BMX TERMS DICTIONARY


BMX terms dictionary features an alphabetical list of most used bmx terms. For easy search press CTRL+F (search) and enter the desired word.


A

Axle: The shaft on which the wheel revolves.
ABA: Acronym for American Bicycle Association, the major BMX racing association in the United States. “Is that an ABA track or something local?”
Alligator Pit: a very difficult gap that could pose a serious threat to the rider if not done properly. “You’re really going to try and jump that ridiculous alligator pit?” [see also: gap]
All-over: in poor condition, odd. “That guy’s grinds are all-over the place.”
Air Trick: a trick performed by contorting one’s body or bicycle while in the air. “He grinds pretty well, but he doesn’t have many air tricks.”
Aero wall rim: a rim with rounded wall designed for brakeless use

B

Bar Spin: While in the air, the rider leans backwards, one hand is removed from the bars, the other hand spins the bars, then the rider catches the bars and rides away.
Bead: The outside edge of the tire, which is stiffened by a wire.
Berm: An embankment on a track built up on the outside of a turn to create a banked curve.
Bottom Bracket: The mechanism at the bottom of the bicycle frame, which holds the spindle and cranks.
Brake Shoe: A rubber pad, which stops the bike by pressing on the rims, creating friction.
Brakes: Any bicycle braking system which works by opening and closing two brake shoes on the rim in a clamping motion, like jaws.
Brake Lever: A lever mounted on the handlebars used for activating the brake by pulling a cable.
Bank: a sloping hill, generally of grass or cement, that can be used to aid in the performance of tricks. “We found a nice bank to tailwhip off of.”
Bank-to-wall: a sloping hill leading into a vertical or near-vertical wall, possibly with a gap between the top of the slope and the bottom of the wall. “I found a nice bank-to-wall setup in an alley yesterday.”
Bars: an abbreviation of handlebars. “My bars are too wide, do you have a hacksaw?”
Biff: to crash, mess up. “I totally biffed that gap.”
Biker: a motorcycle rider or motorcycle enthusiast. NOT an acceptable term to use in place of rider. “Did you see that biker with his motorcycle?” [see also: rider]
Blow: to lose one’s footing on the pedals after landing. “If you don’t absorb the shock with your legs you’ll blow right off the pedals.” [see also: clean]
BMX: acronym for Bicycle Motocross, meaning 1. downhill bicycle racing on dirt tracks (sometimes referred to as BMX racing). “Have you been to the BMX track lately?” 2. the use of a bicycle to perform intricate maneuvers over jumps or other obstacles (sometimes referred to as Freestyle BMX, or simply Freestyle). “Oh, I didn’t know you rode BMX, can you do any cool tricks?”
Box: a generic name for numerous types of ramps. “You should try doing that trick on the box.”
Bunnyhop: 1. riding along and lifting both wheels off the ground, the starting point for almost all BMX tricks. “My bunnyhops haven’t been very good since I broke my wrist.” 2. the act of performing a bunnyhop. “Do you think you can bunnyhop up those stairs?”
Burly: 1. ridiculous or incredible in the sense of distance or strength required. “That was such a burly grind.” 2. one who often performs burly tricks. “Joe Kawalski is such a burly rider.”

C

Cable: Steel wire braided into cables and sometimes with plastic coiling. Cables are used to connect the brake lever to the brake.
Caliper Brakes: A braking system that is centrally mounted on the frame. Two arms with a spring mechanism to provide the movement at the brake pads to the rim.
Cantilever Brakes: A dual mounted brake where the brake spring is connected to the post.
Chainstay(CS): The part of the bicycle frame that runs parallel to the chain. It connects the bottom bracket to the rear dropouts.
Chainwheel: A one-piece front gear. The chainwheel is attached to the cranks.
Crank: The metal arm to which the pedals are attached.
Camp Woodward: a well known and respected summer camp specifically for riders. The camp contains numerous indoor and outdoor parks, dirt jumps, and various other obstacles for the campers to enjoy. “I’m saving up so I can go to Camp Woodward this summer.”
Can-can: a trick consisting of taking one foot off its pedal, kicking that leg over the top tube, then replacing it on its pedal while in the air. “His can-can’s are amazing.”
Case: to land short on a jump, hitting the front of the landing with the bike’s back tire and jarring the rider. “I really cased the landing on that last double.” [see also: clean]
Chain: 1. the part of a bicycle which runs around the sprocket and freewheel. “I broke my chain last night and need to get a new one before I can ride.” 2. the stays running from the dropouts to the bottom of the seat tube. “My back peg keeps slipping off during feeble grinds and my chain stays are getting messed up.
Channel: a section of a quarter-pipe at a different level than the rest, usually due to a roll-in or walkway through the transition itself. “He transferred over the entire channel like it was nothing.” [see also: roll-in]
Chenga World: one of the first bike parks in the USA, it was located in North Ridgeville, OH until it shut down in 2007 due to money problems. “We should definitely go to Chenga World tonight.”
Crooked: a grind consisting of balancing on opposite pegs, such as the front left and back right or vise versa. “I keep missing my front peg when I try crooked grinds, and now my down tube is dented.”

