Dirt jumping and slopestyle are on the rise, capturing the hearts of both MTB and BMX enthusiasts. Though the courses may differ—slopestyle features more elaborate jumps—the core thrill remains consistent across both disciplines.
If you're seeking a reliable option without the fuss, our top pick is the Marin Alcatraz. Ideal for this sport, it's a hardtail with about 100mm of front suspension travel.
Learn which dirt jumper bikes are the best in 2023 and how to choose them.
Marin Alcatraz Slope Bike
Photo by @alldhsaleClick Here to Check Best Price
Since 1986 Marin have been making super fun mountain bikes for lots of different skill levels. It's surprising how many different categories of bike Marin have invested in. You can do everything from bikepacking to road cycling and dirt jumping on a Marin bicycle.
Matt Jones is a fantastic british freerider, who's been riding pro for over 8 years. International competitions such as the Colorado Freeride Festival in 2016 and Several NZ Farm Jam competitions have been dominated by Jones.
Like a lot of riders nowadays Matt has dedicated a large amount of his time to making YouTube videos that show off his unique world first tricks. Marin created the Alcatraz freeride bike under the expert tutelage of Matt.
Horizontal dropouts with integrated chain tensioners are more helpful than many people realise. Keeping a wheel even and the chain tight at the same time is super hard when there's such a small amount of room afforded to you by the chainstay.
A chainstay this short will make manuals and tailwhips far too easy. It'll be great.
Photo by @alldhsale
Marin Alcatraz Specifications:
- Cassette: 14T Single Speed Cog
- Brakes: Tektro HDM275, 160mm
- Bars: Marin Riser
- Stem: Marin 3d Forged 40mm
- Grips: Marin Single Clamp Locking
- Saddle: Marin Pivotal DJ
- Pedals: Alloy Platform
- Frame: Series 3 6061 Aluminum Frame
- Suspension: X Fusion Slant RL2
- Rims: Marin Custom Extrusion
- Hubs: Forged Alloy 32H
- Tires: Vee Tire XCV, LSG Compound
- Crankset: Marin Forget Alloy 32T
- Chain: KMC HL-710
Scott Voltage YZ 0.1 Dirt Jump MTB Bike
Ever since I first started to ride and get into mountain biking and dirt jumping, Scott has been one of the brands I have always come back to. They make so many types of bike all amazing quality.
Buying a Scott bike can always be considered a good option if you don't know much about the type of bike you're buying.
The Scott Voltage isn't a new design, it has been refined over several years of production. Scott has kept the frame design near enough exactly the same every year. My first thought when seeing the frame is that the tubular shape isn't that nice. The overall geometric shape of the frame is well thought out and perfect for a lot of riders but I much prefer circular tubing used continuously from the front to the rear. I understand that this type of design isn't always advantageous when developing a low short frame like this.
When you get down to the nitty-gritty details like geometry and lengths, most dirt jump bikes don't vary much more than a couple of degrees or millimetres. Brands like Scott have to do something different to distinguish themselves from the myriad of other great jump bikes on the market.
In terms of the Voltage, a couple of things stick out. The positioning of the seat tube is one of these. The vast majority of bikes have a straight seat tube that goes almost vertically down and attaches to the top of the bottom bracket shell. Instead of this, the YZ 0.1 has a seat tube that is angled and finished in front of the BB-Shell. The main advantage of doing this is the ability to have even shorter chainstays.
One of the instantly noticeable features of the Voltage frame is it's super short back end, the angled seat tube is the characteristic making this possible. When riding this bike you'll be surprised at how twitchy the rear end is. The bike loves being on its back wheel whether you mean to be there or not. It takes a bit of getting used to and you might loop out a few manuals but the bike is nicely dialled in.
As for the other parts of the bike, unfortunately, you can see the company hasn't made an effort to use the very best parts possible. I'm not saying the bike is sub-par since it hasn't got top of the range parts most commonly seen on custom bikes but some parts, such as the Tektro brakes may not be up to all riders standards.
Having said this, some parts like the Forks, chain and hubs are well renowned and high quality. I would have no problem buying a lot of these parts separately and adding them to my other bikes.
What we Like:
- Short chainstays for agility.
- High-quality forks and hubs.
