Freestyle BMX vs. Flatland BMX: Which one is Better

Freestyle BMX vs. Flatland BMX
Freestyle BMX vs. Flatland BMX

Are you aiming for a spot in the upcoming X Games, an off-road bike race, or a stunt contest? Do you know the difference between Freestyle BMX vs. Flatland BMX? If so, there’s a high chance you’re wondering what BMX bike you should get. Only BMX bikes have the necessary engineering and parts to enable bicycle moto-crossing.

For the time being, let’s set aside road bicycles, racing bikes, and mountain bikes as we focus exclusively on BMX bikes. There has never been a better time to get a BMX bike. Because of this, we’ve decided to pitch in and lend a hand. Here, you will learn the differences and similarities between Freestyle BMX vs. Flatland BMX and which is best suited for you.

More About BMX Bikes

Freestyle BMX vs. Flatland BMX
Freestyle BMX vs. Flatland BMX

BMX bikes are bicycles designed for off-road racing. BMX stands for “Bicycle Motocross”. These bikes are for riding on dirt tracks and jumping off dirt ramps. BMX bikes are usually smaller than other bicycles, with a more robust frame and smaller wheels.

Manufacturers first developed BMX bikes in the 1970s, quickly becoming popular with young adults who loved racing and doing tricks. BMX bikes are still popular; people use them for racing, freestyle riding, and BMX biking.

If you’re interested in buying a BMX bike, there are a few things you need to know. First, you need to decide what type of BMX bike you want.

The three main categories of BMX bikes are the flatland bike, the freestyle bike, the dirt jumper, or the “jump” bike.

Manufacturers built BMX bikes to resist the demands of racing and riding on rugged terrain, so they are ideally suited for dirt and BMX racing. Plus, they’re lightweight and easy to control.

A BMX bike typically has 20-inch wheels and a shorter, more compact frame than standard bicycles. A defining feature of BMX bikes is their upright position, made possible by a higher handlebar position.

A Comparison Between Freestyle BMX vs. Flatland BMX

Bike TypeDescriptionFeaturesIdeal Use
Freestyle BMXA super-sturdy stunt and trick bike.Axle pegs, a super-strong but short frame and short wheels, pavement-ready tires, and a headset that detangles cablesFreestyle BMX is all about doing big stunts and tricks, often involving jumping off ramps or flipping in the air.
Flatland BMXIt’s a dance-on bike; riding is performed without ramps and rails but on flat ground or a floor.Zero-offset fork, longer seat post, a longer frame, and a larger wheelbasedo tricks and combos on the ground, often using the bike’s pedals and handlebars.

There are two main types of BMX bikes – freestyle BMX bikes and flatland BMX bikes. Both BMX bikes have unique features that make them ideal for different riding styles.

So, if you’re wondering which type of BMX bike is right for you, it’s essential first to understand the critical differences between freestyle BMX bikes vs. flatland BMX bikes.

A freestyle BMX bike may be ridden anywhere, from a paved course to a skatepark’s halfpipe. Compared to racing bikes, they are noticeably slower in several respects.

Simply put, freestyle BMX refers to any form of BMX riding that emphasizes tricks and airs over racing and managing jumps as part of a course.
On the other hand, Flatland BMX bikes are for riding on flat surfaces. They have a longer wheelbase than freestyle BMX bikes.

 This makes them more stable and better suited for riders who want to ride fast and do not plan on doing any big jumps or tricks.

 Flatland BMX bikes also have a shorter seat tube and lower stand-over height, which makes them more comfortable for riders.

Flatland BMX riding aims not to gain speed or air like in other riding styles; instead, the focus is on other aspects of the sport.

As a result of a lack of a more appropriate name, we will refer to flatland BMX as “dance on a bike.” The rider will remain stationary in a designated area on a paved surface while maneuvering and directing the bike in various ways.

The rider will typically get the bike moving slowly and perform various spins and twists. Some examples of these high-skill moves include walking across the bike’s frame, spinning the bike on one wheel in a circle, and many other maneuvers.

Differences in Design Between Freestyle vs. Flatland BMX Bikes:

There are two main differences in design between freestyle and flatland BMX bikes. The first difference is in the frame.

1.      Frames

 Freestyle BMX bikes have a shorter and steeper frames, designed for tricks requiring a lot of air. Freestyle BMX bikes have smaller wheels, which makes it easier to do tricks that involve spinning the bike around. Flatland BMX bikes have a longer and more relaxed frame intended for tricks close to the ground.

2.      Wheels

The second difference is in the wheels. The wheels have 36 to 48 spokes and broad double-wall rims. Because they are primarily pavement pounders, today’s modern tires are ultra-wide (20 x 2.3 to 2.4) and have relatively smooth treads.

Flatland BMX bikes have larger wheels, which make it easier to ride on flat surfaces without losing balance.

