I’m now in my 50’s and grew up in the 70’s when BMX was getting popularized.
In between, however, I’ve also tried other types of biking, including mountain biking and road biking.
But the honest truth is I find “alternative” forms of biking a little boring.
Yes, they have a place in the biking community, and I know I might be biased, but freestyle BMX seems to have the edge over other bike disciplines.
For example, from the definition, you’ll see that freestyle biking is an umbrella term of other disciplines, so it encapsulates what you would get from racing bikes, MTBiking, or road biking.
But for me, getting on a freestyle BMX bike rekindles the memories I had as a child when riding a BMX, which I believe most would cherish.
There’s everything to love with freestyle bikes from the tricks, bursts of speeds to occasional BMX racing.
Now, whether you need to get into the sport, grow into the sport, or introduce someone into freestyle BMX riding, you’ll need to right freestyle bikes.
While it’s easy to think you can perform freestyle with any BMX, understand your progress will be much faster on a freestyle BMX bike.
And in the section below, I’ll share some of my favorite freestyle bikes you seriously need to consider in your next purchase.
Table of Contents
The Best Freestyle BMX Bikes For The Money
#1 Mongoose Legion L20 Freestyle BMX Bike - EDITOR'S CHOICE
The LegionL20 is the third Mongoose BMX bike I’ve purchased, and this tells you the brand has something going for it.
My current new BMX bike is not any different from my other Mongoose’s purchases and has the quality and performance my son needs for a freestyle bike.
The looks are also okay, functionality is top-level and the price was right, so there wasn’t any reason I couldn’t get the Mongoose Legion L20 Freestyle Bike.
Who is the Mongoose Legion L20 Bike for?
As with all other bikes on our list of the best BMX bikes, Mongoose Legion L20 is a BMX, so it won’t appeal to riders looking for a bike to commute on, race, or climb hills.
Instead, BMX fans, especially riders looking for a bike for doing tricks, track biking, and moderate racing, will certainly love this purchase.
On top of that, it’s a great beginner-friendly bike. It’s affordable, but more importantly, it comes with the features learners need to learn the craft.
Experts like me might just require something extra from this bike.
Legion L20’s size also makes the bike a nice purchase for riders between 4’8” – 5’4” in height.
Simply put, this race BMX bike accommodates a diverse range of users, starting from the teens to adults, especially those starting with BMX. It’s comfortable to use for most users.
Overview of Features
I can tell Legion L20 doesn’t have the quality of the old Mongoose bicycles I grew up with 40 years ago.
However, I’m impressed by the quality and the design. It looks like a more expensive bike than it is.
I was attracted to this bike because of the nice finish and pretty cool color schemes. Every component seems detailed to perfection and sits together nicely for an easy look in the eyes.
Quality isn’t different either, and the design seems to fit and function right from the box.
Durable Steel Frame
BMX bikes need to stand up to some fairly rough treatment, and the Legion L20 doesn’t disappoint,
We love just how much abuse the bike can take.
We’ve used it on pretty rough terrains, done some jumps and tricks, and even smashed it on the curbs. And yet, it always comes through for us.
I’ve also taken the bike on the park wood trails and even wiped out. And nothing has broken on the bike. It’s much better than I initially thought.
The Hi-Ten steel frame is sturdy and augurs well for the rough treatment. I don’t think I could ask for more.
On a side note, the bike excels even with a set of pegs, which makes it an inspiring option for riders looking to perfect their grinds.
Of course, performance really matters on any freestyle bike, and the Legion L20 has exceeded our expectations.
The freestyle bike comes with several features that support incredible performance.
First, it’s lightweight, not as much as the aluminum-framed bikes, but lightweight enough for me to pick up speed and perform the tricks and stunts effortlessly.
The 2.5” wide cast aluminum mag wheels are also welcome. They help in maintaining stability while reducing friction.
Personally, I bought the trick bike to perform wheelies and jumps all the time. The wheels are perfect for that.
The braking system is also awesome, though not the best. The U-brakes are at the lower end of the BMX brakes, but still, they’ve brought me to a complete stop when I needed them to. I’m happy with the brakes.
My only markdown on the Legion L20’s performance was the pedal.
They’re plastic and pretty frail, especially for a rough user like me. They risk breaking and cracking.
However, understand the bike is meant for the learners, so they might just be the right fit. They shave off a bunch of weight and are generally easier to use.
Assembly isn’t challenging, but the problem is the supplied manual is generic and meant to cover all versions of the Mongoose bikes.
The manual doesn’t explain the details of the assembly in detail, or at least how to install the removable brake mounts cable.
But otherwise, the process isn’t tedious. You’ll need a socket set and Alley key.