- Angled seat tube improves handling.
- Durable 6061 Alloy frame.
What we Don't Like:
- Tubular frame shape not appealing.
- Tektro brakes may be subpar.
- Rear end can be too twitchy.
- Not equipped with top-range parts.
Scott Voltage Specifications:
- Frame: Voltage YZ DJ 6061 Alloy
- Fork: 100mm Air X-Fusion Slant DJ
- Headset: Syncros OE Press Fit E2
- Brakes: Tektro 160mm Hydraulic
- Cranks: Scott Cr-Mo 3 Piece
- Sprocket: 170mm/25T Alloy BMX
- Bars: Syncros Hixon Rise 2
- Grips: Syncros Pro DH Lock-on
- Pedals: Wellgo B107 Flat
- Front Hub: Formula DC-51 / 15x100mm
- Rear Hub: Formula DC42-N
- Chain: KMC Z510
- Rims: Syncros MD25 32h
- Tires: Kenda K905 26x2.3”
- Weight: 12.8kg
DMR Sect Hardtail DJ Bike
Photo by Gumby510Click Here to Check Best Price
For over 20 years DMR have been designing and building some of the highest quality mountain bikes and dirt jump bikes available. From the British countryside they pump out everything from full bikes to frames, pedals, components and more.
Most companies decide to concentrate on mountain biking, road cycling or BMX. It's not as universal for cycling companies to put so much investment in the best dirt jump bikes. DMR has been focusing on dj bikes for as long as anyone else, bikes like the Sect prove this.
Built around the popular DMR Sect frame, an array of high-quality DJ components have been taken from DMR and other top biking companies to make this bike highly effective on the jump and pump tracks.
A super short rear end will increase the speed at which you can rotate your bike and control manuals. Increased stability is gained through the 69 degree head angle while a great toe clearance is included for barspins.
Photo by @by_edbartley
DMR Sect Specifications:
- Frame: DMR 4130 chromoly
- Fork: RST Dirt 100 with rebound adj.
- Headset: FSA Orbit C cartridge
- Handlebar: 31.8 aluminum 740mm 2" rise
- Stem: 3D Forged 40mm
- Brakes: Tektro M275 hydraulic 160mm
- Wheels: Alex DM24 26" double wall rims on KT DJ hubs.
- Tires: Kenda Small Block 8 26 x 2.1"
- Chainring: 30t
- Freewheel: Odyssey 13t
- Chain: YBN MK918 Half Link Black
- Pedals: DMR V6
- Grips: DMR Sect grips
- Weight: 13.5kg
YT Industries Dirt Love Mountain BikeClick Here to Check Best Price
YT (Young Talent) is a very new bike brand. Markus Flossman, a German weightlifter founded the company as recently as 2007. In my opinion, YT has a lot of similarities to Tesla. They have been around the same amount of time; both companies were big disruptors to the existing market that had become lax with their dominance over the market and customers. YT has come into the world of mountain biking, created some great products and sold them at an even better price.
Although they were making a great product, YT didn't break into America until 2015. This isn't all bad though because as soon as they did Aaron Gwin was signed to the company and promptly won the 2016 and 2017 World Cup Downhill Championship.
Simply due to the sheer amount of bikes, frames and other designs that have been released over the years it's hard for newer companies like YT to come onto the scene and be labelled as innovators. YT seems to have realised this and that's why they're doing such a great job taking proven designs and disrupting the market by making them new and great.
Flossman has managed to keep the bikes the same high quality offered by many other brands but at a fraction of the cost. He did this by cutting out the middle-man retailers.
YT began out of Flossman wanting to help kids that love to ride dirt jumps but couldn't afford a bike that matched up to their skill level. This was the first full trail bike products by YT. I think that makes them a perfect fit for this article.
The Dirt Love 2023 jump bike hasn't changed much from the original design many years ago. Bikes that have been iterated over for many years usually means it's a brilliant design that works well. I believe that YT views the Dirt Love at its peak design and performance. That's why they recently released the bike in a longer frame size for those that are taller or ride bigger slopestyle jumps.
As with many of the higher-end dirt jump bikes, you get a lot of similar parts added to the bikes. The Dirt Love has the super common but extremely high-quality RockShox Pike Fork. Not always as common but just as high quality are the DT Swiss 533D wheels that are fitted to the bike. They look great with the new black colour scheme.
