At first thought, it may seem like shopping for a BMX would be fairly easy, considering the fact that they are among the most simple type of bike available.
However, purchasing a BMX bike requires just as much discretion as any other type.
If you’ve never bought a BMX bike before, it’s probably a little overwhelming when trying to sort through all the listings and information. Fortunately, we’re here to help.
This buying guide will walk you through all of the most crucial information you need to know beforehand, so that you can purchase the BMX bike that is right for your needs and budget.
To kick things off, are you looking for the best BMX bike for adults or kids?
Product Name & Award
Adult BMX bikes are broken down into 3 main categories:
In the past, if you wanted a professional bike, you had to build it yourself. Now, you’re much more likely to purchase a ready-to-ride, complete bike.
Pro bikes require top of the line construction and unless you have a good bit of experience, you’re probably best off going with a bike that is already put together.
Pro BMX bikes come with high-end parts and are fully sealed and welded to give the frame support. BMX riding doesn’t play around. If you don’t have fully welded joints or heavy-duty rims, your bike is going to collapse the very first time you land a jump.
If you’re going pro, the first thing you’ll look for is Chromoly.
In the past, aluminum or carbon bikes were all the rage, but Chromoly is a relatively new alloy that manages to blend durability of BMX frames with the light weight of a racing bike.
Pretty much all high-end BMX bikes use Chromoly frames, forks, and bars. It’s helpful to look at the percentage of Chromoly used in the bike you’ve got on your mind, or if you’re narrowing down bikes in your price point, go with the ones with a higher Chromoly percentage. You get a durable frame without adding impossible weight.
If you need to save some money, stick with Chromoly on your bottom pieces. The pieces most likely to come in contact with the ground and other obstacles benefit from the durability, mainly the forks, down tube, and chainstays.
You also need sealed bearings.
Unsealed bearings might be cheaper, but you’re going to have to baby them to keep your bike’s motion smooth and flowing. A sealed bearing allows your bike to roll longer and smoother.
When unsealed bearings come loose, you can feel a huge difference in your ride. It’s difficult to control, and there’s a lot of uncomfortable kickback from the ground surface. If you don’t fix it, you won’t even like riding your bike.
Keep weight and other small parts in mind.
Many high-quality bikes use well made, light parts for a better, smoother ride. Choosing to go with midrange and high end smaller parts will prevent you from having to tinker with the bike regularly. It’s going to make a big difference, especially if you’re learning and don’t always have access to a professional shop to set your bike up every time you come down hard from a jump.
You don’t have to have the lightest bike out there, but it’s going to give you more control overall as you develop your muscles and learn to position correctly.
If you genuinely want a high end, pro-level bike, you might have to swap out parts as you learn your riding strengths.
Certain types of components might suit you better than standard parts, though as we said, there are entirely a few complete bikes on the market that should satisfy most of what a pro is looking for.
With the lightest aluminum frame on the market, the new speed series is well equipped for the kind of speed you need. It’s designed exclusively for racers with quick change dropouts and race ready geometry.
Its reimagining takes the speed bike to a level designed for more serious riding. The length and durability don’t interfere with its lightweight structure. Overall, it’s a consistently fast bike without the loss of maneuverability.
The frame is an aluminum alloy. It has hydroformed and butted speed metal tubes. The internal seat clamp is a quick release mechanism.
The rapid change dropout is more aesthetically pleasing with an updated design. In fact, the entire plan is an update of the classic BMX racing bike that’s been around for 20 years.
It has a lighter weight than its predecessor but has the same balanced ride. It features a full carbon fork with a carbon taper steerer tube. The top cap is integrated with 15/10mm Axle Dropouts. For the bottom bracket, they used BB30 steel bearings.
The crank is a new GT hollowed forged AL 2-piece with 180 mm arms and GT 44T GT CNC AL chain wheel bottom bracket. Tires are Tioga PowerBand 20x1.85" in the front and Tioga Power Block 20x1.75" in the rear.
Pedals are GT low profile FS platform designs, with Promax Cold-Forged arms brakes. The brake pads are 31mm two-tone brake pads. The pedals themselves are a slim profile but a large size platform for added stability.
It has Promax V-Point Click brake levers plus AL 2 Finger lever with reach adjust. It has a GT kevlar saddle with an embossed GT wing Graphic. It’s not just fast and light; it also looks good with a solemn nod to the previous incarnations of the speed series bikes.
But how does it ride? BMX stretched the geometry so that the bike could handle the higher speeds and bigger tracks. The company decided to increase the stability of the standard 20-inch bicycle by lengthening the top tubes by half an inch. As the tubes grow, so do the rear ends of the bikes.
The company focused on rigidity as well. After hearing feedback on the amount of stiffness needed to transfer power from the rider to the ground. It has a broader shell and a square-oval downtube. These meet together through a double fist junction, and the seat stays are tri-tapered for further stiffness.
The feedback gives the bike both the powerful motion transfer between rider and ground. Plus, the length and durability of the bike allow it to handle the more serious, more prolonged tracks riders are seeing now.
It’s a good bike for someone looking to get more into the world of racing. If you’re to the point in your riding where shaving seconds off your time is the difference between your happiness and your misery, this iteration of the speed series is a good choice.
The Cult Devotion BMX bike is a freestyle bike that’s lightweight and good for doing tricks. It has a 21-inch TT Cromoly frame and Cromo fork, plus Cromo HT cranks. The top tube length is 21 inches while the rear length is 13.65 inches.
It has Cult’s nylon pedals with removable 990 U-brakes. The integrated seat post clamp supports a Cult pivotal seat.
It’s a little heavier than the pure speed bikes, but it’s intended for maneuvering through different types of surfaces and doing tricks. The weight helps you keep your balance better and execute those movements with more ease.
The tires have double wall rims in both the front and the rear for added wheel stability and endurance. The wheels take landings better while you recover more quickly.
The Cult Pivotal seat provides further durability and a comfortable base.
The handlebar grips are designed to keep your hands from slipping even when rolling over rough terrain or executing jumps and spins. It has an integrated headset, so the geometry is very friendly. The size fits the specs necessary for most writers.
