BMX Specs: Cassette Hub Explained

Have you ever wondered what kind of riders run a cassette hub? Cassettes have been in BMX for a long time, and are still a huge part of the sport. The cassette is what gives you the ability to pedal forward and roll backward. Some cassettes are noisy and some are quiet. Let's take a look into what will be best for your riding style.

What is a cassette?

A cassette is a hub that goes on a BMX bike. This hub allows you to pedal forward and roll backwards by engaging pawls into notches with springs. While moving backward on a cassette, you need to pedal backward. Unlike a freecoaster where you do not have to pedal backwards.

Different cassettes have different points of engagement, making some more responsive and durable than others.

How it works

To understand how the cassette works look at this video and see the hub taken apart.

The metal pawls are held upright by springs. When you pedal, these pawls catch notches in the hub and turn the wheel. When you are not pedaling, the notches go over the pawls the other way and the springs allow them to be pushed down.


  • You need to pedal backwards while doing a fakie.

Do I need a cassette?

If you are the kind of rider who likes to do a lot of tire taps and likes to flow bowls, get a cassette. I personally ride a cassette, because I hate that freecoasters have slack. I like that my cassette has instant engagement and I can pedal around and tire tap.

what type of riders need a cassette hub

Unique Cassettes

Most cassettes are the plain 2-4 pawl hubs. This makes them normal sounding.

Profile Elites have 6 pawls and this makes them extremely loud. They say that the benefit is faster engagement, but it isn't noticeable and they are sooo expensive at over $300 for a rear hub.

Fly Magneto Cassette

Fly Magneto Hub is a hub the works with magnets instead of springs and pawls. This is a unique ide that took them over 10 years to develop. I have no idea how the quality is or the noise level. As more stories develop I'm sure it will be easy to find more information about them.

Wethepeople Supreme hub has pawls on the hub body instead of on the actual cassette. This is interesting but it makes sense. The whole point of this is the ability to add more pawls (up to 6) and you can flip between rhd and lhd pretty easily. There is a whole post on it here.

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