27

What is the foam tube found on some bmx bikes for?

Here's an example:

enter image description here

Besides for advertising, I'm guessing its there to save biker's legs when doing tricks, but I could be wrong, because I've seen most bmx bikes without it.

What exactly is it for?

  • 1
    So you don't rack yourself – ebrohman Oct 13 '17 at 3:16
84

It's to ensure that young boys who ride BMX bikes will be able to have children when they grow up.



Fine print: More accurately, it’s to assuage the worries of the parents that are buying the BMX for their young male child that they might not have grandchildren. Actually efficacy for such purpose is under debate.

  • 19
    and the padding on the handlebar cross-brace is there to preserve a few teeth – Argenti Apparatus Oct 10 '17 at 20:51
  • 9
    Technically, it's called a Nard Guard - urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Nard%20Guard – Hannover Fist Oct 10 '17 at 21:02
  • Also called a nut-cushion! – Carel Oct 11 '17 at 12:41
  • 1
    A popular answer, yes, but if said rider's testicles are on a collision course with a metal rod, padding it will do practically nothing! – Octopus Oct 13 '17 at 21:53
  • 2
    To be fair, the tube on those bikes used when I was small was way thicker. It can definitely save you from bruising your pelvis bone very painfully. The balls are usually out of the way anyway (especially before puberty). – Vladimir F Oct 14 '17 at 14:22
59

It's to give the illusion of safety.

  • 11
    Exactly. My car dates from 1973 and has a padded dashboard. This was touted as a safety feature too. – Criggie Oct 11 '17 at 2:09
  • 10
    Totally this. As someone who grew up skating around freestyle and street bmxers, and has recently got into bmx racing, when you crash you'll need a whole lot more than a few mm of foam wrapped in vinyl to preserve any of your essential bodily components. – ilikeprogramming Oct 11 '17 at 8:10
  • 2
    Totally this indeed. Though for the foam on the stem it is in my epxerience a bit different: I've had stems with corners which weren't rounded off so basically. Getting that in the soft tissue of your knee's joints, vs the same stem with a cover, does make a difference because it won't penetrate as deep and the force is spread over a larger area. – stijn Oct 11 '17 at 12:55
  • 1
    Voted "Looks OK" because brevity alone doesn't mean a bad answer. – Criggie Oct 12 '17 at 2:42
  • 1
    This answer could do with some more explanation as to what sort of safety it is supposed to provide (or look like it provides). – AndyT Oct 12 '17 at 10:19
3

It's call TOP TUBE FRAME PAD or TOP TUBE PAD.

These were first seen on BMX bikes back in the 1980s, and did about as much good than as today. A thin foam cylinder wrapped around the top-tube does little to protect the family jewels from a whack, but it does at least protect the knees from a knock when you bail on a 360º endo. For a fixie, though, it is nothing more than posing — if the riders were that worried about safety, they’d buy a top tube pad. price around $10-$30 (Not exactly).

enter image description here

Thanks! - Tim

  • 9
    With fixies the pads are used to protect tubes when the bike is locked to a pole. – ojs Oct 12 '17 at 17:13
  • 5
    They also pad a person's shoulder when carrying the bike - like up some apartment stairs. – Tony Adams Oct 13 '17 at 15:33
  • 10
    "It's called a top tube pad ... if the riders were that worried about safety, they’d buy a top tube pad". Am I reading this wrong, or are you saying "a top tube pad is better than a top tube pad"? – IMSoP Oct 13 '17 at 15:58
  • "it does at least protect the knees from a knock when you bail on a 360º endo" If you worried about safety your knees safety. Also "They also pad a person's shoulder when carrying the bike - like up some apartment stairs. – Tony Adams" "With fixies the pads are used to protect tubes when the bike is locked to a pole. – ojs" – Zachary Anderson Oct 15 '17 at 11:53
3

For everyone who laughs of that foam tube: it's not a joke! It's exactly to save biker's legs as you guessed - for flatland bmx.

And you've seen most bmx bikes without because nowadays it's cool not to have as little parts as you can on the bike.

Some of riders (flatland bmx) still rides with (often custom made) stem pad like this:

enter image description here

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.