Can You Put Brakes On A Brakeless Bmx? – The Truth & Process

Riding a BMX bike without brakes is a growing trend within the racing and tricks community. Even though brakes on a BMX can provide riders with added braking power, the thrill of riding brakeless adds dynamic to riding. As such, knowing how to ride brakeless safely is an important skill for any serious BMX rider. However, it also comes with some risks and all.

So, can you put brakes on a brakeless BMX? The short answer is yes, it is possible. But the process can be a bit tricky and may require some technical know-how. In this article, we’ll explore the different ways to add brakes to your brakeless BMX bike and provide you with the steps and tools needed to do it successfully.

Why Ride BMX Brakeless?

Riding BMX brakeless, which means riding without brakes, is a personal choice some BMX riders make. Here are five reasons why riders choose to ride BMX brakeless:

  1. Weight and simplicity: Removing brakes eliminates brake systems’ extra weight and complexity, making the bike lighter and simpler. This can contribute to a more agile and responsive ride, allowing riders to perform tricks and maneuvers more easily.
  2. Aesthetics and style: Some riders prefer a brakeless BMX bike’s clean and minimalistic look. Without brake cables, levers, and calipers, the bike’s appearance can be sleek and streamlined, emphasizing the rider’s skill and the bike’s design.
  3. Trick execution: Riding brakeless can enhance a rider’s ability to execute certain tricks and maneuvers. It requires precise bike control and body positioning to maintain speed and control without relying on brakes. This can challenge riders to improve balance, coordination, and bike handling skills.
  4. Street riding and skatepark use: Brakeless riding is more commonly associated with street riding and skatepark use, where quick and abrupt movements are often required. In these environments, riders may find that brakes can get in the way or hinder certain tricks and lines.
  5. Personal preference and style of riding: Ultimately, the decision to ride brakeless is a matter of personal preference, and the style of riding one enjoys. Some riders prefer the added challenge and freedom of riding without brakes, allowing them to develop a unique riding style and approach to their BMX riding.

It’s important to note that riding brakeless requires additional caution and awareness, as riders must rely on alternative methods to slow down and stop, such as foot-dragging or using their body weight to control speed.

Safety should always be a priority, and riders should carefully consider their skill level, riding environment, and local regulations before choosing to ride BMX Brakeless.

Is it Illegal to Ride BMX Bikes Without Brakes?

BMX biking is a thrilling and exciting form of cycling, but there are laws in place that govern riding safety. One of the most important rules concerning BMX riding is whether it is legal to ride a BMX bike without any brakes. The answer to this question depends on where you plan to ride your bike.

In many locations, riding any bicycle that does not have a functioning brake can result in you receiving a ticket or even being taken into custody. For this reason, if you plan to ride your BMX bike on public roads and highways, you should have brakes on the bike for added safety.

On the other hand, if you aren’t planning on using your BMX bike on public roads and instead are using it for stunts or tricks at an event off-road, then you may not need brakes since there won’t be any cars coming into contact with your bike.

However, many events require bikes with at least one functioning brake as standard equipment. Additionally, gifting someone who likes to ride BMX bikes with accessories like louder hubs or new pegs can be just as rewarding as getting them the latest brake-less model.

Risk Factors Of Riding A Brakeless Bike

Riding a brakeless bike, particularly in a high-speed or traffic-intensive environment, comes with certain risk factors that riders should be aware of. While some riders enjoy the challenge and freedom of riding brakeless, it’s important to consider the following risks:

  1. Reduced stopping power: Without brakes, riders have limited options for slowing down or coming to a stop. This can be especially dangerous in emergencies or when riding in crowded areas where quick stopping is essential.
  2. Increased risk of collisions: The inability to quickly stop or slow down increases the risk of colliding with other cyclists, pedestrians, vehicles, or obstacles. Brakeless riders must rely on their ability to anticipate and avoid potential hazards, which requires exceptional awareness and reaction skills.
  3. Limited control in adverse conditions: Riding brakeless can be more challenging in adverse weather conditions, such as rain, snow, or icy surfaces. Without brakes, it becomes harder to modulate speed and maintain control, increasing the risk of accidents or loss of control.
  4. Potential legal issues: Riding a brakeless bike may be against the law in some jurisdictions. It’s important to familiarize yourself with local traffic regulations and ensure compliance to avoid potential fines or legal consequences.
  5. Increased physical strain: Riding a brakeless bike requires the rider to rely on alternate methods, such as foot-dragging or using body weight to slow down. This can increase leg strain, especially during prolonged or intense riding sessions.