A “freecoaster” hub and a zero-offset fork are two more notable differences. The free coaster hub allows the rear wheel to spin backward without twisting the cranks. That enhances balance by allowing the rider to roll in any direction while keeping the same foot position.

The front-wheel axle and the handlebars are also under pressure from the zero-offset fork. Additionally, shifting it toward the front end of the bike enhances balance.

3.      Brakes

Although manufacturers progressively leave them off to keep bikes lighter, axle pegs get often provided (riders stand on them for stunts); you can choose your own. BMX freestyle bikes may have the rear brake, or they may have both.

The rear brake line is either extra-long or puts via a “rotor to enable bar-spin maneuvers.” The tire size can be 16 inches, 18 inches, or 20 inches.

Based on preference, multiple brake configurations are available for flatland bikes. The most typical U-brakes are the front and rear ones.

A cable detangler is needed if you use a front cable to prevent the brake wire from winding around the frame when doing handlebar spins. Some cyclists may choose only to utilize their rear brakes or not use them.

Four pegs are used on flatland bikes, sometimes in much longer lengths than on freestyle bikes. The seat post is longer, the crankarms are shorter, and the bike’s tires are smooth and fully inflated.

Due to all these factors, the bike is ideal for different on-ground stunts but not for much else, not even for regular riding. And they showcase the difference of Freestyle BMX vs. Flatland BMX.

The Sizing of Freestyle BMX vs. Flatland BMX

Since children, adolescents, and adults of all ages use freestyle BMX bikes, the rider can gently alter the frame size to fit the rider’s height and riding style. The wheel size remains constant, however.

 Most freestyle BMX bikes off the shelf will feature a shorter seat stay that is simpler to whip around and a top tube that measures 21 inches so that riders have room to swing the bike underneath them when performing midair stunts.

The lone exception to this rule often pertains to flatland frames, which feature shorter tubing all around and a tendency to be lighter for improved balance and control.

They also have dropouts with a 3/8” diameter for smaller rear axles and a significantly steeper head angle.

The Handlebars of Freestyle BMX vs. Flatland BMX

Freestyle BMX vs. Flatland BMX
Freestyle BMX vs. Flatland BMX

For easier maneuverability, freestyle handlebars rise more steeply than regular BMX bars. The most common materials used are chromium or aluminum; the latter is lighter but more prone to fatigue, whereas steel is heavier but absorbs vibrations better and last longer.

On 24-inch BMX bikes, the bars might not have a crossbar and a lot less rise to make up for the higher stack by the larger frame and wheels.

Flatland handlebars often have a short crossbar so riders can swing their leg over for tricks and a minimal sweep, so the bars feel pretty much the same, either pointing forward or backward.

Where to shop for BMX Freestyle BMX or Flatland BMX Bikes

Most bike shops stock Flatland and BMX freestyle bikes, though the selection may be limited. Some shops specialize in BMX.

These stores will know precise details about BMX and are likely to be passionate BMX riders themselves, so they will be able to answer your questions honestly.

For custom-built BMX bikes or wheels, going to a store that specializes in BMX is an intelligent alternative.

The same is true for BMX race bikes, as the market is specialized, and some shops can provide on-the-spot, first-hand, knowledgeable advice due to their in-depth knowledge of the sport.

Here are some pointers to help you locate that deal:

  • A wonderful time to purchase a bike is at the end of the fiscal year (EOFY). Retailers are trying to get rid of their old inventory to make room for new, which makes now the ideal time to buy the current or previous model at a discount.
  • Christmas is another time of year when you can find a deal. For retailers, the holiday season is their busiest time of the year, which is valid for the bicycle sector. Many retailers will attempt to eliminate unsold inventory around the end-of-financial-year period or add incentives like a helmet or pair of gloves.
  • Online purchases: Making purchases directly from manufacturers online eliminates the middleman and lowers costs overall, which they subsequently pass on to the customer. Although approaching this with caution is advised, it can be a terrific method to save money. Online shopping has drawbacks; you often can’t inspect the bike, test drive it, see whether it fits, evaluate special features, make adjustments, or ask questions. The game is risky if you don’t know your precise size and specs.
  • Purchasing Used: Many BMX race clubs and online forums will post bikes for sale inside the club, both new and used, or they will have a relationship with a BMX dealer. The BMX club can also offer advice on what to look for when you first begin competing.

Take away

Flatland BMX and Freestyle BMX are both styles of BMX biking. They both involve tricks and stunts, but as discussed in this article, there are some differences. 

Flatland BMX is all about tricks and combos performed on level ground. There are no obstacles, so riders must be creative in finding ways to keep their momentum going.

On the other hand, Freestyle BMX involves riding over obstacles like ramps, rails, and stairs.

So, which style is better? It depends on what you’re looking for. If you want to learn complex tricks and combos, then Flatland BMX is the way to go. Freestyle BMX is better if you’re more interested in big air and stunts. Those are the main differences between Freestyle BMX vs. Flatland BMX

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