The frame and seals are suitable whether you ride dirt, street, or park, the structure can handle it. It’s not built for actual street biking. As a result, commuting might be out of the question. Handling tricks and large jumps are where the bike excels.
The Chromoly frame does a lot to add the right amount of stability without increasing the weight. The alloy is lightweight but extremely strong, so the bike performs well even when doing the extreme height jumps. It’s got a lot to offer in that department.
It’s fast, but probably not as fast as you’d want if you were racing seriously. The thicker, fuller frame is a good all-around trick bike, and one of the top offerings in the world of freestyle bikes, but if you’re looking for something lither, this isn’t it.
They’ve considered tricks and jumps with every joint. Things are double welded and sealed to make sure the joints can handle the landings and support the frame without too much give. It feels sturdy on the course or in the dirt, and there’s plenty of power transfer between the rider and the ground.
It’s a hardcore freestyle bike that can take everything you throw at it plus a little extra. There’s no worry about bending the wheel axels or stressing the joints, particularly around the handlebars and the front frame.
Though looks aren’t as important as the frame set up, it does look cool too. It’s a minimal design with a simple seat and heavy-duty handlebar grips. It might not be as flashy as some bikes, but it’s going to last you a long time. This pro bike is the right call for someone who’s a master at tricks and jumps.
Freestyle Bikes are built to withstand a lot of abuse.
Freestyle is a cross of street, park, and dirt riding, so the bike needs to be durable where it counts. Most of the time, you’re going to have a lot of crossover between the different disciplines, so getting an all-purpose freestyle bike is probably your best option.
You’re going to look for Chromoly because the alloy is super durable for all kinds of surfaces without adding a hefty amount of weight. It has superior strength and can be “butted,” meaning it’s lighter in the middle and reinforced at connection points.
It also offers some compliance during the ride so that there’s less kickback from surfaces to the rider. It’s easy to repair and can withstand a lot of wear and tear.
Wheel sizes will stay consistent regardless of the rider’s size, but the size of the frame alters to fit. You don’t want a bike that’s the wrong size because it’s vital you be able to manipulate the bike during jumps and tricks properly.
Most will have a 21-inch tube because that allows most riders to swing the body around underneath them pretty comfortably. The shorter seat also keeps out of the way during rotations.
Standard rims for freestyle bikes are 32 mm, but if you’re particularly hard on bikes, you might opt for something a little larger.
Double walled rims offer better protection from impacts and make it less likely that you’ll bend your wheels coming down off something extreme. Double walled rims are also a good balance between weight and structural durability.
Pedals need to be wide platformed pedals but with a slim profile so that you can get your feet back onto them quickly. Some are plastic or nylon which causes less damage when they hit your shins. (It’s inevitable.)
Eventually, you’ll have to replace them, but a good pair of plastic pedals should last a while before you have to. Be sure to know what size pedal you have when you replace them.
Another heavy-duty freestyle bike is the Cult Control. It’s meant for all kinds of surfaces including hardtop concrete, dirt, and parks. It has a bunch of high-end features to up your freestyle game. It’s built to withstand the pressure of intermediate to advanced freestyle riding.
It has a 20-inch partial Chromoly body with Cult Salvation V3 stem. The hubs are fully sealed, and the rear tire is a double-walled rear rim. This carries the extra weight of advanced jumps without risking bending the wheel rim.
The pedals are cult nylon slim profile but with a wide base and no-slip grip. The handlebar grips are Ricany by Odi. They give you plenty of hand space to adjust during tricks and jumps without having to handle bare bar.
The tires are Cult Dehart 20-inch tread, and the breaks are removable 990 U-brakes. There’s an integrated headset, and a Chromo steerer tube 10 mm drop out for the fork. The saddle is the Cult Pivotal, with plenty of room and some give.
This bike isn’t one for someone who’s just getting started. It’s got quite a few of Cult’s high-end features and would be overkill to ride around on for a beginner. If you’re a more experienced rider who can tell the difference between the Cult Salvation stem and others, this might be a good choice for you.
It isn’t full Chromoly like the pro Cult above, but it does have heat treated cranks and fully sealed bearings.
The front wheel is a bit lighter which gives you more control over rotation, while the rear wheel provides stabilization and durable landings. When you’re learning advanced tricks and jumps, it’s a good feeling to have a trustworthy rear wheel without losing control over the front.
If you do make this your first bike, it does have quite a bit to offer you regarding growing space. Almost all the parts are Cult proprietary parts, and with that much high-end equipment, you can experiment with your bike while knowing it’s going to take all the abuse you’ll give it.
It looks cool. Again, looks don’t matter so much, but it’s a nice feature to have on an intermediate to an advanced bike. Most of the parts are blacked out, and the frame itself comes in a couple of different colors that are set off by the blacked-out features. Even the wheels are all black.
Those tires are no joke too. They have thick, consistent treading that helps you stick landings and keep you from wiping out on more slick surfaces like dirt.
It’s one step up from their entry-level bike regarding their full like, so it’s a good compromise if you aren’t ready to go pro yet, but still want a bike that can handle a pretty heavy load for freestyle shredding.
Framed Attack’s BMX is a freestyle bike built with an extra stout frame. The frame is 100% Chromoly, so it’s lightweight without feeling lightweight. It gives you plenty of maneuvering, but you can trust that the structure is sound for some intermediate to advanced jumps and tricks.
It has a 20.5-inch top tube and a Chromoly fork and handlebar. The handlebar grips are Velo Mushroom 150mm. It has a framed alloy brake lever with APSE Alloy U-Brakes. The pedals are made of nylon composite and offer plenty of space to ride without too large of a profile.
It also features 20 inches anodized Double Wall Alloy Pinned Rims with an unsealed alloy rear hub. The rims are thick enough to handle more serious jumps without taking damage to the rim structure. The wheelbase itself is 38 inches.
It’s on the heavier side at just over 25 pounds. If you’re learning how to ride, this might trip you up a little bit. Ideally, the front wheel comes in a little lighter than the back to give you more maneuverability, but both the front and the rear wheel weight about the same.