Overall, there’re not so many things going against the Mongoose Legion L20 Freestyle compared to those going for.
I would recommend this bike, especially for those starting. It’s quite a practical purchase.
#2 Elite Stealth Bike – Best BMX Bike Value Purchase
I wasn’t expecting much on the Elite Stealth based on the price.
But I was impressed with the bike, a little shocked actually.
It seems like the perfect entry-level bike. Elite Stealth is a great option for my son, and if they ever get serious about BMX riding, I’ll have to shell out some more money. But for now, it’s an awesome purchase.
Who is the Elite Stealth Freestyle for?
Elite Stealth carries a BMX tag, so it’s primarily going to be a pleasant purchase for all BMX enthusiasts.
Because of its 20″ wheels, it’s a particularly great option for kids, youths, and teens. However, some adults have also found pleasure in using the bike.
Performance-wise, the Elite Stealth Bike is pretty multi-functional and caters to diverse uses.
The bike is a great option for cruising around and street riding to school. But my son uses it mostly dirt riding and doing tricks with.
And given the awesome value for money it offers, we found it quite the ideal gift option for kids of most ages.
Overview of Features
There’re plenty of incredible features to love on the Elite Stealth trick bike, but one of the standout benefits is the adjustability.
See, I’ve had a fair share of kid’s bikes, and the problem with most of them is my kids tend to overgrow their needs in a short period.
However, the Elite Stealth Bike allows my kids to grow with the bike.
The handlebars and seats are adjustable, so I can always customize their sizing to follow my kid’s growth and size accordingly.
It’s a useful feature that ensures I don’t have to get them a new bike now and then.
Sturdy Bike Frame
Another attraction on the Elite Stealth Bike is its sturdiness.
See, I’ve been on a rollercoaster of buying BMX race bikes, and even after getting the most expensive options, we would see it waste away in a month or two.
The Elite Stealth, however, has proven to be the king of quality construction.
It’s well-made and designed to handle abuse like a champ.
To give you an idea of how reliable the bike is, we’ve had it on different terrains, including the dirt tracks, bashed it against curbs, and done some crazy tricks, including flips.
But it remains solid, and the TIG-welded steel frame doesn’t seem like it’s gonna break down anytime soon.
Simply put, the BMX race bike has given my son the confidence he needs to handle the abuses and challenges that come with freestyle BMXing.
Elite Stealth isn’t a cruiser, so it’s not the most comfortable bike around.
However, within its class of freestyle bikes, it ranks up high in terms of comfort.
This is particularly because of the adjustable seat and handlebars.
My son loves to ride his bike all day, and for a long time, and so far, I’ve not heard him complain about discomfort or pain.
However, understand that once you adjust the seat for easier pedaling, you might inherently restrict the bike’s functionality as a bike.
Elite Stealth Bike is tailored for the kids, but I also give it a spin occasionally. And everything seems right for me.
The 20×2.4″ tires are perfect for street and dirt track riding.
It’s a great pick for both the street and dirt. Their micro-knurled surface, in particular, comes in handy for improved traction, and I’ve not slipped even when riding on slippery ground.
The wheels are also robust, perfect for jumps, wheelies, and trick moves. They hold up well to the rough treatment, which not all his “toys” do.
Riding the Elite Bike also feels pretty awesome. It’s smooth, and most BMX riders won’t have an issue controlling the bike.
My son is also ecstatic with the bike’s purchase because he didn’t want the fuss of gears with MTB bikes. The Elite is pretty basic and doesn’t have plenty of control stuff. It’s easy for a beginner to ride with.
On top of that, the weight is nice, and my kid can make even bunny hop and 180 with ease. It may not be the lightest BMX out there, but definitely lighter than most BMX race bikes I’ve tried before.
The adjustability of the seat and handlebars is a bonus for easy customization and comfort. My son is excited about all these components, and he’s looking forward to more adventure.
I was quite nervous assembling the Elite Stealth.
But I found it was super simple to set up the bike out of the box. The instructions are pretty straightforward.
But I need to point out that it’s important to have tools for assembling. At least have a plier and an Allen Wrench.
Overall, we’re quite excited about the Elite Stealth Bike.
It’s a value bike that has got so much to offer. In particular, I love that it’s adjustable and will grow with my son until he needs something else for serious riding.
#3 Diamondback Bicycles Youth Nitrus BMX Bike -- Best BMX Bike for Youth
The Youth Nitrus BMX Bike is cool.
But I must admit that what first attracted me to this bike was the brand.
I always wanted to have a Diamondback bike as a kid, so I didn’t have second thoughts once I spotted the bike.
It’s marketed as a bike for the youth, but kids and adults can also benefit from it.
