Skateboard vs BMX – Is It Even A Contest?

Skateboard vs BMX

Are you having a difficult time choosing between skateboard and BMX? Choosing a sport to focus on can goof up your mind, particularly if there are too many to choose from. Two of the most commonly compared sports are skateboard and BMX. Yes, they are different in many ways, but there’s always the question, which is better, skateboard or BMX? How about you? 

Which do you think is better?

Of course, if you try to ask skateboarders, they will say skateboarding is better. But try asking BMX enthusiasts, and you’ll know their answer. By the way, do you know what BMX means? Maybe a short history could enlighten you. So, read on, and take a quick journey to the past.

A Brief History of BMX

A Brief History of BMX

Originally, BMX was simply called a bicycle, which is what it really is. But in the early 1970s, kids began to get the idea that they could race using the bicycle. Later on, they were pedaling their way through dirt roads, streets, and parks. The idea of racing the bike was originally inspired by motocross legends at that time. So, are you having a hint now on how the name BMX was coined? Yes, you got it right, bicycle motocross.

From then on, various models were released depending on how a rider will use the bike. Later on, the BMX freestyle was born. Just like the skateboard, BMX can also perform various tricks and exhibition moves. So much for the BMX’s brief history. It would be unfair if you don’t go two decades back from when the BMX was born and learn about the skateboard’s history. So, let’s see when the skateboard was born.

A Brief History of Skateboard

A Brief History of Skateboard

During the 1950s, the skateboard was first seen in California. The idea of the skateboard was inspired by surfing. In fact, skateboarding was originally called “sidewalk surfing” in its infancy. The first skateboards were just roller skates attached to wooden boxes and planks. Typically, skateboards were just handmade at the time.

The skateboard gained popularity and in 1959 companies began manufacturing more modern designs. The design continued to evolve to lighter but stronger materials. The rest is history as until now skateboarding is a very popular sport. In fact, it’s more popular than BMX. But it doesn’t mean people don’t like riding the BMX. You’ll definitely love the BMX once you learned various riding tricks.

Points for Comparison

Points for Comparison

How about a side-to-side comparison between the skateboard and BMX? Would that interest you? To have a fair comparison, the following criteria will be used:

  • Learning curve
  • Use as a mode of transportation
  • Riding locations
  • Parts customizability
  • Price
  • Risk and Safety

Are you ready? Let’s get ready to rumble! 

The Learning Curve

Let’s start with the skateboard. Without anything to hold on to while attempting to balance on the deck, skateboarding could be difficult to learn. Additionally, skateboards don’t have brakes to assist you when stopping. Kick pushing is not as easy as most newbies think. Foot braking can be easy but is only useful at slow or moderate speeds.

On the other hand, learning to ride a bicycle may be a bit easier than riding a skateboard. Most newbies find it easier to balance on a bicycle than standing on a skateboard while rolling. Well, it could be true but it really depends on the balancing skills of a person. But this learning curve is focused only on a newbie’s first time in learning to ride a skateboard or a bicycle.

But how about learning the tricks? It’s a different story, though this article intends to tackle it to provide you with more information. If you’re watching videos of skateboarding and BMX tricks, you’d be amazed at how the riders do it. So, what’s really the difference between performing tricks using a skateboard and BMX?

As mentioned, skateboarding demands an extreme ability to balance and needs precise body coordination. Meanwhile, BMX requires balance, adaptability, and more strength during a trick performance. To some people, this is their observation on why there are fewer BMX riders who can perform or demonstrate advanced skills and tricks. 

But still, it all depends on the tricks being performed and how skilled is the rider. So, which do you think is easier to learn, Skateboard or BMX?

Use as a Mode of Transportation

Both skateboard and BMX can be used as modes of transportation. In fact, the idea of why these rides were built is to provide people an easier and more accessible mode of commuting. So, which of the two is the better mode of transportation? Find out with the comparison below:

  • When you talk about travel time, BMX will bring you to your destination faster than riding a skateboard. 
  • Distance travel would be more convenient on a BMX than a skateboard. It’s easier to pedal than to kick push a skateboard, especially on very long-distance travels. Additionally, you cannot kick push a skateboard uphill.
  • The terrain is another consideration here as skateboards cannot roll over dirt paths and rough roads. On the other hand, you can ride a BMX on rough terrain and even on slightly muddy roads.
  • Skateboards can be difficult to ride around a busy city. BMX would have no problem pedaling along city streets.
  • Sidewalks allow the use of skateboards, while a BMX ride is not.
  • Portability-wise, skateboards are more convenient to carry than a bicycle. If you bring your skateboard to a distant location, you can easily fit it inside a car’s trunk or seat. Meanwhile, you’ll need a bike rack, pickup truck, or an SUV to bring a BMX with you on a long-distance trip.

What about Riding Locations?

You’ve just learned about skateboards not being too versatile on where to ride or roll. Unlike BMX, skateboards require a smooth surface to roll on. The most obvious advantage of skateboards is the huge difference in the number of skateparks, which are exclusively for skateboards. Sorry, BMXs are not allowed.

