With so many different bikes on the market—road, folding, dirt, mountain bike and electric—it can be difficult to know exactly which one is best for you. Don’t worry! We’ve put together a list of the best motocross (or BMX) bikes, which were first used in southern California in the 1970s.

The 70s were somewhat of a golden age for BMX bikes, and the following decades saw these much sought-after bikes become a craze among street sport fans and casual riders alike. Though BMX bikes were initially targeted for use on dirt race tracks, today’s BMX bikes come in a wide range of styles, offering an especially sturdy bike for everyday use and function. Now, everyone can benefit from the sturdy-framed BMX bikes that were designed to put up with the risks of racing and stunt riding.

Key Facts

  • BMX bikes offer perfect entertainment for both children and adults thanks to their strong, resistant design. The design promotes flexible movement and a wide array of exciting maneuvers. Furthermore, the BMX bike caters to all kinds of acrobatic moves, including jumps and tricky balances.
  • When purchasing a BMX bike, there’s no need to worry about the precise ability level of the user since all BMX bike models are suitable for beginners. Nonetheless, it’s generally a good idea to get a BMX bike with high quality components and adapted brakes.
  • Professional bikers prefer BMX bikes that are made of light and resistant materials, such as chrome, steel and aluminum. But these bikes may not be the most affordable options available, so you can also buy individual bike pieces from different brands and put together your own unique bike.

Ranking: The best BMX bikes on the US market

Below we’ve laid out the best BMX bikes you can find on the US market. In this section, you’ll see important characteristics regarding things like size, wheels, tires, brakes and pedals. This should help you find the best option for your needs.

No. 1: Mongoose Legion Mag

Mongoose is probably the most well-known BMX bike brand. It was founded in 1974 in southern California, where BMX began, and has been producing durable bikes ever since. Mongoose’s Legion series has several great options with various wheel sizes to meet your needs.

This model with 20″ x 2.3″ tires is designed for professional-level performance, with low-stance geometry that will give you a durable and responsive ride. Catch everyone’s attention with this bike’s cast aluminum mag wheels with sealed bearings and a cable detangler that allows for smooth 360-degree handlebar spins. A limited lifetime warranty will keep you satisfied with this bike for years to come.

No. 2: Mongoose Title Pro

Another fantastic bike from Mongoose, the Title Pro BMX race bike is a great option for beginner-level riders at an unbeatable price. The suggested rider height of this model is 5’3″-5’8″, but the Title Pro series come in two beautiful colors—blue and silver—and seven sizes to accommodate any rider from a height of 4’4″ up to 6′ and above.

The Title Pro’s lightweight Tectonic T1 aluminum frame weighs just 3.11 pounds and has a top tube length of 20.75″. The bike’s drivetrain features 170mm, 3-piece tubular chromoly cranks and you’ll experience amazing quality control with the alloy V-brake and brake levers, as well as the Hi-Ten steel handlebar and fork. This bike ships ready for immediate assembly and use in the dirt, on ramps and along the trail.

No. 3: Elite The Stealth

The Stealth BMX series from Elite BMX Co. is a great entry-level bike that will perform well on the street, in the dirt or at the park. This bike features re-enforced frames to absorb impact, an adjustable saddle and 20″ by 2.5″ tires that are made from high pressure casing and have a micro knurled surface for supreme performance.

The Stealth is easy to assemble, lightweight and a breeze to ride—all at a reasonable price. It also comes with a set of grinding pegs.

No. 4: Redline Bikes Asset Freestyle

The Redline Asset is made for shredding the skate park, trails or streets in style. It features Redline Monster pedals and headset, 100% chromo 3-piece tubular cranks and big-box handlebars that will make front end lift-offs a piece of cake. The rear hub is fully sealed aluminum.

This lightweight but durable bike also comes with Kenda Ticket 20″ x 2.25″ tires and a 1-piece padded saddle.

Shopping Guide: Everything you need to know about BMX bikes

To start riding BMX you’ll need some important accessories to ensure your safety. These days, there is a wide variety of brands and models available to choose from. In the following section, we go over the characteristics of a solid BMX bike to help you pick the best one for you.

For advanced BMX bike models, it’s important that the wheels are double layered, fully sealed and have a minimum of 36 spokes.
(Source: Greg nunes: 1623528/ unplash.com)

What exactly is a BMX bike?

In the 1970s, bikes became all the rage as kids fought to get their hands on this amazing new bike that was a cheaper alternative to motorbikes. Practicing on dirt roads became the norm, and as the trend spread, BMX motocross bikes appeared on the mainstream market.

