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  1. #1
    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    BMX for commuting?

    There's a small skate park down the street and some of the locals spend a lot of time there, but BMX sales have been surprisingly strong the past couple years and the number of BMX bikes being used for commuting and general street use in my area has me pretty surprised.

    I sorta figured there were at least common sense guidelines for a practical fit on any bike used for riding any reasonable distance, and small-wheels, a cramped riding position and gearing that makes even a short trip a long drawn out affair just seems pretty .... masochistic.

    I remember a scateboard craze, and snowboards vs skis was initially a generation identity thing. Is this something similar or is there more to the story?

  2. #2
    We win all charity rides Street rider's Avatar
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    I figure its mostly people who either don't know of any other options, or thats the only bike they have and can't afford another. I've done it, never more than like a 4 mile ride, and it isn't all that bad. But now that I have a bike that's actually designed for making long hauls, my body loves me a bit more.
    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.

  3. #3
    Senior Member IthaDan's Avatar
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    Closest I ever came was riding a 24" cruiser around honolulu when I lived there. For the money, It was my only real option other than a crappy MTB. FWIW, This was well before all the SS/FG options for < $300 came about. Rode that thing everywhere. Being able to actually sit and ride certainly helped. For sure, I couldn't have done it on a 20".

    Had a surfboard rack on it and everything.

  4. #4
    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    OK Thanks guys! Just thought I'd double check in case I was actually missing out on something that might be fun in spite of appearances!

  5. #5
    idc
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    I've thought about it before and I think it'd be ok if you're going just a few city blocks in a city without hills. It would be really fun too.

  6. #6
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Oregon's Bike Friday uses the 406 tire, but its a travel bike, not made for stunts in a skate park.

    seat, and handlebar, is atop a tall mast, rear portion has a hinge , all in service of compact packing
    down to fit into a suitcase ..

    All the BMX bikes have a seat as a rest, but it' way too low ti actually pedal seated.

    Bicycle Motocross is a mass start lap race on dirt with jumps,
    so wrong tool for commuting.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 04-13-12 at 12:10 PM.

  7. #7
    Junior Member PHAN70M RYDEr's Avatar
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    SE bikes makes a few really nice retro 26" and even a 29" bmx bike that would be the best choice for commuting, not the brand but the size. there are a bunch of other companies making 26" bmx bikes i just really dig the se bikes retro series..
    heres a 26" quadangle( my favorite):
    RALEIGH roadster-commuter
    SALSA casseroll -SS road
    IBIS SPANKY- road bike
    ROCK LOBSTER-ss 29r
    JAMIS eclipse-road beater
    FIREMANS texas cruzer- 26" BMX
    SPECIALIZED rockhopper- 26" vintage mountain
    SOMAdouble cross- cx/commuter bike

  8. #8
    Junior Member PHAN70M RYDEr's Avatar
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    I have a 26" firemans texas cruzer, i dont really use it to commute but i do run errands to 7-11 or to grab a six pack. of all my bikes it is probably the most fun to jump curbs and blast around on.
    http://firemansbikes.com/
    i took it to a local trail spring of last year, one of the bmx rats looked at me like i was crazy and asked me " whats that and what are you going to do with it?"
    i replied " its bad ass and im gonna ride it!"
    i proceeded to blast down the trail praying i wouldnt crash and make a ass of myself, thank god i made it..
    RALEIGH roadster-commuter
    SALSA casseroll -SS road
    IBIS SPANKY- road bike
    ROCK LOBSTER-ss 29r
    JAMIS eclipse-road beater
    FIREMANS texas cruzer- 26" BMX
    SPECIALIZED rockhopper- 26" vintage mountain
    SOMAdouble cross- cx/commuter bike

  9. #9
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    I would totally commute by BMX. But it is up to job. If you need to wear a suit then you will never wanna ride BMX to work .

  10. #10
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    maybe not for a 30mile commute but i would regularly ride my bmx 6 miles to school hauling ass down the expressway

    you go a lot slower, but its a WHOLE lot safer as your on top of the bike instead of in it

    bmx bike is a WAYYYYY twitchier and much more responsive ride... also FANTASTIC if your not to keen on following the rules, ie, being able to easily hop between sidewalk and the street, being able to hop medians to get to the other side of the street instead being limited to intersections, being able to stop instantly when your riding the sidewalk facing traffic and approaching a blind driveway.

    but yeah... commute on the bmx avg a lil under 20min compared to a lil over 15min on the big bike and a lil under 15min in the car

    riding sitting down though..... helll no

  11. #11
    Anu
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    Put the right gear ratio on it and you can fly past a lot of road bikes on a BMX, at least for a while. Anything under 10 miles is easily doable, at least, with the right gear ratio and the right tires.

  12. #12
    We win all charity rides Street rider's Avatar
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    If you plan on flying past a roadie, then you must also plan on having your legs fall off right after. No matter the ratio. If you have it high enough to be that fast, you would blow out your knees in a matter of minutes standing up and pedaling that hard for that long. And the wheels are too small for that to be effective anyways. Thats why nobody does it, and they have more compact ratios on their bikes.
    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.

  13. #13
    Anu
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    It's not a plan, it's a reality, for me, at least. Maybe i'm just a beast though And i'm not saying all people, and I'm dealing with a urban environment requiring a lot of stop and go action and a lot of hills. All that gear changing really slows people down.

    And my knees are in great shape buddy.