D

Down Tube: The part of the bicycle frame which slants downward at an angle. It connects the head tube to the bottom bracket.
Dropouts: Small slotted openings, which holds the front and rear wheel axles. On many bikes, the dropouts do not appear to be separate parts.They connect the chain stays to the seat stays, and are also welded to the ends of the front forks.
Dan’s Competition: a well known mail-order catalogue for anything BMX related, including bike parts, apparel, pads, and videos.
Dialed: consistent, perfect. “He has really dialed tailwhips.”
Dirt: BMX riding on jumps formed from packed dirt, usually including rollers, berms, and doubles. “I think I’m going to start riding more dirt.”
Disaster: 1. a stall consisting of placing a rail, ledge, or lip perpendicular to the bicycle between the chainwheel and rear tire. “I’ve been working on my disasters, but I keep breaking my chain.” 2. the act of performing a disaster. “If you try and disaster that guard rail you might end up flipping OTB.”
Double peg: 1. a grind or stall consisting of balancing on both pegs on the same side of the bicycle. “I just learned double-peg grinds yesterday.” 2. the act of performing a double-peg grind or stall. “I tried to double-peg the sub box yesterday.”

E

Endo: When the front wheel of a bike is stopped and the rider falls over the front handlebars.

F

Feeble Grind: The front wheel of the bike is on top of an obstacle such as a ledge, while one back peg grinds along the top of the obstacle.
Flair: A back flip and 180 degree rotation in the same motion.
Flatspin: The rider spins on a horizontal axis.
Fork: The double pronged section of the bike, which holds the front wheel.
Freewheel: A one-piece rear gear that allows the rider to back pedal. Bearings are built in.
Flatland: BMX riding on flat ground, including various balancing and spinning techniques while standing in awkward positions on various parts of the bike, including the pegs, handlebars, and seat. “Most of the best flatland riders live in Tokyo.”
Flow: the ease with which a rider transitions from one ramp or obstacle to the next. “That rider’s tricks were pretty tweaked, but he had terrible flow.”
Freestyle: the form of BMX consisting of intricate maneuvers over jumps and other obstacles. “I’ve been riding freestyle for about six years now.”

G

Gear Ratio: A number, which indicates the relationship between the two gears and tells how much work a particular combination of gears will do.
Gusset: A triangle of reinforcing steel located between the top tube and down tubes. A brace that reinforces frame tubing junctions.
Gyro: A device that enables you to spin the handlebars without brake cable interference.
Gyro tabs: removable brake cables' ender near rotor
Gap: 1. an area to be jumped over on a bicycle, often in combination with other tricks. “There’s a nice gap between the ledge and the stair set.” 2. the act of jumping over a gap. “Do you think you can gap that ditch?” [see also: Alligator Pit]
Gnar: anything disgusting or abhorrent. Originated from the term gnarly and sometimes used as a prefix. “There’s some sort of gnar all over my bike.” “My car is a total gnar-mobile.”
Goofy-footed: having the tendency to spin towards the direction of your forward foot. A goofy-footed rider who feels comfortable with their left foot forward spins to the left. “That kid does crazy spins, even though he’s goofy-footed.”
Grind: 1. a trick performed by placing a part or combination of parts of the bicycle, such as the pegs, chainwheel, or pedals, on an obstacle and sliding along it. “I still want to learn feeble grinds.” 2. the act of performing a grind. “I’ve been trying to grind that ledge for hours.” 3. a type of box designed for grinding. “Try to feeble the grind box.”

