Skateboarding Vs. BMX: A Comprehensive Comparison

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skateboarding vs bmx

Both the BMX and skateboarding have a lot in common, especially risk factors. Something about this risk seems to have a deep connection with humans intuitively. If we are good at it, the more we are exposed to danger, and the more we will like what we are doing. Thus, many people have begun to use BMX and skateboarding. Since both sports are so popular, it is difficult to determine which is better or which sports beginners should consider.

Table of Contents

Skateboarding Vs. BMX: About Skateboarding

The skating, or skateboarding, is a sport of US origin of the mid-twentieth century. It can be practiced by both men and women. As a sport, and also as a recreational practice, the appropriate space is tracks that have sections of elevations for the maneuvers to be performed. Such clues are commonly found in urban settings, and formal challenges are often held there.

Although there are variations in the ways in which this modality is practiced, one of the main objectives is based on the creativity and the degree of difficulty with which certain movements are made by the participant when he is on a skateboard.

Using the skateboard to move or have fun is a great idea today. More and more people use this tool, and they also enjoy learning passages and tricks that make skate not only a means of transport but also an element with which to impress oneself and one’s friends.

Skateboard equipment

The object that makes the practice of this sport possible has the same name: skateboard. It basically consists of a board with four wheels that allow the participant to move. In addition, equipment is also used to ensure the protection and physical integrity of the participant. Skateboarding consists of some major parts, which are:

The skateboard

Skate is also called skateboard, and this word refers to a board under which four wheels can be found. Skateboarding, which is the sport that can be practiced with this board, was born in California in the late 1940s and has never gone out of fashion, even though it has had ups and downs over the decades. There are several types of skateboards, but all of them have some basic components, which include:

The board

The board, which is also called the base, is the part on which the feet will rest, and is concave. It is composed of several layers of wood (typically Canadian maple) that can go from 7 to 9, depending on the use that will be made of the skate.

However, wood can now be replaced by other materials, such as aluminum, or kevlar, or even fiberglass. This choice is made to allow the skate to be lighter, and also to be customized from the point of view of colors and decorations.

The trucks

Right under the board, you will find the trucks, which will be used to anchor the wheels to the board itself. The material with which the trucks are generally made is aluminum, and all the trucks are made up of the central bolt, a base, a transverse axis, two rubbers, and the screws with which to attach it to the table.

The wheels

There are the wheels that you will find at the end of the two axles. Also, in this case, you can find different materials, even if the most common one is polyurethane.

Shock absorbers

They are placed between the table and the trucks and have the function of softening the impact of certain movements. Four are placed on a skateboard.

Skateboarding modalities

The different types of skateboarding consist of the environment in which they are practiced and the ways in which the maneuvers are performed. Some of the most common are:

Big Air

Free Style

Half-Pipe

Pool Riding

Street

Skateboarding Vs. BMX: About BMX

It all started in the great decade of the 70s, as bicycles began to have great importance among young people when they were launched on the market as a more accessible alternative for those who could not buy a motorcycle. It was then that the cyclists began to practice on dirt tracks with their bikes, and from there came the name BMX, which means Bicycle Motocross.

BMX is also a category of cycling classified as an extreme sport because it is a mixture of high speed, acrobatics, tricks, adrenaline, and many emotions that make it a spectacular discipline. Being an extreme sport, you must use the appropriate protection elements for your practice, such as helmets, elbow pads, knee pads, among others.

The mountain BMX riders are called “rider” or “bikers”; they require a lot of skill, balance, reflexes, strength, and concentration to practice this sport.

BMX modalities

Bike Motocross is divided into two main disciplines: BMX Race and BMX Freestyle.

BMX Race

The BMX Race or motocross is practiced on dirt tracks similar to those of motocross, but in the Race, the land is different. It is solid sand similar to clay, ideal so that the bicycle is not buried.

The track is between 350 m and 500 m long, with unevenness, obstacles, and straights. It consists of three races without end, in which 8 runners participate. They classify the best 4 in the next round until the best 8 remain in the great final, in which whoever travels the circuit in the shortest possible time wins.

BMX races are very exciting because the riders go fast, side by side, jumping and maneuvering in the air, cornering with great technique and reaching high speeds on the straights. So it’s a great show where chases, falls, nudges and impressive endings can also be witnessed.

