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-   -   can a bmx be used as a commuter? (https://www.bikeforums.net/commuting/424788-can-bmx-used-commuter.html)

nick__45 06-01-08 07:07 PM

can a bmx be used as a commuter?
 
i have an excellent gt dyno bmx that i am using for commuting 6 miles to work. it serves the purpose well because the road has heavy commuter traffic an no shoulder. a road bike would be useless because the gravel will kill they tiny tire and rim. a mountain bike is a little big for me so i won't be able to hop off in case of emergency. so i am using my bmx and jack up the seat very high to make it easy to pedal. i am only 5'5 but do have a very old mountain bike that needs new chain, tires/tube, front brake, and gear work. it is an oldy sitting outside for 3 years. i use that sometime but it is a little high to jump off quickly as mentioned earlier.

do you guys think i should upgrade to a mountain bike of 26 inches wheels or be ok with a bmx. it does takes longer and people at work hovering around my bike like it is part of a circus. i live in suv/big truck friendly area where a 4 dollars gas is nothing but minor inconvience. noone here carpool and half of the workforce (~4 thousands) drive something that get less than 17 mpg highway and live about 40 miles away.

i also like to ask if anyone has any recommendation on additional reflectors. i have 2 120 lumen flashlight fashioned to my helmet for evening ride. in addition, i have high reflective tape around the 4 pegs and few places on the bike to make it stand out since it's chrome. let's say people look at me like a freak when i ride to work since i don't adorn gears and such like other riders, who ride for exercise during work hour.

itsthewoo 06-01-08 07:13 PM

You're not going to like commuting with the MTB, because the shocks and the ginormous tires are going to be sucking up a lot of the energy you're putting into your pedals.

nick__45 06-01-08 07:24 PM


Originally Posted by itsthewoo (Post 6799917)
You're not going to like commuting with the MTB, because the shocks and the ginormous tires are going to be sucking up a lot of the energy you're putting into your pedals.

but isn't the tiny tire of street bike will crash if i hit gravel. i am pretty clueless about the naming convention of bike. i just have a good bmx that i use all the time. i do like road bike with tiny tires but i would have to walk it for half a mile before getting off the busy road to start riding. if i ride on the road the whole 3 mile each way, i would have to stay on road and cause traffic to dodge me. i am talking about back to back traffic going one way into the naval station and all the industry companies around it. that will piss off a lot of people and may cause me to get hit. like i say, this area is not bike or walking friendly.

Machka 06-01-08 07:26 PM

Any sort of cycle can be used as a commuter.

I've commuted on a touring bicycle, sport touring, racing, and mtn bike ... and I know of others who have used a bmx, recumbent, and a whole bunch of other types of bicycle.

Ride whatever makes you happy.

paulwwalters 06-01-08 07:28 PM

If you're on a road bike you'll be going fast enough to take the lane. And you can run larger tires on a road bike. 28mm wide tires will fit on most. A touring bike (looks like a road bike) can take 37mm wide tires commonly.

Machka 06-01-08 07:30 PM


Originally Posted by paulwwalters (Post 6800011)
If you're on a road bike you'll be going fast enough to take the lane.

Yeah, right! :lol:

If you're going fast enough to take the lane (i.e. the speed limit) you should be training for the TDF!!

hxzero 06-01-08 07:32 PM

Sounds like you need a cross bike, or at the very least, a smaller MTB.

paulwwalters 06-01-08 07:33 PM


Originally Posted by Machka (Post 6800023)
Yeah, right! :lol:

If you're going fast enough to take the lane (i.e. the speed limit) you should be training for the TDF!!

As long as there's no minimum speed limit then you're fast enough to take the lane, provided no safe alternative exists. Or the right 1/3, at any rate.

njm 06-01-08 07:56 PM


Originally Posted by nick__45 (Post 6799887)
i have an excellent gt dyno bmx that i am using for commuting 6 miles to work. it serves the purpose well because the road has heavy commuter traffic an no shoulder. a road bike would be useless because the gravel will kill they tiny tire and rim. a mountain bike is a little big for me so i won't be able to hop off in case of emergency. so i am using my bmx and jack up the seat very high to make it easy to pedal. i am only 5'5 but do have a very old mountain bike that needs new chain, tires/tube, front brake, and gear work. it is an oldy sitting outside for 3 years. i use that sometime but it is a little high to jump off quickly as mentioned earlier.

I have one suggestion... I have never done BMX, but I get the impression that jumping off the bike is a way to bail if things are going bad and it looks like you might crash/fall.

But riding on the road, being safe is more about prevention and not getting into an emergency situation...kind of like defensive driving. So if you end up looking at road bikes, or a cyclocross bike (my recommendation), or whatever, don't worry about the ability to jump off.

EDIT: One other thing, in case I wasn't clear... when people post to ask, Do I need a new bike?, it's usually because deep down they've made up their minds to get a new bike. Just let it happen....

kf5nd 06-02-08 06:39 AM

6 miles is a short commute. If you like the BMX... keep riding it! But I have some suggestions for you:

The reflective tape probably doesn't qualify as a legal reflector in your state, so if you get nailed by a car from behind at night, even if it's the car's fault, he'll probably get off because you were improperly equipped at night. Put a red rear reflector on your probably enormously long seatpost. If your state laws allow it (read the actual law online) use amber instead of red. If you must have a red one, use both amber and red... red for the lawyers, amber because it's more visible.

