BMX riding has been progressing for a long while now. Just like many other progressive sports, bicycle motocross came out of the dirt tracks of southern California. Motocross riders that wanted a cheaper, easier way to perform adrenaline-inducing tricks regularly.
Since then riders have expanded the sport in many different ways. From flatland to bike racing and dirt jumping, it’s safe to say that somewhere, someone has tried to ride a BMX bike on any terrain. Let’s hope the person that last tried to ride on a downhill track came out okay.
After more than 4 decades of testing, evolution and development, the biggest, most influential bike brands have created some awesome bikes. Before I take you through my picks of the best bikes of 2021 I will explain I’m looking for in each category. I have picked a beginner, intermediate and advanced option for each cycling discipline.
How the Bikes are Ranked
Whatever discipline you’re riding, BMX bikes are small, light and easy to manoeuvre. Unless you’re an extremely tall rider, all wheels are 20” in size. Top tubes range from 20” - 20.75”, this difference is almost negligible but can make a significant difference to certain riding styles. Every part of your bike has specific geometry that will alter the riding feel. As you get better at riding you will develop a greater feel for the geometry you like to ride
Durability and strength are very important for a BMX bike. There is no suspension and bike tires are pumped up extremely hard. Any hard landing or big jump will send a lot of force straight to the bike's forks and frame.
Thankfully due to the simple nature of BMX bikes, components are quite simple and cheap to replace. Despite this fact, you need to make sure a new bike is dialed in and set up to take the force of the terrain you’re riding.
Maintenance is very important with a new bike. After your first few rides, all your components will settle into your riding style. It’s important to give your headset, chain and spokes a good tightening to get the longest lifespan out of your new steed.
Many companies design and build complete BMX bikes and many more that just manufacture bike components. Each company has its advantages and disadvantages. (We wrote about this in our BMX brands post).
Certain brands are notorious for different things on the BMX market. Shadow Conspiracy make fabulously strong chains. ODI is famous for their bike grips while BSD and Odyssey are all-round high-quality brands.
Best BMX Bikes for Street
The simplest way to describe street BMX biking is ‘anything is an obstacle’. In a similar way to flatland, creativity and expression are demanded when riding street. There are no set obstacles, jumps or rails on the street. You can pick whatever you want to ride whether it’s a bench, step, wall, bank or handrail and ride that in any way you can come up with.
Street bikes need to be robust and easy to handle. You may aim to ride whatever obstacle you want but these pieces of street furniture won’t be anywhere near as smooth or well maintained as a BMX park. Common features of a street bike are strong frames, steeper head tubes and two or 4 pegs.
Mongoose Legion L100 Beginner Bike
Mongoose bikes have been around for a long while now. My first dirt jump bike and pride and joy was a Mongoose Fireball. Unfortunately, that bike was stolen and I never saw it again.
Mongoose is in the same league as Haro. They’re both super old bike companies. The truly innovative retailers there at the beginning. Just like many others, Southern California was the birthplace of Mongoose, way back in 1974. The first product was the MotoMag One, the first magnesium alloy wheel for BMX made in America. Skip Hess recognised riders were constantly having to replace their wheels and decided to do something about it. They were no doubt much heavier than anything available today but these wheels prevented the need for constant replacements.
A year later the heli-arc frames were being manufactured and the new pro race team had been formed. By the ’80s Mongoose had a real monopoly on the best riders in the world. They had the likes of Perry Kramer and Tinker Juarez riding their bikes. Up until 2000, the company kept growing, adding more and more popular products to their brand, by no means concentrating on BMX, mountain bikes were fast to follow. As we reached the new millennium the company was so successful it was bought by Pacific Cycle. They were already an established worldwide brand and brought good exposure to Mongoose.
Since then the bikes and teams have only got better. The Mongoose Jam had its debut at Camp Woodward in 2012. In 2016 Mongoose had one of the most talented pro cycling teams in the world and just a year later Pat Casey, is invited to join the USA freestyle BMX Olympic team for it’s first showing at the 2020 Olympic games.
