How To Make Your BMX Bike Lighter: A Full Guide

Maybe you already are at that point in your riding in which you start digging deep on how to improve certain skills or how you could make your bike lighter in order to have better control of it, better results, and finally achieve those tricks and stunts you are practicing so hard.

Making your bike lighter will basically depend on which parts you really use or need and which parts can be replaced for a lighter version of them. So, take a look at our bike and analyze it from that perspective. At the same time, you must know exactly how much money you would be willing to invest in this change.

If you have a cheap bike and you think it would be good to spend some cash on it in order to make it lighter, then you better be careful with the final number of your purchases. Maybe, in the end, the money that you’d be investing in transforming your current bike would be more worth to save it, add in a couple more bucks and just buy a new one with better weight and new parts. I believe it would be a wiser decision.

So, here you have some advice and tips on how to make your BMX weigh less. They are presented in the order of consideration that I believe is the most convenient.

1) Remove unnecessary parts

Once you have scanned your bike for parts that you’re not really using on your everyday ride, then we can go ahead and take off those things you don’t need to drag around.

  • Kickstand. If your bike came with one, just take it off. It may be useful sometimes, but you’ll easily get used to living without it.
  • Chain guard. Yeah, you’ll need to be a little more careful, but it’ll save you a lot of unnecessary weight.
  • Reflectors. If you bought a complete bike that came with some nice reflectors and/or lights but you only ride during the day. Well, there you have it. You’ll be saving some weight and your bike will look cleaner.
  • Pegs. If you have 4 pegs, think of keeping only 2. Pegs add a considerable amount of weight to the bike. Maybe your bike came with all 4 pegs and you’re not even using them. Take them off and store them if you’re not using them.
  • Gyro. Remove it if you don’t use it and save all the weight from its hardware.
  • Brakes. If you don’t use the front ones, discard them. Or you can discard them all. If you do so, just make sure to remember it for the next ride.
  • Seat. Do you even use it? If the answer is no, then you might want to consider leaving it at home. You will save a couple of pounds there.

Check out the Best BMX Helmets (Youth/Adults – Full-Face/Open-Face)

2) Cut off some pieces of your bike

If you are not familiar with this, it might sound extreme, but it’s actually pretty common for advanced riders. The purpose of this is to get rid of a lot of chunks of steel to save a significant amount of weight. Use a metal saw. We’re playing Jack The Ripper.

  • Handlebar. You may feel that the bars are too wide. You can cut them a bit. You’ll probably feel them better. Make sure you measure how much you are taking from one side in order to make the same cut on the other side. If you’re unsure, cut little by little because there’s no turning back. Once you’ve finished, use sandpaper for the edges. This will prevent the grips from getting ripped. In addition, you can also cut off the crossbar.
  • Steerer tube. Take off your handlebar and take a look at it. You can probably cut out about 1 inch.
  • Seat post. Most likely you use your seat very low. Then you could save weight by cutting down a big part of your seat post. Most posts have a ‘min’ or ‘minimum’ mark, it’s better to respect it. If you don’t see that mark, you need to keep 3 or 4 inches of the hidden part for the clamp.
  • Hub axles. Depending on whether you use pegs or not, you can cut down a big portion of your axles if you notice that they stick out a lot.

3) Replace for lighter parts

Here’s where you take out your wallet. Again, if you ready to buy a couple of brand new parts, consider the alternative of simply upgrading to a new, lighter bike.

  • Seat. Changing to a lighter seat or seat/post combo will save you a lot of weight. Mostly if it is a one-piece pivotal seat/post combo. You’ll feel lighter and you’ll also be able to adjust the angle of your seat.
  • Pegs. If you use pegs, then you can compare the ones you have with the ones out on the market. You’ll find them in many different materials such as plastic, titanium, aluminum, chromoly, etc. Maybe plastic is the lightest of them, but consider the deterioration they will suffer from each landing or impact.
  • Sprocket. You can downsize your sprocket and make a significant difference if you’re not a racer. If you have a freewheel hub you can get a 36-13 gearing. With a cassette hub ou can have a 25-9, 28-10, or 30-11 gear. You’ll save some weight and you’ll have more space when you’re riding. In addition, you will have a shorter, lighter chain.
  • Wheels. Maybe here’s where you can make the biggest difference. Try to get a new set of wheels to lighten up your bike. When replacing your wheels, tires or rims, try to reduce the number of spokes also.
  • Stems. Since it’s a small piece it may look like it’s light, but it’s the inside what counts. If it’s not hollowed, you can replace it for a hollowed version.
  • Forks. The material is what counts here. This part will be worth investing in. Try to buy full chromoly or titanium forks.
  • Handlebar. Just like with the forks, if you have money to spend, get a new lighter handlebar. With lighter stems, forks, and handlebar you’ll notice a big change on your front end.

4) Drill holes on your bike

Same as above, you decide how far you are willing to take this idea. I definitely wouldn’t do it on my bike, but it’s one more thing that you can do to eliminate weight. Yes, your bike will look like a strainer, but you might still love it. I’ve seen really cool artistic bikes full of holes.

Be careful when handling the drill, as you’ll be working on curved surfaces. Be aware that the more holes a part has, the more likely it will be to get broken. That being said, you can drill on the parts below.

  • Frame.
  • Handlebar.
  • Forks.
  • Rims.
  • Hub shell.
  • Cranks.

5) Hit the gym

I could have put this one in #1. If you’re taking your ride seriously, if you want to add an element that will help you to improve your performance, hit the gym. No, it will not make you a better rider, but neither will having a lighter bike.

Lift weights and do cardio exercise. Get stronger and lighter.

I’m not saying you need to become a bodybuilder and pump your biceps inspired by a poster of Arnold Schwarzenegger and swallow your protein shake right after that. You really don’t need to do that and I’m sure that the time that you spend on the track, park, or street is what counts the most, but you are trying to go faster, jump higher, move your body faster, etc. The stronger you are, the easier you’ll handle your bike, and the lighter it’ll feel.

I’ve had my years of big dumbbells and bars and crossfit. I’ve been into functional training for a couple of years now and I just love it. To me, it’s the perfect dynamic combination of cardio and weights. You can set your own individual pace and obtain great results. I recommend it 100%.

Final Tips

  • Weigh your bike first. Just to have an idea of the before/after difference.
  • Ask the people of your local shop for advice. If you’ve decided to replace some parts, have them take a look at your bike. Tell them what you’re planning to do and ask for their advice.
  • Protect yourself. Be extremely careful when using the drill, the hack saw, or any other tools. Work on a flat, steady, resistant surface. Wear gloves to protect your hands.

Related Articles

Photo credits: [Featured image: By Denis Vasilev / Flickr / Creative Commons license] [Photo #1: By Josh Brown / Flickr / Creative Commons license] [Photo #2: By Département des Yvelines / Flickr / Creative Commons license]

Recent Posts