43 & wanting to ride again! old vs new? Need advice!

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4/2/2016 3:24 PM

Im 43 & have a 7 year old son who has been on 2 wheels since he was 3.5 years old. Now im toying with the idea of finding myself a simple bike. Use to ride a GT Mach One with spoked wheels, Pro bars, & laid back seatpost as a teen, wheelies & frame stands for miles...
Im 5'8" 180lbs & thinking a typical 20". Been to the local bike shop & I may be just tripping out but seems like todays builds are heavy, am I wrong? Just looking to tool around the neighborhood / street & not doing anything crazy as have a job & dont need to hurt myself...
So where's a good starting point? Cant change my mind on the oldschool seat post but where to start! Obviously there still are old school builds around even on my local San Diego craigslist but are todays frames better than back in the day? Frame or complete suggestions & brands if your thoughts are go new vs oldschool & why...
Yes, I overthink everything I do.. chromoly vs AL?
Thanks for the insight & really looking forward to others perspective!

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4/2/2016 4:46 PM

Bmx bikes back in the day were built mainly for kids, and for riding dirt or flatland. Today's bikes are built for full grown riders who ride skateparks, big dirt jumps, etc. Weight is considered to be less of a factor than durability, compared to when we were kids (I'm 43 as well), except for race-oriented bikes which still trade some longevity and strength for weight savings.
If you just want to cruise, an aluminum frame is probably fine, but if you want to jump and ride the parks or do any serious street riding, go for full chromoly. Don't kid yourself that you won't want to hit some jumps, once you get the feel back...
Today's frames are also built a little differently, the steerer tube on the forks is bigger now and the stem clamps on the outside instead of the old quill-type stems we used to ride. The head tube is bigger to correspond. The new setup is superior in pretty much every way.
The old American size bottom brackets are also being phased out, except for lower end bikes that still use 1 piece cranks. Sealed cartridge-type bearings throughout is also the norm now for mid- and upper-end bikes.
All in all, I would say go for a newer style bike with chromo construction, but ultimately it depends on you and how you want to ride. The old school type components also seem to be pricey, due to being specialty/novelty items, so price and availability may steer you to the newer stuff anyway.

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4/3/2016 3:13 PM
Edited Date/Time: 4/3/2016 3:23 PM

Thanks for some info. Step son has a 20" Premium of some sort sitting in the garage collecting dust as video games are the most important priority...
Going to order a layback seatpost & a seat for it, see what happens from there...

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4/11/2016 6:16 AM

I am 46, but where you are at in getting back into it. I still have my 88 Mongoose Californian Pro, but have been looking to get a new bike for my step-son - well HE will be paying for it - and one for my self just because....

the thing I can't get used to is how low the seats are....but, I don't really ever remember sitting down much unless I was not moving. I also feel like the newer bikes are harder to do some things on like wheelies, because they seem more "compact" or lower to the ground (this also might be due to my being out of shape in regards to BMXing) It is easier to bunny hop and manual though

When I was young, I only rode trail, and the biggest "trick" I could do was jump a VW Bug. I didn't ride skate parks much cause there weren't any around...but we did build our own ramps and one summer built a whole half pipe in my friends backyard, and they all started riding that as I phased more into mountain biking

I have found that the bikes with the 74 HT angles "feel" the closest to my Mongoose...also, I didn't realize that people ride with out brakes...which I won't do. I will have backs for sure, and might even run fronts since I am used to it.

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I've Got sXe!!!
Up The Antix/Up The Punx
1988 Mongoose Caifornian Pro
2015 Surly Krampus

"Running Is dumb" - Dave Lawrence

4/11/2016 9:31 AM

The low seats are because of the style of riding and tricks that riders are doing these days. A high seat will get in the way, or even hit you in the ass and send you over the bars at times, if youre hitting ramps and big dirt jumps, or tucking the bike under you to clear an obstacle. Watching videos of street riders hopping over obstacles, or guys doing tailwhips, will give you an understanding.
Plus, most riders just don't ride while sitting much, so overall it's better to have the seat low and out of the way. I have my retro style cruiser set up with a high seat because I use it mostly for tooling around the neighborhood with my family, and younger guys usually give me funny looks. The grayer my beard gets, the less I care.
Set your bike up how it works for you and enjoy the ride, there are still long seat posts available, at least for railed and pivotal seats, although you may have to shop around more to find them.

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4/11/2016 9:41 AM

Yeah. My Californian Pro will become my cruiser when I get my newer bike. I am not at the point yet where I will be doing ANY freestyling tricks. Gotta get my regular legs and balance back before that.