BMX Freestyle

BMX Freestyle is divided into 5 categories: Dirt Jump , Park , Vert , Street and Flatland . Next we will explain what each one consists of:

Dirt Jump

Dirt Jump is all about riders performing stunts when jumping on dirt tracks. Bikers jump off a ramp called a launch ramp , do their stunts or tricks in the air, and land on another ramp called a receiving ramp.

The launching ramps are 2 to 3 meters high. While the receiving ramps are slightly higher than the launching ramps; between 20 and 30 centimeters more. The distance between the two is 2 to 3 meters. The movement and fluidity with which the jumps are made are evaluated.

Park

In this modality, riders perform different tricks on a set of ramps and also using obstacles that are located in parks (hence the name) or places specially created for their practice, similar to skateboarding. The rider performs the tricks as he walks the entire stage.

Vert

To practice the Vert mode it is necessary that there is at least one wooden ramp, which must be totally vertical at the top, in order for the rider to jump as high as possible, perform his stunts or tricks in the air , and fall on the same ramp, so that it gains momentum and does the same again.

In general, the ramp is U-shaped, the participants alternate from one side to the other, they achieve high elevation with which they can perform various maneuvers.

Street

This modality receives this name because it is practiced in the streets of the city, it consists of performing maneuvers using the different elements that bikers find in their path in the city such as: sidewalks, stairs, handrails, among others, so they must be very creative.

BMX Street bikes usually have more endurance than Vert and Park bikes. Also, these bikes don’t usually have BMX brakes. Some bikers do not have fists on the handlebars, as this makes it easier for them to perform spinning tricks.

Flatland

Unlike the other modalities, Fatland is not about performing tricks or maneuvers in the air, nor gaining speed. It is one of the most difficult modalities of BMX since it is mainly based on having enough balance. All tricks are performed on flat surfaces; especially pavement or cement and no ramps or platforms are needed.

The biker performs the tricks on several parts of the bike: on the frame, on the handlebars, on the pegs; They are tubes that are installed on the wheel hub on BMX bikes.

Flatland bikes are different, they have a particular design that favors balance and makes it easy to move your feet from side to side to perform tricks.

Features of BMX bikes

There are several styles of BMX bikes, depending on the modalities that we explained previously; BMX Race or  BMX Freestyle 

and its categories, since each type of BMX bicycle has adequate characteristics according to the demands of each modality.

In general, BMX bikes are smaller than traditional bikes and mountain bikes , their design is made to be more manageable, they are also light, strong, compact and durable. These bicycles are special for stunts or tricks, but due to their characteristics they are not ideal for other types of cycling such as mountain biking , or for traveling long distances.

BMX Race bikes are lighter because what matters most is their speed and firmness. Whereas in Freestyle bikes, hardness and resistance are valued more because they are exposed to more blows from different stunts.

Below we will show you the general characteristics of BMX bikes:

The frames

The frames of the BMX bikes are made of aluminum, carbon fiber, steel (cromoly, chrome molybdenum steel) and some in OX Oxyplatinum. This is important because the lighter the frame, the easier it will be to ride the BMX bike to perform various tricks or to be faster in racing.

In addition, the frames of these bikes have more resistance than those of other types of bikes. The seat tube is shorter as it offers more space for the rider to perform tricks.

The frames of the BMX bikes have different measures in the horizontal tube according to the modalities:

The frames of Flatland bikes are the smallest, measuring between 17 “and 18”, sometimes they are made to measure for the biker.

While Street bike frames measure between 19.75 “and 21”, the size is chosen according to the rider’s height or for his taste.

skateboarding vs. bmx

The frames of the Dirt Jump

and Race bicycles are longer, measuring between 20.8 “and 21.5”, their geometry is different from other modalities, it is designed to gain more speed.

Handlebar

The handlebars are usually large to improve the control of the bicycle, they are made of aluminum or carbon fiber. The handlebar can be tilted forward to extend the arms, but the rider’s weight is more heavily loaded at the front and this makes the bike more unstable. You can also lean backwards, although you gain control, it is more uncomfortable to perform the tricks since it reduces the rider’s space. Your fit depends on your preferences and the performance you are looking for.

The wheels

Bicycles usually have 20 “diameter wheels, although there are also 24” wheels. There are also BMX bikes for children with diameters of 16 “or 18”. Only 20 ”diameter wheels are used at the Olympics.

