Right BMX bike for skilled old guy

Hi Lee,

I’m curious to what BMX bike would you recommend for me. I’m 43 and been out of the sport since 1985. I was an local semi pro (17+ expert/a-pro open) until I broke my knee and moved on to MX and three/four wheelers and then eventually national level Jetski racing. I see bikes have changed. My son is now 5 and riding and I’m going to get him a Micro, he has few normal BMX bikes now, but I don’t know what adults are riding? I’m not really interested in a 20” right now, I remember cruisers being cool back in ’85. I’m 5’ 10” and going to weigh 170 in a month or two! I do have a couple of MTB’s I race now and then. Giant Anthem full suspension and a GT Zaskar race hard tail.

Also, I raced MX for many many years and the front brake was the most important brake and when I raced BMX (at least 4 times a week) we used the front brake, tracks look faster than the old days. What gives the new bikes don’t come with front brakes?


Hey John,

Rocking the cruiser in the book Pro BMX Skills.

You sound like a good candidate for a 24-inch BMX cruiser. All of the BMX companies make good ones. Pick your price point, find a color you like then PIN IT!

I’ve had good times on my Intense Factory Alloy 24. With a retail price of about $699 and decent parts throughout, it’s a good machine for this MTB/road/ex-moto rider. Once I got used to the cruiser, I stepped up (down?) to an Intense Factory Alloy 20, and it’s even more fun. I’ve hardly ridden my cruiser since I tamed the 20.

If you race, you’ll find lots of fast vet cruiser riders. A lot of those guys were pinning it in ’85 — and they never stopped.

The great disappearing front brake
Yeah man, the tracks have changed. Back in the day you had to brake for flat turns. These days all turns are bermed, and you can go weeks without touching a brake. The rear brake is useful for safety and tactics, but for most riders it’s purely ceremonial.


— Lee

Know more. Have more fun!

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10 replies
  1. Robyn@VintageRedline says:

    Modern V brakes are much more powerful than the old calipers, so a single rear works well, and yes, the berms are much larger now…

    And, uh, cough cough, Redline makes an excellent complete cruiser, either in the top end Flight model, or the mid line Pro Line model.

  2. JimV says:

    Glad you’re home safe.
    1) The BMX book is great.
    2) Do you recommend the cruiser for an old guy who never rode BMX? I think that’s where I’m headed, based mostly on MMBS2. I came from the road to the mountain bike and I thought I’d give the BMX track a try. It looks like a great way to pick up skills.

  3. leelikesbikes says:

    Thanks Jim.

    Yes, rock a cruiser.

    If you have a DJ hardtail, ask whether you can race it at your local track. Some tracks let you ride with the cruisers; a few have separate MTB classes.

  4. camp says:

    I bought a 12-yr old 20″ to ride at the pump track and got hooked on the speed. Been borrowing a 24″ for the pump and the BMX track lately, and I like that a lot too. Will prolly buy a 24 before I buy any more mtn bike stuff. Finding that a 20 is valuable for the skateparks, and the 24 is fast for the track.

    I’m 48m and am just getting started in the bmx world (XC mtn biker for 20+ years). Just ordered BMXSkills, not sure if it’s for the kid’s b-day or for me.

  5. JimV says:

    Thanks Lee. Turns out the local track does let you ride mtn bikes with the cruisers. Who knew? So we rode the dirt jump bikes there tonight. The BMX people were super friendly and it was lots of fun.

    Tonight, I’m studying Pro BMX Skills. A lot of it makes more sense, having ridden just once on the track.

    Next time, I bring the kids.


  6. leelikesbikes says:

    Yeah, that is cool!

    BMX tracks are a cool scene. Very friendly, very family oriented.

    It’s all love until some mountain biker carves a line below the berm and makes a big pass! But he only has to make passes like that because he’s slow out of the gate. … 🙂

  7. Walt says:

    What about a 26″ bmx? That’s what all the pros ride … unless they are racing. Plus, it’s more like your mtn. bike. This is a mtb sire, isn’t it? I had a 24″ cruiser and got rid of that thing. It was stiff and fast, but that’s about it. Now, I have a NS (by NS bikes – the best 26″ bike company) Suburban and that thing rocks! Plus, it’s a lot closer to mtn. biking than the bmx’s are.

  8. leelikesbikes says:

    Golly, I don’t know about 26″ bmx bikes. They’re basically DJ hardtails with rigid forks, right? They probably have steeper geometry too. I’m sure they’re tons of fun.

  9. Walt says:

    You don’t have to have a rigid fork on them. I have a short travel fork on my, along with rear gears and disc brakes. Yes, a lot like a dirt jumper and are great for that but ith more versatle geometry.

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