Why Do BMX Bikes Have Small Wheels?

Cyclists are, without a doubt, a picky bunch. As a cyclist, you tend to question everything from saddle length to pedal position and crank length. However, the main feature that tends to go unquestioned is the size of the wheels.

Choosing the right wheel size is vital when it comes to enhancing the performance of your bike. Fortunately, when it comes to cycling, bigger is not always better. This means that using a small wheel bike will still offer you top-notch performance.

However, why do BMX bikes have small wheels? To have a better understanding of this topic, consider reading this article to the end.

Why Do BMX Bikes Have Small Wheels?

Although small wheels on a BMX bike tend to look odd for an adult bike, they feature an array of benefits, especially if you a small rider. In addition to that, tall BMX riders can benefit significantly from riding a BMX bike with significantly small wheels of up to 20 inches and less.

However, the size of the wheels will highly depend on your preferred style of cycling. The standard size of a BMX bike wheel size is 20 inches; however, you can still find micro mini BMX bikes with a wheel size of 15 to 16 inches.

So, why do BMX bikes have small wheels? Here is why;

1. Enhanced Speed

BMX bikes equipped with small wheels tend to have more speed compared to those with significantly large ones. In fact, the wheel size of a BMX bike used in setting the world speed record was 18 inches. This is because small wheels require relatively fewer spokes to get the same stability as big wheels measuring 26 to 28 inches.

With a reduced number of spokes, the small wheel BMX bike generates relatively low turbulence drag allowing the rider to achieve high speeds.

Even Alexi Grewal, the 1984 Olympic gold medalist, pointed out that using small wheels tends to be more efficient as opposed to using a larger wheel at a speed of up to 16 mph.

At speeds of around 16 to 33 mph, both large and small wheels are equally efficient. A larger wheel becomes preferable only at speeds of over 33 mph.

2. Improved Acceleration

When cycling in the streets and forced to slow down more often due to traffic, you will benefit significantly from fast acceleration.

Small wheel BMX bikes tend to weigh less, which means that they create a relatively low force of inertia. Therefore, it allows you to speed up very fast and have a better climbing speed.

3. Makes It Easy To Maneuver

With a small wheel, BMX maneuvering becomes easier. Due to their small size, small wheels are very responsive to steering and offer enhanced tire compliance with road surfaces since they have higher pressure per square inch.

With enhanced maneuverability, small wheel BMX bikes tend to be helpful when used on wet ground as well as in sharp turns. Generally, the compact size of a small wheel BMX bike makes it sturdier.

4. Easier To Store

As an individual who loves traveling by their bike, you will enjoy the benefits of using a small wheel BMX. Due to their compact size, small wheel BMX bikes will fit easily in your car. In addition to that, some small wheel BMX bikes double as folding bikes, making them not only easier to store but also transport.

5. Ideal For Short Riders

Although small wheel bikes BMX bikes are also ideal for tall individuals, they are often considered the best option for short bikers. When using a small wheel BMX bike, a short rider will have access to the handlebar with ease, along with an excellent saddle height.

Can An Adult ride A 20-Inch BMX Bike?

Since 20-inch is the standard wheel size of a BMX bike, yes, you can still cycle as an adult. However, you will need to be at least 5 feet and 3 inches tall to enjoy riding this bike. Usually, such BMX bikes are ideal for intermediate riders, and it is often not ideal for BMX racing as well as professional riding.

Nonetheless, you should note that this is not a small BMX bike since there are smaller designs available for kids. The maximum rider weight for the 20-inch wheel size BMX bike is approximately 110 to 150 lbs.

If you weigh over 200 lbs. riding this BMX bike will be pretty uncomfortable. Therefore, as an individual who weighs more than 200 lbs. you should consider going for the Pro XL equipped with about 20.5 and 21-inch frame size.