The BMX wheel covers must have good traction. As for the rings, there are single or double walls, they have 36 to 48 spokes, the more spokes they have, they are stronger. All this contributes to making the BMX wheels more resistant, this is important so that it supports the impacts of jumps and obstacles that the rider travels. Although for BMX Race , lighter wheels are sought to gain more acceleration.

Brakes

BMX bikes may or may not have brakes, depending on the rider’s tastes, some prefer to brake the bike using their feet.

BMX Race bikes usually have front and rear brakes. For its part, BMX Freestyle bikes have only rear brakes, these favor the rider’s control when speed decreases or stops the bicycle. They do not have front brakes since using these, while performing the maneuvers, can cause the rider to get out of control.

Rotor

In traditional bicycles, you cannot turn the handlebars completely, since it reaches a point where it does not turn because the brake cables prevent it.

Now, BMX Freestyle bikes implement a braking mechanism, in which a part called rotor is installed under the stem, which allows the handlebar to be completely turned without being hindered by the brake cables and without affecting its function braking.

With this braking system, the rider can perform a large number of tricks more easily. This is why it is usually used in Vert, Park and Flatland modalities.

Skateboarding vs BMX: Factors that Influence Your Inclination

We will base the comparison between skateboarding and BMX on various factors, which will affect our mutual preference. they are:

Travel time

If you travel long distances, BMX bikes will be a better choice. You can ride for miles without getting tired, but travelling the same distance on the skateboard (if not downhill) will make you very tired. However, if you are only scouting somewhere nearby, you can perform both operations at the same time.

Riding Experience

Once you begin to master the knowledge of skateboarding and learn decent skills, skateboarding is both fun and addictive. Skateboarders like to jump over large gaps and street furniture, crash into rough hills, grind rails and ledges, and/or ride the transition of the skate park.

All these things can also be done on the BMX bike, though many people usually think that BMX riding is more extreme than skateboarding. Freestyle riding or racing with the BMX will stimulate adrenaline easily, and many fans  usually feel free when they are riding fast on the streets or in strong winds on ramps.

Storage

If you are looking for something easy to store, then skateboarding is the winner. It is smaller and lighter, and can be stored almost anywhere. On the other hand, your BMX needs better arrangements. You can easily pick up the skateboard and carry it into a building or even a workplace, but you will need to find a place to lock the bike, as it will be troublesome to lift it up the elevator.

Risk & Safety

Many people make a decision by comparing the safety levels of the two sports. The way a person thinks is safer depends on his skill level. If you are better at skateboarding, you are more likely to think it is safer and therefore detest BMX. Safety also depends on the type of terrain you are running. If you go down a steep hill, skateboarding is extremely risky, especially if your skill level is still low. Bicycles have brakes, but skateboards do not.

On the other hand, when operating on flat terrain, the skateboard is much safer because you can easily jump out of the road if you are going to have a frontal collision with vehicles, people, pillars, etc. In addition, although both skateboarding and BMX bear certain risks, BMX is even more dangerous than skateboarding when jumping into a half pipe. The reason is that it is much harder to ride a bicycle than a skateboard, and the parts of the bicycle tends to be bigger. Thus, if you crash, it will hurt you.

When it comes to street riding, skateboarding may be more risky than BMX because it is more likely to crash when the wheel hits cracks or bumps. This would make you to fall and hurt yourself. Similarly, when driving fast on a slope, the skateboard may swing at a high speed, resulting in a potential crash, and the BMX bike can bombard the slope smoothly and you will brake!

Overall, skateboarding may be safer than BMX because in most cases, skateboarders will ride on flat ground, slides and rails, or ride on park ramps and turns. In contrast, due to the size and weight of BMX bikes, BMX riders tend to perform high jumps and freestyle stunts, which involve more risks.

Intended Use

Why buy a skateboard or BMX? If you want to have some fun, then consider the factor we outlined earlier: Riding Experience. However, if you are looking for something that can also be used for semi-professional use or in a professional environment, a bicycle may be more suitable. Carrying a skateboard under the arm would make it hard for people to take you seriously. However, you can always lock your bicycle outside the building and walk into the workplace with confidence.

Culture

Let’s face it: Most of us like skateboarding and BMX because they are cool. But which of the two is cooler? The calmness factor depends on the risk (adventurers) and culture (what sports people in your area consider as more acceptable).