And get the reflectors from an auto parts store, built to auto standards, not the CPSC bike standards, which suck in the direction that matters (straight behind). Expoxy them right on top of regular seatpost-mount bike reflectors, taking advantage of the convenience of the seatpost mount.

You need a bright rear light in addition to the reflectors. What if the jerk behind you forgot to turn on his headlights? Planet Bike Super Flash is a good place to start. I have two on my bike. One steady, one flashing.

I'd add a small light on your handlebars in addition to your helmet light. Makes you look more like a vehicle, but keep using the helmet light also.

Have someone watch you as you pedal, to make sure you're getting enough leg extension. I see lots of BMXers with the saddle too low for general road riding (generally 15 year olds riding a bike they got when they were 10).

Enjoy.

huhenio 06-02-08 06:50 AM


Originally Posted by Machka (Post 6800023)
Yeah, right! :lol:

If you're going fast enough to take the lane (i.e. the speed limit) you should be training for the TDF!!

Eh ... not necessarily.

I have plenty of 25 mph areas here in wich I can take the lane here. Not for THAT long, between stoplights and no wind.

mike 06-02-08 07:13 AM

Whatever gets you to where your going works.

Remember a couple of years ago, Razor push-scooters were all the fashion in NYC for people getting from the train stations to work. If they people can commute on push-scooters, you can sure commute on a BMX.

tekknoschtev 06-02-08 07:19 AM

I'd like to echo njm in regards to the desire to hop off of the bike in the event of an emergency. I don't ride BMX, and its been a long time since I've ridden one (a friend of mine had one that I rode once) but I can say that I've been in some close calls here but none of them necessitated bailing. Sure, there may be the rare occurrence where its desirable to jettison the bike, but most of the time you can keep control pretty well.

Also, while I can't vouch for your traffic conditions, I can say that for the most part traffic works with bicyclists. I've been buzzed twice, once by an old guy who I'm sure didn't even know I was there. Other than that, as long as you're visible to those coming up on you, they'll at least attempt to hug the left side of the lane, and often times they'll half way merge or completely change lanes to avoid me. I wouldn't consider where I live to be bike friendly, and despite the push even around campus people are idiots, but its manageable and enjoyable (12 mile round trip commute).

I can't tell you what bike you need/want for your commute other than ride what makes you feel safe - but that comes with a caveat. Try adjusting the fit of your other bike(s) and give them a couple of days before you completely write them off. I don't really buy into the belief that those driving gas hogs will immediately turn into a ball of rage if they see someone riding their bike. More often than not the story goes the other way - some eco-friendly tree hugger takes a sledge hammer to someone's new hummer in protest...

I also found that confidence helped. The first few times I was on the road I was terrified. It showed. But after practicing and picking up a mirror, my confidence has increased and I'm comfortable taking the lane in the event that it'd be dangerous for me not to (giant pot holes could lead to me losing control of my bike, the road is too narrow to share the lane, etc.) The mirror was the biggest confidence booster.


So, in summary, if you're comfortable on the BMX, by all means continue. But, if there is something nagging you about it that made you ask whether or not it might be the best bike to use, try something else out and see how it goes - but don't immediately write it off if something isn't perfect.

Paul L. 06-02-08 11:12 AM

Yes with an s, and no with a but......

You can commute on anything. Efficiency, safety and comfort are the next standards which should be measured. Can you commute comfortably and efficiently and safely on a BMX? I doubt it. By the way you describe your riding style it sounds like you are a sidewalk rider, or shoulder rider. This will put you out of where drivers will be looking for you so if you hit any cross streets or driveways you will actually be in more danger than if you had just ridden on the road. Perhaps a little work with getting comfortable with road riding might help or a little route planning too. Yes you can commute on a BMX but if you are doing it to ride on the shoulder to be more safe then statistics are against you and perhaps you should consider something a little more comfortable that is designed for the road. Perhaps the route you are talkihg about is unrideable, but personally I find very few roads unrideable, but those I do nearly always have an alternate route that never adds more than a mile or two. Anyway, ride whatever you want but realize it might not be safer even if it appears so.

BroadSTPhilly 06-02-08 11:51 AM

Sure why not. Somebody else just asked about using a tricycle so if that works I'm sure a BMX is just dandy.

newbojeff 06-02-08 12:50 PM

When in a jam, I've ridden my wife's bike to work. It was kind of crazy riding around on a much-too-small bike, but kind of fun. Like I was on a clown bike or something.

If you like it and it works for you, ride it.

Having said that, if you keep with it, you are going to find out that the best ride is a road-oriented bike that fits you well.

caloso 06-02-08 01:07 PM

You can commute on anything. The question is whether it will be comfortable and efficient. A bmx bike wouldn't be my first choice, but if it works for you, great.

And for what it's worth, you can ride a road bike on gravel roads pretty easily. Even a CF frame and 23mm tubulars:

http://www.velonews.com/files/images/BERT2.jpg

rhm 06-02-08 01:18 PM

Wheel size is a non-issue. A lot of people commute on folding bikes with 20" or 16" wheels. If your BMX is set up for efficient pedalling, which mainly means having the handlebars and especially seat at the right height, it should make an acceptable commuter. Most of the kids I see riding BMX-style bikes (which I presume are not the same thing as BMX-bikes) have the seat set much too low and the handlebar too high, and I can't imagine riding like that.


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