Anyone above the age of 10 can ride a 20-inch BMX bike. However, if you love performing stunts and tricks, you should consider going for bikes with larger wheel sizes. Kids with experience in cycling can also use this bike; however, it should be adjusted to their height for a better experience and enhanced performance.

How To Choose A BMX Bike Wheel Size That Is Right For You?

First things first, wheel size does not matter, and bigger is never better. However, you should note that the BMX bike features an array of wheel sizes that ranges from 12 to 24-inch, with the 20-inch wheel being the most common. In addition to being common, 20-inch wheels are considered the true size for a BMX bike.

When considering a new BMX bike, Top Tube or TT measurement is often an essential measurement than wheel size. BMX bikes equipped with 12-inch to 18-inch wheels as well as 24-inch cruisers feature relevant TT length to wheel size.

However, the 20-inch wheel BMX bike features a unique TT measurement. Like other bikes in the market, BMX comes in different sizes that allow you to choose a product that best suits your needs. Therefore, if you are on the lookout for a BMX bike wheel size that will best suit your needs, here are the aspects you will need to consider;

Height Plays An Important Role

Height plays a vital role when it comes to choosing the right wheel size. Therefore, when looking for the perfect wheel size, consider the following height range;

  • If you are under 3’3’’, a 12-inch wheel size BMX bike will be best for you.
  • As an individual between 3’3’’ and 4’, 12’’ to 16’’ wheel size BMX bikes will be ideal for you.
  • A 16’’ to 18’’ wheel size if appropriate for individuals with the height range of 4’ to 4’6’’.
  • 4’6’’ to 4’10’’ individuals should settle for a BMX bike with a wheel range of 18’’ to 20’’.
  • If you are an expert BMX biker with a height range of 4’8’’ to 5’4’’, you should go for a wheel size range of 19.5’’ to 20.4’’.
  • Pro BMX biker with a height range of 5’4’’ to 5’10’’ should use a BMX bike wheel size of around 20.5’’ to 21’’.
  • 20.5’’ to 21.5’’ wheel size is ideal for Pro XL BMX bikers with a height range of 5’8’’ to 6ft.
  • Any BMX biker with a height of over 6ft should use a wheel size of approximately 21’’ to 22’’.

With these height ranges in mind, choosing a wheel size that best suits your needs becomes relatively easy.

Riding Style

Different BMX bike wheel sizes are designed for different tasks. Therefore, understanding your riding style makes it relatively easy to choose the right wheel size. Here are some of the common riding styles;

· Park riding. BMX park bikers prefer having a very responsive bike. To enhance the responsiveness of your BMX bike, you will need a short TT along with a short Chain Stay or CS and a steep Head Tube (HT)angle.

· Trail riding. Dirt or trail BMX riders focus more on stability. This is often achieved using a long TT, CS, and a slack HT angle. With that place, you will have enhanced stability as well as comfortability as you jump on large jumps.

· Street riding. BMX street riders use BMX bikes that are designed a bit tougher and can take gridding abuse along with flat landing way better.

Your BMX biking experience should also be considered. It is recommended that you ride a standard bike before purchasing a BMX bike. As a newbie, you should consider starting with a 20-inch wheel size. In addition to that, you will also need to factor in age. In most cases, kids below the age of 6 years are advised not to use BMX bikes for safety reasons. 15 to 18-inch wheel size BMX bikes are ideal for kids under the age of 12 and above the age of 6 years.

Weight Matters

Despite the fact that BMX bikes are not fitted with an official load limit, you will also need to watch out for your weight when choosing the right wheel size.

Micro mini and Junior, and Mini size BMX bikes are equipped with relatively small wheels that cannot hold a weight load of more than 150 pounds. Generally, BMX bike wheels feature a maximum load capacity of 300 pounds.

Final words

Small wheels in BMX are essential as they help enhance performance and are also ideal for short riders. When choosing the best BMX bike, choosing one with the right wheel size should be your top priority.

With that said, we hope that you have benefited significantly from this article and that the question of why do BMX bikes have small wheels has been answered.

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