The Legion line features several bikes of differing sizes. The L100 is the largest of the set with 20” wheels, a 21” top tube and an 8.75” bar rise. This bike is perfect for adult beginners. The size and strength are easily enough for most older riders and the set up is perfect for first-time riders or those coming back to the sport after a long time. Mongoose recommends this size for riders 5’8” and above. If you’re smaller than this but still like the Legion then I would recommend looking into the L80 which is smaller and cheaper!
As always, what you gain at the lower price, you will lose in the weight of the hi-tensile steel frame. All in all, this is a great starter bike. Removable brake mounts, sealed bearing bottom bracket and two-piece tubular hollow spindle cranks allow for a great amount of progression.
- Frame: 4130 Chromoly, Freestyle Geometry
- Forks: 4130 Chromoly
- Crank: 2 Piece Tubular, 25T
- Chain: KMC S1
- Bottom Bracket: 8-Spline Spindle Sealed
- Rear Cog: 9T Cassette
- Rims: Xposure Infinity-XD, 36H
- Hubs: Aluminium, 36H
- Tires: 20” x 2.4”
- Pedals: Mongoose, Nylon
- Brakes: U-Brake, Aluminium
- Bars: Mongoose, 29” Width, 8.75” Rise
- Stem: Mongoose Top Load, 50mm
- Headset: Threadless, 1 - ⅛”
- Saddle: Mongoose Pivotal
- Grips: Mongoose MushXL, 160mm
Fitbikeco STR Street BMX
To me, Fitbikeco has always been a street brand. The company was formed a little later than most in the year 2000. Robbie Morales and Chris Moeller left their employers and teamed up to create Fit Bike Co at the turn of the century.
The rise of the company has been tremendous in the near 20 short years the company has been operating they’ve developed an incredible team that includes the likes of Nate Hanson, Mike Aitken and Brian Foster. BMX names as big as this wouldn’t join a company if the products weren’t up to standard.
Before Fit, Moeller operated S&M bikes. As S&M was a well-established company, Fit was effectively created as a new front end to the S&M backend. Effectively they are the same company, all the business admin, startup money and staff are provided by S&M while products and pro teams are created by Fit.
I don’t think there’s another bike on this list that deserves to be in the spot it is more than the STR. For starters ‘STR’ stands for street. Secondly, the price point is less than $500, making it perfect for the intermediate rider.
With the backing of Cult, the STR has been designed as well as you could ask for a street bike. The Fit STR has four pegs and four-piece bars with street specific geometry that fits street riding perfectly. A 75.5° headtube angle, 13.1” chainstays and an 11.8” high bottom bracket make the bike extremely responsive.
You’re always going to have aspects of a bike that aren’t up to everyone’s standards, especially at a lower price point. With the STR you get the advantage of a well set up street bike but unfortunately, the rear triangle is made from hi-tensile steel, single-walled rims, 8 spline cranks, cheap brakes and hubs. As regular riders have pointed out, it seems like the only disadvantages of this bike are the peripherals that can be replaced and updated cheaply and easily anyway.
- Frame: CrMo Top Tube, Integrated Headset
- Forks: 225mm Offset
- Crank: Tubular CrMo 160mm
- Wheelsest: FIT SIW
- Sprocket: Series One 25T
- Brake: Rear U-Brake
- Bars: 4 pc. 9” x 29”
- Stem: Fit Forged Front Load
- Grips: Fit Crossfit
- Tyres: 2.4” Fit
- Weight: 12.8kg
Sunday Street Sweeper Pro BMX Bike
I have researched and written about the Sunday Street Sweeper before. In our Most expensive BMX bikes post the Streetsweeper was featured amount the best and most expensive.
There is no doubt the Streetsweeper bike is for advanced street riders. The geometry and high-quality parts give no doubt as to where it’s supposed to be ridden and the price point means only the most advanced riders can purchase such a BMX.
This is one of those bikes you only really look at when you’re wondering what the pro’s get to ride. I wouldn’t argue with the many people that think there’s not a lot of point in making bikes this hi-spec and expensive.
When riders get to the stage where they’re ready to buy and ride a bike like this they’re also commonly at the stage where they’re wanting to build their own bike. Building a bike is advantageous in a lot of ways. You might end up spending a little more money but the amount of free-range you get when choosing your parts is invaluable.
The street sweeper frame is based upon a Jake Seeley signature frame. Jake is a great street rider from MA, USA. He’s carved out a brilliant niche for himself in the street riding scene.