As well as the new super dark colour scheme the 2020 Dirt Love Jump Bike has hydroformed steel tubes with internal gussets that reinforce several of the most vulnerable points of the bike.
What we Like:
- High-quality bikes at lower costs
- Innovative approach to established market
- Uses existing, effective designs
- Features RockShox Pike Fork, DT Swiss wheels
What we Don't Like:
- Entered American market in 2015
- Less established compared to competitors
- Relies on existing designs
- Initially aimed at dirt jump enthusiasts
YT Dirt Love Specifications:
- Frame: Dirt Love 26”
- Forks: RockShox Pike DJ fork
- Stem: Sram Descendant
- Weight: 11kg
- Saddle: SDG Pivotal
- Crankset: Sram Descendant
- Tires: Maxxis Ikon & DTH
- BB: Sram GXP
- Headset: Acro AIX-326
- Wheelset: DT Swiss / YT Division
- Brakes: Sram Level TL
- Bars: Sram Descendant
- Grips: ODI Elite Motion
Canyon Stitched 720 Full Suspension Slopestyle Bike
Photo by @slopestyleworldwide
For a long time, I have known Canyon make some of the best dirt jump bikes on the UCI circuit but I had never come across the Canyon Stitched 720 before researching for this article. I truly believe this is one of the best looking slopestyle bikes.
The bike frame design with a unique rear suspension placement is the main factor causing me to fall in love with this bike. In my opinion, the best full-suspension frames are those that don't deviate too much from the regular dirt jump frame shape. There are two main reasons I prefer this. The first is simply the aesthetic appeal of the bike. Full Suspension bikes that look like the regular hardtail are just gorgeous in my eyes. The second reason is the advantages you seem to get from designs like this.
Canyon and other brands that design like this also take a lot of measurements and geometry from their hardtail counterparts. As I have mentioned earlier in this article, the varying types of courses commonly mean that the bikes are actually designed quite differently. Having aspects of both of these types of bikes will give you the ability to switch between the two riding styles much easier.
When you get down to things like the forks, rear shocks, wheels etc. of slopestyle bikes you will quickly realise that there isn't a tonne of difference.
Depending on the price range, you will realise there isn't a tonne of difference between the smaller parts of slopestyle bikes. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, Canyon has used some brilliant,innovative parts for the Stitched 720.
Canyon has added 100mm of travel to the front and rear of the bike. The rear is fitted with a top of the range RockShox Monarch RT and the front is a RockShox Pike DJ, a fork we have written about before.
If you look closely you can see this frame has some nice looking dropouts. Most full-suspension frames like this will have vertical dropouts so you can switch to riding gears should you choose so. The Stitched frames feature a BMX style horizontal dropout with subtle built-in chain tensioners. Horizontal dropouts are great for keeping your chain tight and allowing you much more customization.
What we Like:
- Similarity in smaller parts across price range
- Specialized for slopestyle, less versatile
- High-end parts may increase cost
- New to the market, less established reputation
What we Don't Like:
- Aesthetic frame design with unique rear suspension
- Versatile for different riding styles
- High-quality parts like RockShox Monarch RT
- BMX style horizontal dropout for customization
Photo by @slopestyleworldwide
Canyon Stitched 720 Specifications:
- Frame: Canyon Stitched
- Rear Suspension: RockShox Monarch RT
- Forks: RockShox Pike DJ
- Crank: Truvativ Descendant 7K 30T
- Chain: KMC Z510HX
- Brakes: SRAM Level T
- Wheel: Alexrims FR30
- Tire: Maxxis Ikon 2.3”/2.35”
- Stem: Canyon G5
- Bars: Canyon H42, 38mm Rise
- Grips: Canyon Stitched
Thomas Genon's Canyon Stitched 720 | GMBN Pro Bike
Saracen Amplitude CR3 MTB
Saracen is another brand that is pretty big in the dirt jump market. They are by no means as big as Scott but they make some great bikes that definitely hold their own.
Saracen was started in the UK way back in '83. The founders were on the cutting edge of mountain biking. The Saracen mountain bike was one of the first complete mountain bikes in England.
