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This is slightly related to my previous topic about Danny MacAskill's bicycle, but not necessarily bound to it.

I'd like to buy a BMX bicycle with the following requirements:

  • I want to use it only in the city
  • I want to be able to perform jumps / rough riding on it
  • I need to be able to jump at least 3 metres high jumps without coming nothing near to damaging the bike
  • My weight is 74 kg
  • I'd like to pay around 500 EUR, but I can pay more if necessary

Could anyone point me to how to look for a bicycle I need? I have absolutely no experience with this, so I don't even know where to start.

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Edited your title, but please do revert the edit if I'm off base. –  Neil Fein Aug 18 '11 at 20:44
    
People, please keep in mind that recommending specific bikes, while useful in the short term, isn't as helpful as showing someone how to find what they're looking for. (In other words, teaching how to fish, rather than giving that fish.) Also see: Q&A is Hard, Let's Go Shopping on the Stack Exchange blog for more information. Ideally, for questions like these, we can do both: recommend a bike, and explain why that bike is suitable. –  Neil Fein Aug 18 '11 at 21:58
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3 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted
+150

Rarely do you see people riding 'stock' BMX bikes - the bikes are as individual as the riders. Typically 'mummy' buys a 'stock' BMX and over time it gets more evolved, e.g. a frame with a longer top tube and fancy, bespoke parts.

In the UK 'Mongoose' branded bikes are probably the best stocked and even then it is rare to find a bike shop with more than a few of the models, chosen to meet price points rather than due to the virtues of the bikes. Invariably you get tyres for the riding you describe with soft rubber rather than chunky tyres of a harder compound for the dirt track.

Coming from a cycling background you might find it hard to be on a bike that has just the one fairly weak rear U-brake or sidepull (or no brakes at all). Therefore you may want to have a look at the almost-mainstream models that come with both brakes. These come with a 'rotor' in the headset so the bars can be turned 360. These bikes usually come with 'stump pegs' and typically weigh several metric tonnes. You can obviously take the 'stump pegs' off as well as the brake/rotor to get the weight down.

Only the department store BMX bikes come with wheels that are less than robust. Most BMX come with 36 spoke wheels and that is a lot of spokes on a 20" wheel.

The chainring size is something to look out for. Most of today's BMX bikes have a ridiculously small chainring. The sprocket is also absurdly small so the gearing is the same as normal. You save weight and have higher clearance with the small/small gearing. Stay away from older models with the big chainring.

As for where you are now, you can go the traditional route of getting an available bike, such as a Mongoose freestyle model, to pimp it over time to suit your riding style. Alternatively you can buy a frame/bike of beauty such as a bike by 'We The People' and, even if you don't take up riding it too often, you will have a beautiful bike to look at.

As with all things cycling it is the rider and not the bike. Some of those bikes that get thrown around in a gravity defying way by the experts are unbelievably heavy, probably heavier than a typical MTB or a fully equipped hybrid. Bear this in mind when you go to a LBS that stocks BMX or get something online.

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Thanks, you obviously know a lot about the problem, but your answer is too "deep" for me to decide what I should buy. Could you please recommend a brand which is known to produce a high quality BMX bikes? Thanks :) –  Richard Rodriguez Aug 18 '11 at 1:06
    
IMHO 20" wheel is too small, 26" wheel too cumbersome. See what you can get locally in 24" wheel size, this should be nimble enough for you. The tyres etc should suit, you can always update later, e.g. add a front brake if you find you really need it. Some major brands do 24", e.g. Specialized P24 model. I don't think you need to be too concerned about the brand as a 24" trials bike is specialist kit anyway. –  ʍǝɥʇɐɯ Aug 18 '11 at 16:46
    
@RIMMER - Please keep in mind that recommending specific bikes, while useful in the short term, isn't as helpful as showing someone how to find what they're looking for. (In other words, teaching how to fish, rather than giving that fish.) Also see: Q&A is Hard, Let's Go Shopping on the Stack Exchange blog for more information. Ideally, for questions like these, we can do both. –  Neil Fein Aug 18 '11 at 20:38
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I used to own a Specialized P2 ($500 USD at the time). I also suggest looking into the brand Kona. Great bike at a great cost...Value. Not sure if they are available in the UK. Here's a list of Dirt Jump bikes to consider.

http://www.mtbr.com/cat/bikes/dj-mtnx/pls_1575crx.aspx

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The first thing to note is that Danny Mac rides trials, not BMX, so your'e actually looking for a trials bike (although his actually riding is something of a crossover between the two). Pretty much any trials bike you can buy will stand up to big jumps and drops as long as your technique is good. Although they are built strong bad landings and other abuse will still take their toll. For a beginner there's a lot to learn, and 3 metre drops are pretty advanced. Frankly, you'll never be as good as Danny because he's some kind of freakish genius

If you google trials bike you'll find plenty of options, at a good range of prices. Danny uses a custom frame from Inspired Bicyles but any of the bikes they sell would be suitable. Tarty Bikes are a well regarded retailer, and they ship worldwide.

The biggest decision you have to make is what size wheels you want - your options are 20, 24, or 26 inch. Danny Macaskill runs 24 inch wheels but each have advantages and disadvantages. There's a good video about this here*. In summary 20 inches are easier for beginners, ligther, and often cheaper. 26 inch wheels are good if you have an MTB background that's the standard wheel size. 24 inch wheels are a newer concept, and good for a mixture of trials and BMX styles.

*They also have a good range of other video guides

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