The bike is particularly a decent BMX bike for kids who have outgrown their training wheels and need something to grow and hone their skills with.
Who is the Youth Nitrus BMX Bike for?
Youth Nitrus BMX Freestyle Bike naming aptly describes who this bike is for; youth and younger riders.
It’s the perfect option for riders who have graduated from the beginner bikes/ training wheels and are entering the world of BMX riding.
In my opinion, it bridges the gap between the starter bikes and the true freestyle bike.
And the good thing is that it offers a seamless transition without including the unnecessary features and accessories that would otherwise balloon the price.
However, it combines the quality components on some high-end bikes without the $200-$300 price tag.
Overview of Features
Youth Nitrus BMX Bike’s quality blows its competitors out of the water.
It’s well-made, and the construction is quite solid. In fact, its quality is comparable to some Redline BMX bikes in the $250 to $300 range.
The bike looks premium, and at the skate park, I’ve had many guys ask where I got the bike from.
The Youth Nitrus BMX Bike is the perfect bike for rough terrains.
I would be quick to use it for grinds or the huge dirt jumps, but the Hi-Ten steel is sturdy enough to do the occasional jumps and tricks.
Under the control of an amateur or kid, the durable frame can hold up well to repeated abuse.
Personally, I’ve dished out severe punishments on this bike, including roughing it up on the curbs, doing some flips, performing wheelies, and so much more.
I’ve also had some nasty falls that would have otherwise destroyed other bikes in its class.
Yet, the bike has rewarded me with more safety and strength.
I’ve also had it for several seasons now, and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to wear or break down from the look of the thing.
It’s good as new, and I’m happy with everything it provides.
Normally, I’m not so much concerned with a bike’s graphics, but this one captured my kid’s attention.
My son is now the envy of the neighborhood. His bike isn’t only gorgeous, but it’s everything BMX would dream of.
The black scheme with an electric blue shading is flashy but subtle enough for a mature look. It’s something my kid would grow into, even in his late teenagehood.
Youth Nitrus BMX Bike seems nice, and its performance measures up well to some of the performance-oriented solutions.
It’s a bit more weighty than the regular freestyle bikes, but the markup is beginners find it easy to balance on.
Youth Nitrus BMX Bike’s drivetrain is pretty basic but still designed with the same componentry as the higher-end Diamondback bikes.
So, yes, it provides a nice pedaling efficiency and less maintenance issues.
The liner braking is also pretty basic and down-to-earth. But as simple as it is, it worked well to bring me to a complete stop.
And the good thing is it’s positioned on the rear as opposed to the front. The placement may seem trivial, but it is quite a benefit for beginner BMX racers to avoid making a rookie mistake and going over the handlebars.
The wheelset is also impressive and quite ideal for both on-road and light off-roading.
The 20″ tires, though standard for BMX bikes, are a bit thicker and excellent for traction and added shock absorption.
If you’ve worked on a bike before, you should get the Youth Nitrus BMX Bike up and running in less than 20 minutes.
It’s super-easy to assemble, and the instructions are pretty straightforward.
Overall, the Youth Nitrus BMX Bike seems like a great choice for teenagers getting their feet wet into BMX freestyling.
The bike may not have any ground-breaking features but has the basic components amateurs need for learning the new trade.
Also, if you plan to get this bike, consider making some changes on the tube and handlebar for a customized fit.
#4 Mongoose Stun Boy’s Bike -- Premium Purchase
Recently, my daughter got into BMX riding at the skate park.
She was using a 16″ bike, so we knew it was time to upgrade, and what a better bike to have than a Mongoose.
The Mongoose Stun Boy’s Bike seemed like a great purchase, and we’ve not regretted our decision.
Who is this Mongoose Stun Boy’s Bike for?
The Mongoose Stun is a proper starter BMX bike.
In particular, the bike is great for those who often get frustrated by the large 20″ bikes. It comes at 16″, so my daughter has no problem standing flat-footed over the seat, and with a couple of pushes, she’s off.
The bike might also inspire riders looking for a reasonably lightweight BMX bike with quality components, a freewheeling hub, and a sturdy wheel.
Overview of Features
Solid and excellent design. These are the words that would sum up the Mongoose Stun.
It’s nice, easy to use, and the removable brake mounts are powerful.
Mongoose has also thrown the ball out the part with their solid construction. The bike seems like it’ll stand up to pretty much any abuse and punishment.
BMX Bike Size
I thought it would be important to mention the size of the Mongoose Stun.
Most of the bikes coming at this size were nearly double the price, so getting the Mongoose Stun was a bargain.
But more importantly, the top tube on this model isn’t much of a stretch, even for kids and teens. It’s the perfect fit for them to ride comfortably while still offering room for them to grow.
