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  1. #1
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    BMX for urban riding?

    Hey guys, I've asked this on Yahoo answers and got nothing useful besides some guy telling me he rode 98 miles today and BMX was for little kids. So, I thought I'd come here to get some real answers. (:

    I'm an 18 year old girl headed off to college in the fall, and I'm looking for some quick transportation. Here in Pittsburgh, the city is really bike friendly and I'll be only a few miles outside of the actual city. So, as a hobby and a means of exploring, I need a bike. I've been weighing my options of either getting a BMX 20', a hybrid, or a road. However, I'm a poor college kid. So the more I look at the BMX bikes, the inner kid in me wants one to have fun and really enjoy my city riding experience. I'm only 5'5, 118 pounds, so I don't think the bike being small would be too much of an issue. Price wise, I'm set. But I need a second opinion, so any comments are welcome. Thanks everyone!

  2. #2
    I am ill Decepticondc5's Avatar
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    get a fixed gear

    :3

  3. #3
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    For what you want a BMX would probably work well for you if that's what you want. There's a style of bike growing in popularity calle 'minivelo' which use 20" wheels but otherwise have everything else a 26" or 700c ride would have, so I guess a BMX is like a single speed mini velo. The only thing about choosing a BMX over the others is if you have friends that ride hybrids, you may not be able to keep up. In your shopping around be sure to check out used bikes as you can find some really good deals.

  4. #4
    No Money and No Sense sillygolem's Avatar
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    A BMX has very low gearing, which means you can climb hills with ease, but you can't go fast. To give you some idea, play around with this gear calculator:
    http://software.bareknucklebrigade.com/
    You can find the gearing for BMX bikes (teeth front and rear) in the specs. Most single speed bikes run around 72 gear inches, while a BMX may only be 60 or so.

    You're probably better off finding an older women's bike or hybrid, which will have a range of gears and give you room to add a basket or rack to lug stuff around in. They generally run pretty cheap. You might want to check out Free Ride, the local bike co-op: http://freeridepgh.org/
    You'll really appreciate a practical bike when you realize what a PITA it is finding parking around Pittsburgh's colleges.

  5. #5
    Senior Member oban_kobi's Avatar
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    You also can't carry anything aside from a backpack on a BMX. You'd be much better off with a hybrid me thinks. They're generally not much more money, but are more comfortable, can carry more, and you can go as fast or as slow as you want.
    This is super seriously.

  6. #6
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    The 24" bmx might work fine, being able to lower & raise the seat on that and you might use it as an easy riding cruiser style bike. The 20" that way is probably more like a single speed folding bike without the luxury of being able to fold & break it down. Like others are saying though, I wouldn't expect it to keep up with a longer distance, especially when your friends are really mashing away for a quick ride to point b.

  7. #7
    kipuka explorer bkrownd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alisgravenil View Post
    Hey guys, I've asked this on Yahoo answers and got nothing useful besides some guy telling me he rode 98 miles today and BMX was for little kids. So, I thought I'd come here to get some real answers. (:

    I'm an 18 year old girl headed off to college in the fall, and I'm looking for some quick transportation. Here in Pittsburgh, the city is really bike friendly and I'll be only a few miles outside of the actual city. So, as a hobby and a means of exploring, I need a bike. I've been weighing my options of either getting a BMX 20', a hybrid, or a road. However, I'm a poor college kid. So the more I look at the BMX bikes, the inner kid in me wants one to have fun and really enjoy my city riding experience. I'm only 5'5, 118 pounds, so I don't think the bike being small would be too much of an issue. Price wise, I'm set. But I need a second opinion, so any comments are welcome. Thanks everyone!
    When I went to grad school I got my first bike since my childhood BMX. Basically I went for an adult BMX bike - a mountain bike. It was simple, rugged and jumped curbs and went off-road with ease. I hated the gears, and always rode it in the top 2 gears, mostly standing on the pedals. It was great for 10 years of college town riding, except when I rode longer distances or climbing hills where it was painfully inefficient. Eventually I went for a road bike for longer distances and better climbing ability. There are so many more choices now than there were back then. Go to a decent bike shop and tell them exactly what you want to do with a bike, test ride a LOT of bikes, and make sure you get one that fits you.
    --
    -=- '05 Jamis Nova -=- '04 Fuji Absolute -=- '94 Trek 820 -=- '77 Schwinn Scrambler 36/36 -=-
    Friends don't let friends use brifters.