Sunday have used Seeleys brilliant design and expanded on it for those riders who want to purchase a complete instead of just parts. The Street Sweeper has a 75.25° head tube angle, a super short chainstay, 4-piece bars and one of the highest quality freecoasters on the market.
- Top Tube Length: 20.75"
- Chain Stay Length: 13"
- Head Tube Angle: 75.25°
- Seat Tube Angle: 71°
- Stand Over Height: 8.85"
- Bar Rise: 9"
- Frame: Street Sweeper Aftermarket Frame
- Fork: 20", Full Cromo 2pc Steerer
- Bars: Sunday 4pc Full Chromoly
- Headset: FSA Integrated w/2mm Alloy Spacer
- Brakes: Odyssey Springfield
- Front Hub: Sunday Storm Front, Sealed, 36H
- Rear Hub: Odyssey Clutch v2 Freecoaster 9t
- Rims: Odyssey Quadrant, 36H
- Tires: Sunday Street Sweeper 20" x 2.40"
- Sprocket: Sunday Sabretooth v2 27t, 6061 CNC
- Cranks: 165mm Tubular 3-pc
- Pedals: Odyssey Twisted Pro PC
- Seat: Sunday Camosweep Tripod
- Stem: Sunday Freeze Topload Stem 48mm
- Weight: 24.97lbs
Best BMX Bike Tires For Street and Park
BMX park and street tires. These are the grippiest and lightest bike tires for every type of riding.
Best and Fastest BMX Race Bikes 2021
As BMX was initially developed from motocross racing and so it’s no surprise people quickly started racing these bikes. Bike racing is sprint cycling performed on dirt and concrete tracks with the aim to complete a set amount of laps in the quickest time.
Race tracks begin atop a steep start ramp with a starting gate that all riders balance behind. For the rest of the race, riders need to deal with jumps, berms, rollers, tabletops, doubles before crossing the finish line. After the start line, most courses are based on a flat design, approximately 5 metres wide with steep berms to allow riders to carry speed through different parts of the course.
Race bikes are different from most others. Where dirt, park, street and flatlands can be used interchangeably fairly easy, race bikes cannot. Carbon fibre or light aluminium frames are nearly unanimous accompanied by super thin tires and an uncomfortably small plastic seat. These bikes haven’t been developed with spin tricks, barspins and tailwhips in mind. Rotational tricks cause extra stress on rims, forks and frames; none of which race bikes can deal with very well.
Bike racing is all about speed. Weight reducing 36-spoke wheels with single, high ratio gearing increases a bikes top speed significantly but technical tricks with the need for easy pedalling can be very difficult.
SE Bikes Wildman 2021
SE bikes have been at the forefront of BMX riding since the very beginning back in 1970. Scot Breithaupt is arguably one of the most important founders of BMX racing. At just 14 years old he organized the first-ever BMX race in Longbeach, California.
From then on Scot helped grow the sport massively. From designing tracks to establishing publications and race teams, he was a very important part. Scot Enterprises was established in 1977 but quickly evolved to take the name we know today, SE Bikes.
After only two years of business, the company made one of the most famous BMX bikes ever, the PK Ripper Race BMX. Perry Kramer was the top rider on the SE team and one of the best in the world. The PK had a great, innovative design. The gusset was welded to the gusset on the ripper to increase strength.
The PK Ripper is the longest continually produced bike ever. Over 40 years in total!
When looking at the Wildman you wouldn’t think it’s specific for racing but I wouldn’t look for a bike specific to a certain discipline when first starting. SE are primarily a race bike company, you’d be safe with a Wildman if you’re first starting.
If you’re looking for a nicely sized bike at a great price point this is the way to go. There aren’t any parts with impressive names but everything is super durable and can handle a big set of dirt or race jumps. This bike will come with two pegs that you can attach to your preferred side of the bike.
- Frame: American BB, 5mm Dropout
- Fork: Tapered, ⅜” diagonal, 32mm Offset
- Crankset: 3-pc, 170mm, 25T SE Sprocket
- Pedals: SE Nylon Fibre
- Chain: KMC Z410A
- Wheelset: SE Alloy 36H ⅜”.
