Hi im interested in starting out in bmx,ive competed in track and road cycling and thought i might give this a go.Does anyone have any tips or info or sites i can go to learn about all the gear.Im late 20's 5/8 and 200lbs.Someone told me the most suitable race bike would be a cruiser for bigger guys.Any info would be greatly appreciated.PS the most awesome looking BMX frame ive seen was a Specialized Hemi in the red,what a piece of artwork!!!
I believe the best advice I can give you is that as with road and track bikes, if you're looking to race, the best bet is a conventional frame design. That being said, the next step would be to determine your budget and your plans. BTW, anyone who says the 'most suitable size' is a 24" obviously never spent much time on a 20". I have raced them both competitively and if set up properly (sized to yourself and adjusted properly to suit yourself) there is absolutely no difference in the ride between the two.
First piece of advice, and please don't take this as an insult as I fought the same issue when I started (although I was older) is to ride hard when you do decide and drop some weight.
Now, frame size is all relevent. You need a bike that is long enough for youand not compact. 20" BMX bikes range from a mini which will fit your average 6 year old, to Expert, Pro, and Pro-XL sizes. You can find a 20" that fits you. I'm a couple inches taller than you are, so trust me on this.
You could go with a 24" cruiser. They tend to be easier to ride on the track in that they are more stable, but less manueverable. That's not to say that they are limiting, they are just less "twitchy". As with 20" bikes, cruisers come in different sizes to fit everywhere from little kids to big guys too.
Before you decide, check out the local track. Ask what classes are popular for your age. If there's an established group of cruiser riders you will have a class to ride. If there's not, you might get bumped down to a younger group and get your butt handed to you every week by some 17 year old hot shot. Of course that might happen if you go with a 20" as well, but at least there you have rookies classes for you to start in and you'll either move up or they will.
edit: I agree with the above poster concerning difference in ride between the two. You can set up a 20" and a 24" to where if you closed your eyes, you wouldn't notice the difference. This is the goal of anyone that races both classes, and it's not that easy to do. When I said the cruiser is more stable, that's a generalization that I think most beginning riders who try both will agree with.
If you're carrying that 200 lbs well, you're OK. I'm about 200 lbs. myself, at 5-10, with a fairly broad build. I also know I need to drop about 20 lbs. Any extra weight you are carrying makes for a higher center of gravity and more damage when you hit the ground on something other than rubber. Obviously you could be a monster, but then maybe you should be looking into bodybuilding competition if you're in that kind of shape. I'm just saying that if you want to race BMX, you want to be carrying as little extra weight as possible, because most of your competition won't be carrying any.
I agree on the weight loss issue, I lost around 35lbs from when I first got started racing to when I got out due to it taking over my life, and my knees. One of the biggest factors in going from novice to intermediate was the size of the riders, I swear to god some of those 14x riders were bigger than I am today (muscle wise)!!!
I wouldnt worry about winning right now, what I would worry about is getting on a nice reliable bike (you don't have to spend 2K to get that either) and getting all the time you can under your belt just familiarizing yourself with it!!!
Thanks guys,i realise im not trying to get into this to be a world beater,just to try something different and get some x-training for the veledrome.Can anyone reccomend a good race quality bike? The guy at the shop told me id need a 20' toptube or 20.5.He has Redline,Felt,One(i think it is?) and afew other names i cant remember.Oh i guess it helps when a guy by the name of Shaun Dwight lives in the area and is sponsored by my local shop.
I rode Redline when I was into BMX, as did my kids.I never had any mechanical issues with them, and I certainly beat on mine. We had a lot of local riding Redline when I was in Texas. Here in Norther Virginia it's Specialized and a couple other brands that are big. The others I don't have any personal experience with so I'm not going to talk any of them down, I can just say that I was pleased with the Redline bikes we had. Top tube sounds about right to me, and a frame that size should come with appropriate cranks, handlebars, etc., at least close enough to get you going.
After checking some websites and speaking to afew different shops ive lowered it down to afew models.The Redline Flight Pro XL,the GT Ultra Box,the GT Pro Series XL,or the Felt Sector XL.It seems that if you spend abit more upfront then the better quality components you get definetly is worth the extra $$$.
the more you spend up front the less likely it is you'll end up replacing some random component later on. Thats the way I see it, you have some very nice choices there, I have never seen the Felt, but you could also consider the S&M Challenger (I raced one for a while), though generally just considered a frameset, I believe you can still get one built up from S&M.