The heaviness does give you sturdiness and balance, however. It might not get you in the air as high as you’d like, but you can trust the frame to hold up well.
On some bikes, the pedals can snap off, but this has only been reported for a small number of bikes. If you have it assembled professionally (as you should for warranty purposes), you can have the shop take a look at them.
It has an excellent paint job with slick finishes, and it comes in a few different frame colors. The rest of the parts are standard chrome. If you decide to assemble it yourself, it’s on the simpler side of things, but consider your abilities before you do that.
You should expect a lot of adjusting in the first few months because of some of the brake pedals, but also because the chain tends to stretch out a lot during the first bit of use. You should also consider other options for the unsealed bottom bracket if you’re on the larger side because you might end up giving it a lot more of your attention than you’d like.
Otherwise, it’s one of the only 100% Chromoly bodies in its price class and is an excellent choice for someone just starting out, but who wants a bike that can grow a little with his or her abilities. It’s light enough to handle the tricks and jumps of someone just starting out, and sturdy enough for intermediate skills.
With a little attention, it should last a long time. In particular, care should be taken with unsealed pieces so that as natural wear and tear happen, these don’t become structural weaknesses. If you do decide to replace a few of the unsealed parts or the pedals, the bike should last even longer.
Racing bikes are built for optimum speed and control. They’re still BMX bikes, but the geometry has the race in mind rather than tricks.
Ounces matter during the race. Most racing bikes are made of aluminum rather than steel or steel alloy. They aren’t going to hold up well under freestyle conditions, but they’ll smoke a trick bike on the track.
That aluminum trades durability for weight. It’s light enough to compete on the track and take a few jumps without crumbling. They’re meant to go as fast as they can in the shortest amount of time possible.
Higher end parts are likely to be less weighty as well because they’ll use aluminum or Chromoly. You don’t want Chromoly on a racing bike because it’s heavier than aluminum, but have a few parts adds negligible weight.
The wheels have a lower spoke count and tend to be single walled for weight purposes. The wheels themselves are narrower for better acceleration but still have tread to grip the dirt.
You also have the choice between 20 inches and 24 inches. The more substantial wheel size is more of a cruiser. It still has a lot of speed, but the ride is going to be smoother (if a hair slower than the 20 inch.)
The larger your chainring is, the better your power is going to be. You need full power transfer from the rider to the ground, so you don’t lose precious seconds right out of the gate. It’s also essential that you choose a higher gearing ratio because you’ll change gears to suit a variety of surfaces.
These aren’t your typical racing bikes. They won’t be as fast as racing bikes meant solely for hardtop surfaces like the Tour de France.
There’s a trade between durability and speed.
BMX racing is still hard on a bike, so the frame has to be sturdy enough to handle coming down off a hill at a high speed so that you don’t crumple the bike on the first lap.
The tires are thinner than trick bikes but still bigger than street tires. They have to grip dirt and other surfaces so that you can control speed and angle without wiping out. BMX racing has its own specifications. These aren’t your everyday commuting bikes.
The GT Speed Series is an ultra-lightweight racing bike built to streamline and reduce weight for one of the fastest rides out there. It features race-ready geometry and quick-change dropouts so you’re ready for a variety of conditions during your race.
It’s designed entirely for racers. The frame is lightweight aluminum with alloy hydro-formed butted speed tubes. There’s a quick release seat clamp for fast but secure changes and AL CNC/Forged rapid change dropout system.
The full carbon fork has a carbon taper steerer tube with a fully integrated top cap. The bottom brackets are fully sealed, and the rims are a lightweight but durable Alienation Deviant 36H front and an Alienation 440 36H rear.
The pedals are a slim profile but have plenty of space and serious grip to keep your feet where they need to be. The front and rear tires are Tioga 20 inches with the front at 1.95 inches and the back and 1.75. The brake levers are a two finger, reach-adjust lever.
The frame alone is one of the lightest on the market. It does follow the aesthetics of their other bike lines pretty closely, except for the fluorescent paint choices, but they’ve upgraded a few components to some high-end stuff.
That said, it’s a good blend of high end and mid-level components making it a little easier to come in complete without spending a small fortune. You shouldn’t have to change out too many parts to make it all your own.
It uses Promax components are used for their clamps, brake lever, and brake arms. The bike also has the BOX carbon fork. These components add stability to the bike while maintaining its mid-range price point.
Many of the other components are GT branded, and the company has a history of producing excellent mid-level parts. The blend is a good one. The right high end mixed with the right mid-range make this bike a good racing bike for someone intermediate and looking to get a complete set up without too much pain on the wallet. Overall, an excellent balance between the two.
So how does it ride? It’s fast. Very Fast. It has excellent control mainly due to the construction of the rear tires. It’s also one of the stiffest bikes on the market, which adds another layer of stability, so you can race through a multitude of conditions without wiping out.
And it looks great. The company went with a bright fluorescent frame with classic chrome parts. It has an intricate filigree style along the top tube, and a six-speed shifter logo along the seat stay. These little details help the bike to stand out despite the classic GT style frame. The gentle curves of the bike should feel familiar to anyone who’s loyal to the GT brand.
The new SE PK Ripper is an ultra-lightweight two-piece alloy. It has a stiff, oversized hollow spindle and a PF 30 bottom bracket. The aluminum frame is rigid but lightweight, giving you the ultimate response to your power. It has excellent transfer between the rider and the structure.
This version of the bike has innovations such as the tapered head tube and the 20mm dropouts on the front and the rear. It gives a mid-range bike a solidly professional feel at a better price point that some comparable models.
It has complete race ready geometry with a 21-inch tube. It has Cr-Mo landing gear Promax Impact 6061-T6 Alloy CNC stem. It uses Promax’s alloy V-break. It has Tioga Powerband 20 inch tires with 1.85 inches in the front and 1.60 inches in the rear.
These tires roll pretty effortlessly through different types of surfaces. If you ride across different areas and never consistently stick to one thing, these tires help your bike make the transition more efficiently.