- Driver: 9T
- Tires: Innova Mimosa 20”x2.3”
- Brakeset: Tektro FX350
- Bars: SE Wing bar, 27.5” x 7.5”
- Stem: SE Top Load, 50mm Reach
- Grips: SE DSP. SE Plugs
- Seat: Lightweight SE
- Weight: 12.17kg
GT Speed Series Expert XL
It’s no surprise that GT is another brand hailing from Southern California. It was the very early BMX days of 1972 when you first heard the name GT bikes. The name GT is synonymous with BMX bike racing. The company is very well known for its fast and strong bikes.
Gary Turner created GT after deciding bike frames simply weren’t strong enough. After a career of welding drag racing cars, he jumped into the BMX world to help give his kid the best bike possible. From 1981 to the late ’90s the company concentrated on speed and durability.
The end of the 1990s also saw the end of GT’s concentration on just BMX bikes. After this, they went big and applied everything they’d learnt to the world of mountain biking. These new bikes were kitted out with super innovative, efficient i-Drive® suspension in the early 2000s.
Since then GT has been focused on creating the best bikes for their riders all over the world, ranging from cutting edge downhill bike technology to the lightest race bikes you can buy. The pro team has also developed a lot. Some great riders are working with GT.
Simply by looking at the Speed Series Expert, you can tell it’d be no good for anything but racing around a track. The frame is beautifully shaped to be sleek and nimble. The speed series MK7 frame is made from 6061-T6 alloy with formed and butted tubing.
Disk brakes are very rare to see on a BMX bike. They are normally reserved only for mountain bikes, commuter bikes and others that need the safety and reliability of a disk brake. To give riders more control over their bike a promax hydraulic brake with a quick change dropout system has been added.
It’s very rare to see hydraulic brakes on a BMX bike. Mainly due to the requirement of being able to twist the bars 360 degrees. Great gyro’s have been made for mechanical brakes in the past, allowing riders to reliably use mechanical U and V brakes. It’s only recently that companies have had some success with hydraulic brake gyro’s.
- Frame: GT Speed Series MK7
- Fork: GT BMX Expert Race
- Chain: KMC Z1 Narrow, 3/32”
- Crank: GT Forged Alloy 2-pc, 165mm
- Pedals: GT Low Profile FS Platform
- Rims: Speed Series Aero, 28H
- Tires: Kenda Kompact Pro Race, 1.5”
- Hubs: GT Speed Series, 28H
- Brakes: Promax MV-87, 85mm
- Bars: GT Speed Cr-Mo, 26”
- Stem: GT Top Load, 40mm
- Grips: GT Statement2, lock-on
- Saddle: BOX Echelon
Haro Blackout Professional Race Bike
The Haro Blackout is another bike we’ve included in one of our lists. The race bikes made by Haro might just be one of the biggest lines of a single bike I’ve ever seen. They’ve developed a different model for just about every size and skill level you can think of.
Haro was truly one of the original BMX brands. For over 40 years Haro has developed some of the greatest parts and acquired some of the top riders in the world to ride on their team. Currently, the likes of Nic Long, Ryan Nyquist and Dennis Enarson make up the pro team. The most impressive aspect of the team Haro has created is the variation in riding styles between all the riders they support. From BMX racing to street, flatland and park, they all receive incredible support and bikes.
Haro has a total of 7 different sizes for each model of race bike they produce. These sizes go from the ‘MICRO MINI’, designed for ages 4-5 and 3’6” - 4’, up to the PRO 24, for ages 13+ and taller than 5’10”.
Every size of the Haro Blackout race BMX is virtually the same, just with different sized parts. The super-light frame is kitted out with an arsenal of aftermarket level parts. The frame itself is the special Blackout Power Transfer Center (PTC) frame. Leading the charge on this bike is the CLiQ Citizen Carbon fork with 8” Addict bars. The top load stem is CNC machined out of alloy to keep it light and extra strong. There is no need for welds or joints that add weight and reduce strength. The CLiQ BB86 bottom bracket and CLiQ Weaponz 2 piece cranks work together brilliantly to force as much power onto the track as possible.