We can't deny the fact that the bikes were high quality as after just one year two Saracen mountain bikes were ridden to the summit of Kilimanjaro by Nick and Richard Crane. I can't say if ever want to ride uphill for that long. Let's hope they had a brilliant downhill ride at the end.
Achievements like Kilimanjaro and others with the bikes themselves made Saracen a widely known market leader throughout the '90s.
2009 came and Madison Bikes, the premier bike seller in the UK bought the company, bought Saracen.
The Amplitude CR3 isn't the most expensive dirt jump bike made by Saracen, that's award goes to the Amplitude AL Team. Regularly the most expensive bike is considered the best but in my opinion, I'd still pick the CR3 over the AL Team. Simply due to the length of time, the CR3 has been tried and tested. The AL is very new and while it is probably an absolutely smashing bike I'd rather wait a few years for them to refine it to perfection.
The Amplitude CR3 dirt jump bike is designed and developed very much like a BMX would be. There's no messing about with the spec of this bike. 2 piece cranks, a MID bottom bracket and a 25x12t gearing. All of these are things very commonly seen on the simple BMX bike.
Riding the CR3 will give you great control over your bike, allowing you to perform technical tricks on the bigger, bumpier tracks.
What we Like:
- Long history of quality.
- BMX-like design for simplicity.
- Great control on bumpy tracks.
- 2-piece cranks and MID BB.
What we Don't Like:
- Not as established as Scott.
- AL Team model untested.
- May lack advanced features.
Photo by saracen.co.uk
Saracen Amplitude CR3 Specifications:
- Frame: Amplitude 4130 cro-mo
- Fork: RST dirt Space Free 100mm
- Headset: FSA NO.8D
- Cranks: 4130 cro-mo 2pc cranks
- Chainring: 25T Alloy
- BB: Mid, Sealed, 48T Spline
- Chain: KMC K710
- Rims: Kore Rivera 32h
- Front Hub: Formula DHL-92 sealed, 32h
- Rear Hub: Formula DC-52N 32h
- Tires: Schwalbe Tabletop 26 x 2.25”
- Front Brake: Tektro MD-M300 160mm
- Rear Brake: Tektro HD-M275 160mm
- Bars: Kore Torsion M35, 800mm / 35mm
- Stem: Saracen 6061 3D
- Saddle: Amplitude Custom Dirtjump
- Pedals: Kore Rivera Thermo resin
- Weight: 13.4kg
Saracen CR3 Review and Ride
NS Soda Slope Bike for Slopestyle
Photo by Jezrael ArmandoClick Here to Check Best Price
The NS Soda Slope was the first dirt jump bike I came across when I first became interested in dirt jump biking. I thought the bike was gorgeous instantly, I was so used to the same bike design that multitudes of other bike manufacturers use for their mountain bikes. The style of having the rear shock nearly horizontal below the top tube was very new and exciting to me.
NS hasn't been making bikes for as long as many other brands on this list but that just makes them even more impressive. Having only released their first frame in 2003, NS took some big risks and worked hard for the pay off they received.
The streetlegal was their first frame. A big and intimidating project that nobody believed could work. After all the doubt and disbelief the frames sold extremely well and persuaded the Szymon, the founder, to carry on making more bikes and bike parts.
The difference between the streetlegal frame and others being made at that time is the way it was designed. NS relied solely on real, hardcore riders for the features and specifications of the frame. In 2003 most companies we're relying on designers that studied product design as a trade, while this is great for making things that are strong and making them with the right materials, it was plain wrong for something like a bike that needed a different feel when riding it. Professional dedicated riders are the only people that know what works and what needs to be done.
After several other products that went through the same story and iterations, NS really started to make a space for themselves in the mountain bike market. One of the best factors for the brands' success is the niching down the company has done. They serve a specific but dedicated group of riders.
The Soda Slope is perfect for a lot of riders in this niche. The bike can be run as a sleek single-speed slopestyle bike or with a derailleur for those riders wanting to go freeride and long-distance. If I were to buy this bike I would definitely get another wheel and derailleur so I can quickly switch them out whenever I want a change of scenery. If you take advantage of this great feature you're effectively getting two amazing bikes in one.
