It can be confusing with all these different standards around for bikes, even BMX isn’t immune to different standards.
Take Bottom Brackets for example, there's only a few options (compared to dozens for MTB and road) yet it can still be confusing. So let's break down the most common BMX Brake mounts for Freestyle, Old School and Race and explain what brakes fit on your BMX. We won't be covering disc brakes in this post nor proprietary systems like the Fly Bike EBS system as thats specific to Fly frames only.
So What Brake Lugs do I need for my BMX?
1. The Lugs are already welded to the frame:
GREAT NEWS! You don't need any extra hardware to fit a brake to your bike! You will need a U-Brake style of brake to slide over the brake posts and you should already have cable guides for your frame to run the cabling through. You may need the cable adjuster that fits under the toptube towards the rear of the cable to allow the cable outer to sit in, usually an M5 cable adjuster will work but check with your frame. We won’t run though setting up your new brakes in this post but check out our other posts on www.alansbmx.com
2. Bolt Through Style:
Commonly used on USA made frames such as FBM, S&M, FIT (mostly USA made FIT frames) The Take and other brands such as CULT, UnitedBMX, SOME WTP frames, SOME Total frames and more. These Brake Mounts use an M5 bolt that runs through your U-Brake and all the way into the frame to tighten everything together. The Lugs themselves are not threaded and just sit onto the frame with the long bolt holding it all on. This is an M5 Bolt and is commonly the same thread as Odyssey or Dia-Compe Brake Lever bolts if you need to test it (Never force a bolt into a thread always test by hand and be careful to not cross thread anything)
3. Threaded Lug Style:
This is the most common Brake Lug for Taiwanese made frames such as Federal, WTP etc and uses a larger and coarse threaded lug. The Lug will thread into the frame and be tightened down with either a 10mm spanner on the outside or an allen key on the inside.
4. Haro/Premium/Old Hoffman Style:
These are much rarer lug and are around an M10 coarse threaded lug used only on Haro, Premium and some older Hoffman frames. You will know if you need these lugs and can be tricky to find.
5. V-Brake Lugs
A lot of Race BMX frames and some mid 90’s old school frames use V-Brake lugs same as Mountain Bikes used to. These cannot be used with freestyle U-Brakes so a V-Brake must be used. You can tell these apart as the posts have 3 holes next to the lug on the inside of the frame for a spring to sit inside and usually sit closer towards the centre of the wheel since the pads are above the pivot point compared to a U-Brake where it is lower. The post itself usually has a larger section at the bottom and is smaller towards the tip. Sometimes these can be removable as well, but usually are not on BMX bikes.
6. Single Pivot Caliper Brakes
As retro as it gets, the old classic single pivot caliper as seen on the classic Raleigh Burner. These brakes mount through a single central bolt. The frame will have a central 5mm hole through the fork or the seat stay cross bar at the rear. These brakes usually flex a lot more than U-Brakes or V-Brakes but are usually the only option for 80s and early 90s bikes. This standard is also used in modern bikes for front brakes to comply with local legislation. In the UK a bike for use on the road must be sold with two working brakes so a Caliper brake is usually bundled in to comply.