However, a few BMX-only exclusive parks are also available but don’t allow any skateboarders. To the BMX’s advantage, you can ride it almost wherever you want. Ride your BMX on streets, muddy trails, dirt roads, remote woody areas, downhill trails, and any terrain that you can think of. 

To sum it up, both the skateboard and BMX have limitations and advantages when you talk about riding locations.

How about Parts Customizability?

Perhaps, customizability will highly depend on the number of parts of the ride. A BMX has more parts compared to a skateboard. If you are to list down the BMX’s parts, you’ll have the following: frame, fork, pedals, handlebar, hand brakes, wheels, rims, seat, gears, chain, bearings, etc. On the other hand, a skateboard has very few parts. And they are the: deck, trucks, straps, wheels, hangers, pivot cups, kingpins, etc.

A BMX is bigger than a skateboard. Therefore, it has more parts and more customizable. A BMX can be assembled from scratch, but newbies might get confused on which parts to buy. Mixing and matching the parts of a BMX would be more complicated. Meanwhile, a skateboard is much smaller and has a much simpler assembly. Building a skateboard is not that perplexing as to BMX.

Are you looking for a more customizable ride? Then, you know you’ll be choosing BMX. But again, customizing either a skateboard or BMX would require some basic handyman skills and knowledge about shops that sell cheap but quality parts.

Care about the Price?

Any hobby or sport, like everything else, comes with a price. But would you really care about the cost if it’s all about your passion? Which do you think is more expensive, a BMX or skateboard? From the previous criteria, you learned about the customizability of both rides. You are already aware that the BMX has more and bigger parts than the skateboard.

Let’s get straight to the point here, BMX is more expensive than a skateboard. Why do you think many people are into skateboards? It’s not because skateboarding is more fun or cooler to ride, but a skateboard is actually cheaper. Being small, skateboard parts are also cheaper compared to that of the BMX’s.

How expensive is a BMX? You can get a BMX for around $200 to $1000, but if you want to build from scratch and select the best parts, you’d probably go for twice the regular price. Meanwhile, skateboards are way cheaper. You can buy a skateboard at around $50 to $200. Isn’t that cheap compared to a BMX?

Now, let’s take a look at the maintenance cost. Skateboard parts are cheaper at around $50 per part (trucks, bearings, and wheels). Additionally, a skateboard has simpler parts and assembly, which you could do DIY on maintenance and repairs. Now let’s take a closer look at how you maintain a BMX.

Since a BMX has more parts, it would require more attention to maintenance. Moreover, each part would be more expensive than a skateboard. In fact, one could actually spend over $1000 for parts replacement just a few years upon initial purchase of the BMX. This does not include yet other maintenance routines such as tire pressure adjustments, chain lubrication, brake replacements, etc. And not to mention repairs that require the service of a professional bike mechanic, which could also be expensive.

Risk and Safety

Finally, we’re here to evaluate the risk and safety of a skateboard and BMX. Sports-minded people embrace risk for fun and excitement. Do you believe in that? But don’t get them wrong, when they mean risk, they mean calculated risk. Therefore, no person in his right mind will try a sport he’s not skilled at. 

When evaluating risk and safety it would be wise to consider your skill, the terrain, and the place where you ride. So, how much risk are you willing to take? Now, let’s gauge the risk and safety of both skateboard and BMX. 

Skill levels can reduce the risk of either skateboarding and riding a BMX. Why? Because skills give you the experience on what and what not to do. Additionally, you wouldn’t try a dangerous maneuver or moves if you’re not confident about your skill level. A newbie bombing a downhill ride on a skateboard is on a suicide mission. The same risk goes for a newbie BMX rider.

What if both the BMX and skateboard riders have high-level skills? Well, this could be a different story. Although it’s a given fact that both rides pose risks, a skateboard is safer to ride than a BMX. Why? Because skateboard is lighter, smaller and slower, which poses less threat to the rider. A BMX is bigger, faster and heavier, which could likely hurt you when you crash.

When it comes to terrain, BMX is a safer ride as it can run on most terrain. Meanwhile, skateboarding is more dangerous even on the streets. You’ll never know when there’s a sudden obstacle, a bump, or oncoming traffic. On a downhill ride, a skateboard is more prone to wobbling, which could be dangerous. However, a BMX can run smoothly downhill even at high-speed because the wheels don’t wobble like the skateboard does.

And speaking of a downhill ride, it’s more difficult to stop on a skateboard. One should have an advanced sliding skill or a crash would be unavoidable. A BMX has an advantage during a downhill ride because it has brakes. Slowing down and sudden stops are not difficult to do on a BMX as it doesn’t require any advanced skills when braking. Just pull the brake levers and you’ll come to a stop.

The Final Verdict

The Final Verdict

The skateboard and BMX are both very interesting rides. They share some advantages and disadvantages. You now have enough bases to decide which sport is better. But in reality, no sport is better than the others, it’s only about an individual’s passion and preferences. Now you know about the factors to consider, it will be easier for you to decide which ride is more suitable for you. The choice is yours.

So, what do you think? Would it be the skateboard or the BMX?    

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Lisa Hayden-Matthews

An avid Skier, bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.
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