Do BMX Bikes Have Brakes? (Everything You Need to Know)

Many states in the USA follow the Uniform Vehicle Code Language. It requires every person who operates a bicycle to be equipped with a brake that will enable them to make the braked wheels skid on dry, level, and clean pavement.

Yet, riding brakeless has become a trend over the years for many freestyle riders. 

Do BMX bikes have brakes?

Every BMX bike comes at least with one brake which is the rear brake. A lot of them have both front and rear brakes. However, plenty of freestyle riders remove the brakes from their BMX bikes to perform stunts better. Every bike has to have at least one brake or else it will be against the law. 

In fact, you can get a fine for riding a BMX bike in public without a brake. BMX bikes are equipped with brakes to allow the rider to stop quickly and prevent accidents from happening. They have two types of brakes called rims brakes and disc brakes. 

Most of the freestyle BMX bikes have front and rear U-brakes whereas dirt-jumping bikes have only a disc brake or a rear V-brake. 

Do BMX bikes have front/disc brakes?

BMX have front/disc brakes. But that is not that common and depends on the BMX bike brand. Most riders attach additional front brakes on their BMX bike. They can be found on BMX bikes which are of large sizes such as Cruisers. 

The reason that most BMX bikes do not have front brakes is that it makes the bike heavy. Most BMX riders want to avoid that. 

Disc brakes are more seen on mountain bikes because hard braking is more important. They are of two types, mechanical and hydraulic. You can attach Mountain Bikes disc hubs on your BMX bike as long as it has a 20-inch frame size. 

Some BMX bike sizes such as the Mini have disc brakes. Those brakes function well in stopping bikes. 

Do BMX bikes have pedal/coaster/back/foot brakes?

BMX bikes of small sizes made for kids always come with pedal brakes.

These can be found in the following sizes: Micro Mini, Mini, and sometimes Junior. These pedal brakes are needed to enable children to learn about controlling their bikes, handling them, and achieving balance. 

Kids need coaster brakes because they may not be strong enough to pull the brake lever on the handlebar which is why these brakes can easily slow down the speed for them. 

Coaster brakes have a unique rear hub called a coaster hub which enables the BMX bike to go forwards without the pedals rotating and cranking.

They function as brakes as well when the cranks go in the opposite direction. 

Do BMX bikes have hand brakes?

All BMX bikes come with hand brakes mounted on the handlebar. We will learn more about them next. 

What kind of brakes do BMX bikes have?

BMX bikes mostly have rim brakes. They are categorized into two types. They are V-brakes and U-brakes. V-brakes weigh less than U-brakes and are more strong as well.

U-brakes are more common on BMX bikes than V-brakes. Both the brakes can be used by the rider using a hand lever placed on the handlebar. All BMX bike brakes are cable-actuated. 

BMX racing bikes have V-brakes placed on the edge of their rear rims that come with rubber pads. V-brakes are built to be able to pull more cable which results in a better braking experience.  

All Flatlands and Freestyle BMX bikes are fit with U-brakes because of their longevity and straightforward arrangement. 

You can easily avoid tangling issues by using a Gyro headset or a Detangler. This is cable routing which enables riders to do 180 and 360-degree handlebar spins. This is only limited to the bike’s rear brake. 

Why do BMX bikes not have brakes?

Some freestyle BMX riders remove the brakes from their BMX bikes. This is a trend within the freestyle sport. Almost all BMX bikes come attached with a brake.

They remove it to get more control over their bike and for stunting and doing tricks. Most freestyle riders do this in parks instead of public roads because it is more secure. 

Some riders also remove brakes to reduce the overall weight of the bike. Having a heavy BMX bike can make it hard for you to move around. Most people are always changing the parts of their bikes to make their bikes lightweight.  

What BMX bikes have brakes?

Almost all BMX bikes have brakes attached to their handlebars. Most BMX bikes only have rear brakes. Some freestyle BMX bikes have both front and rear brakes. The U-brakes are the most common. 

However, some BMX bikes such as Mini size BMX bikes do not have a brake. This is because of the thickness of the wheel. The tires are too large for the brakes to effectively work. 

