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Freestyle BMX

Freestyle BMX

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Freestyle BMX is a synonym
Synonyms are different words with almost identical or similar meanings. Words that are synonyms are said to be synonymous, and the state of being a synonym is called synonymy. The word comes from Ancient Greek syn and onoma . The words car and automobile are synonyms...

 for BMX stunt riding, a sport branch that hails from extreme sports. It consists of six disciplines: street, park, vert, trails, dirt
Dirt Jumping
Dirt jumping is one of the names given to the practice of riding bikes over cement type jumps of dirt or soil and becoming airborne. The idea is that after riding over the 'take off' the rider will become momentarily airborne, and aim to land on the 'landing'.Dirt jumping can be done on almost...

 and flatland
Flatland BMX
Flatland is a freestyle BMX riding style performed on smooth flat surfaces that do not include any ramps, jumps, or grindrails. It is sometimes described as a form of artistic cycling with a blend of breakdancing. Flatland as a discipline also encompasses certain aspects Martial arts and Zen...

 (riding in a skatepark
A skatepark is a purpose-built recreational environment made for skateboarding, BMX, aggressive inline skating and scooters. A skatepark may contain half-pipes, quarter pipes, spine transfers, handrails, funboxes, vert ramps, pyramids, banked ramps, full pipes, pools, bowls, snake runs stairsets,...



BMX started in 1979 where riders spent a lot of time on their BMX
Bicycle motocross
Bicycle motocross or BMX refers to the sport in which the main goal is extreme racing on bicycles in motocross style on tracks with inline start and expressive obstacles, and it is also the term that refers to the bicycle itself that is designed for dirt and motocross cycling.- History :BMX started...

 bikes at a concrete skatepark
A skatepark is a purpose-built recreational environment made for skateboarding, BMX, aggressive inline skating and scooters. A skatepark may contain half-pipes, quarter pipes, spine transfers, handrails, funboxes, vert ramps, pyramids, banked ramps, full pipes, pools, bowls, snake runs stairsets,...

 in San Diego, California
San Diego, California
San Diego is the eighth-largest city in the United States and second-largest city in California. The city is located on the coast of the Pacific Ocean in Southern California, immediately adjacent to the Mexican border. The birthplace of California, San Diego is known for its mild year-round...


Towards the end of 1979, the BMX Action Trick Team, the first organized freestyle team was created. After the BMXA Trick Team became known, other organized trick teams were founded and quickly gained prominence. The freestyling movement at this point was very much underground. Although several BMX manufacture-sponsored freestyle teams were touring the US, they were promoting the sport of BMX in general, not specifically freestyle. Korey Hines, A professional Street rider, says, "Riding My bike is the natural feeling of fun for me. I always have fun on my bike."

The American Freestyle Association
American Freestyle Association
The American Freestyle Association or AFA was the first governing body for BMX freestyle in the 1980s. It was founded by Bob Morales in 1982. The AFA started out as the ASPA promoting events at skateboard parks and gained early notoriety with a series call the "King of the Skateparks" series...

 (AFA) was the first governing body for BMX freestyle, founded by Bob Morales in 1982.

Bob Osborn founded a slick quarterly magazine devoted solely to freestyle. In the summer of 1984, Freestylin' Magazine made its debut. The BMX world suddenly noticed the sport's massive potential. Manufacturers hurried to the drawing boards to develop new freestyle bikes, components, and accessories, and began searching for talented riders to sponsor. Bike shops began stocking freestyle products. The AFA began to put on organized flatland and quarter-pipe competitions.

Peak and decline in popularity

From 1981 until 1987, the sport of freestyling was at its zenith, with 1987 reaching its highest peak in popularity. During this time period, the sport progressed with new bike models being released all the time, as well as new components and accessories designed strictly for freestyle. For example, Haro
Haro Bikes
-Haro Designs:The company was founded in 1978 by Bob Haro. Haro started out producing numberplates for BMX bikes in his bedroom. Demand for these stylish plates quickly outgrew his one man capacity. Haro Designs, the first name of the company, was formed in 1980 with headquarters in Torrance,...

 released the Haro FST, Sport and Master each year consistently with blazing graphical colors, new look and new frame des


