Can You Take The Brakes Off Of A BMX Bike? (Explained)

Can You Take The Brakes Off of a BMX Bike

It’s a known fact that BMX bikes have brakes. Some have front and rear brakes, while others only have rear or front brakes.

Although brakes enhance control and flexibility when riding, they also tend to induce limitations when practicing tricks and stunts.

Owing to this, the question on the minds of most BMX bike cyclists is whether or not they can remove their bikes’ brakes.

Keep reading, and you’ll find the answer to this question soon.

Yes, BMX bike riders can take the brakes off and ride perfectly. But this requires a certain level of mastery to guarantee safety. Due to this, learners should only take off their brakes while riding once they’ve gained sufficient experience. However, experimenting is safe as you can reattach the brake whenever possible.

In this article, I’ll explain how you can take off the brake of your BMX bike in detail. I’ll also tell you whether or not the brakes limit your bike.

By the end of this article, you’ll have sufficient information to help you decide whether to take off your brakes or leave them on.

Do You Need Brakes on a BMX?

Can You Take The Brakes Off of a BMX Bike

Every part of your BMX bike has its purpose, so the brakes are there for a reason. Your bike’s brakes help to control speed as you can press the brake to slow down.

The brakes can also help you halt movement, thus preventing accidents and injuries. So, you can see that the brake is an important safety feature.

But though the brake on your BMX bike is essential, it is optional. That is to say; you can take off the brakes and still enjoy cycling.

This information will thrill stunt riders who love to perform freestyle techniques like the barspin or tailwhip, which are difficult to achieve with a brake.

Since performing either of these stunts requires the handlebar to make a complete 360⁰ turn, the cables will most likely tangle up close to the bar, thus limiting the spin.

If this happens, you’ll have the extra task of detangling your cables.

So, BMX sports riders may need to take the brakes off their bikes to perform stunts effectively.

Aside from this, removing the brakes from a BMX bike is also beneficial as it can make your bike feel lighter.

Removing the brake also enhances the physical appearance & aesthetic of the bike.

But, for regular riders who only use their bikes as a means of transportation, having the brake on is necessary.

Transportation law in several states prohibits cyclists from riding bicycles without brakes on highways.

It’s also unsafe to cycle without a brake while commuting because stopping a bike without a brake is challenging.

However, there are certain states in which cycling without brakes is not illegal.

So, whether or not you need brakes on your BMX bike depends on your kind of cycling, the transportation law in your region, and your location.

How to Take The Brakes Off a BMX Bike?

Street and park riders always inquire how to get the brakes off their BMX bikes.

It’s a challenging process that entails dismantling the entire brake system, but you can perform it if you’re attentive and focused.

But before I outline the steps, here are the necessary tools.

  • 10mm wrench
  • Allen key set

So, here’s how to take the brakes off your bike.

  • Begin by turning your bike upside down, then remove the left and right arms.
  • To remove the left one, repeatedly place your 5mm Allen wrench on the brake system’s bolt and turn it to the left. When it becomes free, lose it with your hand.
  • Repeat the previous process on the right brake arm.
  • Remove the straddle cable by loosening the bolt on one side, pulling the cable out, turning to the flip side, pulling the cord over the slit, and taking out the barrel.
  • Lift the brake cable from the straddle and dislodge the straddle cable by pulling it from beneath.
  • Please return to the straddle, lose the bolt, pull the cable from the hole, and remove the cap piece.
  • Alternatively, you can locate the tab and pull the barrel adjuster back through its slit to take it off the bike’s frame.
  • Next, remove the tab using a 2.5mm wrench to unscrew the bolt holding it down.
  • Now, please move to the brake lever, use your wrench to lose the bolt with four spins, then pull it out to unhinge.
  • Lastly, undo the velcro holding it down, and your lever will be completely free.

If you want to separate the brake cable and lever further, follow the steps.

  • Locate the spiral adjuster on the lever and turn it, so the slits on the barrel, adjuster piece, and lever align.
  • Next, pull the cable housing backward to free the cable.
  • Proceed by pulling the brake cable through the aligned slits and turning the lever down.
  • Follow up by pulling the lever backward to expose the slit in the lever.
  • Finally, turn the cable towards the slit and pull it out.

With these steps, you can easily remove the brakes from your BMX bike and ride without restrictions.

However, after taking the brakes off your bike, it’s evident that you will need to find an alternative means of slowing down your bike when riding.

You can do this by reversing the force on the tires using your foot. All you need to do is place your foot on the rear tire of your bike to stop or slow it down.

You can also put your foot on the front wheel while using the fork as an anchor or put your feet on the ground to halt the bike.

However, I’ll advise that you take your brakes off only when performing stunts in parks or private areas.

It is only partially safe to try this when riding on a public road, especially with traffic.

Should You Take Off The Brakes on Your BMX?

For a newbie, the answer is no. If you’re still learning how to ride a bike, you should never consider removing the brakes.

Brakes are necessary to ensure safety for you and other road users as they help to control speed.

Though there are alternative methods for speed control, it takes time to learn and master them as they are skills gained through experience.

So, keep practicing until you can ride efficiently before you consider removing your brakes.

You can decide whether to take your BMX bike brake off when you become adept at riding. But you have to weigh your options carefully before deciding.

Thus, you should know that riding without brakes in most states in the U.S. is a punishable offense. It’s also illegal in Australia, Japan, and the U.K.

However, there is an exception to this law which applies when you engage in sports racing.

Hence, consider your state’s laws before taking your brakes out to prevent trouble with the law.

If you need more clarification about removing the brakes from your BMX bike, the pros and cons are below.

Pros Cons 
Performing stunts will be easier.You’ll have to untangle cables while freestyling.
You can ride without restrictions.It compromises safety.   
Your bike will weigh less.It’s illegal in some places to ride without brakes.
It eliminates the need for brake maintenance.If an accident occurs, the blame will be on you.

If you still need help deciding, it won’t hurt to experiment. A trial is the only way to ascertain your comfort in riding without brakes.

So, if you want to try it, follow the guide above to take your BMX brakes off.

If you like the feel of riding without brakes, you can continue as long as it’s legal in your residence.

But, if removing the brakes reduces your confidence, you can reinstall them. Click here to find out how.

Do Brakes Limit Your BMX Bike?

Although brakes serve as a safety feature, they can also frustrate riders by causing restrictions when freestyling, thereby limiting movement.

If you’re wondering how brakes limit BMX bikes, here’s how. When you pull the lever, the entire brake system goes into action to reduce speed or halt movement.

The braking process occurs seamlessly when cycling normally.

But when the cyclist wants to incorporate freewheel techniques like tailwhips and barspins, the brake cables tangle up as the handlebar turns 360⁰, limiting further stunts.

As a result of the tangling, the rider will have to unlock the brake wires by recalibrating them before proceeding.

So, u-brakes, v-brakes, or coaster brakes restrict movement on BMX bikes. But with a detangler or rotor brake, you can ride your motorcycle without restrictions.


Which Stunts Can I Perform Without Brakes On my BMX?

Some stunts riders can perform on BMX include tailwhip, superman, wheelie, bunny hop, bar hop, etc.

Josh Matthews

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