This is changing and brands attach standard caliper brakes on the back wheels of a Mini BMX bike. Other brands have developed disc brakes for their Mini BMX bike. Now, most brands have made it mandatory to attach brakes for the safety of the riders. 

Do you need brakes on a BMX bike?

For safety, you do need brakes on your BMX bike otherwise it can cause accidents and damage your vehicle. If you don’t want to get into trouble with the law, having one brake on your vehicle is a must. 

Some states allow having no brakes if you have a fixed-gear. Look up bicycle laws in the area you live for a better understanding. 

Some riders prefer to ride brakeless on their BMX because it allows them to perform more stunts and tricks such as tailwhip tricks. The cable of a brake prevents them from doing it above the limit without resetting it.

This has become a trend to show that they have a lot of control over their bike. To actually handle your speed efficiently without having a brake is a skill that requires a lot of effort. 

Here are the benefits and drawbacks of having no brakes on your BMX bike to help you decide. 

Benefits of having no brakes on a BMX bike.

  • It reduces the overall weight of your bike. The lighter your bike, the faster it will be. If your bike is heavy, removing the brakes can make it easier to move around. 
  • You can do stunts such as barspins and tailwhips where you can rotate the frames 360 degrees around one another. Usually, having a brake cable will limit how much you can do this. If you remove the brakes, there will be no limit and you don’t have to reset it. 
  • You learn how to be more in control of the speed of your bike. This can even make you a better rider and more efficient at times. 
  • You will not need to buy an additional gyro headset. With the help of Gyro, you can turn your frames 360 degrees as much as you want without the brake cable tangling around the stem. But if you have no brakes, you no longer need that. 
  • If you buy a new setup, you don’t need calipers, levers, or cables. It can reduce the cost of the build.
  • It is expensive to adjust your brakes. 
  • Disadvantages of not having brakes on a BMX bike. 
  • The most important and obvious disadvantage is that it is dangerous. Without brakes, you might not be able to stop at the correct time. This can lead to accidents, especially on public roads where there is a lot of traffic. 
  • It can mess up your rims. It can rub off your rim paints and you have to constantly clean your wheel. 
  • Some tricks can be difficult to perform as you won’t be able to stop your cranks.
  • You will often hit trees on the trails. 
  • You will damage your shoes very quickly if you stop your bike by jamming your feet on the tires. 
  • It is illegal in many states. By law, having one brake on your bike is mandatory. Or else you might get a ticket. At the end of the day, it comes down to personal preference. It is up to you which way feels better for you as long as it is safe. 

Do professional BMX bikes have brakes?

Definitely, the professional ones come with brakes. A lot of professional BMX riders have brakes on their professional BMX bikes, such as Charlie Crumlish. 

All organized BMX racing contests require riders to have an operable rear brake. 

It is better to not use the brake instead of removing the brakes completely if you’re learning to gain more control over your bike. 

How to stop a BMX bike with no brakes?

There are only a few stopping methods for BMX bikes without brakes. Most of those methods need you to use your feet. You could place your shoe on the rear wheel to decrease the speed while it’s resting on the top of the frame’s rear triangle.

There is another dangerous method that is highly discouraged and not recommended. Some riders do this by placing their feet in front of the wheel. This makes them stop very fast which can make you fall down. 

Forward pedaling and backpedaling quickly is one way too to stop a bike. You can also pop on the front tire for some time to reverse-stop the back tire from spinning. Although, this riding skill requires time to learn. You need to learn how to control the speed of a regular bike first. 

It requires a lot of skill and control to ride a BMX bike without brakes. It can be a safety hazard, especially in places with traffic congestion.

So it is recommended that you at least have one brake attached to your BMX brake. If you have no brakes on your BMX bike, you will only be legally allowed to ride on off-road tracks. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

Does BMX tire width matter?

Are BMX bikes heavy or light?

How much does a BMX bike weigh?

How can i make my BMX lighter?

Do BMX bikes have gears?

Are BMX bikes fixed gear or single speed?

Do BMX bikes have kickstands?