BMX Bikes With No Brakes: The Ultimate Guide

If you’re a thrill-seeker who loves extreme sports, then BMX biking may be right up your alley. But have you considered trying it without brakes?

That’s right, some BMX riders choose to remove their brakes for an added challenge and an even more intense riding experience.

But before you toss those brakes in the trash bin, there are a few things you need to know.

In this article, we’ll explore the world of BMX biking without brakes, including the pros and cons, safety considerations, and tips for getting started.

Should BMX Bikes Have Brakes?

BMX bikes with rear brakes are equipped for powerful stopping, making them safer for riders in various environments such as skate parks, pump tracks, and public roads.

There are some riders out there who choose to forego brakes altogether in favor of their own riding preference and skill level.

But let me tell you, this is not a decision to take lightly.

It’s harder to control your bike at slower speeds and emergency stops can be really scary. In fact, some countries even consider it illegal due to the dangers it poses.

three bmx riders on bikes training in skatepark

In recent years, BMX bikes without brakes have become increasingly popular in the extreme cycling community.

They allow riders to perform amazing tricks with ease. Tailwhips and bar spins are just a few examples of the incredible stunts you can do without pesky brake cables getting in your way.

And let’s not forget about the repair time. With no brakes, there is limited equipment needed, making the repair process much quicker and easier.

Why Ride Brakeless BMX?

Riding brakeless BMX has become common among freestyle riders, particularly those who enjoy performing tricks in skate parks and on the streets.

Below are some reasons why some riders prefer the brakeless setup, the advantages and disadvantages of riding without brakes, and some safety tips for brakeless BMX riding.

Follow The Trend

The trend of riding BMX bikes without brakes is gaining popularity, but it’s important to consider your experience level and riding style before making the switch.

As a seasoned rider myself, I can vouch for the thrill of riding a brakeless bike.

It gives you a sense of freedom and control that you just can’t get with traditional bikes.

And for those skilled in freestyle, brakeless is the way to go.

Tricks like tail whips become a breeze and your control in skate parks or pump tracks is unmatched.

bmx rider performing a jump on a skatepark


Brakeless BMX is all the rage among skilled freestyle riders, and for good reason!

By ditching the brakes, riders can execute tricks with greater ease and precision.

Take tailwhips, for example – without brakes, you don’t have to worry about timing your release while spinning the bike.

This gives you better control and stability in the air, resulting in a smoother and more impressive landing.

young man performing tricks with a flatland bmx

But that’s not all – going brakeless also allows you to maintain your speed and momentum while performing tricks.

No more resistance from braking means that even difficult maneuvers, like long grinds, become more doable.

With that extra speed and momentum, you can take on even the most complex stunts with confidence and finesse.

Show Off Their Skills

Riding brakeless is not for the faint of heart. You need to be confident in your abilities and always maintain control to avoid any accidents.

It takes serious skill and precision to pull off tricks and maneuvers that require speed and momentum on a brakeless bike.

And let’s be real, BMX riding is already risky enough, so going without brakes requires even more caution and concentration.

But for those of us who have some experience and are up for the challenge, riding brakeless provides a unique opportunity to prove our skills at a whole new level.

bmx cyclist jumps his bike at night time

Different Styles of Brakeless BMX

Brakeless BMX bikes have become a popular style of riding in the world of BMX.

Riders who prefer brakeless bikes enjoy the challenge of maintaining control and balance while riding at high speeds, as well as the extra freedom it provides for performing complex maneuvers.

In this article, we will explore the various styles of brakeless BMX bikes and how they differ from their traditional counterparts with brakes.

From freestyle to street riding, this guide will help you understand the different types of brakeless BMX bikes and which style may suit your riding preferences.

Vert BMX Bikes

Verts are a type of half-pipe ramp or double-sided ramp used by BMX riders and skateboarders for performing stunts.

The name is a nostalgic reference to the time when riders used the insides of empty pools for getting air from the edges.

The heights and lengths of Verts can vary significantly, with full-lip 8-meter Verts being utilized in major sporting events such as the X-Games.

During their performance, BMX riders will go back and forth on either side of the ramp launching themselves into the air.

They perform many different stunts while in midair such as flips, spins, and twirls that impress spectators.

Verts offer a unique thrill for both participants and viewers alike. Aside from fun sports competitions, there are other recreational activities that Verts are suitable for including vert skating and psychobilly music performances.

