Have you been looking around to find a BMX bike and wondered what all the fuss is about these smaller 10” BMX bikes that you’ve seen flying around the skatepark or BMX track? Well, in this post, we are going to unpack what it means for you to shred harder on the mini BMX craze that is taking over neighborhoods near you.
What is a Mini BMX Bike?
A Mini BMX is simply a 10 inch version of a regular sized BMX. They have often been known as a Mini Rocker or Rocker BMX, but all a Rocker Mini BMX is, is a brand of Mini BMX. (We secretly hope in time they will be called Wildcat Mini’s rather than Mini Rockers!! We are already seeing that happening in countries like Australia, where Wildcat is the minibike of choice).
There were quite a few different brands that kicked off between 2011 and 2019, including Wildcat Mini BMX, Mini Rocker BMX, Fatboy Mini BMX, Venom, Spartan Mini and a number of other department store bikes that weighed a ton, bombed like rocks, and didn’t stand up to the test of time.
But we are getting ahead of ourselves.
What is the history of Mini BMX bikes?
Mini BMX bikes have been around since 1960. They actually pre-date full sized BMX bikes. Legend has it that some guys in Indonesia took cartwheels and made crude frames to make the first ever mini bikes so they could rip up their local park and streets. But given the very small market for these, and limited ability to make them stronger and lighter, they quickly fizzled out until around about 2011.
In 2011, spurred on the legends of their ancestors, some young Indonesian BMX riders started to remake the modern version of Mini BMX Bikes and with the rise of YouTube and social media, quickly found that they could do some really cool tricks on these bikes and the sport took off at a speed it hadn’t been able to do in the 1960’s.
Before we knew it, quite a number of factories had sprung up, and the mini bike craze took off with a vengeance across multiple markets around the world.
What is the difference between a regular BMX bike, a normal bike and a mini BMX bike?
Your typical BMX bike differs from a normal bike in a number of areas. For starters, a BMX bike normally has 20 inch tires, although you’ll also find 16” BMX bikes, 18” BMX bikes, 22 inch BMX bikes and 24 inch BMX bikes.
The tread on a BMX bike is also quite different to a regular bicycle, to give it better traction on a dirt track and doing jumps at the park. BMX riders often want more traction and grip rather than the speed required on a road bike.
So, a Mini BMX bike is just a smaller version on a regular BMX bike, with 10 inch tires to keep it closer to the ground.
But don’t let the size of a mini BMX bike fool you that they are only for young children. If you make a trek down to your local skate park, or USA BMX event, the likelihood is that you are going to see teenagers and adults alike riding a Mini BMX Bike.
As we say – Mini BMX Bikes are ‘Built for Bigger Things!’ (This was no truer in November 2019 when Wildcat Mini BMX was at the USA BMX Grand Nationals in Tulsa, OK, and someone took a number of our Wildcat ‘Built for bigger things’ stickers and plastered them all over the men’s bathrooms – it created a lot of laughter around the event. Wait for what we do in 2020 in Tulsa!!)
When it comes to Wildcat, we keep pushing our research and development team to keep taking the bikes further and further to ensure we are building the strongest, lightest and best looking Mini BMX bikes on the market.
Don’t let the size of a Wildcat Mini BMX fool you into thinking that they are just a kids bike – all our parts and specification are custom made to a full sized BMX standard, so they last the beating you are going to give them at the track or skatepark. And we keep spurring on our team to push the boundaries of what it means to ride hard on the best mini BMX bike in America.
Things to consider before buying a Mini BMX
When you are buying a Mini BMX, there are a number of things you want to consider, whether you are a beginner or professional bmx’er. Use this BMX buying guide to help you choose the best BMX to suit your needs.
Who should be riding a Mini BMX?
Mini BMX bikes are suitable for riders of all ages. From a 3 year old, who wants to add training wheels to their bike, to a 40 year old who knows age is no barrier to riding a Mini bike, there is one to suit you.
Most Mini BMX bikes also cater for the weight of an adult, provided you make sure you get the right 3 piece crank which will take more weight (up to 265 lbs. on a Wildcat Mini 3 piece crank bike) over a one piece crank Mini BMX which has been tested up to 220 lbs.
Do Mini BMX bikes come with brakes?
Due to the fat tires on a mini BMX bike, most brands really can’t make brakes work on their mini bikes. Most brands, if they do try to add brakes to their bikes, will just use a standard caliper brake to the back wheel. But because of the thickness of the wheel, these brakes just don’t work well as they can’t effectively grip the wheel enough to stop it from turning. So, Wildcat took the challenge to develop a disc brake for all of our Original 2 and Pro Series bikes. We are the only Mini BMX bike to have Disc Brakes – and they are incredibly effective in stopping a bike when it’s needed.
In mid 2020, Wildcat Mini will also introduce a range of Mini BMX bikes that have a Gyro Kit as well, meaning you can still have a mini bike with disc brakes but still do bar spins and other tricks while having the comfort of brakes – another game changer for mini BMXing.
Mini BMX Price & Warranty
As with most things, you get what you pay for. Mini BMX bikes can range from $100 to $500 – but let us tell you that there is a huge difference between what you get in a $100 bike compared to a $500 bike.