  14. #14
    Senior Member robbyrocks12345's Avatar
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    No, if you want a single speed for communting buy something full-sized. Bmx are for Skateparks not communting.
    2012 Trek 1.1
    2011 Trek 7.1 Fx

  15. #15
    We win all charity rides Street rider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robbyrocks12345 View Post
    No, if you want a single speed for communting buy something full-sized. Bmx are for Skateparks not communting.
    This is the end-all answer for this thread. SSFG community around here has some really awesome and super helpful people.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anu View Post
    It's not a plan, it's a reality, for me, at least. Maybe i'm just a beast though And i'm not saying all people, and I'm dealing with a urban environment requiring a lot of stop and go action and a lot of hills. All that gear changing really slows people down.
    Even with a super high ratio, which most BMX bikes can't really handle in terms of clearance on the cog, The wheels only being 20" makes the ride so completely inefficient as compared to something much bigger like a 700c wheel with road tires.
    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.

  16. #16
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    i commuted by bmx for a few years. 44/16 or 36/13, 5 miles each way. i loved riding and had no life outside of work. just go home and ride some more. it was a blast for the most part, except the days i injured myself on the way to work and had to stick it out through the work day and ride home.
    a 20" has no problem keeping pace with a regular non-spandex rider riding a "normal" bike at a comfortable pace.

  17. #17
    We win all charity rides Street rider's Avatar
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    Wheels are too small to really be efficient though. And thats what I'm saying. You'll tire faster because you have to work harder, with smaller and wider wheels that have more rolling resistance. And with the same gearing that I have on my fixed gear, I've never gone as fast on my old BMX bikes than I do now. The seating position is designed specifically to maximize the performance of your legs and puts you in a more aero dynamic position, again putting less resistance on your body.
    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.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Street rider View Post
    Wheels are too small to really be efficient though. And thats what I'm saying. You'll tire faster because you have to work harder, with smaller and wider wheels that have more rolling resistance. And with the same gearing that I have on my fixed gear, I've never gone as fast on my old BMX bikes than I do now. The seating position is designed specifically to maximize the performance of your legs and puts you in a more aero dynamic position, again putting less resistance on your body.
    It's not the wheels, it's the bike. See Moulton bicycles for reference. With smaller wheels, you have less mass and less air resistance. BMX tires are probably not the best however. The UCI made a rule that effectively banned Moultons from competition, although I'm not sure what the impetus was, it wasn't because they were slow.

  19. #19
    We win all charity rides Street rider's Avatar
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    But on a BMX bike, you are sitting in an upright position. All the air resistance hits you more than it hits the bike, and you more or less act like a sail, slowing you down. With a bike that is larger and actually designed for it, you will be in an aerodynamic position, lessening the wind resistance on your body. Theres a reason that you see people regularly commuting on road bikes or touring bikes, not very often on BMX bikes.
    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.

  20. #20
    Anu
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    Quote Originally Posted by Street rider View Post
    But on a BMX bike, you are sitting in an upright position. All the air resistance hits you more than it hits the bike, and you more or less act like a sail, slowing you down. With a bike that is larger and actually designed for it, you will be in an aerodynamic position, lessening the wind resistance on your body. Theres a reason that you see people regularly commuting on road bikes or touring bikes, not very often on BMX bikes.

    I duck down and get under the wind on my bmx. with my animal tires at 90 psi(rated at 110) my coefficient of friction is very little. And I can hop medians and curbs. try that on your silly road bike wearing your spandex and wearing out your prostate SR.

  21. #21
    We win all charity rides Street rider's Avatar
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    1. I'm a FRED and don't wear spandex. 2. Doesn't wear out my prostate. 3. I have hopped curbs before, back when my bike was SS. Its really not that hard. 4. My tires being only 25c means that there is even less material hitting the pavement, meaning that there is an even lower 'coefficient of friction', making it a more efficient ride. And getting low on a BMX bike is actually bad for your back, because the rest of your body isn't in the correct position to be able to support your upper body being in an aero position like that. Theres a reason why people will do centuries and such on a road bike and not on a BMX bike. Same reason any length commute is going to be much easier, faster, more comfortable, and more efficient on a bike that is designed to go the distance.
    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.

  22. #22
    Senior Member squirtdad's Avatar
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    When I first had my son commute with me(he was 10 or so) 5 miles each way to his school and my work whichi is close he used his BMX bike. He is still mad at me, after he discovered how much easier it was to do the commute on my mother in laws old road bike (now his fixie). you can do it but it is a ton more work.
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  23. #23
    We win all charity rides Street rider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by squirtdad View Post
    you can do it but it is a ton more work.
    Which, for the ones arguing with me, is what I've been saying. I have done it before, and it isn't fun. Especially with a load on your back. Back then, I used to ride with like 25 lbs max, usually soccer gear or a few pieces of camera equipment. Now I can ride somewhat comfortably with 60 lbs worth of laundry (yea, I'm sort of lazy about doing it). Its all about comfort on bikes. Even with my BMX bike, everything is set up to be relatively comfortable. But that has its own purpose, just as my fixed gear bikes does, which is distance and really fast commutes.

    And to do0de, krome, and anu, do you realize how much seatpost you would need to not kill your knees? Pretty damn high. Pretty sure there aren't even any in existence that would be long enough to make seriously commuting any distance worth it.
    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.

  24. #24
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    My back up commuter is my 8 yr old son's Haro X-1. Even had some nice people here help me tweak the ergonomics a bit to make it tolerable for my 6' Clyde butt. The brakes sucked going downhill, the wheels spun up pretty fast but coasting on the flats ain't happening.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cyril View Post
    Ride what and in what manner pleases you. Those that mind don't matter, and those that matter don't mind. srsly.
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  25. #25
    Senior Member IthaDan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Street rider View Post
    ...with the same gearing that I have on my fixed gear, I've never gone as fast on my old BMX bikes than I do now.
    Same gearing, like 45/16? Or same amount of gear inches, like 70?

    Shimano : Click :: Campy :: Snap :: SRAM : Bang

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