Freestyle BMX Bikes

Freestyle BMX bikes offer riders extraordinary freedom to perform tricks and stunts in an extreme manner that is far removed from the types of riding seen on traditional BMX bikes.

This style of bike has been tweaked and refined over time to become focused on what riders need from a freestyle setting.

The result is an incredibly durable machine with a design that facilitates performing big airs and driving hard into larger slides, grinds, and near-impossible tricks with ease.

However, it is not necessarily made for speed as much as it is for wheelied turns, spins, and off-balance movements.

No matter how many radical maneuvers these awesome machines can take, they remain strong enough to withstand extreme punishment and support their riders through each session.

Park BMX Bikes

bmx rider in skatepark training outdoor

Park BMX bikes are specifically designed for street riding, skate parks, and bike parks. They feature a heavy and durable build that can withstand the rigors of intense trick riding.

One unique characteristic of Park BMX bikes is the common inclusion of pegs, which allow riders to perform a variety of stunts.

Another key feature of Park BMX bikes is their gear ratio. The gear ratio is typically optimized for short burst energy, enabling riders to quickly accelerate and perform tricks.

While some Park BMX bikes may come equipped with brakes, many riders prefer to ride without them. This lack of brakes allows for greater freedom of movement and a more fluid riding experience.

Despite the lack of brakes, Park BMX bikes are a popular choice among experienced riders and those with advanced skills.

They are often used in competition and freestyle riding, where their heavy build and gear ratio allows for powerful and precise maneuvers.

Street BMX Bikes

young bmx bicycle rider

Street riding is a style of freestyle bicycling that has become increasingly popular in recent years.

It consists of performing stunts and tricks on the streets of urban areas, often making use of common obstacles such as rails, stairs, walls, ledges, and other types of features found in typical cityscapes.

To match this unique environment, these bikes tend to be kitted with smoother tires so they can move fast and free without unnecessary vibrations.

The frames may also be somewhat burlier than usual to account for potential impacts during jumps or drops.

Some even come without a rear brake, making them more accessible for those riders who are comfortable enough to brave street riding without any sort of braking power.

Dirt/Jumping BMX Bikes

Dirt jumping bikes are specifically designed to handle the ups and downs of a dirt track, from small jumps to those massive ‘big air’ stunts.

These bikes combine the best of freestyle riding with the speed of racing, giving you the thrill of the jump without the need for breakneck speed.

Everything is built to handle the rough and tumble of dirt jumping.

The frames are lightweight yet sturdy, ensuring that you have complete control over every jump and landing.

And the tires are designed to provide excellent traction, so you can approach each jump with confidence, knowing that you won’t lose grip at the crucial moment.

Mastering The Art of BMX Riding Without Brakes

When riding your bike, you’ll need to consider the terrain in order to properly navigate it while also learning when it’s safe to drift into turns or hop over smaller obstacles.

Even if you manage to successfully master this technique, there will still be times when accidents can happen suddenly, so always wearing full safety gear is important for any type of cycling regardless of braking equipment.

Below, we’ll walk you through how to ride BMX without brakes and some tips to keep you safe while you ride.

Braking Without Brakes

With the right technique and a bit of practice, you’ll be able to come to a stop even without traditional brake systems.

Let’s take a look at some of the methods that can help you stop your BMX safely and efficiently without brakes.

Foot Braking

To execute this technique, simply remove your feet from the pedals and use them to slow down the bike.

Using the sole of your shoe is a common technique for foot braking.

Simply press the sole of your shoe against the ground to slow down the bike.


Skidding is a popular technique for stopping your bike without relying on brakes.

It’s a bit tricky to execute, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll feel like a pro!

To pull off this move, you need to shift your weight towards the back of the bike while leaning it slightly forward.

Then, pedal backward to build up momentum and lift your front wheel off the ground.

Once you’re ready to come to a stop, lock the back wheel with your feet and slide the bike to a halt like a boss!

But don’t forget, skidding takes practice and can cause your tires to wear out quickly.

So, it’s important to replace them regularly and not rely solely on skidding as your primary method of stopping.

Ditch The Bike

While skidding and foot braking can work, sometimes these methods may not be enough. It happens sometimes, but don’t worry because there’s another technique that you can use as a last resort – ditching the bike.