The reason for the new rear suspension positioning is geometry. NS have tried to make the geometry and feel of the bike just like the hardtail metropolis that has already proven to be the favourite of many riders.
There has been a real effort to keep this bike as light, nimble and fast as the regular hardtail jump bike. The almost record-setting short chainstay and the geometry coupled with the high-quality dual suspension setup is great for those of you who are used to and enjoy a dirt jump bike but want to hit some larger jumps next time you go to the track.
Photo by nsbikes.com
NS Soda Slope Specifications:
- Frame: NS Soda Slope, 107mm travel
- Rear Shock-Absorber: Rock Shox Monarch
- Forks: Manitou Circus Expert, 120mm travel
- Headset: GW Integrated Tapered IS42/IS52
- Stem: NS Quantum Lite 35
- Bars: NS Licence 35mm x 762mm
- Grips: NS Hold Fast Unlocked
- Saddle: Octane One Pivotal
- Brakes: Sram Level 160mm
- Rims: NS Fundamental, 32h
- Front Hub: Octane One 20
- Rear Hub: Octane SS Pro, 10T
- Tyres: Kenda Small Block 8 - 2.1”
- Crankset: Race Face Affect 170mm, 28t
- BB: Race Face Euro BB BSA
- Pedals: NS Nylon
- Chain: PYC-510HX
NS Metropolis 1 Jump Bike 2023
Photo by nsbikes.comClick Here to Check Best Price
NS is another biking company that has dirt jumping nested deeply in their roots. We've already spoken a lot about the NS bikes history above in the NS Soda Slope section. If you want to get an idea of NS as a brand you simply need to look at their product range. Every product is obviously designed to rip up trails every time you ride.
The Metropolis 1 is one of the several dirt jump bikes made by the company. The Metropolis line specifically has three different bikes, aptly named the 'Metropolis 1, 2 and 3'. These 3 bikes are in ascending order of price and intended quality. I believe, if you have the money, the Metropolis 1 is one of the best bikes you can buy to tear up the dirt jumps.
The slim, classic look of this bike is one of my favourite features of this bike. To keep the price down while over-delivering on the quality NS have opted to use the custom-butted 4130 Chromoly developed personally by NS. Unfortunately, this means the frame doesn't allow a tapered headtube to be used on the bike. If you're looking for a bike that accepts this then you will need to take a look at the Suburban frame, which features a Tange tube set.
A great thing about the highest-spec version of the metropolis is the own brand parts that cover the bike. A high percentage of bikes opt for cheap unbranded parts when building out the frame. This can sometimes be great but a lot of times the quality is bad and the replacement parts are almost impossible to find. Since NS make such a vast array of parts perfect for dirt jumping they cheaply and easily throw on some of their own great parts, making the bike extremely high spec but without the ungodly price tag that comes with using another brands parts.
A lot of riders, unfortunately, fall into the trap of buying a dirt jump or slopestyle bike with the intention of using it as a daily rider. The hardtail and full-suspension bikes listed in this article are often set up similarly to a BMX instead of a mountain bike. You wouldn't enjoy riding a BMX to work or around a forest, every day so doesn't expect to be able to use the Metropolis for these activities. Having said that though, if you're wanting a bike specifically for dirt jumping then you should only concentrate on bikes like these. They're perfect!
Photo by nsbikes.com
NS Metropolis 1 Specifications:
- Frame: NS Bikes Custom 4130 Cromoly
- Fork: Manitou Circus Expert
- Headset: GW Integrated
- Stem: NS Chemical 25.4
- Bars: NS Lick, 740mm
- Grips: NS Hold Fast Unlocked
- Saddle: Octane One Fat Seat Combo
- Rear Brake: Sram Level 160mm
- Rims: NS Fundamental, 32h
- Hubs: Octane SS Pro 10T / Octane One Orbital
- Tires: Kenda Small Block
- Crankset: Race Face Affect 170mm 28T
- BB: Race Face Euro BB BSA
- Pedals: NS Nylon
- Chain: PYC-510Hx
- Weight: 12.1kg
Dartmoor Two6Player Review 2023
Photo by @alldhsaleClick Here to Check Best Price
Dartmoor is one of the lesser-known mountain bike companies but since I have been researching the best parts of dirt jump bikes I have come to really enjoy Dartmoor bikes and parts.
