Are BMX Bikes Good For Dirt Jumping?

BMX bikes are some of the most versatile two-wheelers in the cycling niche. It seems there’s no limit to what they can do and where they can go, but it’s only until you step on the bike that you realize that a BMX has its limitations when it comes to uses. So are BMX bikes good for dirt jumping?

BMX bikes are not good for dirt jumping because they lack fast riding speed for higher jumps and better landing on rocky trails and pump tracks. You could use them for dirt jumping, but you’ll hardly get the level of performance that an actual dirt jumper bike can. 

I need you to understand one thing from this point forward:

Manufacturers are quite strict and straightforward when it comes to what you can do with a BMX bike.

Primarily, they’re suitable for performing stunt on hard places, flat space far away from the public, and at skate parks. They are far less effective on rocky trails, areas with pump tracks, and tracks with high jumps.

a dirt jumper bike

So even if you were to take a BMX to dirt jumping excursion, and you can, you won’t get the exact fast-paced, high-octane rush that an actual dirt jumper bike gives.

Why BMX Bike Are Not Good For Dirt Jumping (4 Reasons Explained)

I wish I could take my BMX bike out and do some dirt jumping on it myself. But as much as I desire to stretch this two-wheeler beyond its limits, it’s just not possible.

Anyone who has tried dirt jumping on a BMX will tell you to get an actual dirt jumping instead, and for good reasons.

1. A BMX Bike Can’t Jump Too High

This is a no brainer.

In fact, if you’ve tested a BMX bike for dirt jump already, you must have realized that it doesn’t make higher and longer jump compared to a dirt jumper bike.

Put in another way:

It’s possible that you can use a BMX bike for dirt jumping. However, you shouldn’t expect to reach a higher height in mid-air. Again, you’re more than likely to struggle making higher jumps on some dirt track. 

2. A BMX Bike Won’t Ride Around Dirt Tracks

Dirt jumper bikes ride so well around tracks such as rocky terrains, high jump trails, pump tracks, and over obstacles.

bmx bike around track

Put a BMX bike on such tracks and you set yourself up for some grave disappointments even before the riding binge begins.

It’s simply quite ineffective. 

And even if you were to put ride them on dirt tracks, you don’t get better, smooth landing.

Obviously the BMX seat is low, the handlebar design is all BMX, and that only make them suitable for other things BMX, not dirt jumping.

3. BMX Bikes Are Built For Wheelies

Don’t know what the term wheelie means?

In cycling, wheelie means a trick where a rider cycle for a shorter distance with the front wheel of their two-wheeler off the ground.

And that’s what BMX bikes are good for.

From what I understand, BMX bikes offer the kind of grip, control, and positing that make performing wheelies far much easier than any other kind of cycling.

They’re also good for racing because they have a short frame, short handlebar, and overall lightweight.

Dirt jumping bikes, on the other hand, demand more in terms of design to be able to do what they do. In particular, they need to have a better height and handlebars to be able to jump high.

4. BMX Bikes Aren’t Fast Enough For Dirt Jumps

Don’t get me wrong.

BMX bikes do actually ride at reasonably good speed. But that’s only good for short distance when doing simple stunts and complex tricks.

dirt jump bmx

To be clear, though, the speed at which a BMX bike can go is only good for riding at skate parks and flat hard surface. Take them for racing around dirt tracks and they won’t hold up well nearly as much.

Again, it should be clear by now that BMX’s geometry doesn’t support faster riding that makes jumping higher in mid-air possible. 

BMX Vs Dirt Jumper: What Are The Differences?

There’s a high chance that you’ve assumed that a cyclist can use a BMX and a dirt jumper interchangeably. And that’s because they have some features that easily overlap.

For example, both dirt jumper and BMX deliver an almost similar high landing jumps, aerial stunts, and some sort of tricks.

The keyword here is ALMOST, which means there are differences that set them apart in terms of design and performance.

So, what exactly makes a BMX bike different from the dirt jumper bike?