Now, before you go ditching your bike, make sure that you’ve exhausted all your other options.

If you’re at a point where you can’t stop your bike, then it’s time to consider jumping off and bracing for impact.

But hold on, safety first! Take a quick look around you to make sure there are no obstacles in your way.

And don’t forget to put on your protective gear – helmet, elbow pads, knee pads, and gloves.

When you’re ready to ditch, make sure to position yourself in a way that allows for a smooth jump off the bike. Be aware of your surroundings and stay focused.

Remember, ditching the bike is a last resort. But if you have to do it, do it safely.

Is It Illegal To Ride a BMX Without Brakes?

It’s illegal to ride a BMX bike without brakes since it poses a huge risk not only to the rider but also to pedestrians and other riders.

Just imagine the fear of not being able to stop when a car suddenly appears in your path!

That’s why the law mandates all BMX bikes to have at least one brake system for everyone’s safety.

If caught riding brakeless in public, you could face serious consequences like tickets or fines.

While we understand the appeal of brakeless style, there are alternatives like coaster brakes or direct-pull brakes that still allow for braking without traditional levers or cables.

How Do BMX Brakes Work? BMX Brakes Types

BMX bikes have a reputation for being brakeless, but many riders prefer to have brakes on their bikes for safety and control.

In this section, we’ll discuss how BMX brakes work and the different types of brakes available for BMX bikes.

Coaster Brakes

Coaster brakes are built into the rear hub of your bike and work by pedaling backward, making them a low-maintenance and stylish option for old-school riders.

While many modern bikes use linear-pull or disc brakes for increased braking power, coaster brakes still have a devoted following.

That being said, if you’re a freestyle rider looking to perform advanced tricks, then coaster brakes might not be the best option for you.

These brakes can limit the wheel diameter available and make it harder to balance during trick attempts.

For freestyle pilots looking for increased control during stunts, other braking systems might be more suitable.

However, if you’re someone who values a low-maintenance system and a classic ride, then coaster brakes might be just what you need.

With their timeless good looks and confidence on long rides, these brakes are sure to satisfy.


V brake photo

If you’re looking for a type of brake that can deliver some serious stopping power, you might want to consider V-brakes.

Also known as linear-pull brakes or direct-pull brakes, are a favorite among BMX riders.

Unlike cantilever brakes, they have two brake arms that move inward to clamp down on the rim of the wheel, resulting in some seriously impressive braking power.

What’s even better is that V-brakes can be used with the same frame mounts as cantilever brakes, but their design gives them better leverage and more stopping power.

This makes them an excellent choice for different types of bikes and riding styles.

Of course, if you really want to make the most of your V-brakes, you’ll need to make sure you’ve got some high-quality brake pads that can provide the necessary friction.

Investing in upgraded brake pads can make a significant difference in the performance of your V-brakes, allowing you to stop quickly and safely.


U brake photo

If you’re a freestyle rider looking for a high-performing braking system, the U-brake is definitely worth considering.

This brake system is commonly found on BMX bikes and is favored by experienced riders for freestyle riding.

The brake’s C-shaped arms cut across each other above the tire, allowing the left brake pad to function on the right side and the right brake pad to function on the left side.

This self-contained brake system also features barrel adjusters which can be used to fine-tune the brake’s position.

One of its main advantages is that it can be used with detanglers, which are necessary for performing complex tricks that require you to rotate the handlebars.

The C-shaped arms provide plenty of clearance for detanglers, and the brake itself is easy to adjust and maintain.

Gyro / Rotor / Detangler

The Gyro, Rotor, or Detangler brake system is a common feature found on freestyle BMX bikes.

It allows for the handlebars to make a complete 360-degree rotation without tangling the brake cables.

This system is crucial for freestyle riders who perform complex tricks and need a brake system that doesn’t interfere with their maneuverability.

It consists of several parts, including the rotor itself, which is a small disc attached to the bike’s stem.

The rotor has two sets of brake cable arms that attach to the brake levers on the handlebars.

The brake cables then run through a housing and connect to the brake calipers on the rear wheel.

When the rider turns the handlebars, the rotor also rotates, allowing the brake cables to twist without tangling.

How Does Gyro Brake Work?

The brake lever pulls two separate cables, splitting them on the handlebar and leading them into a brazed plate at the headset.