There is a myth that just because something is small, it should be cheaper. But when you think of the skill and technical specification that goes into a full size BMX to make them last the test of time, that skill and technical ability is actually doubled when you are halving the size.
On the cheapest department store Mini BMX bikes, you will find that they are incredibly heavy, the wheels are just cart wheels, and many of the parts are plastic or steel. Wildcat has kept developing the brand and our top of the range Pro Series Mini BMX bikes have aluminum and nylon turbo wheels, aluminum or cro-moly frames and bars, and are much stronger and durable than what you will find in a cheap knockoff that you might find around town.
The craftsmanship is also noticeably different between the cheapest and the dearest bikes – as you would expect. Check the welds, weight, quality of parts, warranty and part selections, and you’ll quickly see there is an incredible difference between different brands and models.
On the better Mini BMX bikes, you will also find a better ray of color choice and specification, including oil slick color, chrome and multi colored bikes, such as you can see below.
You will also want to double check what warranty is offered, and what the customer service from the brand you are buying from is like. At Wildcat BMX, we pride ourselves on offering the best warranty on the market, coupled with exceptional customer service. You only have to look at the number of 5 star reviews that we receive on our bikes to see how people feel about our warranty and customer service.
What else do you need to ride a Mini BMX?
Like with all bikes, you will want to ride hard on a Mini BMX with a great helmet, pads, gloves, closed in shoes, long pants and other protection gear to help keep you safe when you are doing bar spins, 360’s and other tricks at the skatepark.
Availability of Mini BMX Parts
Not all Mini BMX brands carry a full range of parts. Many will have parts on their websites, but it’s always interesting if they have the parts available or not!! Check out how many are sold out – those signs never seem to come down.
At Wildcat Mini BMX, we stock a full range of parts that we manufacture for your Mini BMX bike. If you need a set of pegs, a new chain wheel, a different color of tire or tubes, or want to upgrade your handlebars, we have sizes, colors and options to suit. If it’s not on our website, just ask as we manufacture a whole range of parts to suit most Mini BMX bikes.
Please note though, the patented Wildcat Mini BMX Disc Brakes will only fit on a Wildcat Mini BMX bike and a small selection of Fatboy Mini BMX bikes due to modification of the frames
Buying your Mini BMX Bike
When it comes to choosing which Mini BMX bike to buy, the topmost factors are quality, cost, color, specification and finish. You will need to factor in these things before you make your choice. Below is a checklist of things to consider when you are buying a Mini BMX bike:
What are you planning to use the bike for? Street riding, skatepark, racing or freestyle BMXing.
How heavy is the bike, and is it suited to what you want to use it for?
Do you want brakes, and if so, do you want caliper brakes or disc brakes? (Remember, Wildcat is the only brand to offer Disc Brakes).
Do you want a one piece crank (for younger and lighter riders) or the stronger three piece crank bikes that can take more weight and punishment? (When it comes to Wildcat, our one piece crank bikes take up to 220lbs and the three piece cranks have been tested up to 265lbs).
What size frame do you want? There are many different size frames when it comes to Mini BMX bikes. Wildcat offers the longest top frame in the market on our Pro Series bikes, which make them more comfortable to ride for bigger riders.
Do you want cart wheels, steel wheels or turbo wheels? Your tires have a big bearing on the weight of the bike, but also on how much punishment they can take when you are dropping in from rails or great heights.
Color is important – what color BMX bike is the best? When it comes to Wildcat, our top 5 colors are the Royal Green, Lazer, Fury, Royal Purple and Galaxy Gum.
What is your frame made of – is it steel, aluminum, cro-moly – this impacts durability and weight.
So, which one will you be shredding on? Wildcat Mini BMX are proud to keep pushing the boundaries of what it means to ride a mini bike. We are passionate about the sport and want to see it continue to grow and bring smiles to the faces of kid and adults alike. To help young kids develop a love for BMX from a very early age, even when they are too small to be riding a full size BMX.
Get on it – and remember, Wildcat Mini BMX is Made for Bigger Things.
How did Mini BMX start? By now you've probably seen them flying around your local skatepark or BMX track - Wildcat, Fatboy, Rocker, just some of the brands in existence today... so just where did these crazy little bikes come from? We thought it was time to dive a little deeper and pay homage to the real pioneers of Mini BMX, as well as shine a spotlight on Wildcat’s foundation as a true OG in the Mini BMX movement.
Wildcat Mini BMX has a growing following of fans and riders around the world. We took some time to ask Marshall "Major" Gherke some questions so we could get to know him more, and to understand why he loves shredding on a Wildcat Mini BMX.
Tiny and tough! Super fun! I wish they existed when I was a kid! My little groms and I love it! Here’s a couple pics of myself playing with our new Mini freak. I’m 175 and this thing is as tough as my 20” bike and is a rush to ride! Well done to the wildcat crew for sending this gap in the in the market for young riders and adults alike. Tiny shred!!!
Ordered a three-piece crank for my Fatboy so I needed to order the adapter kit as well got the 3-piece crank and no adapter kit send an email and lo and behold received another three-piece crank with no adapter kit still waiting on my adapter kit would love to review the crank but I can't use it yet
We are so sorry for the mix up here Cortney. We have the adapter kit coming your way - and you'll get to keep the second set of cranks. Hope it makes a difference to the Fatboy.