Let’s have a closer look.

 FeaturesBMX BikeDirt Jumper Bike
Handlebar sizeShort and flatTaller
Riding TerrainCompacted dirt tracksPump tracks and rocky paths
Top Tube LengthShorter than dirt jumper top tube length Larger than BMX to tube length
Riding Style18 to 21.5 inches21.2 to 22.7 inches
Brake SystemU or V caliper brakesHydraulic or mechanical disc brakes
Bike ConstructionAlloy frameSteel or aluminum frame
SuspensionDoesn’t allow suspension fittingIncludes rare suspension for impact absorption

1. Bike Construction

BMX bikes are made of alloy for a solid and sturdy feel. While manufacturers keep the weight as low as possible so you end up with a more lightweight, these bikes are so robust that they can handle the rigors of bmxing with ease.

Given that BMX has a simplistic design, it’s hard to put them to other extended uses and can only be suitable for their initial intent.

Dirt jump bikes feature frames made of aluminum or steel. Moreover, they have a lower standover heights, short seat tubes, lower stance, steep head angles, and short chainstays.

In addition to being light, dirt jump bikes also include comfortable suspension systems that make theme easy to maneuver.

2. Terrains

BMX bikes ride well only on compacted dirt tracks such skate parks.

If you’ve paid attention to what we’ve been discussing about BMX bikes so far, you now that manufacturers design BMX for fast speed over short distance, which is something you can comfortably do in a skate park.

Dirt jumpers, on the other hand, are good for pump tracks, tracks with high ruts and jumps, and rocky terrains. You could use them for riding downhill, but doing so can be somewhat unsafe.

3. Handlebars

A BMX bike has short, flat handlebars that give a rider the best steering control and quick turns when doing simple, quick turns and performing complex tricks.

The standard handlebar width for many BMX bikes is 28 inches, and there are also those that are as wide as 30 inches.

Dirt jumpers are different in the sense that their handlebars are taller and more comfortable enough for jumping to a higher heights and having better control of the bike.

It’s even possible to jump while doing tricks such as bar spins thanks to the decent width between 25 and 27 inches.

4. Brake System

The law requires that all bikes must have a stopping mechanism, which explains why even BMX bikes have brakes.

The brake fitted on a BMX can be either a V or U brake, which all have a similar working mechanism.

From the knowledge I’ve acquired over the years, given that I own a BMX myself, the brake on a BMX may be unnecessary at times, especially when performing multiple bar spins and tail whips. However, having one is still important, as you don’t know when you might need it.

Dirt jumper bikes, on the other hand, come fitted with mechanical or hydraulic disc brakes. Here, caliper press the brake pads against the motor rotor, which bring the bike to a stop.

Unlike BMX, dirt jumper bikes have more stopping power given the quality of the brake systems fitted on them.

5. Top Tube Length 

BMX bikes feature shorter top tube length in the range of 18 and 21.25 inches. Any length between 18 and 20 inches is suitable for kids and short BMX riders. For pro riders, a top tube length between 20.5 and 21.5 inches would be more than ideal.

The smallest top tube length of a dirt jumper bike is 21.2 inches for smaller frames. Medium frames have a top tube length of 21.7 inches and large frames have a top tube of between 22.2 and 22.7 inches.

Final Thoughts: ”Are BMX Bikes Good For Dirt Jumping?”

As you can see, BMX bikes aren’t as good for dirt jumping as the actual jumping bikes are. I can understand why someone would want to try a BMX bike dirt jumping, especially since it’s inexpensive. Btu if you want to get the best dirt jumping experience, it’s best to invest in a good dirt jump bike instead. 

Keep in mind that the short frame, low seat, and small handlebar of a BMX bike makes it only suitable for bmxing. And while you can use such a bike for another purpose for dirt jumping, you can be sure the riding experience won’t be as favorable as you would expect.

So if you’ve ever wanted to do dirt jumping, or planning to get started, it’s best to invest in a dedicated jump bike instead.