Bike

BMX vs. MTB: Which Bike is Best For you?

© Jarno Schurgers_Red Bull Content Pool
With the Fujairah edition of the Red Bull Pump Track World Championship just around the corner, we explore the two competing bike types.
Written by Red Bull UAEPublished on
The UAE’s very first edition of the Red Bull Pump Track World Championship is nearly here, taking place on Friday 20 September at Fujairah Adventures. And it will become the first-ever event in the region where BMX and mountain bike (MTB) riders can compete on an equal platform.
BMX and MTB share a couple of things in common. First, they both have two wheels, and second, like most bicycles, they come with a seat and handlebars.
Okay, we’ll stop messing around now. On a serious note, are you wondering just what are the key differences between the two bikes? Are you currently looking to buy a new bike and just can’t decide?
Have a read through our handy guide to save you some hassle!
DIFFERENT BIKES, DIFFERENT PURPOSE
When it comes down to it, each style of bike is designed to accomplish different tasks. The BMX is built for quick speed changes, extreme mobility, and strength, while the MTB is crafted for shock absorption, climbing, and the ability to dominate a variety of terrains.
Here are the five areas where these two types of bicycle differ the most:
1. The Frame
The different uses for each style of bicycle play a role in the construction of their frames.
A BMX endures significant impacts throughout its lifetime. Racing off ramps and jumps is a way of life for BMXers, and their bikes must feature a strong frame to endure this aggressive treatment. Most BMX bikes are similarly sized as their use requires a compact frame.
While mountain biking seems rugged, it is often less violent than BMX-style racing or riding. The MTB frame is typically geared toward absorbing vibration and functionality. The frame of a MTB is often more flexible and is geared toward the size of the rider.
2. Wheels
A BMX typically features 20 or 24-inch wheels. The tyres are designed to withstand the shock of jumps and tricks, while being able to function properly on smooth surfaces. They are typically reinforced internally to avoid an untimely blowout when landing off big air.
A MTB requires larger wheels to navigate the rocks and holes of a typical trail. The standard size of MTB wheels is 26 or 29 inches but can differ based on the size of the rider. The tyres feature large, knobby grooves designed to provide a firm grip on diverse terrains.
3. Braking
BMX bikes are often used for elaborate tricks and stunts that require the ability to spin the handlebars in both directions. High-end BMX bicycles use a special type of braking system that prevents the brake cable from becoming tangled in the bars.
The brakes on a BMX bike are generally found only on the rear wheel. Often, it is a type of braking system called a V-brake. The V-brake squeezes the tyre to slow it down and bring the bike to a stop.
The brakes on an MTB, meanwhile, are designed to withstand the high temperatures of braking on a decline. This is vital to those traversing steep hills on trails. Disc brakes are often used to supply greater braking power and survive harsh conditions like mud, water, and extreme heat.
4. The Ride
MTBs offer an undeniably smoother ride than their BMX counterparts. Suspension can be found on the front and/or rear of the bike. This allows the rider to negotiate difficult terrain without abusing their legs, arms, and rear.
The only shock absorptions found on a BMX bike are the legs and arms of the rider. BMX riders must be careful to anticipate moments of rough riding and manipulate their bodies accordingly.
SUMMARY
Now you have an understanding of the major points of difference between BMX and MTBs, use this quick pros/cons guide to narrow down which might be best for you!
Infographic BMX MTB A Summary
Infographic BMX MTB A Summary
RED BULL PUMP TRACK
All competitors must apply online prior to the event, and registration is currently open here.
Riders must be 16 years of age on the date of the competition in order to compete, and those under 18 must obtain their legal guardian’s permission. You are free to choose your preferred bike; however, it must come with a minimum wheel size of 20inches, and must not be fitted with an engine. Good luck!