The biggest downside to this bike for most people is probably going to be the price point. It comes in at over $1,000, which to a lot of people is simply too much for a BMX you can only ride at a specialized track. Those of you who are advanced enough to make the most out of this bike will probably see this as a great investment in their career and in that case I say it’s a great option.
- Frame: 6061 Alloy PTC
- Fork: Citizen Carbon
- Weight: 8.6kg
- Crank: CNC 7000 Cliq Weponz, 175mm
- Bottom Bracket: Cliq Press-Fit BB86
- Sprocket: 44T Alloy
- Gearing: 44/16
- Chain: KMC Z33
- Tires: Kenda Konversion, 1.95”
- Hubs: Low Flange 36H, Cassette
- Rims: Alienation Deviant 36H
- Brake: Promax DSK-300, 160mm rotor
- Grips: Promax Click Grip
- Bars: Cliq Addict 8”
- Stem: CNC Haro Top-Load, 52mm
- Headset: Cliq Integrated
- Seat: Box Echelon Plastic
Top Freestyle and Park Bikes
Park riding encompasses a lot of different riding. Riders use indoor and outdoor skateparks that can be made from wood or concrete to ride in a dedicated and often safer setting. Commercial and indoor skateparks are more often made of wood due to the I don’t know the exact figures but I believe park riding is the most popular BMX biking discipline. Unlike street riding where the aim is to ride obscure obstacles you find in the street, park riding is dedicated to the indoor and outdoor parks in the world.
Park riding is where you’re going to see the biggest and best tricks. This discipline involves everything from vert, massive vertical half pipes, and big air, a huge roll in followed by a single trick jump to a quarter pipe, to bowls and quarter pipes at a regular skatepark.
I wouldn’t blame you for thinking that all the different types of riding I just listed above sound very different and may need different types of bikes. Most of these riders have fairly similar setups. Big air riders may drift a little closer to dirt jump setups with bigger tires and a flatter head tube angle but the bikes you see at events like the X-Games can be ridden on any park location.
Framed Impact XL 20” BMX
Framed Bikes is a relatively new cycling company, hailing from the twin cities in Minnesota. Over recent years Minnesota has had a great rise in cycling popularity. There’s a large dedicated group of riders around this area, all riding different disciplines. Having this amount of popularity usually means great cycle tracks and parks are quick to follow.
Framed are such a new company that they’re still building out their brand. They haven’t developed a team of sponsored riders as of yet so testing and development can be slow. This is a great reason why some of these bikes are wonderful for beginners.
Riders just starting don’t need and aren’t used to the super-evolved, expensive bikes from brands like BSD and WTP. The main aim for a rider just starting is to get a feeling for riding, finding out what their preferred riding discipline is and also developing a unique style of riding.
Most beginners and children haven’t dedicated themselves to a specific discipline, so these beginner bikes need to be able to give a rider a good foundation for any riding style. The Framed Impact seems to do this brilliantly.
The Impact bike allows nearly anyone to give BMXing a try. The cheapness of this bike means the weight won’t be as preferable as most people would like, with the frame and forks being made from hi-tensile steel but some great composites and parts like the Neco headset have been used to make the bike as rider-friendly as possible.
- Frame: HiTen Steel
- Fork: 1-1/8th HiTen Steel
- Bars: Framed Hi-Ten Steel 2-pc, 28”
- Grips: Velo Mushroom 150mm
- Stem: Framed Alloy, Front Load
- Headset: Neco Press in
- Brakes: Framed Alloy U-Brakes
- Crank: 1-pc Forged Steel 175mm
- Sprocket: 36T Steel
- Chain: KMC Z410
- Pedals: ½” Nylon Composite
- Hubs: Alloy 36H Unsealable
- Rims: 36H Pinned Rim, Single Wall
- Weight: 11.4kg
Fly Bikes Neutron BMX Bike 2021
Flybikes sell several physics-based BMX bikes. There’s the Neutron, Proton and Electron. My first good quality BMX was the Flybikes Neutron. It’s been a wonderful bike ever since I bought it, perfect for my skill level. For those who don’t know, I'm firmly in the intermediate category.
Vigo, Spain was the birthplace of Flybikes back in 1999. The company has been committed to developing and selling the newest and most innovative parts. In the fast-paced world of BMX, Fly has remained on the cutting edge of new technologies and materials.