As BMX developed, new designs were introduced based on the style and technique of each rider. And as skate parks became more popular, BMX manufacturers developed their own innovative version of the freestyle modality. BMX has also been part of the Olympic Games since they took place in Beijing in 2008.

Lance ArmstrongAmerican Road Cyclist

“If you worried about falling off the bike, you’d never get on.”

What styles are BMX bikes used for?

Here’s an overview of the various types of riding styles offered by a BMX bike, based on different speciality sports. The most popular types of BMX bikes are the Street, Freestyle, Flatland, Jump, Vert, and Race, as well as others.

Style What does it consist of?
Race Consists of races featuring a circuit of jumps and intense curves
Dirt Jump Freestyle Consists of acrobatic jumps performed on dirt ramps
Flatland Freestyle Acrobatics are done on an asphalt or concrete surface, with handlebar turns.
Park Freestyle Consists of performing acrobatics utilizing a set of ramps and wooden obstacles
Green Freestyle Acrobatic jumps made vertically followed by the biker returning to the same ramp
Street Freestyle This form of BMX uses everyday obstacles found in the street such as park benches and walls

How can I begin with BMX?

So you’re ready to get started with this amazing sport. Here’s how you can go about it with your first BMX bike. To start, it’s good practice to begin with jumping acrobatics gradually from lower to higher. This will help you overcome any initial fear and help you to learn better control over your bike. After you’ve familiarized yourself with riding, cushioning and landing, it’ll be time to step it up by learning a few tricks and trying more advanced acrobatic moves.

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Did you know this style of biking has been  an Olympic sport since the Beijing Games in 2008?

What equipment do I need to stay safe on my BMX bike?

As is the case with any extreme sport, it is essential that every BMX biker is equipped with the necessary gear. Based on the style that the biker wishes to practice, he/she must wear certain protections. Here are the essential safety accessories that riders should acquire:

  • Helmet: Helmets come in many different styles. Generally, it is always best to use what’s known as an integral helmet, which, in addition to protecting your head and forehead, also shields your jaw and the front of your face. This type of full-coverage protection is particularly recommended for those doing BMX racing, while in other styles like BMX Street or Flat riding, the open helmet design is also common as it allows for easier head movement.
  • Elbows protectors: These protectors are important to wear to avoid injuries from falling.
  • Gloves: Gloves are useful for all acrobatic disciplines, though they’re most common in races. The most popular glove type is finger-less mittens.
  • Suits: Racers wear full body suits or jackets and special pants that cover the entire body, for protection it the case of falls and to help minimize wind resistance.
  • Sneakers: Each biking style will require the use of a specific shoe type. The sporty and flexible styles are most recommended.

Which BMX bike should I purchase?

Choosing the best bike for you will depend on the type of discipline you want to practice: a freestyle bike is not the same as one for street riding or racing. The age of the user also plays a key role in selecting a bike. Furthermore, the rider’s experience level is another crucial factor. This is important because professionals, for example, don’t use brakes while children and beginners will certainly use them.

The most important consideration when you begin to use a BMX bike is to ensure that it’s durable and offers quality response to whatever maneuvers you might make. Bikes with fewer features but more robust designs are probably the most convenient option for beginners.

Height of the biker (in feet) Size of the bike (in inches)
Up to 3’7″ 12
From 3’7″ to 4’3″ 16
From 4’3″ to 4’11” 18
From 4’11” to 5’3″ 20
From 5’3″ to 5’7″ 20.6
Up to 5’11” 20.75
More than 5’11” 21.25

What do BMX bikes look like?

BMX bikes are relatively small, with wheels that have a diameter of about 50 centimeters. They feature a high handlebar to allow for more control in various maneuvers. Both tables (primarily, the upper one) and distribution of the tubes (primarily, the upper one) as well as the bike’s poles vary depending on the BMX style and design.

BMX bikes are commonly used to perform tricks and stunts.
(Source: Bernard Bodo: 78887185/ 123rf.com)

What are the main brands of BMX bikes?

There are a number of great BMX bike brands available to US customers. Among them is Mongoose, which has focused on bikes for more than 40 years, since its founding in 1974 in southern California. They aren’t the lightest bikes, but they’re considered a great option for beginners. Other brands include North Carolina-based Eastern Bikes and the iconic brand Haro, which was founded by Bob Haro and began as a company making numberplates for BMX racers. Two other great brands to look out for are Sunday and Kink.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of riding a BMX bike?