My daughter wanted to keep the flashy pink on her previous bike most girls like.
The Mongoose Stun seemed like a great alternative with its regular pink color scheme and subtle metal flake.
It just looks like the way it’s in the photo.
The bike is tasteful, and she’s excited to show it off to her friends.
Durable Steel Frame
My daughter has found pleasure in using this BMX bike for tricks and riding on the dirt tracks.
The Mongoose Stun seems like the perfect bike from riding the ramps, street riding, to performing cherry pickers, Tail whips to bunny hops.
It comes with sturdy hi-ten steel that will take on all the abuses and punishments like a champ.
So far, we’ve not run into any problems with the bike; no breakage or damage.
We’ve also used the bike for several seasons now, and the bike doesn’t seem like it’s going to wear off or break down.
Of course, there’re occasional chip and paint rubs, but nothing serious that may compromise its integrity.
Overall, I’m happy with the bike’s sturdiness, and I love the value it offers.
I’m confident with the Mongoose Stun and pretty sure it’ll help to hone my daughter’s skill.
The wheel thickness, for example, is quite crucial, especially on rough terrain. It’s also handy for improving traction on the slippery ground while offering a nice way to absorb shock after landing from a trick.
It’s also a one-brake bike, which is useful for maintenance. The U-brake is also reliable and will help your kid come to a stop when they need to.
The bike comes way lighter than her previous bike, making it easier for her to maneuver in and out of the house effortlessly.
But the most incredible feature, at least in my opinion, is the gearing, consisting of a cassette driver.
It’s a simple system but quite reliable and will offer a smooth and nice rolling performance.
Comfort isn’t one of the strongest points of this bike. But it’s to be expected since it’s not a cruiser but a freestyle for doing tricks.
The height on the seat post of this BMX bike is pretty low.
Nevertheless, consider investing in a longer seat if you plan to use the Mongoose Stun for cruising around.
We did that with our daughter’s bike because she wanted a bike she would commute to school with. We still have an original seat and simply switch when we need to.
Ease of Assembly
Let me preface this by mentioning I’ve assembled quite a number of bikes and even rebuilt my MTBs.
So, I’ve a pretty idea of what assembling a BMC bike is all about.
On the Mongoose Stun, it would be pretty safe to assume that it’s one of the easiest bikes to assemble, provided you’ve the necessary parts.
I didn’t have any trouble assembling the bike, even without instructions.
Overall, the Mongoose Stun seems like a nice freestyle bike. It ticks on all the boxes for the best freestyle BMX bike, and I would buy it again.
#5 Razor Nebula BMX/Freestyle Bike -- Best BMX Bike for Gifting
We did a lot of shopping and research before settling on the Razor Nebula Freestyle Bike.
And I think it’s a win for what we were after- it’s rad, quality, and comes at a nice price.
And here’s the kicker; it’s rated as one of the best BMX bikes and one of the best gifts to give to your young BMX rider for his next birthday.
Who is the Razor Nebula BMX For?
Razor Nebula is one of the exciting purchases that works well for exploring the new terrains. Whether you need a bike for the skate park or adventures on dirt bike paths, you can’t beat the Razor Nebula Freestyle Bike.
On top of that, the bike is a pretty handy option for trying new tricks and moves. If you plan to do some wheelies, bunny hops, and other BMX tricks, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by this BMX bike.
And as a bonus, the bike is jam-packed with a host of safety and security features.
Overview of Features
I got this for my girl, but she’s far from being a baby girl, so it was a bit challenging to find a bike that isn’t purple or pink.
The Razor Nebula Freestyle Bike has a boyish design, but it’ll still work well even for the girls.
It has a beautiful design, looks super cool, and seems well-built.
The bike stands from the rest, and we found it incredibly easy to assemble.
Durable Steel Frame
We were impressed with the construction of the bike, especially considering the price we paid for it.
The TIG-welded steel frame seems overkill for a kid’s bike.
While it’s not a bike to abuse, it can stand up to the beatings and daily abuses.
It doesn’t wear out as easily as other kids’ bikes do and will certainly hold up well to usage by kids.
The normal uses and falls meted by the kids and teens do little harm to the bike and can even last a lifetime.
My daughter has also used the bike to do tricks such as wheelies, bunny hops, and riding on back pegs. And it remains solid without showing signs of wear or breakage.
Overall, the Razor Nebula Freestyle Bike is a solid purchase and can take all the rough treatment and abuse of freestyle riding and dirt bike riding.
My daughter loves this bike, and she’s getting more confident by the day.
The bike has some awesome features that promote better riding and mastery of freestyle riding.
For example, the front and rear hand brakes have proven to be quite useful for providing her with the control she needs when riding and confidence when rolling in our neighborhood.