The brake levers are ProMax as well with a two-finger reach adjust the design. The landing gear and tapered steerer tube give the bike durability where it needs it without adding unnecessary weight. It distributes weight across the front end so that the tire doesn’t buckle even when you get serious air.
The brake system gives you a lot of control over your speed without worrying about stripping the brakes or wiping out. The brakes are durable and can handle not only speed under ideal conditions, but across all types of surfaces, so you don’t have to worry about riding timidly.
It has the right mix of high end and mid-range parts, so you can get a complete system without spending too much. It’s still an intermediate to advanced racing bike, but it works well for tricks and occasional freestyling as well. You shouldn’t have to upgrade too many of the parts to have a top-notch bike that will grow with your abilities.
It has a highly efficient power transfer as well. GT used specific tubing shapes throughout high-stress areas of the bike. The front and rear hollow axels provide torsional rigidity. Within the turns, the Promax P-1 alloy brakes give you excellent control and form. The tires add to the stability of those high-speed turns and prevent you from losing power even when the bike is performing at top speed.
These specs put the Ripper on par with much more expensive bikes racing bikes. Some at this price point require parts modifications that give you better control over speed and braking, plus replacing parts that can’t withstand the hard riding many BMX riders do. This one is another bike with a great mix of high end and mid-range elements to get you in the door with a racing bike with few modifications.
The look is ultra-streamlined with a vintage white frame and lettering plus chrome components. The red and blue graphics pop against the light frame. Looks don’t matter necessarily, but in this case, they’ve done an excellent job.
Product Name & Award
Top Pick: Mongoose Legion L40 Freestyle Bike, 20''
New Entry: Mongoose Legion L80 20" Wheel Freestyle Bike
Best Budget: Dynacraft Boys Throttle Magna Bike
After thoroughly reviewing 10 of the best BMX bikes available today, we think the Mongoose Legion L40 is the best option available.
While the under $300 price range may not seem very high, there are several BMX bikes that can more than hold their own against competition-level models.
The Mongoose Legion L80 is a mid-range freestyle BMX bike that “always delivers” fantastic performance. Thanks to its superior components and brilliant craftsmanship, this bike can outperform even more expensive models.
Whether you are using it in a skatepark, the urban jungle or even on dirt tracks, the Mongoose Legion L80 holds its own, giving you a comfortable ride without sacrificing performance.
It uses the Mongoose 4130 BMX frame which consists of Chromoly, a sturdy steel alloy made out of chromium and molybdenum. This material is ultra durable but still incredibly lightweight so that you can more easily get air on jumps and maneuver the bike.
The frame features an integrated headset for rider-friendly geometry. Measuring in at 20.75 inches long it’s the ideal size for the vast majority of people.
Unlike some inferior freestyle bikes, the Legion L80 features high volume 2.4” tires which give you plenty of grip and make it easier to land complicated tricks. With thinner tires, you have less contact with the ground which can reduce your control and comfort when falling.
Completed with rear alloy u-brakes with alloy brake levers, you’ll get excellent responsiveness for greater control when you are riding and performing tricks. Constructed using a lightweight steel alloy this bike is plenty light enough for even beginner riders.
The Mongoose Legion L80 is an upper mid-range freestyle bike, and that's evident from its 25x9T gearing with cassette driver and strong 2-piece 175mm cranks. Pedaling cheaper bikes can be a slog, whereas with the L80 it’s like pushing through butter.
This superior gearing and drive system allows you to pick up speed quicker and with less effort so that you can accelerate into ramps and tricks. For riders wishing to enjoy skateparks, this level of gearing is vital.
Freestyle bikes have to be sturdy to absorb the shock of landing so often, which is why the L80 uses alloy 4-bolt treadless stem with a 2-piece bar. This setup is far stronger and more durable than the alternatives which are often on inferior models.
According to one reviewer who rode the bike at a local skate park, the bike was excellent and is comparable to a bike that he would have paid 5x more for a decade before.
The L80 is fantastic value for money because you are getting superior components built using lightweight materials at a competitive price. Cheaper bikes can’t compete on quality while more expensive models perform only marginally better.
Case in point: the Mongoose Legion L60.
This lightweight freestyle BMX bike has all of the core features one looks for in a high-performance BMX bike, combining some very good components with a solid design, and ideal setup for a variety of street and park courses.
In fact, the Legion L60 is a popular choice with many BMX riders who need something better than an intermediate-level bike for their freestyle needs, but don’t want to spend the amount of money that a more serious, competitive freestyle rider is willing to.
The result? A truly street and park-ready BMX bike that is easy to maneuver, utilizes optimal gearing, and provides plenty of traction and stability to help get the most out of each ride
The Legion L60’s frame is crafted from steel, but still comes out weighing under 30 lbs, keeping things light enough to feel a bit brisk on the course. The 3-piece tubular crank comes with 25/9 micro cassette gearing, giving the bike a large amount of clearing that is actually a little above the wheel hubs.
A 36-spoke alloy wheelset is used with the Legion L60, and they come with oversized axles and color wall tires for a more cohesive, yet still functional look. An alloy rear U-brake is the bike's stopping power, while a 4-bolt stem and 2-piece handlebar comprise the steering.
The Mongoose Legion L60 doesn’t do anything fancy, but it does give attention to every key detail, while keeping the price at a manageable level. If you want the most for your money, and want a dependable, street-ready BMX bike that can take the punishment, the Legion L60 should be your top choice.
Would you like to read an in-depth review? Click here.
For those who aren’t willing to get close to the $300 mark, there are still plenty of great choices for quality, but cheap BMX bikes, without going over $200. These are our top two favorites.
It’s rare to find a freestyle BMX bike that offers as much as the Mongoose Legion L40 for under $200, yet here we are. This bike is ready to go from the outset, and possesses all the advanced features of a legitimate freestyle bike without limitations.
The frame is made from steel, and comes out to be around 37 lbs when fully assembled. Yes, that’s a bit heavy, but for a boy’s BMX bike, it shouldn’t be too much of an issue, as you likely don’t want your 10-year-old getting 15 feet of air like it’s nothing.
The black and red color scheme works very well, and gives the bike a more refined appearance.
