When getting a BMX bike, most people often worry, ‘is it safe?’. That automatically switches their minds to its speed. So, how fast can a BMX bike go?
Race BMX bikes can hit 30-35mph (48-56kph) on downhill ramps, while freestyle BMX bikes can only clock 6-9mph (10-15kph). So, ideally, a BMX top speed depends on the BMX type and terrain. But equally, the rider’s experience has a role to play.
Overall, race BMX bikes (which we’ll focus on) are faster than mountain bikes on short distances, city bikes, beach cruisers, and electric bikes. As you’ll learn later, they are only slower than road bikes.
So, this is a good thing if you’ve been looking for a speedy bike that’s not a road bike. It’s also a good thing if you are a concerned parent as it allows you to prepare your kid better for the bike sprint.
But what if your BMX bike is not fast, and you want it to be so? Well, I’ll share tips to make yourself and the bike quicker.
Let’s get into it!
How Fast Can A BMX Bike Go Compared To Others?
With our focus on the race BMX and not the freestyle option, a race BMX bike averages 30-35mph on downhill ramps.
That makes it about five mph quicker than an MTB over a short distance. It’s, however, a different story on long-distance, as I’ll explain later.
And with the beach cruiser, electric bikes, and city bikes all clocking a top speed below 30mph, a race BMX bike is undoubtedly fast.
The only undisputed king of speed is the road bike. A premium quality road bike can hit 45-50mph on long smooth stretches. That makes it 10-15mph quicker than a race BMX.
Here’s a table comparing the average top speed of all these bikes:
|Bike Type||Average Top Speed|
|Road Bike||45-50mph (72-80kph)|
|Race BMX||30-35mph (48-56kph)|
|Mountain Bike||25-30mph (40-48kph)|
|Electric Bike||20-28mph (32-45kph)|
|City Bike||20-25mph (32-40kph)|
|Cruiser Bike||15-20mph (29-32kph)|
|Freestyle BMX||6-9mph (10-15kph)|
Factors Determining How Fast a BMX Can Go
At 30-35mph, are BMX bikes fast? The answer is Yes. But what determines this top speed? Well, a BMX bike’s top speed depends on the following factors:
a) BMX Bike Type
As seen, the speed difference between the race BMX bike and its freestyle sibling is vast. While a race BMX can hit 30-35mph on downhill ramps, a freestyle BMX can only manage 6-9mph.
That is because freestyle BMX bikes are not designed for racing but stunts. So, they are often heavier. In contrast, race BMX bikes are for sprinting. So they are much lighter.
b) Type of Terrain
BMX bicycles go fast on their natural habitats – dirt tracks, pavements, and bicycle parks. So, these are the three terrains that allow you to clock top speed on a BMX. In that case, you are likely to go slower on BMX’s unnatural habits, such as gravel roads, forest trails, and grassy fields.
c) Nature of the Terrain
It’s not just enough to ride on dirt parks, bicycle parks, and pavements if you want to hit 30-35mph. Overall, you can only attain top speed on a downhill ramp. You won’t be able to do it uphill or on flats.
It’s worth noting, however, that BMX race bikes can only maintain such a top speed on short distances. If the ramp is long, you will slow down from exhaustion.
d) Riding Experience
It doesn’t take an amateur to hit 30-35mph with a race BMX. No! it takes an experienced biker to do it.
Thus, riding experience is critical when determining how fast BMX bikes go. As a result, it’s advisable to begin practicing as a beginner so that you can quickly master the craft of rapid cycling.
What Makes BMX Bikes That Fast?
As seen, race BMX bikes are only slower than road bikes. But what makes them that speedy?
Well, here are the obvious reasons:
- Smaller lightweight frames – BMX bikes come with smaller frames that are more maneuverable, thus agile. Typically, smaller frames translate to low weight, which equals speed.
- Smaller wheels – While bigger wheels such as those of an MTB cover more ground, they require extra pedaling effort, which means you are likely to get tired quickly. In contrast, a BMX’s smaller wheels feel lighter, enabling you to ride fast.
- Steady/compact handlebars – BMX bikes have compact handlebars that offer you a stable hold. You get to hold the handlebars comfortably more upright, which allows you to ride faster.
- Sealed bearings – BMX bikes come with sealed bearings, making them sturdier. In general, it’s easy to ride a sturdier bike faster than a less sturdy option. You get to handle a sturdy BMX confidently, enabling you to go fast.
- Clipless pedals – Traditionally, BMX bikes come with clipless pedals, which offer you a lot of flexibility and foot comfort. Thus, you can ride much faster.
