Head tubes vary slightly across BMX bikes. But a tiny change in angle or length can really affect your riding. A head tube is the 4″ to 5″ tube at the front of your BMX bike. The top tube and downtube both connect here. Understanding the head tube feature will help you pick the perfect bike.
A head tube has two different factors that can affect your bike and your riding. One factor is the head tube angle. The other is the head tube length. Both can have an impact on the way your bike handles.
What is the Head Tube?
The head tube on a BMX bike is a 4″ to 5″ long tube that connects at the front of the top tube and downtube. Usually at an angle of 74º to 76º. Most head tubes have integrated bearings. Your forks go through the headtube so a frame’s head tube angle has a huge impact on the stability and control of your BMX bike.
Why is it important?
Not many people pay any attention to the angle or length of a head tube. Especially because they only vary by about 2º. But when you think about how the angle correlates to the distance of your front wheel. It makes a bigger difference. Let me take a step back.
The angle of the headtube determines how steep or mellow your bike feels.
A 76º headtube angle will make the front wheel closer to your feet. This, in turn, gives your bike a more snappy and responsive feeling. Making steering and nose manuals really responsive.
a 74º head tube angle makes the front wheel farther from your feet. Giving the bike a more mellow and controlled feel. Nose manuals will be harder to initiate, but the bike will be more controllable.
BMXunion did a really good article about it here.
Common Head Tube Angles
Here are some of the most common angles for headtubes:
Does it really matter?
There is a lot of debate on whether or not the head tube angle really makes a difference in your riding. In my opinion, it does make a difference but it is not life-changing. For a rider who has already figured out what kind of riding they like, picking the right head tube will help speed up progression.
For a new rider, it is best to just ride and average. Choose a complete bike with a 75º head tube angle until you figure out what kind of style suits you best.