The 20″ wheels, on the other hand, provide the needed traction and rolling speeds. I don’t have to worry she’ll slip and hurt herself even when riding on slippery surfaces.
Plus, the wheels are great shock absorbers and will effectively cushion my little one against the hard landings and smashes on the curbs.
The only markdown I’ve with the performance is on the front brakes. They rub on the tire, and this produces an annoying sound.
Otherwise, everything else on this bike is awesome and built for perfection.
Using the Razor Nebula Freestyle Bike is as pleasant as it can get.
I’ve not heard my daughter complain about back pain, aches, or anything.
The bike is pretty light, riding like the wind and allowing my daughter to perform her tricks with relative ease.
Meanwhile, the adjustable seat is a bonus, helping to customize her fit and size for the best performance.
Assembling the Razor Nebula Freestyle Bike is effortless.
It’s easy to put it together all by yourself. While the directions were not clear as they probably could have been, we didn’t spend a lot of time figuring out what part goes where.
Overall, the Razor Nebula Freestyle Bike seems like a good BMX bike and goes to great lengths to provide the quality and performance riders need for bettering their skills.
#6 Redline BMX Romp – Best BMX Bike for Budget
The Redline Romp is exactly the bike I was looking for.
It’s a generally lightweight bike and the perfect pick for doing the wheelies and jumps.
Plus, it is generally cheaper than most premium bikes, yet it has a similar or even better performance than some high-end options.
Who is the Redline Bike Romp for?
The Redline Romp is a great purchase for the money. It’s one of the best cheap BMX bikes.
It’s an incredible option for those on a budget and not looking to spend a lot on their first freestyle bike purchase.
But make no mistakes, the components on this bike aren’t anywhere cheap or flimsy as most of the cheap BMX bikes are.
Instead, it comes with quality components that will enhance your freestyle riding performance and not a cheap BMX Bike.
Overview of features
Redline Romp is a seriously impressive bike
Its quality matches that of some of the high-end bikes.
Even better, the bikes are rad and come in a beautiful monochrome finish.
Frame and Fork
As with most of the bikes on our list, Redline Romp feels and looks solid.
The Chromoly and Hi-Ten steel is as sturdy as it gets and can take all the beatings and abuse of freestyling riding.
We’ve used our bike from some pretty daunting challenges, including riding on the dirt tracks and doing tricks, and we love how it has held up.
It remains solid, and even after several seasons of use, it doesn’t seem like it’s gonna break down on us anytime.
BMX bikes are usually not the most comfortable bikes.
The Redline Romp isn’t either, but it’s far beyond what its competitors provide, or at least the bikes we’ve tried.
For example, it comes with big-box handlers, which gives me more lift at the front while offering a decent amount of control.
Using the Redline Romp is a pleasant experience.
It runs smooth and nice, while the 20” tires eliminate the bumpiness on the trail.
The wheels are also responsible for absorbing some of the shocks from the impact while offering a wide surface for better traction on slippery grounds.
Assembling the Redline Romp is quite easy, and setup doesn’t take more than 20 minutes.
If you’ve some experience assembling bikes, it should be effortless. You don’t even need the manual.
Best Freestyle BMX Bikes Buying Guide
There’re plenty of freestyle bikes in the market, so choosing the right one for your needs can be pretty nerve-wracking.
The good news is I’ll share a comprehensive buying guide outlining everything you need to know about selecting the best freestyle BMX bike.
Here, I’ll share the critical factors to consider in your next purchase and even some of the buying tips you need to have at the back of your mind.
I’ve also included a handy frequently asked question section that answers some of the common BMX bikes questions.
But before I share the guide with you, we must understand what freestyle bikes are.
What is a BMX Freestyle Bike?
The best BMX freestyle bikes are a category of BMX.
Other categories include the true BMX bike and the dirt jumper.
Still, freestyle refers to an umbrella term or rather a crossover for other different riding styles.
There are other sub-disciplines within the freestyle category, which makes freestyling BMX probably one of the most versatile and all-arounder riding options.
Some of the other subcategories of freestyle BMX bikes fall are:
Park riding, also known as ramp riding, usually involves riding on the skate parks.
Street riders use the urban infrastructure such as rails and stairs to perform their stunts and tricks.
It’s also known as “breakdancing” and involves performing tricks on a hard flat surface without the help of external features. It’s simply between the rider and the bike.
4) Trails/Dirt Jumping
Trail jumping is all about big-air jumps and berms to perform tricks.
5) BMX Race Bike
Competitive BMX racing is also known as bicycle motocross.
Racing bikes are usually light and used for ripping over the berms and jumps.
However, a BMX Race bike is specialized and niched, so it can’t be used for other BMX riding styles.
