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Okay so you just dropped a bunch of money on a sick new bmx bike. But you want to customize it. A lot of people ask me, "what should I change out first?" Well, when a company comes out with a complete bike, they take some short cuts in quality to save money on the bike. Nothing wrong with this, it's just a part of the game. So, i'm going tell you the best things to upgrade on your new bmx bike to insure it lasts you a while.
The most common low quality parts that come on a new bike include:
If your bike comes with single wall rims. (like a good portion of beginner bikes do) you really should look at upgrading those. Double wall rims can handle much more abuse. I have folded a single wall rim before, it left me bike less while I waited for the new on to come. Imagine not having a bike for a whole week.
The cheapest way to upgrade your wheels is to buy a complete wheelset. Just read the description, and make sure they are DOUBLE WALL. Best Complete Wheels
Building a custom wheel is always an option. This is the expensive choice, but you can get exactly what you want. If you want to understand more about the difference in rims read this article: BMX Specs: Rim difference
This is self-explanatory. Most stock pedals are junk. Find some pedals that you like and replace them. Most cost less than $20. Best Pedals on Danscomp.
A downside of a complete is that they are general. So, the tires are mostly well rounded. And well, if you’re a hardcore street rider, you should get some street specific tires. With that being said, I’ll list out the best tires for each discipline.
A light bike is a game changer. The more weight that you can save, the better. But you can’t be stupid about it. Replace lighter parts where it matters. There was a time when everything had holes drilled in it to save weight. This really compromised the strength of the parts. Here are some ways that you can make the bike lighter without making it weaker.
I run the hollow alloy stem bowls, they save a tiny bit of weight. They also look cool because they have colored options.
Generally, stock cranks are clunky 8 spline cranks. Upgrading to a lighter set of 48 spline cranks will save you a lot of weight.
One of the best places to save weight is in the wheels. If you are already upgrading the wheels because you need single wall, you might as well go all out and save some weight. Wheels can get pricey though. I think the lightest option is profile hubs, laced to alienation rims with ti-spoke and alloy nipples. These will probably cost about $500 for the set.
You don’t need to go this crazy, because you can get a decent set for much less. When shopping for the wheel consider this:
Double butted spokes. These are WAYYYY cheaper than ti-spokes, but they still offer significant weight savings.
Alloy Nipples. I always ride these because they come in cool colors and are lighter than brass nipples.
This can save you a lot of money in the long run. Doing a lot of grinds without a bash guard can absolutely destroy your sprocket.
You can always upgrade pegs, or just add pegs if you have a complete that doesn’t come with any. You know why you need to run pegs so I won’t explain it. Here are some options.
Changing the offset of your forks will help you with your style. Most stock forks are around 32mm. Which makes the bike slow and stable. A snappy and responsive feel is much more common. Look at getting some r25 or if you are feeling really crazy, r15’s. This will make nose manuals easy and the bike will feel so much better.
To be honest, I don’t know much about brakes. But I have some friends that love brakes. They like to get the best brakes and brake pads. If you don’t already have one, look at getting a gyro set up too. This will help keep your cables from getting tangled.
Getting a stem with a shorter reach will bring the bars closer to you. This will make steering more responsive, and also make barspins so much easier.
Narrowing down your bars will make your bike harder to control. But it does make bar spins easier. The best way to do this is to go buy a little pipe cutter, tape measure, cut a tiny bit off both sides. 28” is pretty narrow. So, if you have 30.5” bars and you want 28” you will cut off 1.25” on each side.
Getting some mellow forks will make the bike more stable. This is good for high-speed dirt riding. Odyssey R32 forks are the best option here.
Get a bigger sprocket so that you can have a higher top speed. Most bikes come with 25/9 gearing. A lot of trail riders go up to 28/9.
Making upgrades to your bike can get expensive. But it is so worth it. I always do it like this.
1. Make a list of the parts I want/need.
2. Set aside a little bit each week. Even if it’s $20/week.
3. Once a month order some parts off my list with the money I saved. In no time you will have all of the parts you need.