A few years ago Dartmoor made a bike called the Dartmoor Shine. It was absolutely gorgeous and I was dying to buy it. For some reason, they've stopped using that design and have developed the bike completely differently. This is upsetting but my initial find of the Shine turned me on to the other bikes that Dartmoor produced.
The Two6Player seemed like their flagship bike from the start. There are a fair few other bikes in the Mountain bike and dirt jump bike category made by Dartmoor but the Two6Player definitely stands above the rest if you want the best the company has to offer.
Professional riders from all over the world rely on the Two6player to perform at their best every year. The Sleek frame tubing design is probably the first significant difference you'll see upon your first impression. The top tube of the rear triangle has been formed into a gorgeous diamond style shape that makes the whole frame look incredible.
Pike DJ forks have been used here again but that isn't much of a surprise. The cool thing about the forks though is the colour scheme Dartmoor have added to them. To keep in with the colour and style of the rest of the bike the forks have been painted black and with a glossy black sticker for the branding. This sticker is just shiny enough to break up the singular colour of the bike and add a new feature to look at when you first inspect the frame.
Photo by @alldhsale
Dartmoor Two6Player Specifications:
- Frame: Aluminum Matt Black 6061
- Fork: RockShox Pike DJ
- Headset: Dartmoor Blink
- Crankset: Dartmoor Chukka, 3-pc
- Chainring: Dartmoor Peacock 25T
- Chain: Dartmoor Core Black
- Pedals: Dartmoor Stream Pro
- Rims: Dartmoor Shield 32H
- Hubs: Dartmoor Reel Pro
- Tires: Schwalbe Table Top
- Bars: Dartmoor Tornado 750mm
- Stem: Dartmoor Beetle
- Grips: Dartmoor Maze
- Weight: 11.2kg
Dartmoor Two6Player Pro Bike
Specialized P-Slope Full Suspension Bike
Photo by Jerry Viola
I think the P-Slope has one of the coolest frame suspension designs ever. It seems, within the creation of this bike the company had the same inspiration as NS with their Soda Slope. The rear shock and rear triangle design are simulating the regular hardtail jump bike frame as close as possible while still providing great suspension travel.
In my opinion, the P-Slope is a slightly better design than the soda slope. They have gone one step further with the rear shocks being placed so far back. The rear triangle looks like it could almost be welded on to the main frame to create a hardtail version.
As I mentioned earlier in this article, these bikes simply aren't designed for mountain bike trail riding. They might have all the relevant suspension but the riding position and shock setup are just all wrong. The rear suspension has been added to this bike to smooth out the landings, not absorb a rock garden at full speed. Landings will be easier to control with this bike but you won't be able to take it to Fort William and compete at downhill.
The high-quality aluminum frame material might not keep costs to a minimum but it sure does help on the weight. The added weight of it being a full suspension is near enough counteracted with the material it's made from.
We all hate tightening chains it's just something we have to deal with when putting our bikes back together. The annoyance of chain tightening is never as rampant as it is with single speed bikes. Specialized have included great quality chain tensioners to keep your wheel locked in place. You can ride massive jumps while feeling safe that your wheel isn't going to twist in its dropouts and lock up on you when you land.
The P-Slope is another bike with the famed Rock Shox Pike fork. The forks are fitted with the revolutionary Charger damper and solo air system. This may not mean that much to many people but it sure is helpful when taking tough landings and leaning hard into those berms. I'd say it makes the Specialized P-Slope the best full suspension dirt jumper.
Specialized P-Slope Specifications:
- Frame: Specialized A1 Premium Aluminum
- Fork: RockShox Pike DJ 26
- Rear Absorber: Fox Float 85mm
- Headset: FSA Orbit
- Bars: Specialized P.Series MTB Dirt
- Stem: Specialized P.Series MTB
- Grips: Specialized P.Grip Lock On
- Brakes: Sram Level T 160mm
- Cranks: Stout DJ Pro 170mm
- Pedals: Specialized Platform
- Chain: KMC K1SL
- Tires: Specialized Renegade Slopestyle
Santa Cruz Jackal DJ Bike ReviewClick Here to Check Best Price
Santa Cruz have come a long way since their first bike, a single pivot dual suspension mountain bike. Made in an office the size of a single car garage back in 1994, they did a great job.