Whatever riding style you’re into, understand that BMX is designed to withstand abuse. They usually have a sturdy Chromoly frame that can stand up to the demanding stresses of stunt riding, dirt jumping, and skate park riding.
Simply put, the componentry on a bike is optimized for strength and agility.
Factors to Consider when Selecting the Best Freestyle BMX Bike
The section below will highlight some of the crucial elements to consider when selecting the right bike.
These are the features that determine the suitability of a freestyle bike for you and will ensure it addresses your riding needs.
The best BMX freestyle bikes have bike frames predominantly made out of steel.
And not the regular steel, but rather a composite known as Chromoly or CroMo.
CroMo is alloy steel and is known for having superior strength, especially compared to regular hi-tensile steel.
Another benefit with CroMo is it can be butted, for lightness, without losing its strength properties.
And like the regular steel, CroMo stands up to abuse and is resistant to fatigue. Its sturdiness is particularly important, considering the freestyle bikes take on a lot of hits, especially when performing tricks.
It’s important, however, to understand that steel isn’t always the go-to material for all BMX frames.
Racing BMX bikes, for example, prefer the stiffer and lightweight aluminum frame/ aluminum alloy frame. And for the speed junkies looking to gain an extra edge over their competitors, carbon is usually their material of preference.
Carbon is by far lighter than steel and aluminum and has better shock-absorption properties, so it’ll dampen the vibrations.
After the choice of material, sizing is the next crucial detail.
Now, BMX bikes are ideal for use by different riders, starting from kids, teens, to adults.
Understand that the wheel size for all BMX bikes stays consistent, and what changes are the frame size.
You can opt for a BMX bike with a longer or shorter frame tube depending on your height and riding needs.
But generally, most of the BMX bikes come with a 21” frame and fork tube. It’s ideal for most BMX riders because it gives them sufficient room underneath for performing aerial tricks.
But so, riding disciplines are an exception to this rule; the flatland bikes, for example, generally have a shorter tube and inclined head angle.
Race bikes & street bikes, on the other hand, have a longer wheelbase, which pulls the rider further back for more stability and control, especially at speeds.
Most BMX bikes have a standard wheel size of 20 inches, on the lower side compared to mountain or road bikes.
Kids BMX bikes may have an even smaller wheel size of 16 inches.
At the same time, however, some of the pro BMX bikes, such as BMX trail bikes, come with 22 or 24 inches larger wheel size.
But generally, we can assume the standard wheel size for BMX bikes is 20 inches.
The need for a bigger or smaller wheel will depend on your riding needs and riding style.
Aluminum Alloy Rims
BMX bikes have a standard rim size of 32mm.
But if you’re planning to abuse your BMX and exert an extra hit, consider sizing up the rim size to 36mm.
Along with the size, the other thing to consider with the rims is the layering. It determines the overall strength of the rim.
The layers on the aluminum alloy rims can be single, double, or triple. The more walls, the stronger the rims, but understand that it may come at the expense of weight. The triple-walled rims are bulky.
Most BMX riders prefer double-walled rims because they offer a fine balance of strength and weight.
Spokes are seemingly trivial but play an important role in the performance of your BMX wheel.
In particular, their numbers determine how strong a wheel is.
Generally, most BMX riders find the 36-spoke wheel sufficient.
But, the professional BMX riders may look for a higher number of spokes, such as the 48-spoke wheels.
You don’t have to worry much about the durability or choice of material because all spokes are designed from steel and have a similar thickness.
BMX tires provide contact between the bike and the ground.
They’ve a huge impact on several bike performance metrics such as grip, rolling resistance, and control.
Street and park BMX bikes will do well with the larger and wider tires.
These will provide a smooth rolling, especially when fully inflated. The street tires can also make a decent amount of pressure, and this is necessary to cushion the rims and spokes against damage after a hard landing.
On the other hand, dirt jumpers will need a better grip. Usually, the low-pressure tires are great for this as they’ve better traction, more surface area, and greater stability.
The final tire is for racing BMX bikes.
Racing tires are super narrow and will reduce the amount of friction and weight for faster acceleration and speed.
The hub is the “nerve” of the wheel and where all the action takes place.
More importantly, it houses the bearings onto which the wheels spin.
The two types of bearings are:
1) Open-cage ball bearings
The open-cage bearings are found in low-cost wheelsets or bikes.
They are generally inexpensive but come at the expense of ruggedness. They don’t last and tend to break down easily.
2) Cartridge bearings
The cartridge bearings are also known as sealed bearings.
As their name suggests, they hold the bearings in a sealed unit, keeping them protected from contamination from elements and debris.