Freestyle BMX riders participate in several well-established disciplines. As in the other forms of freestyle riding, there are no specific rules; style/aesthetics, skills, and creativity are stressed. Street riders tend to have no brakes. If they do, it is mostly straight cable, not gyro. Usually they have front and back pegs on one side of the bike. They also have a tendency to ride without flanges
A flange is an external or internal ridge, or rim , for strength, as the flange of an iron beam such as an I-beam or a T-beam; or for attachment to another object, as the flange on the end of a pipe, steam cylinder, etc., or on the lens mount of a camera; or for a flange of a rail car or tram wheel...

 on their grips. Some people like this because the flange
A flange is an external or internal ridge, or rim , for strength, as the flange of an iron beam such as an I-beam or a T-beam; or for attachment to another object, as the flange on the end of a pipe, steam cylinder, etc., or on the lens mount of a camera; or for a flange of a rail car or tram wheel...

 gets in the way when they are doing a bar spin trick. Others mostly just like it because of the clean look.


A skatepark is a purpose-built recreational environment made for skateboarding, BMX, aggressive inline skating and scooters. A skatepark may contain half-pipes, quarter pipes, spine transfers, handrails, funboxes, vert ramps, pyramids, banked ramps, full pipes, pools, bowls, snake runs stairsets,...

s are used by BMX riders as well as skateboarders, inline skaters and freestyle scooter-riders. Skateparks themselves can be made of wood
Wood is a hard, fibrous tissue found in many trees. It has been used for hundreds of thousands of years for both fuel and as a construction material. It is an organic material, a natural composite of cellulose fibers embedded in a matrix of lignin which resists compression...

, concrete
Concrete is a composite construction material, composed of cement and other cementitious materials such as fly ash and slag cement, aggregate , water and chemical admixtures.The word concrete comes from the Latin word...

 or metal
A metal , is an element, compound, or alloy that is a good conductor of both electricity and heat. Metals are usually malleable and shiny, that is they reflect most of incident light...

. Styles of riding will depend on the style of the parks. Wood is more suited to a flowing style, with riders searching for gaps and aiming to air higher from the coping
Coping (architecture)
Coping , consists of the capping or covering of a wall.A splayed or wedge coping slopes in a single direction; a saddle coping slopes to either side of a central high point....

. Concrete parks usually tend to contain bowls and pools. However, it is not unusual for riders to merge the two styles in either type of park.

Concrete parks are commonly built outdoors due to their ability to withstand years of exposure to the elements. Concrete parks are also often publicly funded due to their permanent and costly nature. Parks made from wood are popular with commercial skateparks due to ease of construction, availability of materials, cost, and the relative safety associated with falling on wood instead of concrete. Parks designed with BMX use in mind will typically have steel coping that is less prone to damage than concrete or pool coping.


Vert is a freestyle BMX discipline performed in a half pipe consisting of two quarter pipe
Quarter pipe
A Quarter pipe is a ramp used in extreme sports which resembles a quarter of the cross section of a pipe. They are most commonly found in skateparks and a skiing/snowboarding terrain park, although the trained eye of an extreme sports fan can find them in modern day architecture...

s set facing each other (much like a mini ramp
Mini ramp
A mini ramp is a type of half-pipe which is typically less than high. Any ramp smaller than this that is not a vert ramp & is commonly called a mini ramp. Mini ramps can be as small as in height. While many ramps this size are designed to be forgiving to beginners, some are built more...

), but at around 10–15 feet tall (around 2.5 to 3.5 meters) high. The biggest ramp ever used in competition is the X-Games big air ramp at 27 feet (8.2 m) tall. Both ‘faces’ of the ramp have an extension to the transition that is vertical, hence the name. Coping is a round metal tube at the lip of the vert that helps freestyle BMXers do grinds, and stalls on the lip of the vert.

Riders go up each jump, performing tricks in the air before landing into the transition having turned 180 degrees (assumptively. variations include 540, 900). A typical run involves going from one side to the other, airing above the coping each side. Also possible are 'lip tricks' - tricks on the platform at the top of the ramps before dropping into the ramp. Many tricks consist of the rider grabbing a part of the bike or removing body parts off the bike.


Trails are lines of jumps built from dirt (heavily compacted). It can also be named as a pack such as a 4 pack, 6 pack and 8 pack. The jumps consist of a steep take off, called a lip, with an often slightly less steep landing. The lip and landing are usually built as separate mounds, divided by a gap. The gap is measured from the topmost part of the lip, horizontally to the topmost part of the far side of the landing. Gaps typically range from only a couple of feet to over twenty feet. A moderate gap is around twelve feet.