It’s crucial for riders considering riding brakeless to assess their skill level, riding environment, and personal comfort with the associated risks. It’s also recommended to consult with experienced riders, consider safety equipment like helmets and protective gear, and continuously improve riding skills and situational awareness.

How to Put Brakes On A Brakeless Bmx?

Converting a brakeless BMX bike to include brakes is a process that requires some specific steps and components. Here’s a guide on how to put brakes on a brakeless BMX:

  1. Gather the necessary components: You’ll need the following brake components:
    • Brake caliper: This mechanism clamps onto the bike’s frame or fork to apply pressure to the rim.
    • Brake lever: It connects to the handlebars and controls the braking action.
    • Brake cable: It connects the brake lever to the brake caliper and allows the transfer of braking force.
    • Brake pads provide the necessary friction to slow down or stop the bike. Ensure they are compatible with your rims.
  2. Prepare the bike: Remove any existing remnants of a brakeless setup. This may involve removing pegs, detangling cables, and cleaning the frame or fork where the brake caliper will be mounted.
  3. Install the brake caliper:
    • Determine the appropriate location for the brake caliper. The rear brake typically mounts on the seat stay bridge or chainstay bridge. The front brake usually mounts on the fork.
    • Attach the brake caliper using the provided bolts or nuts. Ensure it is securely fastened, but be careful not to overtighten and damage the frame or fork.
  4. Attach the brake lever:
    • Slide the brake lever onto the handlebars in a comfortable and accessible position.
    • Tighten the clamp or fastening mechanism to secure the brake lever in place.
  5. Install the brake cable:
    • Thread one end of the brake cable through the barrel adjuster on the brake lever.
    • Insert the other end of the brake cable through the designated opening on the brake caliper.
    • Pull the cable snugly, leaving a small amount of slack for adjustment.
    • Secure the cable by tightening the pinch bolt or using a cable clamp on the brake caliper.
  6. Adjust the brake pads:
    • Position the brake pads, so they contact the rim’s braking surface evenly.
    • Adjust the position of the brake caliper or brake pads as needed to achieve proper alignment.
    • Ensure the brake pads are not rubbing against the tire and make full contact with the rim when the brakes are engaged.
  7. Test and fine-tune:
    • Squeeze the brake lever to check if the brakes engage smoothly and provide sufficient stopping power.
    • If necessary, fine-tune the brake cable tension and pad position to optimize braking performance.
  8. Safety check:
    • Double-check that all bolts and fasteners are properly tightened.
    • Inspect the brake system for signs of rubbing, misalignment, or excessive wear.
    • Test the brakes in a safe, controlled environment to ensure they function correctly before riding.

It’s worth noting that if you are not confident in your mechanical skills, it’s recommended to have a professional bike mechanic install the brakes for you to ensure proper installation and safety.

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

1: Can I Put Brakes On A Brakeless BMX Bike?

Yes, it is possible to install brakes on a brakeless BMX bike. You will need the appropriate brake components and follow the necessary steps for installation.

2: What Brake Components Must I Install On My Brakeless BMX?

To install brakes on a brakeless BMX bike, you will need a brake caliper, brake lever, brake cable, and brake pads. Ensure all components are compatible with your bike and rims.

3: Do I Need Special Tools To Brake My BMX Bike?

Basic tools like Allen wrenches and a Phillips head screwdriver are typically sufficient for installing brakes on a BMX bike. However, specific tools may be required depending on your chosen brake system.

4: Can I Install The Brakes Myself Or Seek Professional Help?

Installing brakes on a BMX bike can be done by yourself if you have some mechanical skills and the necessary tools. However, if you’re unsure or uncomfortable with the process, it’s recommended to consult a professional bike mechanic for proper installation and safety.

5: Are There Any Safety Considerations When Installing Brakes On A Brakeless BMX? 

Safety is crucial when installing brakes on a BMX bike. Ensure all components are securely fastened and tightened to avoid accidents. Double-check the brake pad alignment and cable tension to ensure optimal braking performance. It’s also important to test the brakes in a controlled environment before riding to ensure they function correctly.


Brakeless riding requires additional caution and safety awareness compared to a bicycle with brakes and is not recommended for beginners or riders who are not experienced with a brakeless setup. Ultimately the decision to ride brakeless is up to the rider, but it’s important to be aware of the risks and responsibilities associated with this style of riding.

John D. Archer

John D. Archer is a mechanical engineer and writer based on the area of automotive accessories at, A resident expert and professional, John is passionate about all things automotive and loves to share his knowledge. He has good experience in all kind of automotive accessories. He has worked as a chief mechanical engineer in some reputed automotive garage firm.