They’re more expensive than the open-cage cartridges but will generally deliver a smoother and more refined ride.
Now that we’ve looked at the bearings, let’s look at the hubs.
There’re four main types of BMX hubs, and they include:
Cassette hubs are the most popular among the best BMX bikes, especially in the race and freestyle category.
This hub type is also popular in the mountain and road bike categories.
The hub uses a similar mechanism on all bikes, consisting of an independent driver fixed onto the hub shell.
It’s not only reliable but lightweight, easy to install and use.
Freecoaster hubs have an internal clutch that lets BMX riders coast backward without cranks turning.
Flatland BMX riders often use the free coaster hubs.
When coasting backward, they do so silently but elicit a clicking sound.
The freecoaster is typically expensive and weighs more.
The freewheel was popular sometimes back but was phased out by the cassette hubs.
These hubs feature sprockets threaded into the shell.
4) Coaster/Backpedal brake/ rear caliper brakes
Coaster hubs engage the brakes when pedaled backward.
They’re not common in BMX but popular in kids and beginner bikes.
The best BMX bikes lack multiple gears, but you still need to consider the gear ratio.
The ratio is calculated by dividing the number of teeth on the chainring and those on the sprocket.
A lower ratio makes it easier to pedal, while a higher ratio requires more paddling effort.
The best BMX bikes for performing tricks have a lower ratio than the race and traditional bikes.
The lower ratio makes it easier for the BMX riders to accelerate into bursts of speed to perform a trick or jump. On the downside, however, the lower ratio takes a hit on the top speed and power.
Race bikes will, however, require explosive power, and therefore, a larger chainring is preferred.
Cranks are available as a single unit, two-piece, and three-piece.
The one-piece unit is as simple as it gets and is mostly used on the best BMX bikes for beginners or kids BMX bikes.
It’s cheap and less sturdy.
The two-piece crank is a bit more sturdy than the latter and extra durable.
Finally, we’ve the three-piece cranks, which are sturdy and thicker.
Generally, all BMX bikes have a wide plastic pedal.
The wide pedals should give your feet a generous stepping ground, while the plastic construction enhances the lightness.
As a bonus, the plastic material is also more forgiving than the metal pedals, which could potentially harm your shin in case of an accident.
Racing BMX, however, has a different pedal setup, known as clip-in pedals.
The pedal allows you to strap your fit inside them for explosive power and more speed.
Saddles play second fiddle in any BMX bike because riders are mostly standing up instead of sitting.
Plus, BMX bikes are hardly used for long-distance riding, so comfort seats are something to be less concerned about.
But, the beginner-level BMX bikes have extra cushioning and more wide sitting surface area than the professional BMX bike.
Here are some of the different saddle setups for the best BMX bikes;
- Rails: This seat setup has rails on either side sitting on a clamp.
- Pivotal saddles: Here, the saddle is joined to the seat post through a bolt going through the middle of the seat into the seat post.
- Integrated: This is a complete unit consisting of both the seat and the seat post. Everything is integrated into a single unit.
The handlebars and the pedals and saddles form the contact points between the rider and the bike.
The best BMX bikes have handlebars that rise steeper than the regular BMX bars for better maneuverability.
They’re mostly made out of CroMo or lightweight aluminum frames. While aluminum is generally lighter, it’s less sturdy and not durable.
Steel is another alternative; long-lasting, sturdy, but doesn’t last for long.
Brakes will determine the stopping efficiency of your BMX bike.
HOWEVER, some BMX riders don’t use brakes and prefer brakeless riding.
Others, on the other hand, can’t go out on the streets without proper-functioning brakes.
Either way, I strongly recommend that beginners and kids have brakes on their BMX bikes. More importantly, they should have a rear brake instead of front brakes.
Some of the popular types of brakes among BMX bikes are:
1) Rim brakes
The brims brakes are the most popular type of brakes.
These brakes consist of braking pads connected to the rim and help to slow the momentum.
U-brakes are common on freestyle bikes.
They’re popular with freestyle bikes because they’re non-intrusive.
The gyro brakes or detangler brakes on the rear coaster brake are helpful, especially for riders who prefer advanced tricks such as bar spins and tail whips.
In addition to the choice of BMX, there’re other important add-ons or accessories you need to consider in your purchase.
While most of the important accessories are safety-related, others will help to improve your riding performance.
Some of the BMX accessories you should consider in your next purchase include:
I can’t overemphasize the importance of a BMX helmet.
A helmet will provide the protection you need on your noggin if you wipe it out.
The ideal BMX helmet should be protective enough to withstand hard landings and crashes.
It should also be comfortable to use—lightweight not to cause fatigue and air vents to promote breathability.
Plus, it should come in a low-profile design not to interfere or obstruct your view.