Like other Mongoose bikes in this range, the Legion L40 manages to fit in advanced drivetrain components such as 25/9 cassette gearing for better clearance, and 3-piece tubular, color matched crank tubes with alloy pedals.
The wheelset takes an attractive all-black appearance, with subtle tread on the tires, and 36-spoke alloy wheels. Pegs are included, and are found on both the front and back, also in black .
The L40 comes with brakes on the back and front, and also managed to include a detangler in the front to support infinite bar spins, which is one of the bike’s best features for sure.
Overall, there is a lot of value to be found for under $200. This bike is intended for younger boys, but can definitely grow with them, remaining a very formidable freestyle bike that is definitely equipped to handle serious street and park riding.
If you are looking for an affordable, true freestyle BMX for a kid that is more than just looks, this is it.
Click here to read our in-depth review.
Like the Scan R40, the Diamondback Grind is intended to be a true park and street-ready freestyle BMX bike for an affordable price. In order to do so, the bike focuses more on the components than the frame.
The frame itself is made from hi-tensile steel, and weighs around 33 lbs when fully equipped. This is a bit on the heavy side, but it’s not too big of an issue.
The color scheme is unique and flashy, contrasting a neon green against a black backdrop, with a green rim on the front wheel.
The drivetrain is powered by 1-piece steel cranks that provide a noticeable stiffness. The gearing is a standard 44/16 that does take away from the bike’s ground clearance, but simplifies the components and offers greater longevity at the same time.
The wheelset includes a heavily-reinforced 48 spoke setup, combined with thick, meaty tires with minimal tread for better traction and shock absorption on pavement.
990 brake mounts enhance the Grind’s overall durability, and the included detangler allows for full handlebar spins without getting caught up in the cables. Despite being called the Grind, this bike lacks pegs for some reason, but that’s something a $20 bill can easily fix.
In terms of value, the Diamondback Grind puts a lot out there. The hi-ten steel frame is a nice touch, along with the ability to freely spin the handlebars. The 48 spoke wheelset is the finishing touch that makes this bike a true workhorse, ready to stand up to years of punishment.
If you'd like to read our in-depth review, click here.
The under $150 price range is arguably the most popular among entry-level and intermediate riders. There is a lot of value to be found, with a wide selection of the best cheap BMX bikes that are equipped to handle serious riding. Here are our 5 favorites.
When it comes to entry-level BMX bikes for young kids, the focus isn’t so much about the latest gear and components as it is sheer durability.
Many younger kids who are just starting out don’t need a bike that is made for freestyling, but they do need a quality BMX bike that can hold up to the wear and tear.
The Diamondback Youth Nitrus is a higher-end entry-level BMX bike for kids that is built to withstand years of use and rough handling.
It makes use of quality components, and a legitimate freestyle frame design that gives it a more versatile style of riding.
The Nitrus’ frame is made from high-tensile steel, which is a leap up from the more basic steel you find on cheaper models. The same fore the fork. The light blue and black color scheme is very appealing for younger kids, while still offering a look that they can mature with.
The bike’s drivetrain is nothing special, but it is made with a traditional gearing setup that is sure to last much longer and have less issues than a smaller sprocket would. As for braking, the Nitrus uses a single rear linear-pull brake that offers ample stopping power without much effort.
The wheelset utilizes a 36 spoke design for added durability, and the included tires have a bit more of a tread on them, giving the rider some added traction when riding off the pavement.
The Diamondback Youth Nitrus isn’t intended for serious park and street freestyle use, but it is an excellent and appropriate introduction to BMX riding for a younger kid that needs something more than just a cheap, department store BMX bike.
The bike’s overall quality allows child to properly grow with it, as it ensures a noticeably better level of riding, along with the added durability that comes from using higher-end components. For under $150, that’s a great value.
Click here to read our review.
The Razor Agitator is designed to give a rider everything they need to get started with freestyle riding, and for a very economical price.
You can tell by its appearance that the Agitator is serious about performance, combining classic styling with some features normally found on bikes in a higher price range.
The Agitator’s steel frame gives it plenty of stability and strength to handle hard landings and crashes as well.
This does come with the trade-off of a higher weight, but it’s not enough to make it that much heavier than other bikes in its class.
The drivetrain operates off of a 25/9 shorter gear setup, giving the bike lots of clearance on the bottom, along with higher pedal efficiency that’s more suited for park and street riding.
The wheelset uses extra-thick mags instead of thin spokes, giving the bike a classic and unique look, while also providing optimal wheel reinforcement without adding extra weight. The tires have a lower profile with minimal tread, and work great for street and vert riding.
The brake system utilizes both linear and caliper brake systems. The front brake is a caliper style for better control, while the rear brake is linear, giving it more stopping power with a small squeeze of the lever. The handlebar has a detangler for the brake lines, allowing full 360-degree handlebar spins.
Extra-thick pegs and a plush, comfortable seat help propel the Agitator over the top. Its combination of features and design could easily place it in a higher price range yet somehow it remains under $150.
If you’re looking for a true freestyle bike that you can immediately hit the parks and streets with, the Razor Agitator has everything you need, making it one of the best purchases for the money.
Read our review by clicking here.
This BMX bike was made by the X-Games, so you know it’s going to be a legitimate freestyle bike that is perfect for young kids just starting out.
It has all the right accessories and components to let young riders start tearing it up on street and park courses as soon as they are comfortable enough.
As with most bikes in this price range, the FS20 is made from steel, so you have a heavy weight/strength and stability trade-off. For younger kids, the weight won’t be that much of an issue anyway, so the extra reinforcement is welcomed.
The FS20 uses a 25/9 gear setup thanks to its smaller sprocket, which is protected by a clear chain guard that you almost have to look at twice to even notice it’s there/ The red alloy pedals are a nice touch, giving the bike some added style to go along with higher-quality pedals.
A detangler pairs with the dual brake setup, giving the rider lots of controlled stopping power and the ability to freely spin the handlebars. The all-black wheelset uses a 48 spoke setup, further adding the bike’s overall durability and strength.