H

Headtube: Short vertical tube at the very front or “head” of the bike. The front fork and headset fits inside the head tube.
Holeshot: Taking the lead position out of the starting gate and going into the first turn.
Hub: Cylinder that holds the axle of each wheel.
Half-cab: a jumping 180-degree turn while rolling backwards, named after the caballero, a trick in skateboarding consisting of a 360-degree rotation while rolling backwards. “Instead of doing a rollback, he decided to half-cab out of his trick.” Half-pipe: a ramp resembling a half cross-section of a complete cylinder, consisting of two quarter-pipes facing each other. “I could just go back and forth across a half-pipe for hours.”
Handrail: refers to any hand-rail going down stairs or a slope, which are used for grinds. “When was the last time you feebled a handrail?”
Headset: the bearings and housing that allows for free and easy movement of the handlebars and front wheel. “I just bought a new headset, and now my barspins are amazing!”
Hip: two perpendicular sloping hills that share a corner, often times used as a jump by transferring from one slope to the other. “You should try jumping that hip.”
Huck: to throw oneself haphazardly into a trick or maneuver. “I don’t even care anymore, I’m just going to huck it and hope for the best.”
Hucker: one who hucks often. “Joe may be a hucker, but he still does some nice tricks.”

L

Linear Brake: A particular type of brake that utilizes a side or linear pull system in which requires a v-type or linear lever. This system offers the most braking force available. Generally used by racers.
Lookdown: The rider leans away from the direction they are turning. At this time the pedals are rotated 45 degrees, the bars are turned, and it appears the rider is standing up on  the bike.
LHD/RHD: Left hand drive/ Right hand drive - rear hub with driver on the left or right side
Landing: an inclined obstacle used to prevent riders from breaking their ankles upon hitting the ground. “That steep bank would make a great landing.”
Launch: an obstacle used to propel a rider through the air. “If you use the curb as a launch you can probably make it over the fire hydrant.”
Ledge: a short wall used to perform BMX tricks. “You should try and feeble the ledge next to that stair set.”
Lip: 1. the very top of the transition on a ramp, just before the coping. “You have to pull up on the bars just as you hit the lip.” 2. (n) any trick done on the lip of a ramp. “He’s really good at doing lip tricks on quarter-pipes.”

M

Manual: The act of riding a wheelie without pedaling.
Moto: A single race heat.
Motocross: Originally a cross-country motorcycle race. The term is now also used to describe BMX races held on dirt tracks.

N

Nac Nac: The rear of the bike is swung to the right and the right foot is swung far behind the rider over the top tube.
No Footer: Both feet are taken off the pedals and stuck out to the side.
No Footed Can Can: Both feet are taken off the pedals and stuck out to the same side.
Nothing: While in the air, the rider takes hands and feet off the bike at the same time.

O

Opposite: to do the rotation/trick in opposite direction to you standard.
One Footer: The rider takes one foot off the pedal and kicks it out to the side.
One Hander: One hand is taken off the handlebar.
Offset: fork's dropouts extention length
Ogre: an annoying, ignorant individual, most commonly with an image to uphold and an IQ lower than their shoe size. “I think that ogre in the leather jacket wants to fight me or something.”
OTB: acronym for Over The Bars. “He hit hard and flipped OTB.”
Over: being thrown off one’s bicycle, over the handlebars, and into the ground. “Ouch, did you see him just flip over the bars?”

P

Park: BMX riding on a series of wooden or cement ramps designed specifically for BMX bicycles or skateboards. Derived from the term skate park. “I think Chad Degroot is more of a park rider.”
Peg: a metal cylinder placed over the axle nuts and used to perform grinds, stalls, and stand on during flatland maneuvers. “I think my back right peg is coming loose.”
Poser: one who is in the sport for the wrong reasons, most commonly fashion, fad, or image. “He may have a nice bike, but he can’t even bunnyhop - what a poser.”
Props: 1. congratulations, praise. “I have to give him props for that last trick.” 2. a popular video magazine. “I can’t wait for the new issue of Props to come out.”
Pull: to successfully complete, as in a trick or a gap. “He pulled that fufanu clean.”