Learning curve

It may be difficult to learn skateboarding at first. You need to find a balance, learn to stand on a moving board, then learn to push and brake. For novices, they need to learn these properly before trying out any technique. For most people (adults or children), riding a BMX bike and walking around is easy. However, unlike other bicycles, BMX is about all tricks. Performing on the BMX involves a lot of skills, so getting started requires practice.

Skateboarding requires enhanced balance ability, but for beginner BMX riders, learning basic skills takes time and the learning curve is relatively steep (high risk). Novices may take weeks to learn how to make a great Bunnyhop, and months to perform manuals and 180s, which is the most basic skill in BMX.

skateboarding vs. bmx

It may be difficult to learn skateboarding skills such as ollies and kickflips at first, although it may not be as difficult as BMX. Skateboarding skills require great balance and coordination, and BMX requires more strength and adaptability even when performing the simplest skills. Although you may see kids performing more than 900 advanced skills on the skate park, there are far fewer young BMX riders who actually perform advanced skills.

 

Another aspect of the learning curve is mentality. BMX newbies need a lot of self-motivation to research equipment, solve hardware problems and find places to ride. Skateboarding also requires investment, although it may not be as high as BMX-gears. This is also cheaper, simpler and easier to obtain, and there are many places to ride.

Price

Many people choose skateboarding not because they think skateboarding is cooler or more fun than BMX, but because it is cheaper. Skateboard parts are quite cheap, so the skateboard does not require a lot of money to repair and maintain. Bicycles are more expensive than skateboards, and they require higher and more expensive maintenance levels. For example, BMX parts can be expensive and difficult to obtain and you may need to find some parts online. Also, you may need to give it to a professional bicycle repairer for proper repair.

In addition, you will need to purchase safety equipment for BMX. Including: helmets, elbow pads, knee pads, gloves, etc. These are all additional costs. Skateboarding culture is more easy going. Therefore, if you have a limited budget and are looking for a cheap way to relax, we recommend that you choose skateboarding instead of BMX. To further prove that the price of a BMX bike is much higher than a skateboard, you need to pay between US$300 and US$800 for BMX, and a good skateboard may only cost between US$150 and US$200, although longboards are usually more expensive.

In addition, compared to BMX, skateboards usually require much less maintenance as earlier highlighted. On a good skateboard, you usually only need to clean or replace the bearings once in a while, replace the wheels when worn, and replace the grip belt. The tires on the skateboard will not deflate, there is no need to adjust the chain lubrication or brakes, and there will be no bent wheels or loose bearings. Regarding the cost, even if you want to replace wheels ($50), trucks ($50), bearings ($50) or belts, skateboards will not cost much, as mentioned earlier. For BMX, you may find yourself spending about $1,500 on parts replacement after few years of initial purchase. This is quite true because the price of customized BMX parts can be very expensive, depending on each brand.

Riding locations

When it comes to riding places, BMX has many versatility. You can ride BMX on streets, remote woods, muddy trails, and any terrain (including sidewalks with potholes). On the other hand, skateboarding requires a fairly smooth surface when riding on the street. You can run with larger, softer wheels to make riding more comfortable on rough roads, but the trick is not so ideal. You cannot skate in the forest like when using the BMX as well.

On the other hand, a big advantage of skateboarding compared to BMX is the large number of skateparks available-many of which are not open to BMX riders. Not all BMX riders can enter the nearby BMX-friendly park, ride dirt jumps or ride the BMX track. Similarly, certain public urban places (such as squares) may be open to skateboarders but not to bicycles. Therefore, both the skateboard and the BMX have their limitations in riding positions. Skateboarders may have more choices in the city, while BMX riders can ride outdoors more easily.

Parts

BMX bikes are very customizable. On skateboards, you can only customize some parts such as decks, trucks, wheels and straps, or truck parts such as hangers, kingpins, pivot cups, etc. You can learn a lot when constructing and carrying a BMX, but choosing and purchasing the required parts may confuse novices. Moreover, BMX parts are not always easy to find. In contrast, skateboard parts are quite cheap, can be bought anywhere, and are relatively easy to assemble with some basic DIY knowledge and simple skate shop skills.

Final Verdict

We are not hoping to pick a better sport. We believe that both sports are very interesting and have their own unique advantages. In this article, we have tried our best to prove this point. In the end, the decision is yours. Consider the factors highlighted above and find out which of the two sports (BMX and skateboarding) is more suitable for you. If you are not familiar with action sports and want to know whether to choose skateboarding or BMX for yourself or for your kids, this article is for you as well.