It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner on your first BMX bike or a seasoned pro at your local park. Everyone wants more speed at some point.
On a BMX bike, you’re not going to be winning any stages of the Tour de France. These bikes aren’t built for maximum speed like road bikes are. That’s not the point.
However, if you’re looking to make getting around town on your BMX easier or you need more speed to pull off some sick ramp tricks you’re working on, there are things you can do to juice up your bike.
BMX bikes are designed and built for short bursts of speed to help bikers do jumps, ride rails, and move around obstacle courses quickly. They’re sturdy, and their low seats and pedal placement offer maximum torque.
That said, BMX bikes often take a pretty big beating when you ride them to school or at the skatepark on the weekends.
If you’re looking for some ways to make a BMX bike faster, we’ve put together a list of 15 awesome hacks you can use. With some small tweaks, you can see a major difference in how quickly your bike gets up to max speed and how fast you can make it compared to before.
Some of these hacks are relatively common sense. Simple things that you do will make a big difference in how you move around. Here are some basic hacks to start with.
1. Check Your Tire Pressure
The first thing that you do when you want to get faster is to make sure your tires have the right amount of air in them. When your tires are too low, you’re going to have to work harder to move anywhere, much less go fast.
It’s because you have to exert more force through the pedals to move the same distance. With lower air pressure, your tires drag on the ground. Pumping up your tires will make an immediate difference on your BMX bike and make you much faster.
Now, there may be times when you don’t want your tires pumped up so full. For example, if you’re doing jumps from large heights, you may want some give in your tires to absorb the shock of a hard landing and avoid any tires bursting.
2. Clean Your Bike
If you want your bike to go faster, keep it clean! Dirt adds friction to your wheels, your chain, and other moving parts, making them harder to push and slower. Getting rid of that debris on your bike could make the difference in whether you’re able to pull off that trick you’ve been trying for weeks.
Before a meet or before you head to the ramps, wash your bike with a sponge, a dirty rag, and a hose. Do your best to find your way into any hard-to-reach spots and wipe them clean.
3. Add Some Lubricant to Your Bike
If you have something like chain oil, adding it to your bike can make it much faster. With a well-oiled chain, you’ll notice that it takes less effort to get up to high speeds and you’ll go faster. Don’t just use any old lubricant.
You can buy specialized bike chain oils online or at your local bike store for an affordable price. They’ll keep your bike chain, wheels, and brakes lubricated for longer, and they will lower the chances of any of your parts breaking. All you have to do is use a little bit (meaning a few drops) and it will go a long way.
4. Adjust Your Pedal Tension
The way you adjust your pedal tension will depend on what type of BMX bike you buy. Different bike manufacturers use different pedal assemblies, so if you want to add tension, look up the instructions and make the change.
Adding tension will make it harder to pedal at first, but it also increases your maximum speed. Loosening the tension, on the other hand, will make it easier to accelerate quickly.
5. Get the Seat Height Right
Moving your seat up and down is another basic way to get more speed out of your bike. Most of the time, BMX bikes ride too low, making it hard to pedal quickly and add torque.
Lifting your pedal will allow for more downward force from your legs, so you’ll move faster on your bike.
Now that we’ve covered the absolute basics, let’s take a look at some other bike hacks you can use to get more speed.
6. Drop the Front
Most BMX bikes come with spacers between the stem and the headset. When you take out the fork, you can remove the spacers to lower the front of your bike. Of course, you won’t want the front to be so low that it’s uncomfortable, but having the front lower means more of your weight is leaning forward when you ride.
A lot of the BMXers you see riding around have higher fronts and very low backs, which makes it hard to go fast. Lowering the front shifts your weight forward and gets you moving better.
7. Switch to Bigger Wheels
Larger wheel size may be the hack you need to boost your speed. If you bought a BMX bike that is kitted for tricks, it probably doesn’t have the biggest wheels.
With larger wheels, your bike covers more ground per pedal. You can go faster and with less effort. Just make sure that your bike’s frame can handle the larger size before you buy bigger wheels online.
8. Change Your Sprocket
Bigger wheels will help your BMX bike go faster, but you can also see a dramatic increase in speed with a larger sprocket. The sprocket is what your chain locks onto and moves your wheels as you pedal. By switching to a bigger sprocket, you can pick up more speed with harder pedals.