There are plenty of extras too. The X-Games graphics are very appealing to young riders who have grown up watching the X-Games, and the black/red color scheme works nicely too. Matching red pegs add to the bike's aesthetic, while increasing its functionality on the course.
The FS20 is a favorite among young aspiring BMX riders for a reason. For just under $150, you get a legitimate freestyle bike that captures the essence of the X-Games, and backs it up with all of the right features and components.
For the youngest aspiring BMX riders, it can be hard to find them a legitimate, quality BMX bike that offers a high level of riding, but in a compact size. Usually, getting a smaller BMX bike means settling for a gimmick bike that won’t hold up over time.
The Mongoose Legion L18 is the perfect solution, providing smaller kids with a real BMX bike that has most of the same features they see on the older kids’ bikes.
No gimmicks here: the L18 is serious, and is a great intro for smaller kids who can’t ride a 20” BMX bike yet.
The L18 uses steel tuning for the frame and fork, and it comes in a very attractive orange color that resembles competitive bikes out on the tracks. The color, graphics, and black components all work well together, and give the bike a very serious look to match its performance.
The drivetrain is even a 25/11T setup, which is rare for bikes this size.The single-piece crank system keeps things simple and durable, and the durable plastic pedals are the best choice for the age group.
As the bike’s name suggests, the L18 uses 18-inch tires instead of the standard 20-inch size, letting smaller children have a taste of a real BMX bike, without waiting until they are old enough to ride on 20’s. A single rear U-brake offers plenty of stopping power that doesn’t require an excess amount of pressure on the lever.
The Mongoose L18 is a suitable choice for smaller kids who are serious about real BMX riding, but aren’t quite ready for the standard size. The bike’s potent mix of looks, components, and strategic sizing makes it a steal for under $150.
For the kids that can handle the 20-inch tires, the Kent Pro 20 offers everything you need to get started in the world of freestyle BMX.
Every detail of this bike has been designed to handle freestyle riding, and features an appealing style that hints at its personality and overall capabilities.
The Pro 20’s frame and fork are crafted from tig-welded steel, giving it the strength and stability needed to tackle real street and park riding with ease.
It's blue and white paint job and graphics give it a stand-out look, that isn’t too distracting or childish.
A freestyle rotor anchors the shorter drivetrain system, giving the rider lots of flexibility with riding styles, while also providing an optimal gearing ratio for freestyle riding. A clear chain guard protects the chain and the rider as well.
Hand brakes are included on the front and rear wheels, and the Pro 20 includes a spinning rotor to keep brake lines free of tangle when doing any handlebar spins.
The bike’s wheels includes a 36 spoke set up, with treadless tires that provide ample grip on the pavement, while also ensuring a decent amount of shock absorption during landings from jumps.
Like a true BMX freestyle bike, the Pro 20 comes pre-equipped with thick pegs for grinding, stalls, and other common park and street tricks.
The Kent Pro 20 barely breaks the $100 price range, yet offers so much for entry-level riders who need a true BMX freestyle bike that is ready to handle whatever comes its way. It price and quality make it a great buy.
For those that need to keep things under $100, there are several options in terms of quality children's BMX bikes. While choices certainly do abound, this one stands above the rest in terms of the most for an attractive price.
The Throttle from Dynacraft is intended for young boys who are just getting started on a real bike. It makes use of a sturdy steel frame that gives the young rider all the stability and balance needed to get used to a real BMX biking experience.
The optimized drivetrain setup is very efficient and easy to pedal, and is completely covered by a chain guard that helps protect both the child and the chain assembly. The oversized pedals provide plenty of surface area for a kid’s size shoe.
The bike’s look is worth mentioning as well. The red and black color scheme sports a sort of throwback look that will be very appealing to young boys, padding is provided on the top tube and handlebars for added protection.
The seat is plush and comfortable, and soft, black rubber grips help provide more comfort, along with better grip for steering. Braking is done the old-fashioned way: with a coaster reverse brake. This results in less maintenance as well.
Matching black tires and a conveniently placed kickstand help round out the Throttle. For just under $80, it’s hard to think of a better price for budget-minded parents looking for an economical, quality beginner’s bike for their kid.
Kids are often seen riding BMX's through neighborhood, so it's no wonder that we included best baby BMX bike in our review.
Royal Baby bikes are popular with small children for a reason. Not only are they great to learn on, they come with an array of features and extras that make both parents and kids happy.
The Royal Baby BMX bike is available in a wide range of size and colors, and includes several different components to get your kid started on a bike.
The sturdy frame gives proper support, while easy to attach training wheels offer a widened stance that helps keep the rider upright, even on sharp turns and leans.
Braking is accomplished with a responsive front hand brake that requires very little pressure to engage. The seat has a comfort-oriented contour, and the drivetrain is fully covered with a shield to protect the chain from any contact.
There’s even a water bottle holder in the back, making longer family rides easier. Plus, it looks pretty cool as well.
Every component and feature of this Royal Baby bike has been designed to offer maximum comfort, safety, and handling, along with added convenience as well. This encourages your child to love their bike, which is the best foundation to get them started with riding.
Yes, you’ll have to pay a little over $100 for a tiny bike, but the real payoff is more than worth it. If you want the best bike to teach your kid how to ride on and grow with, the Royal Baby BMX bike should be your only choice.
If you'd like to read our in-depth review, click here.
We’ve repeated this several times elsewhere on this site already, but it’s worth mentioning again:
Not all BMX bikes are created equally.
Sure, they may all seem pretty similar at first glance, but further examination shows a great deal of variance in terms of frames and components. If you end up with the wrong BMX for your intended riding type, you may encounter some problems in a hurry.
For example, if you want to start hitting the local skateparks and street courses, and you purchase a flatland bike to get started, you’re going to tear your bike up quickly, and may even cause a few more crashes than you would on a proper street bike.
BMX bikes are an investment, even on the lowest budget level, so it pays to ensure that you’re getting the right bike for its intended use. This will not only protect you and your bike, but make the sport much more enjoyable as well.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s go over all the essential things you need to think of an assess before you go through on a purchase.
In order to best ensure you end up with a bike that’s right for you, there are four core aspects you would be wise to consider before getting serious about your search.
