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Old 06-01-10, 09:55 AM   #1
UrbanPrimitive
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Reputable Companies/Advice for the Newbie

I've had a growing interest in BMX riding and realized recently that I don't have a good avenue of finding out what I don't know. I've been wrenching on road bikes for a while now, so I have the basic concepts down, but there is so little overlap between those two worlds that I'm feeling like the new kid wondering if "Campy" and "Campagnolo" are the same thing all over again. So here's the break down:

I'm primarily interested in flatland, but would also like the flexibility to hit the ramps at my local park. I'm not looking for big air, just some fun puttering around on the ramps and pipes. As I understand it these interests may be at cross purposes in terms of frame geometry. I'm 6' and 140lbs, so I'm not worried about components not being strong enough for my weight. I am, however, concerned about getting a top tube long enough to fit my body, but still with a short enough wheel base to be a good match for the type of riding I'm hoping to do. Am I correct in thinking that this is a compromise situation, or am I thinking too hard about this and should just go for a long top tube that gives me enough leg room?

I'm also curious about people's notions on brands out there. I'm trying to figure out what I should spend my money on. I'm flat out not willing to ride "Hi-Ten" frames, and blended material frames just seem like a bad idea to me. For my money it's CrMo all the way. I'm trying to be budget conscious, as money is a bit tight and I don't know how far into trick riding I want to get. I'd like to keep the price tag below $500. It's also worth mentioning that the shop I work for sells Stolen, SE Racing, and Mongoose, so I can get a pretty good discount on either of those brands. (after some reading I'm convinced I'd love an S&M frame, but that's just not in the cards right now)

So here's one I've been looking at, and would like an opinion on: Stolen Sinner.
It comes stock with a freecoaster hub, which is appealing for flatland, but I've heard universally bad things about Stolen's hubs. Also noteworthy is the need for a gyro (yes, I'm keeping brakes on. I'm 28 and breakable), but that looks to be a common aftermarket addition anyhow.

Last question is related to the gyro, so let's transition to that now: brakes. What do you see as the advantages/disadvantages of caliper vs cantilever vs U-brake systems? Are these basically the same arguments that roadies and mountain bikers get into, or are there BMX specific considerations?

No doubt there'll be a lot more jabbering from me later, but I'll leave it at that for the moment. Input on any of the questions or thoughts mentioned above will be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance for the help!

Last edited by UrbanPrimitive; 06-01-10 at 10:05 AM.
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Old 06-01-10, 07:50 PM   #2
I_Suck_At_BMX
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What's your definition of flatland? Only asking becuase sometimes noobies confuse some flatland and street riding. You were definatly right about one thing, you do NOT want a flatland specific bike if you plan on doing anything other than flatland. Their geometry is different and wont be suited for much other than its specific use. For flatland, you are going to want 4 pegs and front and rear brakes w/ a gyro. This is probably the best "which bike should I buy" thread I have seen, and I'm bored so I spent some time trying to find a bike that would be perfect out of the box for you, but I honestly havent had much luck. I didnt realise how rare the the front brake has become. If i was you I would try to find a bike that already has a gyro and four pegs and save up for a fork with 990 mounts and and a brake system...theres plenty you can learn without front brakes in the mean time.

Some good places for buying or browsing bikes are:
http://www.danscomp.com
or
http://www.albes.com

I dont know a whole lot about stolen, so I cant say much. The sinner says it is brakeless, so make sure it has u brake mounts, my bike is brakeless and has no u brake mounts. The just sell it with a chinsey peice of crap system that mounts by one screw in the center, and this is becuase the bike is not meant to have brakes but they cant sell it without brakes. So make sure that aint the case with this bike before you buy anything.

I would take a look at the Fit Bike Co line too, I bought a Fit complete and I couldnt be happier with it. Fit is also a very reputable company.
http://fitbikeco.com The PRK series would probably be well suited for your needs. Just a suggestion.

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Old 06-01-10, 08:04 PM   #3
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By flatland I do, in fact, mean totally flat. Tricks that I can practice in a tennis court. As for the brakes issue, I noticed that the sinner states that it's "brakeless" despite the fact that it comes with caliper brakes. My question about brakes earlier came up because on road bikes caliper brakes are the gold standard, and those are on bikes that have to deal with 45+ mile per hour descents. I know some are cheap, and you get what you pay for, but what I'm really curious about is whether there is something inherent to bmx riding that is contraindicated for using caliper brakes, or if U-brakes and cantis have become standard because that's what's been used since the '80s when all of this got started.
Thanks for the links. I'll be burning some time tomorrow flipping through those pages.
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Old 06-01-10, 08:09 PM   #4
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If I have a little more time tommorow I will try to help you out more. as for now I got to get off the computer. Brakes are one issue I am not going to be able to help much with, I have always ridden brakeless and never paid much attention to them. When I last had brakes, U brakes were the only way to go, but i suppose that could have changed by now.
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Old 06-01-10, 09:55 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UrbanPrimitive View Post
By flatland I do, in fact, mean totally flat. Tricks that I can practice in a tennis court. As for the brakes issue, I noticed that the sinner states that it's "brakeless" despite the fact that it comes with caliper brakes. My question about brakes earlier came up because on road bikes caliper brakes are the gold standard, and those are on bikes that have to deal with 45+ mile per hour descents. I know some are cheap, and you get what you pay for, but what I'm really curious about is whether there is something inherent to bmx riding that is contraindicated for using caliper brakes, or if U-brakes and cantis have become standard because that's what's been used since the '80s when all of this got started.
Thanks for the links. I'll be burning some time tomorrow flipping through those pages.
Freestyle started with calipers, not U brakes. Caliper brakes on BMX bikes have to reach much farther to hit the rims, and aren't nearly as good as road bike calipers. U brakes are used on freestyle bikes because they work, and are fairly low profile, so they aren't prone to getting snagged during tricks. (which, I assume is why cantis and Vs never caught on outside of racing)

If you want to run brakes that are worth having on the bike, get something with U brake mounts. If you want to do street/ramp and flatland, you'll probably want a bike that's more set up for street. Flatland specific bikes have different geometry, that makes other types of riding awkward or difficult. Considering that guys have been riding flatland since freestyle bikes were adapted from race bikes, I'd say that it's easier to ride flatland on a street bike, than it is to ride street on a flatland bike.
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Old 06-02-10, 07:11 AM   #6
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Considering that guys have been riding flatland since freestyle bikes were adapted from race bikes, I'd say that it's easier to ride flatland on a street bike, than it is to ride street on a flatland bike.
Word. Great point there. I hadn't thought of that!
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