BMX bikes became a thing in the 1970s. Today, the little kids that started the bmx movement are parents, and grandparents.
However, stunt racing is not the only thing kids are interested in today – we also have mountain riding.
Parents want their kids to ride, they want their kids to become experts. However, cycling is not as straightforward as it used to be, it has multiple branches.
BMX riding alone has about five different niches, each of which require specific bmx bikes.
In this article, we will consider the pros, and cons of both BMX, and mountain bikes. Stick around, and you’ll figure out which bicycle will be the best fit for your kid.
Selecting A Bike For A Child Is Much More Than Just Selecting A Bike
Picking the right bike for your child can be frustrating. You have to bear in mind that your choice has to be something that would encourage a riding habit, and help your kid socialize more.
Eventually, children would grow into adults, and choose which kind of bike would suit their cycling needs.
Children might be inspired by the kind of cycling the parent participates in, this would greatly influence the choice of their involvement, and how far they’d be willing to go.
You want your child to enjoy riding. If your child loves adventures, you should get him a mountain bike. If he loves rough-housing, get him a BMX bike.
If your kid admires you, get him the bike you had when you were younger. Teach him the same skills you learnt when you were younger.
Things to Consider
Once you figure out what your kid is into, you have to consider your location. It won’t be wise to get a mountain bike, if you live in a clustered city – far away from any off-road terrains.
Consider the tracks available in your vicinity. Are you dealing with BMX tracks, or MTB trails? Narrowing down tracks available in your vicinity will make it easier for you to select a bike for a child.
If your vicinity has both tracks, consider which track is closer to your home. Closer is always safer.
Peer pressure and the ‘status quo’ also comes up in this situation. Your child is more likely to go around on the same kind of bike his, or her friends ride.
Ask yourself, what are the kids riding, what are they into? No child wants to be the odd one out. If you get your son a mountain bike when all the kids are doing stunts, he will likely come home with a damaged bike.
You’ll get mad, he will get scared, and may likely give up cycling entirely. Hence, when picking a bike for your child, regardless of the choice you want to make, consult the streets. Find out what the kids are doing.
In the following section, we will take a closer look at the pros, and cons of both bikes.
Tip : When getting a bike for your child it would be a good idea to avoid supermarkets. Go to the company of your preferred brand or product.
This is because most supermarkets would just get a particular model which in some cases is likely to be outdated, and out of fashion. However, when you go to the factory, or company you will freely select from a variety of models.
BMX bikes are the likely choice for children in areas with parks, streets, or BMX tracks. If your kid fancies freestyle, and skills then a BMX bike would be suitable.
BMX bikes are available in sizes 16″, 18″, 20″, and 24″ inch wheels. The most popular size is the 20″ inch wheel which is perfect for both kids. The minimum age for riding this bike is between 7 or 8 years.
BMX bikes are more useful for racing, fashion, and sports situations so you might find your child particularly interested in this brand.
BMX bikes are relatively easy to use, and the skills are easy to learn. They are simple, and solid bikes. BMX bikes are not fitted with multiple gears like mountain bikes. They are also quite lighter than mountain bikes.
The reason these bikes are lightweight is their generally small size. The lack of gears on this bike also means that lesser parts could be broken.
The size of the bike comes with its own disadvantages as well, lack of gears and a rather cramped body sitting position make them unfit for long term rides, as well as climbing inclined places.
BMX bikes are simple, and solid. These bikes come out strong even after being subjected to falls, or harsh impacts on hard surfaces.
These bikes would come in handy for racing situations because the paddling system is not complex.
BMX bikes are easy to learn, and navigate. Most cities are dominated by parks, streets, and skating parks. Fortunately, the BMX bikes can be used comfortably in all these environments.
Mountain Bikes (MTB)
Mountain bikes come in because of their gears and versatility. Unlike BMX bikes, mountain bikes are available for six year old kids.
Mountain bikes are also made available in different frame sizes such as 20″, 24″ and 26″ inch wheels. These frame options make it easier for parents to select bikes that match the size of their kids.
With mountain bikes, riding up hills, and inclined places will no longer be a chore for our kids, rather it will become a source of fun.
The speed of these gears vary from 21-24, MTB trails, and forest paths can be navigated with ease, because of the capacity of these bikes.
However, the gear system of mountain bikes make it difficult to learn. These gears can also be damaged easily in the event of a fall, or an accident.
The bike is not suitable for racing. It is more of a personal exercise, thus riding this bike would often be a solo event.
Unlike the BMX bikes, mountain bikes are not fashionable, and are relatively heavier so your kid might not be the coolest on the block.
Mountain bikes would be a great choice if you have a family that likes taking riding trips regularly, or for vacations. It would be nice for training, and exercising as well.
Things to Note
The frames of this bike are made in different sizes, and frames which give it more versatility. It is easier to get a frame for your child.
Mountain bikes offer more comfort, they can be used for long distance trips. However, they are more fragile. Minor falls can cause real damage to the gears.
Furthermore, the workings of mountain bikes are complicated. Mountain bikes come with multiple gears, and a suspension system.
The gears will provide more control while your child rides, while the suspension system will provide better clearance.
Some adults find this system difficult to navigate – your child might find them difficult as well.
Kids can use the cycling experience to focus their minds on other things, and relieve themselves from the stress and depression of their daily lives.
When a child rides up a certain amount of hills daily he, or she develops a feeling of responsibility. This automatically builds the self-esteem of the child knowing that they have taken responsibility to do things for themselves.
Riding in groups can build up the social skills of your child, and nurture friendships. When your child starts cycling in a group with a few friends, a relationship is sure to evolve over time.
They would help each other, and learn a lot of things from themselves. If one falls, the others would help get the person back on track and if a part is broken, the others would help bring their friend back home.
This friendship, and social status would benefit your children not only in biking but also in every other area of their lives.
Riding also makes your children develop skills in making decisions concerning their safety, and risks that may occur on their trips.
More often than not your children are likely to be in situations where they’d have to pick themselves up.
Sometimes a brake or gear might be broken, or they could get stuck while riding up a hill. Getting through these situations would make your kids more disciplined and responsible.
In selecting the right bike for your children, just make sure it’s something that would encourage their riding habits.
It should be suitable for the environment in which you live, and it should be something the kid would be able to use at ease.