R

Rhythm Section: A series of jumps or rollers back to back on a track that pose as an obstacle.
Roller: An obstacle on a track that is rolled over as opposed to being jumped.
Rad: 1. the name of a BMX movie from the 1980’s revered to this day in BMX culture. “I watched Rad last night and now I want to ride my bike.” 2. (adj/adv) cool, awesome. This term is somewhat archaic, but still used for humor value. “Those pedals are so rad.”
Rail: a metal pipe used for grinds. “I really want to double-peg that rail.” [see also: handrail]
Ramp: an obstacle made of cement, wood, or dirt and used to perform BMX tricks. “We have a couple of ramps in my back yard.”
Resi: a semi-soft rubber matting put down on ramps for padding while trying particularly dangerous or intricate tricks. The use of resi is a very heated issue in BMX: some people see it as giving riders the courage to perform tricks that would otherwise be too dangerous, and others view it as undermining the raw excitement and adrenaline most riders pursue in BMX. “I’ve only done a couple of tailwhips on resi, and I’m not sure if I’m comfortable with them yet.”
Rider:  tne who participates in BMX. “That guy is a really strong rider.”
Riding: the act of performing on a BMX bicycle. “I can’t wait to go riding
Rollback: a trick performed by rolling backwards then pivoting 180-degrees on the back wheel of your bicycle. “I can’t do half-cabs, but my rollbacks are pretty dialed.”
Rollers: 1. small dirt mounds ranging from one to two feet tall and placed very close together with the intent of being manualed over. “Right after the double is a set of rollers.”    2. two rubber cylinders placed parallel each other in a metal frame and connected by a rubber belt to a third cylinder placed further apart from the first two, used by placing the back wheel of a bicycle between the two back cylinders and the front tire on the front cylinder and pedaling the bicycle. Often times used to warm up for BMX races or improve balance.
tomorrow.”
Roll-in: a type of channel slightly raised from the rest of the ramp with a more gentle slope at the top and bottom and usually standing higher above the deck used for gaining speed into the ramp. “That’s a pretty steep roll-in on the quarter-pipe.”

S

Saddle: Another name for a bicycle seat.
Seat Stays: Section of the frame, which runs from the top of the seat tube to the rear dropouts.
Sew-Ups: A type of tire, which is actually sewn around the tube. Also called a tubular tire.
Seat Post: The tube, which holds the seat and goes into the frame.
Stem: The part connected to the fork that holds the handlebars. Sometimes referred to as a Gooseneck.
Step-Up: A jump in which the landing is elevated above the launch.
Sprocket: Same as a chainwheel.
Straigh wall rim: a rim with straight wall designed for the use of brake
Scorpion: 1. a particularly nasty fall where a rider flips over the handlebars and lands on their face/chest, causing their back to arch and their legs to bend over their head as they slide across the ground. “That was a gnarly scorpion skid you did on the first jump.” 2. the act of performing a scorpion skid. “Did you see him scorpion over the first set?”
Seat: 1. the padded part of a bicycle on which you sit. “My new seat is so soft.” 2. the tube of a frame running vertically between the top tube and the seat stays. “My seat tube is too big for this new post.” 3. the post on which a seat sits. “My new seat post is solid titanium.” 4. the stays running from the top of the seat tube to the rear dropouts. “My brakes are mounted to my seat stays on this new frame.”
Session: 1. a length of time spent riding. “We had a good session at the park today.” 2. to ride a particular place for a period of time. “We sessioned the park all day.”
Setup: 1. a particular combination of ramps, jumps, or obstacles. “I found a really nice bank-to-wall setup.” 2. a certain combination of parts, or lack thereof, a rider chooses to use on his bike. “You only run one peg? That’s an odd setup.”
Sick: impressive, amazing. “I love this park, it’s so sick.”
Shady: discomforting, scary, or unnerving. “That’s a shady dirt jump.”
Shred: to ride intensely. “I can’t wait to shred the trails when I get home.”
Shredder: one who rides intensely. “Here comes that shredder with the long hair.”
Skate Park: 1. a collection of cement or wooden ramps designed for skating or skating and BMX. “I went to the skate park last night, but it was odd because of the small ramps.” 2. a collection of cement or wooden ramps designed for BMX. “I was at the bike park for six hours strait yesterday.”
Sketchy: 1. discomforting, scary, or unnerving. “That whole skate park is pretty sketchy.” 2. (adv) poorly done. “I did the trick, but the landing was sketchy.”
Snake: to cut in front of someone else suddenly, disturbing their run or causing them to fall. “I was going to hit the box until that kid on the skateboard snaked me.”
Snake Run: a long, winding quarter-pipe made of cement. “The skate park has an amazing 40-foot snake run.”
Stall: a trick performed by placing a part or combination of parts of the bicycle, such as the pegs, chainwheel, or pedals, on an object and balancing for a moment. To have successfully completed a stall, one must demonstrate full control of the bicycle and ride away without falling off the bicycle or putting a foot on the ground. “I think I can stall the sub-box, but it’s pretty tall.
Stays: the bars running from the dropouts to the top and bottom of the seat tube, generally preceded by seat or chain to indicate which set of stays are being referred to. “I don’t know what happened, but my seat stays are all messed up.”
Stoked: excited. “I’m so stoked to go to Chenga World tomorrow.”
Street: BMX riding on natural or man-made terrain within cities, such as ledges, curbs, broken glass, and bums. Anything not made specifically to be ridden on is potentially a street obstacle. “We were going to go downtown and ride street later tonight.” [see also: night mission]
Strong: 1. well performed, intense, or nicely done. “He has really strong street skills.” 2. (adj) very talented. “Ryan Nyquist is a strong vert rider.”
Stunt: a trick done on an obstacle that makes the trick particularly difficult, such as doing a backflip over a fifty-four foot gap, or an icepick stall on the runner of a helicopter (both documented stunts). “I want to do a stunt involving a crocodile, but I think they’re really expensive.”
Style: the way in which a rider does a trick that makes it his own, the fine distinctions noticeable between two riders’ variation of the same trick. Extremely important in BMX. “Dave Mirra may have huge moves, but he has as much style as two rocks set side by side.”
Subbox: a wooden box placed on the deck of a ramp intended to be used for grinds or stalls. “I still can’t believe he icepicked the sub box.”