Bike riding and acrobatics are lots of fun. However, BMX riding does requires skill, since it is, after all, a relatively risky sport. BMX bikes have many advantages, but there are also some negatives that you should be aware of. The following table lists the pros and cons of using a BMX bike.

Advantages
  • Very durable
  • Great maneuverability
  • Need some maintanence
Disadvantages
  • Not suitable for traveling long distances
  • Not designed for pedaling while seated

Shopping criteria

These days, there is a huge variety of brands and models for most sports, not only for BMX bikes. This can make the entire selection and buying process especially tiresome. To help you pick the best bike, we have narrowed down some of the key factors to consider when picking your BMX bike.

  • Biker experience level
  • Weight
  • Wheels
  • Material
  • Steel or 4130
  • Brakeless design
  • Frame, fork and handlebar
  • Height ratio

Biker experience level

You will often see older bikers riding children’s bikes and kids riding professional bikes. Nonetheless, selecting a BMX bike should be based on the user’s level of experience, although there are some exceptions in terms of height, age and price range.

User Wheels Size Budget Age Weight
Children 16, 18 o 20’’ Between 18.5’’ y 20.2’’ Up to $400 From 5 to 12 years old Up to 30 lbs
Beginners 20’’ From 20 to 20.5’’ Up to $500 From 12 to 16 years old No more than 26 lbs
Intermediate 20’’ From 20 to 21’’ Up to $500 14 years and older Between 24 and 26 lbs
Advanced 20’’ Between 20.5 and 21’’ Between $700 and $1000 14 years and older Between 23 and 25 lbs
Team Wheels of 20’’ Between 20.5 and 21.2’’ From $1000 and with custom bikes from $1400 14 years and older From 25 lbs

Weight

For new riders, weight is an important factor because a lighter bike means less resistance. It is recommended to select a heavy bike that offers more resistance rather than a lighter bike that may create problems for the rider at some point. More advanced riders might pick from lighter bike options that also offer good resistant (which will be relatively expensive), or the resistant and affordable varieties (which are usually heavier).

For beginning riders, the weight of the bike is especially important. Lower weight equals less resistance.
(Source: Oleg ivanov: 1166304/ unsplash.com)

Wheels

In advanced bike designs, it is necessary to check that the wheels are double-layered, containing at least 36 spokes, and fully sealed. We must also keep in mind that extremely hard wheel designs are not recommended, as excessive pressure means the bike won’t offer optimal cushioning in case of any falls. Still, if tires are too loose, then you might end up losing the grip.

The material of a bike’s frame is another important factor. You can do without some resistance, depending on the price or weight, if you have a steel frame. Nonetheless, the bike’s fork and handlebar should always be 4130 steel, since those parts can cause very serious injuries to the rider if they fail.

Mike CavendishBritish professional cyclist

“To me it doesn’t matter if it’s raining or the sun is shining: as long as I am riding a bike, I know I’m the luckiest guy in the world.”

Brakeless

We advise against buying a bike without brakes, especially if it’s your first BMX bike purchase. Bike frames with brakes can be used in brakeless mode, but the reverse isn’t the case. So we’d suggest starting with brakes!

Frame, fork and handlebar

The table usually measures between 20.0″ and 21.2″. The height for new riders measures between 20.0″ and 20.5″; for intermediate riders, it’s between 20.5 and 21.0″; from 20.5 to 21″ for advanced riders, and from 20.5 to 21.2″ for teams. Additionally, frame, fork and handlebars should be at least 4130, and if the design is heat-treated, that would be ideal.

Height ratio

This aspect should be considered in relation to your height, how you plan to use your bike and, above all, your style preference. If you are planning to race with your bike, the height should be relatively high for both the front and rear triangle. However, for street riders, the recommended height is usually shorter to allow for faster turns and greater manageability.

Summary

BMX bikes are primarily used by bikers looking to perform tricks and stunts. Riders come up with various techniques and particular designs allow for  the execution of a wide variety of tricks—be it in the air or on asphalt, along with a large number of combos that can be executed with such tricks.

BMX bikes are made for fun. They are ideal for those who enjoy “motocross by bike” or any other version of its acrobatic uses. Because these bikes have a relatively low frame height, they’re a great option for kids who are just starting to learn how to ride a bike.

If you found this article useful, please let us know in the comment section and be sure to share it with your friends and family on social media.

(Source of the featured image: Keagan henman: 456216/ unsplash.com)

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