Understand there’re different regulations for helmet design for competitions and might be a bit different for regular use.
Gloves are necessary for hand protection.
They’re also handy for providing the much-needed grip on the handlebars.
If you’re using clip-in pedals, you need BMX-specific shoes with a generous amount of stiffness and comfort.
Pegs are handy for those who need to perform tricks, especially grinds on the rails.
Pegs can be fitted in different orientations, and the best setup will depend on your riding and trick needs.
Understand that pegs are banned in BMX racing.
Getting your kid a BMX bike is a good way to introduce them to BMX riding in a fuss-free fashion.
BMX bikes for kids lack gears and a sturdy and durable frame, so kids will find it easy to ride along and get the hang of BMX riding. They can even handle a diverse range of terrain, including dirt-packed terrains.
Usually, the best BMX bikes for kids aren’t so different from adults; they’re simply a scaled-down version.
For example, most of these kids’ bikes come with 16 inches or 18 inches frames, instead of the 20 inches frame we saw in the adult versions.
They also tend to come at a generally lower price point.
However, unlike the adult versions, they’re a bit frail as they’re not designed to take on the freestyle hits.
They might be great for kids looking to get into the sport, but not so much for those looking to explore their limits.
We can’t simply ignore the budget of the BMX bikes.
And yes, most of the top BMX bikes are a bit more expensive than the regular bikes.
So, in the section below, we’ll look at a broad classification of the BMX price points and probably what to expect.
$200 to $500
Bikes at this range are at the lower end of the spectrum, and most kids and entry-level BMX bikes.
Some of the common characteristics of bikes at this level include single-piece cranks, a hi-tensile steel frame, and a beginner-oriented braking system.
Sealed bearings and multi-layered rims are non-existent at this price range.
Bikes at this price point are at the mid-level range.
They may have a Chromoly frame and other accessories such as stunt pegs.
You might come across a Gyro braking system and sealed bearings on the higher-end of this range.
BMX bikes are at the higher end of the spectrum at this price range.
Most of them are custom built with light but sturdy CroMo bike frames.
There’re also sealed bearings, triple/double-walled rims, and light hubs.
Most of these bikes are generally ideal for professional users or those who have taken BMX riding as a passionate hobby.
Tips to Consider when Choosing the Best BMX Brands
Choosing the best BMX brand isn’t as easy as it sounds, and this is because there’re plenty of factors that will influence your decision-making.
The good news is I’ve compiled some tips to help with the selection.
1) Avoid cheap BMX brands
An effective way to avoid getting scammed in your BMX purchase is to keep off the cheap brands.
At least, attempt to stay from bikes less than $200.
I know the price might be inviting, but you risk purchasing a low-quality bike, and you might end up spending just as much on repairs and maintenance.
2) Check customer rating
The next thing is to see what other users think of the bike. Consider their experience with the bike,
Customer review should be a pointer of how reliable the bike is.
3) Consider your style of BMX riding.
The final thing is to ensure your BMX bike suits your preference, especially your riding style.
If you’re a BMX rider, you’d be better off with a freestyle bike.
Otherwise, a BMX bike that doesn’t suit your riding style will hinder your performance.
Best BMX Bikes Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: Can adults ride BMX bikes?
A: Yes. Adults can ride BMX.
Remember, there’re no age limits attached to BMX bikes.
Q: Why are BMX bikes?
A: BMX bikes tend to be smaller than other bikes to allow riders to perform tricks and race on them on the tracks.
They also have a lighter frame than regular bikes for ease of use.
Q: Is it legal riding a BMX bike on the road?
A: Yes, it is. A BMX bike is like any other bike.
However, I wouldn’t recommend riding a BMX because they’re not as comfortable as most bikes are, especially over long distances.
If you’ve to, consider investing in a wide and plushy saddle and raising the seat to avoid back injuries.
Q: How do I size a BMX bike?
A: Mostly, BMX bikes range between 20.0″ to 24.0″.
The measurement refers to the frame running from the seat tube to the head tube.
Q: Do I need brakes on my BMX Bike?
It’s not necessary to have brakes on a BMX bike. Riding brakeless might be beneficial for some riders when performing tricks such as bar-spins.
However, I would strongly suggest beginners consider riding with brakes. Secondly, if you’ll be participating in BMX racing events, understand that brakes are mandatory.
Wrap Up: Our Choice
Our winners for the best freestyle BMX bikes are the Mongoose Legion L20.
It’s an all-around and great purchase, especially for beginners looking to get into the sports.
The bike delivers a pleasant experience and doesn’t risk breaking down even after rough treatment and abuse.
Beginners find it super convenient because of the wide tires, nice braking system, and comfort.
I would recommend it.