- Lower center of gravity – BMX bikes’ small build translates to a lower center of gravity. And since the center of gravity is lower, so is the resistance level, which allows you to go fast.
Are BMX Bikes Faster Than Mountain Bikes?
Generally, a BMX bike is faster than a mountain bike over short distances and on smoother surfaces (racing tracks and pavements). A mountain bike, in contrast, is faster than a BMX on long trails, especially rougher ones.
Therefore, if you plan to race on dirt paths, steep edges, loose dirt, or rocky trails, getting a mountain bike is better than a BMX.
Here are the speed advantages that mountain bikes enjoy over BMX bikes on trails:
- Bigger wheels – An MTB’s massive wheels make it easy to ride over obstacles. In contrast, a BMX’s smaller wheels only allow you to pedal on smoother roads but not rougher ones.
- Wide gears – Unlike BMX bikes which are only single-gear, MTBs come with a wide gear range to allow you to move smoothly across varying terrains. So, it becomes easier to ride faster because of the extra gears.
How Can I Speed Up My BMX Bike?
With BMX bikes, it’s easy to make them faster with just a few adjustments. That includes the following:
a) Adjust the Saddle Height
If you want to go faster, the saddle shouldn’t be too low, nor should it be too high. Typically, BMX seats are lower to give you extra room for handling the bike and performing stunts.
However, if you want to race, you should raise the seat to a comfortable seat height.
Here’s how to determine your ideal saddle height on a BMX:
- Determine your inseam/inside leg length
- Subtract 4 inches or 10cm from it, depending on the measurements above
- Use the values to find your ideal saddle height
b) Regularly Lubricate the Bike Chain
The chain is critical in the smooth running of the bike. So, lubricate it regularly to ensure that is the case. Besides, regular chain lubrication means less mud and sticky grime, which translates to fast riding.
c) Adjust Your Gears
Yes, a BMX only has one gear, but it’s imperative to adjust it to enhance the bike’s speed. If you cannot do it, take your BMX to the nearest bike mechanics and ask for their help.
d) Adjust Pedal Tension
While clipless pedals generally improve BMX bikes’ speed, it’s vital to match their tension with your individual needs. There must be some balance between the float and grip, and you can follow the bike’s manual to make this adjustment.
Remember, a good grip protects your shoes from slipping off the pedals. Float, on the other hand, protects you from injuring yourself.
e) Adjust Tire Pressure
You can only go fast if the tire pressure is correct. The tires will suffer much friction if the pressure is low, making the bike slower. And if you over-pump the tires, the bike will be harder to control.
So, only use the correct tire pressure (80-90psi) to attain top speed.
f) Drop The Bike’s Front
You can make your BMX bike more aerodynamic by dropping its front section. You can do that by taking out 1-2 spacers from the fork. That’ll force you to take an aerodynamic posture that allows you to ride faster.
It’s crucial that you remove one spacer at a time to avoid messing up with your overall posture.
g) Keep Your Bike Clean
You probably don’t know this, but keeping your BMX clean can make you faster.
This is why I argue so:
Grime, dirt, and mud not only enhance the deterioration of your groupset components but also interfere with their smooth running.
Additionally, they interfere with the tires’ quality and smooth running, thus slowing you down. Generally, cleaning your bike will help you boost the bike’s durability and speed.
How About You? How Can You Make Yourself Faster On A BMX?
We’ve talked about how you can make your BMX faster. Note, however, that the top speed also depends on the rider.
Here are some things you can do to go faster on BMX:
- Sit aerodynamically – Consider tucking in your elbows and bending slightly to become aerodynamic. Usually, the more aerodynamic you are, the likelier you are to cut across the wind and sprint.
- Wear tight clothes – If you want to ride faster, you have to avoid baggy clothes as they create wind drag. Instead, wear close-fitting to make yourself more aerodynamic and thus faster.
- Brake less often – Braking only slows your riding momentum, making it harder to hit top speed on BMX. So, if you want to go faster on BMX, you should brake less often.
- Don’t ride alone – Consider riding as a group instead of riding alone. For one, the more you are, the less the wind resistance and the faster you are likely to go. Secondly, riding in a group enables you to encourage or even challenge one another, and you are therefore likely to go faster.
- Keep fit – It takes endurance to go fast on a BMX bike, which means the fitter you are, the quicker you can ride.
How Fast Can A BMX Bike Go? Closing Thought:
With the average race BMX bike capable of hitting 30-35mph, there’s no denying that BMX bikes are pretty fast. After all, they are faster than city bikes, beach cruisers, and e-bikes and can even be faster than MTBs on short rides.