Trails riding is sometimes also referred to as “dirt jumping
Dirt Jumping
Dirt jumping is one of the names given to the practice of riding bikes over cement type jumps of dirt or soil and becoming airborne. The idea is that after riding over the 'take off' the rider will become momentarily airborne, and aim to land on the 'landing'.Dirt jumping can be done on almost...

”. Most trails riders maintain that a subtle difference exists in the style and flow of “dirt jumps” and “trails”; trails riders focus more on of a flowing smooth style from one jump to the next while performing more stylish tricks, while dirt jumpers try to perform the craziest tricks they can over larger, less flow-oriented jumps.

Although many regard trails and street as being completely opposite, the attraction is similar — trails riders build their own jumps so their riding is limited only by their creativity and resourcefulness.

Trails riders usually run a rear brake only as they have no use for a front brake, and usually a rotor (gyro) to make it easier to do barspins, as they do not have to spins the bars back the other way to untangle it, which is hard to do on trails. In general, trail/dirt jumping bikes have longer wheelbase
In both road and rail vehicles, the wheelbase is the distance between the centers of the front and rear wheels.- Road :In automobiles, the wheelbase is the horizontal distance between the center of the front wheel and the center of the rear wheel...

s (chainstays) than other BMXs to aid with stability, the added stability is important in trails riding.


Flatland BMX occupies a position somewhat removed from the rest of freestyle BMX. People who ride in the above disciplines will generally take part in at least one of the others, but flatlanders tend to only ride flatland. They are often very dedicated and will spend several hours a day perfecting their technique.

Flatland also differs from the others in that the terrain used is nothing but a smooth, flat surface (e.g. an asphalt parking lot, basketball courts, etc.). Tricks are performed by spinning and balancing in a variety of body and bicycle positions. Riders almost always use knurled aluminum pegs to stand on to manipulate the bike into even stranger positions.

Flatland bikes typically have a shorter wheelbase than other freestyle bikes. Flatland bikes differ from dirt jumping bikes and freestyle bikes in one way. The frames are often more heavily reinforced because the people riding flatland often stand on the frames. This shorter wheelbase requires less effort to make the bike spin or to position the bike on one wheel. One of the primary reasons flatlanders often ride only flatland is the decreased stability of a shorter bike on ramps, dirt and street.

A variety of options are commonly found on flatland bikes. The most unifying feature of flatland bikes is the use of four pegs, one on the end of each wheel axle. Flatland riders will choose to run either a front brake, a rear brake, both brakes, or no brakes at all, depending on stylistic preference.


The vast majority of pandors bikes have 20 inches (50.8 cm) wheels. Frame sizes and geometry vary, but the top tubes are usually between 20 to 22 in (50.8 to 55.9 cm) long. Beginner riders tend to purchase store-bought complete bikes and often customize their bike with aftermarket parts, generally as parts break (such as forks, pedals and cranks), to suit their specific needs. However, more experienced riders usually build custom bikes from the ground up to suit their preferences and style of riding, which is much more expensive but allows for greatest customization based on personal preference.

Generally, street riders use slicker tires for more grip on concrete, and may use up to four axle pegs for grinding. Riders generally have a preferred side for grinding and may run 2 pegs only on one side. However, adding an additional 2 pegs to the non-preferred side can open up a great deal of trick variations such as crooked grinds. Street riders also tend to ride big bars for easier tailwhips. Smaller gearing is also preferred among street riders. Street riders tend to run brakeless, for a number of reasons; for example, they claim that barspins are smoother, and that they have more control over the bike.

Park bikes are very similar to street bikes. However, some park riders prefer to use brakes (rear or both) for an increased variety of tricks and more control. Park bikes may differ from street bikes in the fact that they are not as reliant on heavy duty high-strength parts, as park riding is much less stressful on the bike.

Dirt riders usually don't have pegs unless they want to do peg-specific non-grind tricks such as rocket airs, and they use knobby tires for better grip in the loose dirt. Dirt bikes also tend to run only a rear brake and have longer top tubes and wheelbases. Many riders use bigger bars for more control, although big bars have become a trend among kids and popular professional riders. Dirt bikes generally at least have chromoly top and down/seat tubes and forks to increase durability and prevent bending of parts (especially forks) when landing large jumps.

A professional who primarily competes in park contests will probably have a gyro with rear brakes only, zero to 4 pegs, and a lightweight bike. This is because riders in contests usually have a limited time, 60 seconds or less, and have to perform very difficult tricks consistently.

