Don't be stupid... Ride Chromoly Parts

Over the last two years I've reviewed 100’s of different bikes. And a lot of times I see companies create bikes designed for mid to high-level riders, but they don't put full chromoly in the parts. Now if you've read any of my reviews you know how important chromoly is to me. It just seems senseless to design a bike for a rider who is going to destroy high tensile steel and then put high tensile steel on the bike. So in this post I'm going to outline why chromoly is such a big deal and then you can decide if chromoly is the right choice for you.

douglas broke his frame

What Is Chromoly?

Chromoly is a type of metal used to design mid to high level BMX bike parts. It's much stronger then the other option which is high tensile steel. However, it also costs a little bit more. A big difference is that high tensile steel bends because the tubing is so weak. Chromoly is strong enough to withstand a lot of impact but sometimes the welds where they connect can break.

A lot of people ask: How much lighter is chromoly than steel? The funny thing is that chromoly is actually heavier than hi-tensile steel.

Chromoly is abbreviated 4130 as the type of metal. It can withstand so much more than high tensile steel. As soon as I started to learn tailwhips and 360s I quickly found out that high tensile steel was no match for my weight and the kind of riding that I was trying to do. After destroying many frames and parts I got smarter and started investing in chromoly parts. I don't want you to have to go through the same thing that I did so pay attention.

What is hi-tensile Steel?

Hi-tensile steel is the chromoly alternative. It is much cheaper, lighter and weaker. Because of this, hi-tensile steel causes a lot of the broken parts on a bike. You can prevent this by buying a bike that is already chromoly.

Should I ride hi-tensile steel?

To be honest, hi-tensile steel will be ok for a brand new rider, but anyone who is already doing tricks should just avoid it and move up to something that will not break as easily.

Issues that Chromoly Prevents

Making sure that you ride chromoly parts will prevent a lot of issues in the long run. All these issues that I outlined below have actually happened to me and usually came along with an injury from my bike breaking.

Bent Chain stay

Sometimes you see a frame that has a chromoly front triangle but it still has a high tensile steel back end. As you start to learn spins three 60s and one 80s especially the constant impact on your back wheel from the spin will cause the high tensile steel back end to bend. as this back-end bends over time you will have a hard time aligning your wheel especially if you ride brakes or have a chain tightness preference. There is no way to fix this except buy a new frame without a bent back end. So if you're planning to do lots of spins overtime you need a full chromoly frame.

Bent head tube

Bending your head tube usually comes along when you try building dirt jumps with your friends. If you try to jump something and you're unable to get your front wheel over the landing you're going to clip the landing with your front wheel. All this pressure pushes your head tube backwards and your high tensile steel downtube will bend. This could also happen from going really fast and running into something. If this does happen to you the only way to fix it is to buy a new frame.

Bent Forks

Doing a disaster is a fun trick. A lot of beginners try to master this trick, but the sad reality is the high tensile steel Forks will not last very long. When you do anything that causes your front and back wheel to stretch in a way, you're putting a lot of pressure on your Forks. And if your Forks are not full chromoly they will bend, and it'll look like you're riding a low rider. well there is nothing wrong with riding a low rider you probably don't want your BMX bike to look like this. Once your Forks are bad it really does have a drastic impact on how you ride. Steering will be very slow and not very responsive so you're going to have a hard time flowing around and taking sharp corners.

https://www.vitalbmx.com/forums/General-BMX-Talk,2/Broken-fork-need-advice-for-new-1,1284546

I've pulled up to the skate park and seen people on a lower end complete bike and their Forks are bent a ridiculous amount. The sad thing is, they don't even notice that they're bent. And I can only imagine how much easier it would be for them to progress if their Forks are functioning properly. So, when I recommend a bike with full chromoly everything this is why.

Bent Bars

Bent bars really ruin the session. And as you start to progress, doing bigger drops or bigger jumps, the constant pressure of your body weight pushing down on your handlebars is going to bend the spot that you hold on to. There's nothing you can do to prevent this it's just something that happens overtime.

Sometimes I've bent my bars by bailing off my bike, my bike goes flying and take some heavy impact after I walk over to it and pick it up, I realize that the bars are bent. It's impossible to bend your bars back to normal so once this happens, you're going to have to get new bars. Even some chromoly bars bend. It does just depend on the quality of the bars you buy.

It's a lot less likely to happen with chromoly and that's why it's important for mid-level street riders to get chromoly bars because they're going to be doing big drops.