  8. #8
    Senior Member michaelscycles's Avatar
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    You should come and see us. We are about 20 miles NE of Pittsburgh. We have lots of BMX bikes, or we can set you up with any type of bike you would want. Check us out at www.michaelscycles.us

  9. #9
    bike whisperer Kimmo's Avatar
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    I used to ride A to B on a BMX when I was a youngster...

    Then I saw the light. After riding a $50 beater (turkey wings and all) there was no looking back. Road bikes, funnily enough, make the most sense for the road by far.

    Due to your budgetary constraints, IMO you should find someone who knows enough about pushies to help you find a second-hand bargain and fix it up.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Decepticondc5 View Post
    get a fixed gear
    Guaranteed to get you laid by 150% more hipster chicks.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by CMcMahon View Post
    Guaranteed to get you laid by 150% more hipster chicks.
    Note that op said she's a woman, so this may or may not be appealing to her.

    Seriously though op, I don't know that I'd recommend a bmx for bike transportation. Sure it can work, but it'll be pretty inefficient. Look for an old road bike or a decent ss/fg if Pittsburgh is only modest hills. I ride fixed all year round in Minneapolis and love it, but don't have much by way of hills to deal with.

  12. #12
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    Here is what I made for my 5' tall girlfriend:



    The frame is a salvage off of a trash heap. I built up new 24" (507) wheels with a Nexus red band 8 and a Novatec dynamo hub. The rims are Alex DX32, sold as downhill rims. The tires are stock, I plan on some Big Apples in 2.35" size. The handlebars still need changing to her preference. Everything else was pulled from the parts bin.

    I tend to call it the Mutt. But it is becoming "the mistress" since I can extend the seatpost enough for me (5' 10") to ride. I like to go down stairs and things with it. But then you can shift into high gear and go across town. It also has lights for nighttime fun.

    I believe the Outlook 24 was a youth mountain bike. It had MTB gearing on it. The derailleur hanger is a bolt on, and the dropouts were horizontal, so the Nexus was a easy fit.

    You may not find what you want on the shelf. I know I often don't. I didn't have any explicit goals in mind with this build, just that it be fun and practical.

  13. #13
    We win all charity rides Street rider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CMcMahon View Post
    Guaranteed to get you laid by 150% more hipster chicks.
    Not necessarily a bad thing.

  14. #14
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    If you want to have a crazy ride to your school, especially with a lot of stunts then buy BMX and you will have a lot of fun, but if you want just to cruise on the streets then have a ordinary bicycle...

  15. #15
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    Just make sure to test out the BMX bike to see if it is comfortable enough for daily use. I had bought one a few years back and it was nearly impossible to peddle. I couldn't even go a mile with it - it was more of a workout and was extremely tiring. The workout part of it was pretty cool, but Other than that, I couldn't see myself using it for urban riding.

