Protective Gear For BMX Riding
Date Posted:15 December 2017
If you know or have seen anything about extreme sports, chances are you know and BMX racing. It’s
more or less bike riding on steroids, where competitors – or simply enthusiasts of the sport – use certain
types of modified bicycles to perform stunts on a track, or simply anything that’s nearby. BMX riding is
not limited to just competitive sporting, and since the 1970s, has been a popular neighborhood sport as
Unfortunately, the flexible setting of BMX biking and racing also has a downside – it’s dangerous. Now
any sport or hobby with this much of a physical element to it carries pitfalls, but BMX biking is almost in
a class of its own. If you ride a bike, think back to when you started learning how. How many times did
you fall off the bike? How many times did you scrape your knee or your hands? When it comes to riding
a bike, crashing at some point almost comes with the territory.
Now on top of that, imagine learning how change your bike’s direction in midair, or flip over the bike
itself. Again, add to this the setting itself – often concrete, hard ground, railings, etc, – and it’s not hard
to see how BMX biking carries an extra high risk of physical injury. And this isn’t just limited to what
could go wrong, either – let’s face it, the human body isn’t naturally equipped to face the jerks and
landings of BMX biking. The time spent learning tricks can lead to extreme muscle fatigue, sprains,
strains, and joint dislocation.
Because of this, many BMX and bike racing companies also provide safety gear in different varieties. The
most common places to develop injury are the hands, head, and joints, so therefore the most common
types of protection are gloves, helmets, and joints pads or protectors.
Gloves serve many purposes in cycling and BMX biking. They provide warmth and insulation in cold
weather, as you can’t exactly put your hands in your pockets while biking. They also provide a certain
level of comfort from the various bumps and stresses that can occur. This is important because the front
of the bike is usually the first part to hit the ground after a jump, and the handlebars are directly
attached to the front. This means that the handlebars – and anything touching them, in case your wrists
– absorb some of the impact. In extreme situations, such as when you need to put your hands out to
break a fall, this extra layer of padding adds more protection for your hands’ safety.
When looking for cycling gloves, material is by far the most important to consider, because you want
your gloves to be as durable as possible. Most gloves are made of synthetic material, such as spandex.
However, the palms come into the most contact with something else – in this case, handlebars – so they
have an extra layer of protection. In most cases, this is a manmade synthetic leather called Clarino,
which resembles natural leather. Occasionally, the fingertips of the gloves will be molded into a rough
design, for better traction.
Of course, the most important part of your body to protect is your head, so it’s incredibly important to
know what you’re looking for when you’re picking out a helmet. The basic function of BMX helmets is
more or less the same as regular cycling helmets: keep the cyclist’s helmet safe without interfering with
the cyclist’s vision. For more cross-country sports, ventilation is a key factor, to reduce perspiration from
the cyclist’s head. However, this is less important in BMX biking, and a harder material is commonly
used for the shell.
The hard shell was first created in 1975 by Bell Helmets Inc. It was simple enough – a polystyrene foam
liner coated by a hard lexan shell that provided minimal ventilation. As bike technology developed, so
did bike helmet technology, and ventilation became more emphasized. By the 1990s, cycling helmets
were made of lighter material, and the hard shell design was almost totally limited to BMX biking.
Unlike regular cycling helmets. BMX helmets are designed to withstand multiple smaller hits before they
can be replaced. On the other hand, cycling helmets are designed to absorb one or two hits of extreme
force. Certain brands of BMX helmets may also have a shell that wraps around the sides of the head to
protect the ears.
Your joint protection may not be the first thing that comes to mind when considering BMX safety, but
they’re most important than almost anything else in case of an accident. If you don’t manage to stick
your landing, or the bike tips, your joints are the furthest things poking out from the bikes; therefore,
they’re more often than not the first things to hit the ground hard. Because of this, padding and other
protectors are popular and recommended, particularly for the knees, shins, wrists, and ankles.
Unlike helmets, many of these types of protection are designed to be flexible and breathable. Knee pads
and ankle guards stress flexibility more than ultra-strong protection, but tend to sacrifice some of this
protection for mobility. It’s important to pick knee and ankle protection that are snug, since you don’t
want chafing either. Because of this, most of the more flexible designs are one-size- fits-all, and can even
be worn under jeans or normal pants.
Shin pads, on the other hand, focus on more padding than flexibility. These occasionally have built-in
knee and/or ankle pads, and are also commonly made of neoprene, with thick foam inserts on the front
to absorb impact.
It’s no secret that BMX biking is a rough sport that requires appropriate protection, but it’s just as
important to know exactly what that protection is and what to look for when shopping for it. Durability,
flexibility, and ventilation are all factors to consider, but their importance depends on what exactly
they’re protecting. In cases like this, it’s important to do more advanced research on protection. Your
personal safety depends on it.