Best BMX Bikes in 2017 – A Complete Buying Guide

Best BMX

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.

We take things a bit further too. In addition to getting you up to speed on BMX knowledge, we’ve also done the research and testing for you, and have compiled a list of 10 of our favorite bikes available in 2017.

Our list covers a broad range of budgets, so you can find our hand-picked selections for a variety of price ranges.

First, we list below our favorite BMX bikes currently available, with more details on each bike further down, and in our review section as well.

>> skip to recommendations <<

Why You Should Choose Your BMX Bike Carefully

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.

What is The Best BMX

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.

Important Aspects to Consider When Buying a BMX Bike

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.​

What Are Your Riding Intentions?

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.

Different BMX Types

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.

Park And Street Freestyle Riding

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.

Xgames Freestyle BMX Competition

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

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.

BMX Racing

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.

Olympics BMX Race

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 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.

What About Kids?

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.

Your Size

As with any kind of bike, the sizing is the most important aspect after deciding on your specific type.

Sizing Of The Boxes

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.

Your Budget

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.

BMX are Budget Friendly

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.

Materials

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.

Other Gear Needed

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.

Helmet

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.

Always Wear a Helmet

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.

Gloves

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.

Padding

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.

Geared Up Rider

The Best BMX Bike Under $300

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.

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.

Legion L60 BMX

Click on the image to check the bike out on Amazon.

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.

Or read our review

The Best BMX Bikes Under $200

For those who aren’t willing to get close to the $300 mark, there are still plenty of great choices for quality BMX bikes, without going over $200. These are our top two favorites.

R40 BMX

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It’s rare to find a freestyle BMX bike that offers as much as the Mongoose Scan R40 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 Scan R40 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 Scan R40 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.

Or read our review

Runner Up: Diamondback Grind

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.

Grind Diamondback BMX

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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.

Or read our review

The Best BMX Bikes Under $150

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 BMX bikes that are equipped to handle serious riding. Here are our 5 favorites.

Youth Nitrus BMX

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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.

Or read our review

Runner Up: Razor Agitator

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. 

Razer BMX

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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.

Or read our review

Alternatives: X-Games FS20

BMX From X-Games

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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.

Mongoose Legion L18 Boy’s BMX Bike

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.

Legion L18 Mangoose

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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.

Kent Pro 20

BMX From Kent

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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.

The Best BMX Bike Under $100

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.

BMX From Dynacraft

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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.

The Best Kids BMX Bike

Kids are often seen riding BMX's through neighborhood, so it's no wonder that we included best baby BMX bike in our review.

Great Kids BMX

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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.

Or read our review

Conclusion

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!

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