First is type of your ride, we covered types in our ultimate guide to world of BMX's so feel free to check it out.
Everything starts with first determining what type of riding you’ll be doing the most on your future BMX bike. Although BMX biking once referred to one specific style, the sport’s progression has resulted in more than a few riding types, each with specific characteristics and demands.
BMX bikes may look all look fairly similar at first, but each bike has different components, brake setups, wheels, and frame materials/designs that make them suitable for their specific riding type.
So, in order to focus your search on the right type, first ask yourself what you’ll be using it for primarily.
If you plan on doing tricks on the street in your area, or at a skatepark which includes grinds, jumps, and whatever else, you’ll need a freestyle bike that can handle it.
Since you’ll be doing a lot of tricks and stunts, your bike will be going through a lot of stress, especially in the frame. Freestyle bikes will often have either a steel or chromoly frame that is a bit heavier than you’ll get with other BMX bikes. The added weight is okay for this kind of riding though.
The wheels will have at least 36 spokes for better durability and strength, and the tires will be on the thicker side, with no knobby tread. This gives you better speed on pavement and wooden ramps, and adds some shock absorption.
Freestyle bikes often come with brakes on the front and back for better control, and ideally will have a rotating hub in the front to prevent brake cables from being tangled. Pegs are almost always included on each wheel hub as well, for grinds, stalls, and other tricks.
The drivetrain on a freestyle bike can vary, but they usually have shorter crank arms, and smaller sprockets as well for better ground clearance.
To summarize, if you will be spending most of your time on vert ramps, at skateparks, and hitting the streets to do the same kinds of tricks and jumps, you need a freestyle BMX bike.
Dirt jumping takes place on dirt tracks that have either a series of jumps all in a row, or one big-air jump. Technically, dirt jumping is freestyle riding in many ways, but since this style of riding is on dirt tracks, the bike is different.
The frame of a dirt jumping bike is similar to from other freestyle bikes, but it’s the components that vary the most. The tires are the knobbiest of any BMX bike, giving the rider better grip for taking off and landing. The gearing is a little different as well.
Some street and park freestyle riders will just purchase a different wheelset and tires to use whenever they want to do dirt jumping.
If you plan on doing BMX racing, you’ll need a bike that is light and fast.
A BMX racing bike is usually made from either aluminum, or chromoly. The frame places the rider in a more upright and taller position, allowing for an increased sense of control, and giving the rider a better pedaling stance.
The tires have a lower profile with a small amount of knobby tread, increasing increase traction on a dirt course, with minimal expense to the overall riding speed.
The crank arms are longer for added pedal power and efficiency, while the seat setup is both light and small. Braking involves a rear hand brake that is much stronger and responsive than other BMX bikes.
So, if you are interested in eventually getting into competitive BMX racing, or simply want a fast BMX bike you can use on dirt tracks, a racing BMX bike is going to be your best choice. However, keep in mind that it’s not built for much else, and that includes freestyle and street riding.
Flatland BMX is sometimes described as breakdancing on a bike. The rider stays in a small, flat area on a pavement surface, while performing various tricks atop the bike as it moves along the ground.
The tricks involve things such as walking across the frame, spinning the bike on one wheel in a circle, standing on the handlebars as the bike is heading backwards, and a lot of other extremely innovative, creative stunts. The goal is to remain on the bike, without touching the ground.
While flatland riding originated with regular BMX bikes, they eventually evolved to be specifically for this style. These bikes have the most differences when compared to other styles of BMX bikes.
The frame is more compact and smaller overall, with the top and bottom tubes pushed close together in order to give the rider with more clearance when performing tricks.
Flatland bikes have a variety of different brake setups that are at the rider’s discretion. A front and rear U-brake are common. If a front brake is present, a cable detangler is required to keep the brake cable from winding around the frame when doing handlebar spins. Some riders may not want any brakes at all.
Flatland bikes always use four pegs, often at much longer lengths than you’d find on other types of freestyle bikes. The crankarms are shorter so they are out of the way, and a longer seatpost gives the rider something to hold onto. Tires are smooth, low-profile, and usually inflated to their maximum PSI for better control.
So, if you are intending to give flatland BMX a try, know that the bike will not be suitable for any other course, whether it’s street, dirt, halfpipe, and whatever else. While the bike looks like a BMX for the most part, it’s not made to be ridden in a normal way for anything other than flat pavement.
BMX bikes are the most popular type for kids who are just learning how to ride, and beyond.
Although there is plenty of variance among kids BMX bikes, they are almost always designed like freestyle bikes. Many of them will come with pegs, and are usually made from steel frames to make them more affordable, and give the bike more stability.
The quality of these bikes can vary as well. While you can go the cheaper route and get your kid a bike that looks very much like a professional BMX bike but doesn’t ride like one, there are actually plenty of kids BMX bikes that are made for young riders who are just starting out doing real freestyle riding.
These bikes are more expensive, but provide a greater value, as they last longer, have less issues, and can handle both beginning and more advanced child riders.
If your child or a toddler is learning how to ride a bicycle, an alternative to a standard BMX bike is a balance bike. We've created an in-depth guide to the best balance bikes which will help you make an educated buying decision before purchasing a training bike for your kid.
As with any kind of bike, the sizing is the most important aspect after deciding on your specific type.
BMX bikes have a much less complicated sizing system when compared to mountain and road bikes, mainly due to the fact that you won’t be spending hours on them at a time across miles of road and trails.
Still, it’s crucial that you get the right size. For BMX sizing, the most important factor is your height.
This chart displays the sizing for all 8 of the major BMX bike sizes.
As with any purchase of something like a bike, you need to know how much you are willing to spend before you start shopping. Although BMX bikes aren’t as expensive as other genres of bikes, there can still be a great deal of variance in terms of quality between price ranges.
Since BMX bike are smaller and more simple than other bikes, you can really get a lot for the money. Entry level bikes can start off under $100, with the quality of bikes increasing as you go up towards $150 and $200.
The $300 price range has some very high-quality BMX bikes that may even be competition worthy.