This separates each cable onto its own side of the head tube and brake arms push pads against both sides of the rim independently, allowing for smoother turns and better control.

Once the lever is pulled, tension builds as the cable plates are contracted inward towards each other while simultaneously pushing out toward (and over) the brakes arms.

With this action comes an almost instant friction response that slows and stops the bike with less resistance than regular brakes would provide.

Since both brake arms operate independently from one another, it eliminates any torque pressure usually created when only one side can apply braking pressure as in traditional U-brakes.

Steps for Removing Brakes on a BMX Bike

Removing brakes from a BMX bike is a straightforward process that requires a few basic tools. You will need a 5mm and 2mm Allen key and a 10mm wrench.

Removing Front BMX Brakes

Here is a step-by-step guide to help you remove the front BMX brakes:

  • Use Allen keys and an open or boxed end wrench as tools for removing the front brakes.
  • Loosen the single nut on the front of the brake to make the caliber expand.
  • Pull the brake cable to expose the inner cable and adjust the nut to align the slits in the nut with the slit in the brake housing.
  • Remove the brake cable from the brake lever and assembly.
  • Loosen the bolt for the hinge on the brake lever or the bolt in the same area to allow the brake to slide.
  • Slide off the brake by removing the grip.
  • Loosen the nut on the front of the brake caliper and remove the nut holding the brake caliper to the fork from the back side.
  • Wipe down the bike to remove excess grime after removing the front brake.

Removing Rear BMX Brakes

Here is a step-by-step guide to help you remove the rear BMX brakes:

  • Start by pulling the caliper and holding it down. Then, pull out the part connected to it and use an adjustable wrench to loosen the bolt on the other side.
  • Loosen the bolt as much as possible to allow the line to come through. Feed the cable through the hole.
  • After removing the calipers, put them in a baggie to keep them organized and prevent parts from getting lost.
  • Remove the brakes from the bike, and consider putting them in a baggie as well.
  • To continue disassembling the bike, remove the part at the top using a wrench and an Allen key.
  • Fine-tune the brakes by adjusting them to the same area and twisting them. This will remove the brakes completely.
  • Untighten the brake housing up top and remove the grip to replace it if desired.

Brakeless on BMX Bike: Yes or no?

Brakeless riding may seem like a sweet choice for BMX riders looking to lighten the load and streamline their look, but let’s not forget the risks involved.

Especially if you’re new to the game, navigating unexpected obstacles or tricky situations without brakes can quickly lead to a dangerous wipeout.

Now, if you’re a seasoned rider and feel confident in your abilities, then by all means, go ahead and give brakeless riding a spin.

Just remember to stay safe by suiting up with protective gear like a helmet, elbow and knee pads, and gloves.

But for those of us still getting the hang of BMX tricks and stunts, it’s best to stick with brakes for now.

Keep in mind that ultimately, the choice to go brakeless or not is up to you and your skill level. Just make sure you weigh the pros and cons before making any changes.

Frequently Asked Questions

No, not all BMX bikes have no brakes. While some BMX bikes may come without brakes, others come with brakes, and some even have both front and rear brakes. It ultimately depends on the type of riding the bike is intended for and the rider’s personal preference.

BMX bikes still have brakes because they are required for safety reasons. While some riders may prefer to ride without brakes for certain tricks or stunts, it is important to have them in case of emergency stops or unexpected obstacles.

In many countries, transit regulations require bikes to have functioning brakes as a standard feature.

In addition to legal compliance, experienced riders understand that brakes provide a vital element of safety on the bike.

Riding a bike without brakes on open roads can be extremely dangerous, particularly in crowded urban areas where rapid, powerful braking is often required to avoid collisions with other cyclists or pedestrians.

People ride BMX bikes without brakes because it allows for greater control, speed, and maneuverability. The lack of brakes also adds a level of excitement and risk to the sport, making it more thrilling for riders and spectators alike.

However, it is important to note that riding without brakes requires a high level of skill and experience.

For freestyle riders, going brakeless eliminates the weight and complexity of brake systems, making tricks easier and more stylish.

By removing the need to brake, riders can focus solely on performing intricate maneuvers and achieving greater control over their bike.

In addition to practical reasons, going brakeless is also seen as a fashion statement among skilled and experienced BMX riders.

Similar Posts