A Glossary of BMX Terms and Tricks

Because you need to talk the talk before you can walk the walk.

That's actually not technically true, but it helps!

Have you ever tried to learn a second language? If you have, you might understand that it can be difficult to master, but eventually with practice, it becomes easier. You might even start to think in that second language when you really start to get the hang of things.

The world of BMX is no different!

While not many folks “speak” the language of BMX, Don’s Bikes team certainly does, and if you’re reading this blog post it’s safe to assume you’d like to brush up on some of the lingo.

Keep this post bookmarked for the next time you’re looking for something new to try in the park or on the ramp. And if you need a solid, friendly BMX provider in Redlands or Rialto, CA make sure you keep Don’s Bicycles in mind. 

You can get free tune-ups for LIFE when you purchase a bike from Don’s and we’ve been at this since 1959!

But enough about us, let’s get started!

BMX Glossary of Terms

Backside – An essential part of BMX racing is the jump. Slightly different from snowboarding or skateboarding, when “backside” is used in BMX terminology, it refers to the landing of a jump or the downward side of a single bump. “Catching a good backside” is typically associated with “pumping” which helps the rider gain speed.

Bar Spin – After launch, lean backward and with one hand spin the handlebars. Catching the bars and riding away completes the trick. Make sure the full rotation(s) are done while in the air!

BMX – This should go without saying, but just in case you need a refresher. BMX stands for Bicycle Motocross.

Berm – Speaking of jumps, a “berm” is a banked corner. These are usually dirt structures but can also be asphalt or concrete. Every BMX track worth its weight has 3-4 berms.

Can Can – While in the air, the rider takes a foot off the pedal and crosses it over the top tube.

Chainstays – Part of the anatomy of the BMX bike, the chainstays are part of the frame that runs parallel to the chain. These connect the bottom bracket to the read dropouts.

Feeble Grind – In the “grind” of tricks. A feeble grind will have the front wheel on top of an obstacle, like a ledge. At the same time, one back peg will be grinding along the top of the obstacle.

Flare – This is a difficult trick, a flare combines a black flip with 180 degrees of rotation in the same motion.

Grind – The staple of the freestyle BMX world. A grind maneuver places one part or a combination of parts of the bike on an obstacle and slides along the obstacle.

Manual – Not at all like the transmission in your car, a manual refers to riding the bike on your rear wheel only. No pedaling is happening during a manual which makes it different from the traditional “wheelie”. A common trick found during freestyle/skatepark rides.

Nac Nac – The back end of the bike is swung to the right or left, while the opposite foot is swung behind the rider, over the top tube of the bike.

Roller – A type of obstacle on a BMX track that is rolled over, at speed, as opposed to being jumped across.

Step Up Jump – This is a jump where the landing is elevated above the original launch from the jump.

Tail whip – Another challenging trick where the rider rotates the bicycle frame while maintaining a grip on the handlebars. The rider does not also rotate with the frame, except in variations of the trick like a 360-tail whip.

We think this might be enough to get you started – and as we stated earlier if you have questions don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Don’s team!

Don’s Rialto shop – (909) 875-7310
Don's Redlands shop - (909)792-3399


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