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Gadget flashback – BMX

A brief look back at some of the raddest BMXs of yesteryear

While BMX is still very much alive and well, its heyday was in the late 1970s and early 1980s with some incredible style and design choices made as big business felt its way though the emerging trend. Here are some of the finest examples.


Schwinn Stingray (1963)

Arguably the first bike in the BMX trend was the Schwinn Stingray. In 1963 it brought small wheels and relatively nimble handling to the mainstream, albeit with a few unnecessary characteristics like a long “banana” saddle and curved tubing. BMX (Bicycle Motocross) has its roots in kids trying to emulate their motocross heroes on their bicycles, and the Stingray was the first to allow them to do this properly.

Don’t buy a pedal called the Bear Trap and not expect to lose plenty of shin skin. Kept you planted firmly on your platforms and still available today.



Kuwahara ET (1982)

One of the most iconic film scenes featuring BMX is the bike/car chase in E.T. the Extra Terrestrial in 1982. A Kuwahara BMX featured in the film and soon after the Kuwahara ET was released. Basket optional. 

If you ride your BMX hard, the cranks are going to take a pounding. The last thing you want is an intimate meeting with your top tube when the crank snaps. The Redline Flight cranks were some of the toughest and stiffest in the business. 



GT Pro Performer (1984)

In the early 80s, professional freestyle rider Eddie Fiola was king of the skatepark. The GT Pro Performer was his steed of choice with its sweet, angled bottom tube.

Why have boring spoked wheels which get bent all the time when you could have these plastic beauties made of Dupont’s Zytel that don’t? Not that anyone bought them because they were more practical – just look at them. Mmmmm.. 



SE Racing Quadangle (1979)

This BMX wins all the prizes for crazy frame geometry. Did the design make it stronger or lighter? We’re not really sure, but we know for a fact that it looks a-mazing. You can still buy one today.

Plenty of experimentation went on in the world of BMX accessories, and in the process SE Racing’s forks sprouted some extra tubing. Dubbed “standing gear” as they provided a handy platform for a number of flatland tricks, or just putting your feet up after a hard day in the park.


Raleigh Super Tuff Burner (1982)

One of the few legendary BMX bikes made in the UK was the Raleigh Burner. The particularly flashy Super Tuff Burner with Skyway Tuff 2 wheels was the one on wishlists everywhere. Our neighbour had one and it did well good skids. A new version has been released this year.

More like this: Impakt Sidehack – a BMX made for two

Profile image of Dan Grabham Dan Grabham Editor-in-Chief


Dan is Editor-in-chief of Stuff, working across the magazine and the Stuff.tv website.  Our Editor-in-Chief is a regular at tech shows such as CES in Las Vegas, IFA in Berlin and Mobile World Congress in Barcelona as well as at other launches and events. He has been a CES Innovation Awards judge. Dan is completely platform agnostic and very at home using and writing about Windows, macOS, Android and iOS/iPadOS plus lots and lots of gadgets including audio and smart home gear, laptops and smartphones. He's also been interviewed and quoted in a wide variety of places including The Sun, BBC World Service, BBC News Online, BBC Radio 5Live, BBC Radio 4, Sky News Radio and BBC Local Radio.

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