Why I Bought My Brother a 24″ BMX Instead of 20″ (detailed comparison)

From Rookie’s Keyboard

Hello, friends

Yesterday my brother had a birthday, and as you can guess from the title, we got him a 24″ BMX. 

The family delegated the present selection to me, and this was the best present I could come up with given the budget, the circumstances, and his desire to develop new bicycle skills. 

An unexpected positive outcome of this event was that I gained a lot of insight into the world of BMX since I had to perform a deep analysis before choosing a bike. My biggest dilemma was whether I should go for 24″ or 20″.  

Today, I will share with you what I learned.

20” Are Lighter And Better For Stunts

Well, you don’t have to be an engineer to realize that 20″ BMXs have smaller wheels and frames and are therefore lighter than 24″ models when all other variables (material, frame thickness…etc.) are equal.

How much lighter?

Well, let’s see:

SE BIKES SO CAL FLYER12.83kg/28.3lbsWeThePeople CRYSIS 202111.94kg/26.3lbs
Sunday Model-C 24″13.22kg/29.1lbsFly Proton FC11.3kg/24.84lbs
Stolen Saint 24″12.15kg/26.75lbsWeThePeopleTRUST 202112.22kg/26.9lbs
WeThePeopleATLAS 24″11.11kg /24.44lbsStolen Sinner FC11.25kg/24.75lbs
COLONY ECLIPSE 24″12.22kg/26.9lbsWeThePeopleVERSUS 202112.15kg/26.73lbs
DK 2021 CYGNUS 24”11.9kg/26.2lbsMankindLibertad11.7kg/25.74lbs
2018 Redline Asset 2411.8kg/25.96lbsSubrosa Salvador 2021 12.54kg/27.6lbs
Black-Ops SpecOp 24″13.6kg/30lbsFly Omega CST11.5kg/25.3lbs
WeThePeople Avenue 2411.81kg/26lbsMankindInternatinal11.9kg/26.18lbs

It turns out that the weight difference between the two is real, but not insane.

The 20″ BMXs in the table are only 0.45kg/1lbs or 3.85% lighter. If we were analyzing road bikes, maybe I’d care, but since we are talking about a tough BMX, does it matter all that much? 

I guess it would to some, but my brother is fairly strong (350lbs deadlift), and I don’t think he will cry over 0.45kg extra.

Another difference that should also be taken into consideration would be the chainstays.

Chainstay length is crucial in the world of BMX. Shorter chainstays make it easier to lift the front wheel, but if they’re excessively short, the rider will not feel stable, especially at high speeds. 

Unsurprisingly, 24″ BMX bikes have much longer chainstays as shown in the table below:

So Cal Flyer 24″16.25″WeThePeople CRYSIS13.2″
Sunday Model-C 24″14.625″Fly Proton FC13.2″
Stolen Saint 24″15″WeThePeopleTRUST 202113.2″
WeThePeopleATLAS 24″15″Stolen Sinner FC13.2″
Colony Eclipse 24″14.5″WeThePeopleVersus 202112.75″
DK 2021 CYGNUS 24″14.75”MankindLibertad13.25″
2018 Redline Asset 2415.5″Subrosa Salvador 2021 13.2″

So, 24-inch BMX bikes have 2-inch/5.08cm longer chainstays than 20-inch models on average.

That’s a MASSIVE difference. And if your main goal is to perform BMX stunts, it’s also a major incentive to stick to the classics – 20″.

But in the case of my bro, who is already 18 years old and only partially interested in doing tricks, the longer chainstays are beneficial because they will allow him to ride faster and be more stable on the descents in my hometown – there are many of those, albeit most are short. 

Also, the chainstays of his model are about 14.8″. So, it’s not like I am putting him on a touring bike and expecting that he will bunny hop a picnic table. 

Additional Advantages of 20″ BMXs

  • Stronger wheels. When all variables are equal, a smaller wheel is a stronger wheel because it’s subject to smaller lateral forces thanks to the shorter radius. Hence 20″ BMXs win again when it comes to street riding as their wheels can handle more stress.
  • Faster acceleration. The smaller the wheel, the easier it is to get it up to high RPM (rotations per minute), or in other words, it accelerates faster. This property is beneficial when you have to reach a higher speed in a tight area. 
  • More ledges to grind on. If a ledge is shorter than your pegs when you pass by it, you can’t grind on it, can you? 20s have a smaller radius and thus can work on a greater number of ledges.
  • More tires to choose from. Let’s be honest, fellas. 24″ tires are a rarity in most bike shops whereas 20″ are plenty. So, that is a big plus for the 20″ crew.
  • Easier to throw away. A 20″ BMX is easier to push away when you’re bailing out a trick.

There is no denying that the points above make 20″ the real deal when it comes to stunts. 

But 20-inch models weren’t ideal for my bro as he does not plan to use his bike solely for tricks. He will run errands on it in the neighborhood at least 30-40% of the time. He is also fairly tall at 5’11”. 

And in his situation, the advantages of a 24″ machine just can’t be ignored. Let’s list them so that the post is as detailed as humanly possible. 

The Pros of 24″ BMXs

  • Stable Handling

20″ BMXs accelerate fast, but the small tires result in the good old “twitchiness” common for bicycles with small tires (e.g., folders). Meanwhile, larger tires offer more stable handling at fast speeds and are therefore better for commuting. 

  • Higher-speed Limits

When two bikes have identical gearing, the one with the larger wheel can at least theoretically reach a higher top speed because each revolution of the wheels results in a greater travel distance.

  • Better off-road capabilities 

20″ BMX suck for trail riding. And while 24″ definitely aren’t ideal either, they still work a lot better on off-road terrain than 20″ for two reasons – they have a greater roll-over ability and a more pronounced suspension effect.

Table Summary

Let’s make a basic table summary as it makes everything super clear and easy to understand:

20″ BMXs 

LighterLess stable at high speeds
Faster accelerationSmaller suspension effect
Shorter chainstays (easier to bunny hop and manual)Lower roll-over-ability
Larger availabilityNot ideal for taller people
Stronger wheels

24″ BMXs 

More stable at higher speedsHeavier
More comfortable for commutingFewer products to choose from due to low demand
Greater roll-over-ability and suspension effectHarder to manipulate during tricks

There you have it, brothers and sisters. Another article that explains the ins and outs of this crazy cycling world. 

But I have to go now as I have a piece of cake to eat. 

Smile and go for a ride. 

Until next time

– rookie






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