Does Riding a BMX Improve My MTB Riding Skills?

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Yes, it does. First a few basic explanations.


The biggest difference between BMX bikes and MTB bikes is the size of the wheels. BMX have 20″ wheels and MTBs have 26″ wheels (lately also 27.5″ and 29″). But usually when you get serious about MTB you get a full suspension bike. BMX on the other hand never have any suspension. The only suspension is your body. BMX is for riding street, park and dirt jumps – smoother surfaces, MTB is for riding trails, roots, rocks, drops, jumps – rougher terrain.



MTB bike (Specialized Enduro)


BMX bike (WPT – We The People)



Pumping And Body Movement

People tell MTB beginners to get a hardtail bike so they learn the basics and later move to a full suspension bike that actually allows you more mistakes and worse riding technique since the suspension is there to suffer for your clumsiness. Well – a BMX bike is one step further. Since is has no suspension the only suspension is your body. And since it has smaller wheels it is slower and you have to work harder to ride it.

True – the riding itself, the purpose of it is different. With BMX you ride in a skate park, dirt jumps, pumptracks… places with a lot of curves. If you are not into BMX racing where you pedal furiously then you will want to find flow. To use each and every curve to pump it and get speed and not pedal at all. MTB trails are not built this way so we overlook places that we can pump. But once you have ridden a BMX you see your old trails in a different way. All the roots, rocks and little bumps are potential curves that you can pump. And you don’t just pump downwards on the back of the bumps. You also pull you bike on the front of the bump (root, rock). The result? You will have more speed and by pumping your trail you will also use your body as suspension. Instead of torturing your fork you will fly over the obstacles and have a much much smoother ride. This is a part of MTB riding tecnique but only after riding a BMX bike I really got it.

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