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I've Got sXe!!!
Up The Antix/Up The Punx
1988 Mongoose Caifornian Pro
2015 Surly Krampus

"Running Is dumb" - Dave Lawrence

4/12/2016 1:22 PM

I'm 44 and have been back riding again for about 2 years. I went with a new school bike and am REALLY happy I did. BMX geo and construction have evolved over the years for good reason. In my opinion they are stronger and ride better than bikes back in the day. Fat 2.4 tires are great for absorbing the shock of landings too!

To make it comfortable I would choose a top tube length and bar height they works well for you. I'm 5'10" and went with a 20.75" top tube and 8.25" rise on the bars. Maybe it's my age but I feel a little crouched over on this setup although not terrible. I just bought another bike with 21" top tube and 8.75" rise so I'll see how that works out.

If you're looking for a good complete bike check out Sunday, Fit or WTP for starters. Lots of the cheaper completes won't be full chromoly but I've heard modern construction makes those still pretty strong - maybe even stronger than the full chromoly bikes of the 80s.

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5/10/2016 11:21 AM
Edited Date/Time: 5/10/2016 11:24 AM

If you know you are going to do this for real, then I agree, full chromoly if you are going to do jumping. Aluminum is fine for the race track and/or cruising the town/light riding. Most complete bikes sold on Dans et. al. are much better than the completes sold "back in the day". You might want to consider some price conscience options for getting back into it. Walmart (don't laugh) has the Mongoose mode 900 which, for $200, is quite a steal. And if you decide to stick with it, you will upgrade and maybe take some of the parts from the 900 with you. If you decide to give it up, you're not out a lot of $.

There are also cruisers too. Many are built with 20" geo so they feel like a bmx bike but more comfortable. I got back into this after a 20 year hiatus (I'm 37). The cruiser was the most comfy bike I ever rode. It was a good transition to the 20" also, which I ended up upgrading to after the following year. If I had started with the 20" I don't know if I would have lasted since I always felt like a bear on a cats ass. I don't feel like that anymore after the transition from the cruiser and riding the 20" for a while.

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6/1/2016 11:00 AM

Also in my 40's,two boys 5 and 7,they like to race and go over jumps and ramps at local bmx Park. I pulled my 1985 reldline rl20II... And it just can't keep up. The headset goes loose, the axles bend, the pedals bent. Great flatland bike but can't survive the skate Park. So I bought a Norco deviant (full cro-mo, etc) and.. Wow. This thing wants to fly. It scares me, it tries to taken off at the lip of the bowl w/o me pulling up or anything. And it carves... So fast. So fast. Most importantly, solid as a rock. No headset issues, no wobbles, no rattles.

So, if you really want to get back into it, I highly recommend a new high quality ride. I spent a ton of time wrenching on bikes when I was younger, happy to do a lot less of that now.

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New tech can't beat old school cool...or can it?
1987 O.O.S. Redline RL20II (Old Old Stock - this ain't no museum piece kids!)
2012 Norco Deviant
1996 GT Avalanche LE w/ Full 2002 XT upgrade and NE Total Air MZO fork

7/26/2016 1:48 PM

I'm in my 40's - trying to keep up with my 7 year old son. I bought a Verde Luxe used, but the tires are smooth for street, and we keep hitting areas of pavement that turns to dirt/sand, and each time I gotta slow way down so I don't eat it.

Can't sit on my bike - well, I figured a way, but pedaling while sitting is not possible. Seat slammed. My son is leaving me in the dust. Thought he would be interested in riding in a small area, but instead he going all Lance Armstrong and wants to ride fast and far!

I'm picking up a hybrid "comfort" bike soon. 26" wheels, more upright position. And can actually sit down on! We've been doing these hour long rides where I gotta stand the whole time and try to keep up, and to be honest, the bike is audibly complaining. Some concerning creaking noises from the cranks/pedals. Not sure if they were designed for how I'm using them. (I weigh over 190.)