  16. #16
    Mike Coop500's Avatar
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    I currently ride a 24" BMX and it is a lot fun. But it does have its drawbacks. I am in your general area (45 minutes outside of the city) and there are a lot of hills. After a long climb the smaller size and lack of gearing can be tiring. To me anyway.
    1994 Specialized Rockhopper Fs
    "Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do"- Mark Twain

  17. #17
    Senior Member CharleyGnarly's Avatar
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    Here is my suggestion. If you like the BMX thing go for a 24" or 26". You can look on Ebay and find a really nice 26" SE Racing OM Flyer fairly cheap, shipped. And that is a new bike, not used. You can raise the seat a bit to make it easier to roll around town, or if you want to get crazy you can lower it down for a more BMX style ride so you can jump it, etc. I have one and love it. I raced BMX back in the day, and ride mountain bikes a lot, and find the OM to be good middle ground of functionality and fun.
    An added benefit to this style of bike is the single gear configuration. No gears/derailleurs to mess with, adjust, or break.
    It is a simple, but fun bike to have.
    "I have no objection to appeal. I even favor abolition of the death penalty,provided that there is a certainty of punishment, whatever that punishment may be, for in the uncertainty of punishment following crime lies the weakness of our halting justice."
    Isaac Charles Parker, The "Hanging Judge," 1889.

  18. #18
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by My Legacy View Post
    Just make sure to test out the BMX bike to see if it is comfortable enough for daily use. I had bought one a few years back and it was nearly impossible to peddle. I couldn't even go a mile with it - it was more of a workout and was extremely tiring. The workout part of it was pretty cool, but Other than that, I couldn't see myself using it for urban riding.
    That was me too, I could go a couple of miles, but for the most part it's a close range neighborhood bike. Not bad for goofing off on a Sunday afternoon and getting a quick hour of exercise.

  19. #19
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    ...

  20. #20
    We win all charity rides Street rider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rak1240 View Post
    ...
    I officially hate you. I don't know you, but I hate you. And your guts. Don't post in dead threads.
    Quote Originally Posted by seau grateau View Post
    The brake lever is on the handlebars, so no one can complain about that.
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrodzilla View Post
    If that was my house and you put your stupid bike in my flower garden to take a picture, I would come outside in my underwear and light you on fire.

  21. #21
    Warning:Annoying to jerks RaleighSport's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Street rider View Post
    I officially hate you. I don't know you, but I hate you. And your guts. Don't post in dead threads.
    I'm not endorsing the behavior of the replier, but a lot of people just don't look at dates.
    “Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.”


    ― Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emerson in His Journals

  22. #22
    We win all charity rides Street rider's Avatar
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    I understand that, but they could at least look at the date of the post before theirs. And realize that the OP only posted once, and that was the original question.
    Quote Originally Posted by seau grateau View Post
    The brake lever is on the handlebars, so no one can complain about that.
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrodzilla View Post
    If that was my house and you put your stupid bike in my flower garden to take a picture, I would come outside in my underwear and light you on fire.

  23. #23
    Banned
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    BMX is just a name anymore. I'm finding that so many bike categories are blending so fast, it's getting difficult to categorize them.

    I know exactly what you're yearning for in bikes...It's the Surly Troll, dressed anyway you like it! If you don't like her (a 26'er), you'll like her big sister, called the Ogre ( a 29'er), for sure!

    www.surlybikes.com

    - Slim
    PS.

    You can add racks, fenders, wider tires, thinner tires, disc brakes, or practically anything you like, whenever you like, afterwards!
    Last edited by SlimRider; 11-07-11 at 02:23 PM.

  24. #24
    We win all charity rides Street rider's Avatar
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    Another one? Really? Jesus H. Christ people need to read all the way through a damn thread this short.
    Quote Originally Posted by seau grateau View Post
    The brake lever is on the handlebars, so no one can complain about that.
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrodzilla View Post
    If that was my house and you put your stupid bike in my flower garden to take a picture, I would come outside in my underwear and light you on fire.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Street rider View Post
    Another one? Really? Jesus H. Christ people need to read all the way through a damn thread this short.
    Don't get your slik shorts all twisted! It's just another post, another thread, another day in the life. No need to get upset about anything..

    Just take a deep breath and go uuummh...breathe deep and go uuummh...Again!.Breathe deep and go uuummh...

    See..Now don't you feel better?

    - Slim

    Namaste

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