Vert bikes are relatively heavy for stability and control, with four pegs.

Flatland riders’ bikes usually run four oversize pegs, and smaller, lighter frames, often with pre-bent tubes to make it easier to do flatland tricks. Flatland BMXs most of the time have both front and rear brakes, as many tricks require them to exit a trick or aid in weight distribution. Top tubes on flatland bikes are also shorter (about 17–19 in (43.2–48.3 cm)) Flatland bikes almost always have small sprockets (20 to 25 teeth) and low gearing, to make it easier to pedal out of tricks, as there is no need for them to ride fast.

Before there was a “true” freestyle bicycle, riders used BMX racing frames for jumping and for performing flatland maneuvers.


Grinds are where a rider’s bike will slide along a surface (such as a rail, ledge or lip of a ramp) on a part of the bike other than the wheels. Usually “stunt pegs” are used; these are short tubes attached inline with an axle that project out from the main frame so that they can slide along the surface which they grind. Some grinds also involve the cranks and pedals.
  • Double peg: The rider must bunny-hop on and land both pegs on the rail or ledge (wheels must be off the ground for all grinds).
  • Feeble grind: The most basic grind to do on a ledge. The rider must bunny hop and land the rear peg and the front wheel on the ledge. This is easy to do on a ledge because ledges are generally wider than rails.
  • Smith grind: The step up from a feeble. The rider must bunny-hop and land the front peg and rear wheel on the ledge or rail.
  • Luc-e grind: The rider must bunny-hop, turn the handlebars 45 degrees, and land the back peg and the pedal on the ledge and lean back, keeping the front wheel off the ground but not grinding the front peg on the top of the ledge either.
  • UnLuc-e grind: The rider bunnyhops and lands the front peg and pedal on the ledge or rail, keeping the back wheel off the ground.
  • Rollercoaster grind: The rider must find two rails or ledges close enough together so they can bunny hop and grind with at least one peg on each rail.
  • Icepick grind: A rear peg grind where the rider is riding on the back peg only with the front wheel above the rail or ledge they are grinding on.
  • Crooked grind: When alternate pegs are on either side of the rail.
  • Predator grind: When the rider does a double peg grind on a rail then hops over to his alternate pegs.
  • Toothpick grind: The rider slides on the front peg only with the rear wheel in mid air.
  • Toothpick hangover : (Also known as Tooth-hanger) A toothpick grind where the rider hangs the rear end of their bike over the opposite side of the rail or ledge they are grinding.
  • Snaggletooth: This is an over to toothpick hangover.
  • Howyadoin grind: this is a rail hop 180 to an icepick to half cab (180) off. usually performed on a rail, but sometimes on a thin ledge.
  • Lucky: The rider icepicks the rail while also having the pedal sliding to, but the front peg is below the rail.

Air tricks

These tricks take place in the air. Freestyle dirt BMX involves many air tricks.
  • Tabletop: While in the air the rider will bring the bike up to one side of him/her by turning the handlebars and using body movement making the bike look like it is flat like the top of a table.
  • Superman: The rider removes both feet and extends them outwards to resemble Superman
    Superman is a fictional comic book superhero appearing in publications by DC Comics, widely considered to be an American cultural icon. Created by American writer Jerry Siegel and Canadian-born American artist Joe Shuster in 1932 while both were living in Cleveland, Ohio, and sold to Detective...

     in flight.
  • Barspin: Spinning the handle bars 360° while in the air.
  • Tailwhip
    The tailwhip is a bike trick typically performed on a BMX, in which the frame of the bike performs a complete rotation around the front end , which remains stationary throughout the move...

    : The rider throws the bike out to one side while still holding onto the handle bars so that the frame goes 360° around the steering tube; the rider then catches the frame again and stands back on the pedals.
  • Decade: Similar to the flatland decade, the riders throw themselves around the bike while still holding on the handlebars before coming back round to meet the bike and land on the pedals.
  • Backflip: Both rider and bike do a backward flip while in the air, usually from one ramp to another.
  • Frontflip: Both rider and bike do a forward flip while in the air, again, usually from one ramp to another.
  • Flair: Both rider and bike do a backflip combined with a 180, to land facing back down the ramp. Usually performed on a quarter pipe.
  • 180°: The rider and bike spin 180° in the air and land backwards, in what is called fakie
    In boardsports, fakie is riding backwards with the tail facing in the direction of travel. When used in conjunction with a trick name, like "fakie ollie", it means that the trick was performed as it would normally be done with the exception of riding backwards. Not to be confused with "switch" or...

