Zero to Hero - BMX Tricks You Can Master in a Month

The sport of BMX has been around since the 1970s, and since then the sport has grown significantly from the humble beginnings of kids racing bicycles on dirt tracks in Southern California.

Originally, the Schwinn Sting-Ray made for an excellent choice considering the size and handling, but since then an entire industry has sprung up dedicated to providing bicycles designed especially for BMX – including racing BMX bikes and off-road / park bikes. When you look at the specs of modern day BMX rigs, it’s easy to see they would blow the Sting-Ray out of the water. Still, the skill of the rider is what matters most of all. 

Whether you’re new to the sport of BMX or are an intermediate rider looking to get some new tricks under your command; We wanted to showcase a few basic moves you can start practicing now and be a better rider by this time next week.

Let’s get to work!

Basic BMX tricks


A staple in any BMX rider’s bag of tricks is going to be the manual, aka – balancing the bike on the back wheel without using the pedals. 

This is something you’ll want to get comfortable performing at-will because it’s a great way to link more complex tricks together in a sequence.

You’ll need to get comfortable with your balance and the feel of the bike itself. The best way to start off is to pop a few wheelies and figure out the breakpoints in your own balance, on your bike, and understand where that tipping point occurs. 

The key feature of a manual is counter-balancing your body weight with the front-end of your bike using your back wheel as the constant point of contact.

Try and make the letter “V” with your body and the front-end of your bike. Every bike and every rider will be a little different, so this is one you’ll need to practice every time you pull out the BMX bike from the garage.

For more, check out this Manual video from Kevin Porter.

180 Bunny Hop

We’re not skipping the basic bunny hop, you can check out our other blog post for a guide on how to master the bunny hop. For an extra element of style, the 180 hop will incorporate a half spin into the move.

Similar to a bunny hop, you’ll want to rotate your head and shoulders and twist your body while performing a standard bunny hop. The hardest part will be committing to the twist and trusting that your bike (and your body) will be able to handle the landing and ride backward. 

Rolling backward is counter-intuitive to how our bodies naturally want to move, and this is the more difficult part of the trick for BMX riders to master.

TIP: Let your feet backpedal after the landing to compensate for the natural weirdness that comes from riding in this direction. Kevin Porter’s video might help put more context on mastering this trick.

The Basic Jump Approach

For park and freestyle BMX riders, the basic jump is the foundation for nearly every kind of trick. Beginner and intermediate riders don’t need to worry about how to approach 15-foot tabletop kickers, but getting confidence about approaching and executing basic jumps can go a long way.

The first thing to do is approach the transition (aka – takeoff) with a little bit of speed. Thanks to physics, the motion is going to launch the bike, and you, vertically in the air. What you’ll want to do after you’ve cleared the transition is to level your body off by pushing your hands forward. Keep in mind; you’ll want the bike to be parallel to the landing surface when you come down.

Be careful not to push the nose of the bike down too far during the landing, unless you want to take a digger over the handlebars.

The Right Gear

Remember the Schwinn Sting-Ray at the beginning of this post? By today’s standards, the Sting-Ray would be laughed out of the park. Those models weighed between 32 and 39 pounds, which is going to make a bunny hop significantly more challenging.

At Don’s Bike Shop we’ve been outfitting the Inland Empire with high-quality bikes and service since 1959! Whether you’re new to the sport completely, or just want to upgrade your existing BMX bike setup, we can help you get exactly what you need. 

Check out our BMX Buyers Guide and master these tricks faster than ever.


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