T

Tabletop: A jump on a track that is completely level or flat all the way across it from the lip to the landing.
Tailtap: The rider lands on the deck of a ramp or obstacle on just the back tire while holding the breaks, then falls back into the transition and rides away.
Toboggan: The front of the bike is pointed straight down, the rider leans back, one hand grabs the nose of the seat, and the other hand turns the handlebars 90 degrees.
Turndown: The front of the bike is pulled up so it is almost vertical, turned sideways, and the bars are crossed nearly 180 degrees.
Top Tube: The top horizontal tube on a bicycle frame, between your headtube and seat tube.
Tailwhip: 1. a trick consisting of kicking the back end of one’s bicycle in a complete revolution around the handlebars. “I can never get my tailwhips to come all the way around.” 2. the act of performing a tailwhip. “I could tailwhip that gap all day.”
Trails: a freestyle BMX dirt course consisting of dirt jumps spaced throughout winding trails, usually in the woods. “I’ve been building trails in my back yard for about a year now.”
Transfer: jumping over one area of a ramp onto another, or from one ramp to another. “You should try and transfer from the box jump to the quarter-pipe.”
Transition: the part of a ramp where the angle starts to steepen, causing the surface to curve. “The quarter-pipe has a really steep transition.”
Trick: 1. any feat performed on a BMX bicycle. “I wish I could do more tricks on quarter-pipes.” [see also: lip trick, stall, grind, air trick, stunt, tailwhip, barspin, crooked, double-peg, feeble, icepick, fufanu, disaster, can-can] 2. (v) the act of performing a trick. “Do you think you could trick off that ledge?”
Tweaked: perfect, to the fullest extent. “His can-cans are tweaked.”
Tweaker: a person who is odd or annoying, or whose presence is disconcerting. That tweaker who always cries when he falls is back.”

U

U-brake: A U-shaped center pull brake that uses a ratcheting spring tension system.
Un-Turndown: The same as a Turndown, but without crossing the bars.

X-Up: The handle bars are turned a full 180 degrees.
180, 360, 540, 720, 900: Refers to the number degrees spun in the air.
360 Tailwhip: A 360 degree rotation while spinning the frame a full rotation as well.
X-Games: ESPN’s annual contest series, which mostly consists of Dave Mirra winning gold medals and prize money. While popular among the younger generations of riders, these events tend to be mocked often within the BMX community for their commercialization and extreme distortion of what is fundamentally BMX. “I was going to go to the X-Games, but then I realized that I could watch them on TV.”

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