     (riding backwards).
  • 360°: The rider and bike spin 360°.
  • X-up: The rider turns the bars at least 180 degrees, so the arms are crossed and then turns them back.
  • Can Can: The rider brings a foot over the bike to the other side.
  • No Footed Can: The rider does a can can but takes the other foot off the pedal as well, so that both legs are on one side of the bike.
  • Tire grab: The rider grabs the front tire.
  • Tuck no Hander: The rider tucks in the handlebars and takes both hands off.
  • Turn down: The rider will whip the bike out to one side and turn the handle bars into his or her legs wrapping them around their leg.
  • Crankflip: The rider bunny hops and kicks the pedals backwards so the crank arms make a 360° spin and then feet are placed back on pedals to stop the cranks.
  • ET: The rider is in mid air and pedals quickly as though he is riding normally.
  • UFO: The rider is in mid air and pedals backwards quickly.
  • Bikeflip: The rider have just to flip his bicycle but he doesn't move in air. You can view the demonstration at http://www.spike.com/video/morgan-wade/2920156.
  • seat grab: The rider takes one hand off the bars and grabs their seat, then returns their hand to thebars before landing.

Variations and combinations of these tricks also exist, for example a 360° tailwhip would be where the rider spins 360° in one direction and the frame of the bike spins 360° around the steer tube, both bike and rider will then meet again, with the rider catching the pedals, facing the same direction as before the trick.

Flatland tricks

Flatland tricks are not just used within flatland BMX, but also in street BMX. Flatland tricks usually involve much balance, more often than not with only one wheel in contact with the ground.
  • Wheelie
    In vehicle acrobatics, a wheelie is a vehicle maneuver in which the front wheel or wheels come off the ground due to extreme torque being applied to the rear wheel or wheels. Wheelies are usually associated with bicycles and motorcycles, but can be done with other vehicles such as cars, especially...

     or Catwalk: The most basic of flatland tricks, the wheelie is when the rider rides the bike on only the back wheel whilst pedaling.
  • Endo: Basic flatland trick where the rider uses the front brake or a curb to lift the back wheel and balance on the front tire.
  • Front or Back Pogos: Basic flatland trick where the rider stands on the wheel pegs (front or back), locks the wheel's brake, and hops with the other wheel in the air.
  • Manual: A step-up from the wheelie, the manual is essentially the same only the rider does not pedal; this makes the trick more difficult to perform as point of balance between the front and back of the bike has to be reached. Professional riders can often do this until their bike runs out of momentum
    In classical mechanics, linear momentum or translational momentum is the product of the mass and velocity of an object...

  • Pogo: The most popular advanced basic trick. Created in the 80's, it is executed by swinging the bike to a vertical position on its rear wheel while the rider sits and hops on it to maintain balance.
  • Nose manual: The same concept as a manual, only performed with the back wheel in the air and the front wheel on the ground.
  • Bunny hop
    Bunny hop (cycling)
    The bunny hop, or bunnyhop, is a bicycle trick that allows the rider to launch their bike into the air as if jumping off a ramp. The pedals on the bicycle seem to stick to the rider's feet as the bike becomes airborne very much like the way the skateboard seems to stick to the feet of the skater...

    : A bunny hop is achieved when a rider jumps the bike into the air from flat ground (this can also be done close to the lip of ramp to gain more height) so that neither wheels are touching the ground.
  • Dork manual: When rider puts one foot on the peg, and the other foot in the air, controlling balance, and ride down the street in a manual with the foot on the peg.
  • Fork manual: When a rider puts one foot on the front peg and spins the handlebars around, to lift the bike up into a fakie manual, with both feet on pegs.
  • Footjam tailwhip: The rider jams his/her foot in the fork to start a foot jam endo then kicks the tail of the bike around. When the tail of the bike goes 360 degrees the rider puts his/her foot back on the pedals. An alternate trick is to jump the frame as it comes around repeatedly until the rider elects to put his/her foot back on the pedals.
  • Footjam: The rider jams his foot between the forks and tire, stopping the bike, and he balances with the back tire airborne.
  • Hang-5: when the rider does a nose manual whilst having one foot on the front axle peg and the other foot dangling, usually used to keep balance

External links

A rather complete history of freestyle bmx can be read here (some parts are written in French):