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7/27/2016 6:36 AM

Hi Norville, I use my mountain bike for longer trips (like to the store or pool). I use the redline as a race bike on the nearby dirt track and only use my current gen BMX at the park (we take the car there) or roaming around local schools. Never too far cause as you said you cant sit and pedal! It's only good at the park or track. The kids ride the same bike everywhere. So get that cruiser and try to keep up! It's more important you are with him than what you are riding. And if we have the wrong bikes on the bike rack...well i can drop into a 6' quarter on my mountain bike now wink

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New tech can't beat old school cool...or can it?
1987 O.O.S. Redline RL20II (Old Old Stock - this ain't no museum piece kids!)
2012 Norco Deviant
1996 GT Avalanche LE w/ Full 2002 XT upgrade and NE Total Air MZO fork

7/27/2016 8:26 AM

I got a quick-release seat clamp for my 20" and a longer seat tube so I can adjust on the fly from the trails to the track to the street for cruising.

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7/27/2016 1:17 PM

I thought of that, but my seat clamp is integrated into the frame - it's actually IN the top tube and doesn't go all the way through. We're up to seven bikes for 3 boys now ;0

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New tech can't beat old school cool...or can it?
1987 O.O.S. Redline RL20II (Old Old Stock - this ain't no museum piece kids!)
2012 Norco Deviant
1996 GT Avalanche LE w/ Full 2002 XT upgrade and NE Total Air MZO fork

12/29/2016 6:08 PM
Edited Date/Time: 12/29/2016 6:23 PM

Check out 24" I just got a redline MX24 and love it. Not a park bike but the frame feels right.

Could always grab a 20-21" top tube full chromoly midschool. 8.5 rise bars and a layed back seat post you'll have an old school bike feel. I can pick up very good 5-7 year old bikes in my area for under $75, a lot are barely ridden. Much better bikes than we grew up with. New tires and bearings, beat it death.

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1/20/2017 2:08 PM
Edited Date/Time: 1/20/2017 2:11 PM

Some of you guys should consider 22" and 24" wheels. For me, 22"s have replaced 20"s completely.

There are complete 22" BMX bikes out there right now from FIT, DK, and United. Faction does a kit. Revenge sells wheels and tires through eBay and various shops. Multiple companies sell frames--Standard, S&M, Faction, Indust, STOUT, PedalDrivenCycles, FBM, etc.


Indust 2ton 22" next to Indust Cuatro 24":

[LINK TO IMAGE]

FLY 20" wheels next to STOUT with 22" wheels:

[LINK TO IMAGE]

Black Market 26" Dirt Jumper MTB next to Liquid Feedback 24" BMX

[LINK TO IMAGE]

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4/24/2017 12:49 PM

41, 5'11" 21" top tube and 8.5-9" bars feels right to me on a 20".
Have quite a few bikes, 2013 United with short chainstays took a little to get used to, very responsive bike and much easier to hop. Also ride a 21.5" top tube aluminum frame 99 schwinn prostock, long chainatays, very smooth and fast. 24" redline MX24 is my go to cruiser.

Seat height. I don't sit down, just to coast. Depends on the bike, United is about 3" seat tube showing and it's nice to have it out of the way. When I hop on the other bikes the damn seat hits me in the leg.

Plenty of good deals in midschool bikes, 39/14 gearing, kids don't want them. Get one with full chromoly frame, 3 pc crank, and 21" top tube that's not too heavy and you'll be good to go. I've got a mirraco that I dirt ride, have $37 in it, just serviced all the bearings, brakes, some spare parts, new brake cable. Little heavy, but takes a beating and I don't care if I bang it up.

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6/13/2017 11:49 AM

I'll be 42 this year, born 1975, and got back into riding fulltime this year. I once rode GT's but these days I ride Colony and I don't have a single complaint about them.

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Shane Davis

7/31/2017 12:06 PM

I'm 31 and was a bit worried if I was gonna be too old but some of you guys have 10yrs on me, it's encouraging. Lol. I have a lot to relearn to figure out what is best for me before I buy. I noticed the front sprockets are smaller like flatland bike back in the day, does this bring down top speed or do they compensate on the flywheel?

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7/31/2017 12:13 PM
Edited Date/Time: 7/31/2017 12:14 PM

dorkmas wrote:

I'm 31 and was a bit worried if I was gonna be too old but some of you guys have 10yrs on me, it's encouraging. Lol. I have a ...more

They compensate. 44/16 is pretty similar to 25/9. the new one is a little taller, so a little faster. And no coping knocks, watching kids roll straight into a vert is freaky. I still drop in sideways...

Just go used, for $200-250 you can get modern era on kijiji that will likely have more abilities than you!

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New tech can't beat old school cool...or can it?
1987 O.O.S. Redline RL20II (Old Old Stock - this ain't no museum piece kids!)
2012 Norco Deviant
1996 GT Avalanche LE w/ Full 2002 XT upgrade and NE Total Air MZO fork