For the 2020 season, Fly has researched what worked and what didn’t in their intermediate bike range. The steerer tube has been updated to a 1 piece hydroformed steerer tube, replacing the previous 2 piece steerer fork. Forks and frames are very important parts of the BMX bike. A lot of stress goes through the forks and frame of a bike, even more so on a BMX bike since you’re doing a lot of rotational manoeuvres and hard landings. This is why brands need to work on making their forks super strong.
The chain and headset have been replaced on this year's bike. A high-quality Trebol headset, a stronger 510 chain and a new clean Trebol Bueno crankset without the inferior pinch bolt cranks have been brought in. The new headset is accompanied by bigger bars and a higher standover, both helping riding stability.
Stability is important due to the style of riding Fly is targeting with this bike. Fitting my preferred riding style, the Neutron is aimed towards stylish freestyle and dirt rider. The geometry is perfect for the freestyle park rider but the tough wheels and stable frame will make most jump riders feel very safe.
- Frame: 4130 CrMo, 20.75”
- Fork: 4130 CrMo, 32mm
- Bars: 4130 CrMo, 8.5”
- Grips: Fly Roey
- Stem: Trebol Top Load, 50mm
- Headset: Trebol Internal, Sealed
- Brake: Trebol Springhanger
- Cranks: Trebol 3-pc, 152mm
- Sprocket: Trebol 28T
- Pedals: Fly Ruben Graphite, Nylon-Fiberglass
- Chain: 510. 74 Links
- Rims: Trebol, 36H
- Hubs: Trebol Bueno, 36H, 9T
- Tires: Trebol 2.35”
- Seat: Fly Neutron Tripod
- Weight: 11.35kg
FLYBIKES 2021 NEUTRON COMPLETE
WeThePeople Crysis Freestyle BMX 2021
I and the WeThePeople company are the same age. We were both created back in 1998, I in England and WTP in Germany. Since then, WTP has been researching, designing, developing, testing all their aftermarket frames and parts.
The company has grown into quite a large company, with over 40 riders shared between their various teams. There are so many riders of varying levels the company has created 4 different teams: the pro, am, family and world teams.
All these team riders have helped the company develop tremendously. Every bike or part is tested by multiple team riders, all returning valuable feedback making the frame even better. Having all these people testing products it’s no surprise there are so many super high-quality bikes and parts coming from WTP.
WeThePeople originally started developing and selling predominantly street bike frames but after so much success it’s no surprise they have evolved into a company making bikes for all disciplines.
The Crysis is fully decked out with WTP’s in house parts from their sibling companies: Salt and Eclat. The paint and style of this bike are very plain and simple, leaving the innovative technologies and designs for the geometry and parts of the bike.
The biggest surprise of this bike is the rear hub. The Crysis includes Saltplus ‘Trapez’ freecoaster to help with all those complex street and park tricks. It’s rare for complete bikes and especially WTP to include a freecoaster as standard. While they are popular the audience for a freecoaster is still relatively small and so many companies don’t target them.
The Trapez is a very advanced freecoaster. This new design allows you to switch between regular cassette riding and freecoasters. Over recent years the technology of freecoasters has evolved enough to open the viability of riding them to more and more riders.
Originally it was only flatland riders that didn’t bash up their parts who rode with freecoasters. The inherently complex design of a freecoaster meant that in the early days they simply weren’t tough enough to be ridden by park and street riders. Since the likes of WeThePeople have developed such great, durable parts freecoasters have made a resurgence as more and more people can trust them.
- Frame: 4130 CrMo
- Fork: Saltplus Crysis
- Bars: Saltplus Crysis 2-pc
- Grips: Eclat Filter
- Stem: WeThePeople Logic
- Headset: Salt Pro
- Brakes: Eclat Talon U-Brake
- Cranks: Saltplus Ultra 3-pc
- Pedals: Eclat Slash
- Chain: WTP Supply Z510HX
- Sprocket: WTP Logic, 25T
- Driver: 9T Cassette
- Hubs: Saltplus Pro 36H, Cassette
- Rims: Saltplus Summit 36H
- Seat: Eclat Bios
- Tires: WTP Overbite 2.35”
- Pegs: Salt AM
- Weight: 12.09kg
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