Regardless of your ideal price point, be sure to set aside money for any gear needed, along with getting the bike assembled properly, if applicable.
There’s a lot to be said about BMX frame materials and components. For the most part, you have three main choices; aluminum, steel, and chromoly.
Aluminum is common for racing bikes, as the material is light, and inexpensive. Chromoly is considered the best frame material overall, combining light weight with added strength.
If you are dead set on a specific budget, and want a specific frame material such as chromoly, you may have to compromise on the bike’s components to keep the price down.
On the other hand, if you are okay using a more inexpensive frame material such as steel, you may have more leeway in obtaining better components to equip the bike with. This is common for street bikes and freestyle bikes in general.
In a perfect world, we would only need the bike itself. However safety and comfort are main priorities so you’ll need some essential gear items before you get on the bike for the first time.
A helmet should be used anytime you ride a bike, regardless of what kind, or where you are. With BMX biking, this is even more of a necessity, if that's even possible.
No matter what type of BMX riding you are undertaking, the risk for falls and crashes is far greater than any other kind of biking, so you need to protect your most vital asset -- your head.
Most BMX helmets resemble the full helmets you’d see motocross riders wear. That means the entire head is covered, with an extension towards the front, and a visor. This helmet is common for racing, halfpipe, and dirt jumping.
Park and street riders will sometimes use standard bike helmets instead.
Wearing gloves can help give you better grip, while also protecting your hands from blisters, or even scrapes and cuts if you fall.
Full-fingered gloves are the most common type of glove, regardless of BMX riding type.
Not to keep harping on the crash aspect of BMX riding, but it’s an unavoidable truth. Knee and elbow pads can help protect your body in the event that something goes wrong. If you’re racing this includes crashes that may or may not even be your fault.
Riders on all levels and from all types can benefit from padding, and it’s not uncommon to see pads everywhere from the skatepark, to the race track.
Boy’s BMX bikes still have a lot of the requirements adults have but with specific size specifications in mind.
The standard 21-inch tube might be too long for young boys, so you’ll have to scale down the frame of the bike to match his size.
The wheels stay somewhat the same. For very young kids, however, some wheels are more manageable. These are anywhere from 16 to 18 inches for extra small.
You can get the correct bike size by measuring the “standover” height. This means how tall the bike is in relation to your child when he’s standing over the bike rather than sitting.
The handlebar grips need to be smaller so that he can get his hands on them. They should still have a ribbed surface, so his hands don’t slip off as he’s doing tricks and jumps.
For kids, you might not get the Chromoly frame. Instead, opt for some aluminum or steel alloy to reduce weight but provide strong support regardless of the surface.
Aluminum is going to be rustproof and lighter, but it’s more expensive than Chromoly. Chromoly is heavier but cheaper and easier to fix in the long run. Parts themselves can be made from a variety of materials including Chromoly. If nothing else, the bottom of the bike could be Chromoly to provide stability while easing up your investment.
The look of the bike isn’t so necessary for safety, but some bikes do look cooler than others. When you’re looking at the bike, try to determine if the decorations are trying to hide a less than ideal frame or material. You want all the parts to be mid-range even for a beginner so that the bike can grow with his abilities.
That said, many boy’s bikes come in a variety of colors and graphics. Anything he doesn’t like, he can always cover with stickers or his own artwork. It’s better to go with a bike that has a durable frame and the proper size than just the cosmetic looks.
Be prepared to replace some parts as general wear and tear come around. Pedals, bearings (especially if they’re unsealed) and tires eventually wear out. Also, there are fewer complete bike sets for kids that are high end. If you’re looking for a high-end bike, you might have to invest some time in swapping parts out yourself.
Most kids are beginners, so a good entry level bike that’s appropriately sized is going to be okay.
There isn’t much difference between the requirements of boy’s bikes and girl’s bikes. Girls tend to be smaller than boys at certain ages, so you’ll consider the standover height very carefully as you choose.
You also want a light bike, especially if your girl is on the small side. Aluminum frames might be expensive, but if she’s really into speed or tricks, this might be the difference between executing the trick and not. Until she develops her muscles, weight is going to be key.
The tire requirements are also the same. They need to be large enough to grip the ground, but small enough that she can maneuver them as she needs to. The number of spokes and the rims will depend on if she’s choosing freestyle or racing or something in between.
There are a few companies out there who make bikes in classically “girl” colors. The color has nothing to do with the bike but might make your girl more likely to ride it if color matters, just like a boy might be more inclined to ride a bike that looks a certain way.
You should keep in mind that boys and girl’s bikes are all just “kids” bikes. Ensuring that your girl can stand over the bike with feet flat on the ground and a minimum 2-centimeter gap between her and the top tube provides the most comfortable ride.
A full-sized wheel is 20 inches, but there are wheels as small as 16 inches for the smallest riders. It’s best to choose a bike with the right size and the right parts before deciding what the bike looks like. She can always cover the bike with stickers or her own art if she’d prefer a different design.
Girls who want to freestyle will need a slightly more durable bike than racers, preferably with all Chromoly if you can swing it. If you can’t, Chromoly parts on the bottom of the bike where it’s more likely to hit the ground are going to be the most important for her stability.
Hopefully we helped give you a head start on determining your BMX bike purchase, which includes knowing what to look for it a bike.
All of these bikes are highly recommended, and are the very best in their respective categories and price ranges.
Whichever bike you go with, always make sure it’s the right size, and has the necessary features for its intended riding use.
Have any BMX bikes you’d like to recommend to us? Feel free to let us know in the comments below!
This post was last updated on November 10th, 2018 at 09:42 am
Over the last few years, I’ve taken my love of the outdoors, hiking, skiing, trekking and exploring to the next level by starting this site. I started a bike shop in Denver, CO, and have seen amazing growth over the last few years. Getting paid to do what I love has been a dream come true for me. That’s also what led me to start BikesReviewed.com. In my shop, I spend a large amount of time helping people find the perfect bike for them and the style of biking they’re going to be doing. It only made sense that I expanded my reach and got online, making it possible for me to help people all over the world. If biking and staying fit is your priority, too, you’ve come to the right place.