BMX bikes used to be the king of the road, but just recently dirt jumping bikes have begun to drastically increase in popularity and are beginning to rival the old standby as the most popular bike on the road or track.
What makes a jump bike stand out over the competition?
1) They are traditionally single speed – this is a similar feature to that of the BMX bike, but different from many other two wheeled alternatives on the road. The lack of multiple gears makes these two wheeled wonders less complex to ride (there are no shifters to manipulate leaving the hands where they need to be for tricks); less complicated to fix, because there are less moving parts to possibly fail. There are some specialized jump bikes that have multiple gears, but many convert easily to the often preferred single speed style of riding.
2) They are durable and lightweight – these bikes exist for the rider to be able to get huge air and be able to land safely and effectively without damaging themselves or the bike. This wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for the frame being constructed of a light, but sturdy material. The best materials to make a jump bike frame are aluminum or chromoly and the typical style of construction is very squat with a low seat to give the rider a wider range of motion than other style of bikes but providing the best possible frame integrity.
3) Big and bumpy tires – a rider can’t get any kind of traction on the dirt with thin, smooth tires and many riders will intentionally not fully inflate the tires to give an easier landing on big jumps and to prevent blowouts that could occur from over inflation.
4) Rugged rims – with really big jumps come seriously hard landings and regular rims could bend or crack leading to an unrideable bike or an injured rider, neither of which is favorable. The rims on jump bikes need to be hearty enough to handle the pounding of those landings after big air jumps.
5) Effective brakes – when you are combining serious speed with big jumps you also need to have the ability to stop on a dime when necessary to prevent injury. Because of this, most jump bikes come with high quality mechanical disk brakes that provide the stopping power necessary when it comes to serious riding.
6) Shock absorption – Coming down too hard on a frame that is completely rigid could do serious damage to that frame and be awfully uncomfortable for the rider. That’s why virtually all good jump bikes come with heavy duty front end suspension so the rider can get the perfect amount of shock absorption for the type of terrain that they are riding and jumping on.
All of these factors combined make a jump bike one of the most fun and versatile types of bike to ride and combined they give good reason as to why the jump bike is beginning to become one of the most popular bikes on the road.