Review: the Pistola BMX bike by Black Eye

Decent Bike for the Price . . .

Black Eye Bikes Pistola
Black Eye Pistola BMX bike in White.

The Pistola by Black Eye bikes is a decent entry level BMX bike. With a price tag of $350 or so (As of 2/11/2017), including shipping, it's an easy way to get into BMX on a decent bike without forking out major bucks. The basic set-up is good, but please remember that you get what you pay for and that if you plan on using the Pistola for any length of time, you should plan on likely swapping out some of the basic pieces of this bike.

It's here that Black Eye bikes went the low route to keep it affordable. And it was a good strategy since all-in-all, this is a decent BMX bike for entry level riders.

Plan on Quick Upgrades

When you look at the Pistola, what you see is a solid bike overall, but with several more obvious low-end components to keep the cost down for price-sensitive buyers. The good news is that the main parts of the bike are fine.

Frame: The Pistola features a relatively light chromoly frame with integrated headtube. It's got a nice flat BMX shape, and at 20.5" top-tube comes in long and lean and not high at all, offering plenty of clearance between front wheel and cranks. Bars are 2-piece chromoly, with decent proportions at 8 inches. (Check out this article for explanation of frame materials, and for more information about chromoly steel.)

Cranks, chainwheels, brakes: The Pistola's got a nice tight 25-tooth crank and a 14 mm, 9-tooth rear sprocket that gives a great combination of both power and speed.

Cranks are 3-piece tubular cranks with sealed bottom bracket. Though the bike headtube comes pre-drilled for gyro tabs, it's set up with a standard cable alloy U-brake, which works fine and is appropriate for this set-up - just don't plan on doing any bar spins.

Here's What You Might Want to Change Out

To save on the cost, Black Eye went lower-end a couple places.

Nothing major, nothing unsafe; however, if you plan to keep this bike for any length of time or do heavier-duty riding, you may want to change out these components.

First place to point out are the wheels, which are marginal single-wall, 36-hole anodized alloy rims. Next is the plastic Odyssey Twisted PC pedals and the plastic Pivotal seat. Maybe hard plastic seats are the current standard for entry-level BMX bikes, but that's an easy upgrade to make for a more respectable bike.

Also, note that the Pistola comes with a matte paint job, in both the white and the khaki color combinations. While the metal rims are shimmering bright red or aqua, respectively, the paint is a dull finish with none of the normal gloss finish or clear-coat lacquer to give it a bright clear sheen. That means it will grab and hold smudges and finger prints on the paint more than you might expect or be used to from other bikes.

So, all in all, are any of these items a deal breaker? Of course not. This is a fine bike to get started in BMX and the Black Eye Pistola should serve entry-level riders well for a long time. Just be aware of the items that you may eventually want to upgrade out to make the bike right.

One final comment: I should note that after riding this bike for less than a year, one of the bearings in the rear wheel went bad.

Black Eye went out of their way on the warranty service to make things right. They got high marks in this area!

Specs - Black Eye Pistola

Top Tube: 20.5"
Frame: Chromoly front triangle/14mm dropouts/Integrated head tube/Mid BB
Fork: Full chromoly
Headset: Sealed/Integrated
Cranks: 170mm 3-piece BB Mid/Sealed
Pedals: Odyssey Twisted plastic
Chain Wheel: Steel 25T
Rear Hub: 14mm/Semi-sealed cassette w/ 9T driver
Front Hub: 3/8"/Unsealed
Rims: Alloy single wall 36H
Bars: Chromoly/8" rise
Stem: Alloy front-load
Chain: KMC Z-410
Tires: Innova 2.125" front & 1.95" rear
Seat: Plastic Pivotal
Post: Alloy Pivotal 150mm
Brakes: Alloy rear U-brake
Pegs: 2 steel
Weight: 26.9 lbs
Colors:Matte khaki frame, fork, & bars with aqua anodized rims OR Matte white frame, fork, & bars with red anodized rims

 

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