Do beginners need chromoly parts?

Beginner riders do not necessarily need to have full chromoly on their bike. Because high tensile steel will withstand a little bit of abuse and most of the beginner level tricks. However, if you have goals of progressing to a mid or a high level of riding, I really do suggest going with chromoly in the first place as this will save you a lot of headache in the long run. Now if it's a little bit out of your price range it's OK don't worry about it too much because you can always progress to the point where you're breaking your parts and then upgrade later on. But if you have the money to get chromoly right off the bat, definitely do that.

https://www.pinkbike.com/forum/listcomments/?threadid=95575

Do mid-level riders need chromoly parts?

If you're riding at a mid-level, the tricks that you're doing will break any high tensile steel bike. To avoid any of the common issues listed above go ahead and look for a bike with full chromoly. This bike will be able to last while you do big drops, big spins, and any other trick you could imagine.

Read Mid-level reviews here

How Much are Chromoly Bikes

Bikes with full chromoly frame, bars, and forks can cost anywhere from $450 to $1000. If you're unsure of whether or not you need a full chromoly bike, go ahead and fill out my free BMX bike recommendation so I can help you out a little more. The cheapest full chromoly bike is the 2021 Kink Whip at $450 while one of the most expensive bikes you is the 2021 Sunday Soundwave complete.

The fact that you can get a full chromoly bike for right around $500 means that almost everyone should be getting one. It's going to last with you as you evolve as a BMX rider, nobody wants to replace a bike every single year.

Chromoly Aftermarket Parts

Almost any aftermarket part that you upgrade your BMX bike with will be made out of chromoly. This is because chromoly is the ultimate type of metal used in BMX, it will withstand harder riding and has a lower chance of breaking. Let's discuss the different parts that come as chromoly.

Chromoly BMX Bars

Almost all BMX bars that you can buy aftermarket are going to come as chromoly. If you're upgrading from hi-tensile steel handlebars these chromoly ones are going to be a lot stiffer and a lot stronger. While the chromoly handlebars will not bend when you land hard, there is a possibility of them snapping at the welds on the crossbar. I've only seen this happen once or twice so it's not very likely.

Chromoly BMX bars cost anywhere from $40 to $85 depending on the style and color. Now, this may seem like a lot when you consider that a mid-level complete bike is anywhere from $400 to $600. But imagine jumping off a big jump and when you land, your whole handlebars come apart. This is no fun, so it really is in your best interest to make sure you have a good set of chromoly bars. The value of strong handlebars is priceless.

Chromoly BMX Forks

When you start to consider upgrading your BMX Forks, chromoly Forks are going to cost anywhere from $90.00 to $190. Forks are expensive. But they're definitely worth it. Once you start to jump dirt at a mid-level you're really going to need strong forks because they absorb a lot of impacts when you land sketchy. They also take a lot of hits when you ride street and bail off your bike.

A lot of companies sell forks as chromoly steer tube but they don't specify that the legs are hi-tensile steel. So, if you're looking at an upgrade, make sure that the forks say full chromoly. Hi-tensile steel legs will bend or even completely snap off especially if you nose case a jump. Another thing you need to consider is the fork offset and that's discussed in this post right here.

Chromoly BMX Frame

If you're reading this, chances are your complete BMX bike is not full chromoly. Maybe you've taken a few hard slams and bent your frame. If you're looking to upgrade to a new full chromoly frame it's going to cost you anywhere from $380 to $600. Upgrading your frame is a good way to really improve the overall quality of your bike. As the new aftermarket frame will add things like double-butted tubing, heat-treated metal, and external gussets. These are all ways to drastically improve the quality of your bike.

What is heat-treated chromoly?

Heat treating chromoly is a process where the metal is baked a second time under extreme heat. For whatever reason, this makes the metal a lot stronger. When you see heat-treated chromoly while shopping for aftermarket parts, these parts are generally more expensive than the other ones. This is due to the fact that heat-treating chromoly takes a lot of extra effort but the reward is a lot greater. You really only need heat-treated chromoly if you're riding at a high level. For mid-level riders, it's not all that important.

Conclusion

Making sure that your bike is made from full chromoly is a very good idea. It's going to save you a lot of injuries and headaches in the long run. I always recommend getting what you can and getting comfortable with BMX and then upgrading as you go. So if the only bike you can afford is a high tensile steel bike go ahead and go for it, because you can always upgrade it as you go. Just make sure that you're not riding at a level that overwhelms your bike. Have fun with BMX!