This is a critical hack, especially because BMX bikes don’t have fancy gear mechanics that make getting more tension possible. Switch out your sprocket for something bigger if you want to go faster.
9. Lose Some Weight
Yeah, sure, if you lose some weight you may be able to go faster, but that’s not what we’re talking about here. What we mean is to do what you can to make your bike weigh less.
With a lighter frame, you’re going to make a decent difference in how fast you can move.
The only thing you need to be concerned with here, though, is whether you’re losing frame and component strength by going lighter. BMXers always have to balance the weight of their frames against the tricks they are doing and how much of a beating their bikes take. Remember, you need something strong enough to withstand the force of any tricks you’re doing.
10. Convert to Multi-Speed
If you want to spend some money, you can pay someone to do a conversion on your BMX bike to install a multi-speed hub. This is an upgrade that’s not for everyone, but it’s certainly a way to increase your bike’s speed.
With more gears, you can find more tension based on your terrain and how fast you want to go. Just know that adding a multi-speed hub to your rear tire will mean more maintenance for your bike.
You will need to spend more time and money keeping it in good condition and the odds are higher that you’ll run into more problems while riding your bike.
For some people, it’s well worth it, but others like to keep their BMX bikes simple.
11. Get in Better Shape
The stronger you are, the harder you’ll be able to pedal and build up speed riding your BMX. If you’re a casual rider, this may not be a priority, but athletes at higher levels definitely do a lot of exercises to make riding easier.
They lift weights and do other cross-training to increase the strength they have in their legs. Also, if you are carrying around any unnecessary excess weight, it’s going to slow you down. Riding faster isn’t only about the changes you can make on your bike. Getting in better shape is a surefire way to ride faster for longer.
12. Invest in High-Quality Components
If you take a look at older bikes from generations ago, it should fill you with appreciation that you’re riding in the current era. Bike technology has come a long way.
BMX bikes are built better and there are higher-quality components you can buy to make your bike lighter, faster, and stronger at the same time.
Now you can buy carbon fiber rims, handlebars, and very light and incredibly strong frames. You’ll accelerate faster without sacrificing durability. These parts cost a lot of money, though, so it’s not something everyone can do.
Luckily, most BMX bikes are fairly adaptable, and you can mix and match components one step at a time.
13. Fix Your Form
The way that you position your body when you want to ride fast will have a dramatic effect on your speed. For getting up to high speeds on your bike, you should be resting your weight on the balls of your feet in the center of your pedals.
Your feet should be pointing forward and your hands should be shoulder-width apart, elbows in. Look down and lean forward to decrease wind resistance as you pedal with force to gain speed. You will need to learn to move your hips in response to the bike. Eventually, this helps you to go as fast as possible.
This is something you’ll learn with time and as you spend more hours on your bike.
14. Focus On Your Balance
Finding the right balance on straightaways and turns will affect your speeds. Whether you’re on the road or riding a course, you should read turns before you’re riding in them to attack them from the appropriate angle.
Most of the time, the outside of the turn will allow you to maintain speeds and pass other racers if you’re riding competitively.
As you stay balanced with your weight in the right direction, you’re less likely to make any small adjustments that limit how fast you can go. You’ll end up having to correct yourself and slow down to recover.
15. Buy Longer Pedal Cranks
Another upgrade you can make to make your BMX bike faster is to buy and install longer pedal cranks. A pedal crank is an arm that goes from the pedal into the chain sprocket. Shorter cranks may be convenient for tricks.
However, if you’re going for speed, you need longer cranks. You’ll get longer pulls on the chain with bigger cranks, and when they extend out further, your legs will be able to push them with more force.
If you’re new to BMX bikes, take it slow and find ways to add speed incrementally. Building into faster speeds and getting used to your bike takes time.
A lot of beginners and even pro BMX riders decide how to upgrade their bikes when something breaks. They examine what happened and how they can get a better part to increase performance.
Buying a well-made bike with quality parts from the beginning is perhaps the best way to ride your bike fast. Of course, not everyone has a ton of money laying around to buy a top-of-the-line BMX bike.
Buy something that fits your budget, try ways to get in better shape, and learn the mechanics of your bike. Basic maintenance will go a long way in helping you to ride fast and keep your bike in great shape while you use it.
Speed is fun, and it will help you get around town quicker and perform at a higher level when you are learning new tricks or riding on obstacles at the park.