Park Bikes

What is a Park Bike? 

A park bike, which is generally known as a Bicycle Motocross (BMX) bike, is an off-road bicycle used for various events, such as stunt-riding and racing. This bike is typically used in neat terrains such as skate parks or bike park trails. Park bikes are common in BMX racing.

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BMX racing is a stunt-riding event that happens on BMX bikes. Several disciplines comprise BMX racing, and this includes street, park, trails, and flatland. Before we delve into what a bike park is, we shall briefly delve into BMX racing history. 

History of BMX Racing

The earliest documentation of BMX racing happened in 1974 after two brothers, Devin and Todd Bank, became heavily influenced by the extreme motorcycle stunts that Evel Knievel on television performed. They went on to build an eight-foot ramp in California, where they rode their BMX bikes. This birthed BMX ramp riding. 

The popularity of BMX racing slowly grew in popularity, with Bob Osborn producing a quarterly magazine –Freestylin Magazine- that showcased freestyle BMX. This sport’s potentials caught the fancy of many manufacturers, as new designs, accessories, etc., of freestyle bikes, came out. The American Freestyle Foundation (AFA), founded in 1982 by Bob Morales, began to organize events. The trend of BMX bikes reached its peak in 1987, which saw the release of new designs and accessories solely designed for freestyles. 

Racing began to experience a decline in commercial quantities during the 1990s. As such, companies began to withdraw their investments in BMX racing. The sport was eventually re-defined into one that is independently driven. 

The Discipline of BMX Racing

As earlier aforementioned, there are various disciplines of BMX racing. However, for this article, we shall focus on the sub-discipline of Park Bikes. 

Park: This discipline denotes racing events that take place in riding bowl transitions or ramp jumps. These places are found in skate parks, which are exclusive locations for park riders. Skate parks are purpose-built recreational centers that can either be made from wood, cement, or metal. 

The style of parks heavily influences the style of riding. A flowing style of riding would be better performed in wooden parks. Bowls and pools are usually found in concrete parks, although it is not unusual to see these styles merged into one Hybrid Park. 

Due to the ability to withstand any weather condition, concrete parks are commonly built outdoors. It is also easier to build concrete parks because they are publicly funded, have a low cost of maintenance, and are permanent. On the other hand, parks created from wood tend to decompose over time and can easily be damaged due to extensive use. The parks that are made from woods are often considered safer than concrete parks because it deflects a little on impact, unlike concrete parks that are inelastic. 

Sub-Types of Park Bikes

The sub-types of park bikes include Dirt bikes, Slope-style, and BMX. 

BMX Bikes

These traditional bikes were made for courses that were designed motocross-style, hence the name “Bicycle Motocross.” These courses usually involve tabletops, large double jumps, etc. A regular bike would feature 20-inch wide wheels, although varieties include 16 inches and 24 inches. 

These bikes only feature a single gear or brake and reinforced handlebars that ensure the rider’s upright position. However, the BMX has no suspension. Maneuverability during jumps is assured to the rider through the handlebars. Finally, these bikes are made from steel or aluminum. 

Dirt Jump Bikes

Dirt Jumps are a mix between the classical hardtail mountain bike and a BMX. These bikes possess larger wheels than BMX bikes. The wheels are typically 26 inches, but some bikes have 27.5 inches. As with a regular BMX bike, the Dirt Jump Bike has a single gear and rear brake only, although these bikes may come with front suspension and be wholly rigid. The brakes usually differ with the rider, with some bikes having front and rear brakes, other riders using back brake only, while some don’t use any brake. These bikes were not made for racing but freestyle dirt jumps.

These bikes are also similar to BMX because it has a steel or aluminum frame. The Dirt Bike body is usually light to maintain a constant speed and utilize air time. It also possesses short steel tubes that the saddles do not interfere with the jumps. These bikes can also be seen in skate parks, although bikes with larger wheels are not generally accustomed to tight settings as BMX bikes. 

Slope-style Bike

Slope-style bikes are similar to Dirt Jump Bikes, with compact frames that ensure the seats are out of the way during jumps. These bikes are characterized by full suspension, front and rear brakes, and multiple gears. While the gears are a debated topic amongst riders due to flexibility, the rear suspension gives the bike extra weight. Thus, stability is achieved when these riders hit the air. 

Finally, these bikes are made for fast races and reach huge heights in bike parks with big, vertical drops or man-made jumps. 

The Uses of Park Bikes

These bikes are used for jumping and racing. Also, it is suitable for stunt riding in groomed areas. 

The Price Range of Park Bikes

This price varies based on the brands. Quality models of BMX bikes can be bought from $350 upwards. Slope-style bikes may start from $2000 and above, while the Dirt Jump may be seen from $1,000 upwards. There are various models of quality BMX bikes that one can get. These include the Mongoose Fireball SS, whose price hovers above $1,000; the Giant STP 26 SS is priced between $900-$950. 

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