlar bead tires are more expensive but will contribute to a lightweight bike.
Pegs: Customize your pegs if you use them by checking out what’s available. you might be able to find some made of plastic or aluminum, but keep in mind that to be strong they’ll need some weight.
Stems: If your bike stem is not hollowed out, then you’re carrying extra weight needlessly. Try replacing it with a sturdy, but hollow stem. Titanium parts are a good idea.
Handlebar: If you can afford it, get a lighter handlebar. This is going to give you a much lighter front end.
Fork: The fork needs to be strong, and light. Invest the most here and go for full Chromoly or titanium forks.
Trim down some parts of the bike
Now, before you call me extreme, this step is very common for advanced riders. It’s great for getting rid of too much steel so you can save on weight. You’ll need a metal saw.
Steerer tube: If you remove the handlebar, you’ll probably realize that you can cut down at least 1 inch off the steerer tube. The steerer tube can make the BMX weigh more.
Seat post: Most BMX riders use their seat low, so you could get rid of a big portion of the remaining post to save a lot of weight. Just bear in mind not to go past the minimum seat post mark, roughly 3 inches from the hidden bit of the clamp.
Handlebar: If the handlebars are too wide you’ll be able to cut them. Just ensure you measure so that they’re equal on both sides. You can then sandpaper the edges for a smooth edge and prevent the grips ripping. Try cutting off the crossbar too.
Hub axles: If you use pegs or not, you can cut a large part of your axles off if they stick out too much.
Get the drill
If all of this isn’t enough, there’s another option, but it’s not for everyone. Get the drill out and drill holes throughout the BMX frame and bike to reduce weight. Does this sound extreme or too heavy duty? It might not be the best aesthetic, but it will definitely save you some weight and up your performance!
Bear in mind that if you do a lot of hard landings and abuse your bike, then it drilling holes in the steel parts or hub shell will make the bike weaker and more likely to break.
If you want to drill in a few places, here’s where I would recommend:
- Hub Shell
What about you?
So we’ve thought about pretty much everything when it comes to saving weight on your bike, but what about you? If you can shave off a few extra pounds by hitting the gym, and strengthening your muscles, you’ll find it much easier to perform stunts and maneuver the bike.
Weighing less could be as easy as losing a bit of weight yourself, and this will directly affect your ride without harming your bike. Plus there more time you spend doing track, park or street riding will do its job too, and the stronger youllbecome
With time you’ll earn the skills of a pro BMX rider, and the decreased weight will be in your favor too.
Some extra things you can do to reduce weight and improve your performance:
Buy a BMX freestyle bike: Make sure the bike you own is a BMX and that it is suited to the style of riding you do. This will help you get a good weight to start off with. There’s no point trying to fix a regular bike up for BMX riding. They will have thinner or smaller tubes, and carbon fiber if you’re lucky.
Weigh your bike: Before you do any of these changes, make sure you check the weight of your bike. This will help you to determine what is really making a difference when you remove it. Maybe that chainguard isn’t an issue after all.
Ask at the bike shop: Sure, they might encourage you to buy a whole new bike. But if you let them see your bike when shopping for parts, they’ll be able to tell you what’s best and what’s worth changing.
Be careful: Be careful when using power tools such as the drill or chainsaw, and use the necessary protective gear like wear gloves. Also, keep in mind when removing brakes or drilling holes that the bike can become weaker or be dangerous to ride in certain conditions.
Ready to save a lot of weight?
If you’re looking to make your BMX bike lighter, it could be a sign that it’s time for an upgrade. To make your BMX lighter, there are lots of easy and not so easy things you can do. It also depends on your riding style and your bike weight to start off with.
It’s the toss-up between rotational weight and strength, with speed and agility.
A cheap bike can be a good idea for a beginner, but BMX weight is very different from the weight of a cheap bike. How much weight you want depends on your riding style, but switching up a few quality parts like titanium spokes, cassette hub, adding plastic bar ends, titanium bars or titanium spindle, and you’ll see a big difference without too much heavy duty.
Get rid of unnecessary weight and your bike’s weight will be much lighter. A lighter setup can make the biggest difference, get rid of extra metal, use less material and stay in good shape. You’ll not only become a better rider but you don’t even need to buy a whole new bike!
What was your favorite tip?