Rob Roskopp, the founder of the company was a skateboard legend who didn't care about the trends of the time. He cared more about innovation and creating the next best bikes for riders all over the US.
For most dirt jump riders biking interests stemmed from BMX bikes. After getting bigger, obtaining access to more money and wanting slightly more comfortable ride it's no surprise a lot of us fall in love with these bikes. The Jackal and a lot of bikes like it are effectively half way between a BMX and mountain bike.
This 26" dirt jump specialist is a perfect choice for those adults still yearning for their past of flying through the air on a BMX. Since it's original iteration in 2008, Santa Cruz have removed 1.7 lbs of metal, without removing and structural capabilities.
A super adjustable rear dropout is a great new feature that obviously took a lot of effort to implement. You can run a this bike with gears or a mono cog just as easily while also being able to access and adjust the chain tension within seconds. You don't see interesting features like this chain tensioner implemented on bikes like this very often.
Such a great amount of strength allows you to attach forks with any amount of travel. From 60mm up to 160mm. This fact extends the target audience of the Jackal tremendously. Anyone from a pump track rider up to slopestyle riders on massive jumps can get the full use from this bike.
Photo by santacruzbicycles.com
|Head Tube Angle||68.7°||68.7°|
|Seat Tube Length||340||340|
|Head Tube Length||115||115|
|Top Tube Length||571.5||596.9|
|Seat Tube Angle||72.7°||72.7°|
Jackal - A Lap Around the Dirt Jumps with Luke
How to Choose the Best Dirt Jump Bike in 2023
In a lot of ways you want to look out for the same things on a dirt jump bike as you do on a BMX. While you're now using suspension, strength and weight are the big players.
A lot of mid range trail bikes are still made from chromoly or steel instead of aluminum for their frames. The likelihood of damaging these frames is just too great to warrant using aluminum in a lot of cases. Steel is stronger and much easier to repair.
When aluminum is used the tubing is generally oversized, shaped differently with some high stress areas reinforced. Doing this doesn't eliminate the problems of using the material but it will let you benefit from the reduction in weight.
Other than frames, suspension is probably the most important aspect of a bike like this. Whether you're looking at the forks or rear shocks it's important to take into account the features of said suspension and what aspects of your riding it will help with.
Most jump bikes come with approximately 100mm of front suspension fork travel. This is the average and not the rule though as the range is generally between 60 and 160mm.
A big misunderstanding is that there's only one type of mountain bike for. There are actually loads of forks designed specifically with this terrain in mind. One of these examples is the RockShox Pike DJ fork, a really popular product for these riders. Added strength and stiffness along with a tougher rebound are prioritised to deal with big landings.
We've written a full post about the best dirt jumper forks on the market.
Frequently Asked Questions about DJ Bikes
Can BMX bikes do dirt jumps?
Of course! There are many riders and events that are centred around BMX dirt jumps. BMX bikes can ride on any dirt jumps a normal DJ bike will ride on. However, the courses that are specifically designed for BMX have much smoother and harder-packed dirt.
Riders seem just as happy to hit massive jumps and perform massive tricks but the lack of suspension means the jumps have to be refined a little more.
Red Bull Dreamline is a dedicated BMX dirt jumping contest. Take a look at the video below to see what the pros can do on these jumps while using a BMX.
The Ultimate BMX Dirt Jump Contest - Red Bull Dreamline 2014
Do dirt Jump bikes have gears?
Some dirt jumpers choose to ride with them, while others don't. It really depends on the rider's preference and the type of jumps they're doing. If you're mostly riding downhill and don't need to pedal uphill, then you probably don't need gears. However, if you're doing big jumps or riding uphill, then gears can be helpful. Ultimately, it's up to the rider to decide whether or not to use them.
Riding big jumps with complex parts like derailleurs and cassettes will make your bike easier to break. It takes much more of an impact to break one small chainring than a full derailleur and cassette.
What size wheels do dirt jumpers have?
When it comes to mountain bike wheel sizes, dirt jumpers have always been different. While the rest of the mountain biking world has moved on to 29-inch wheels, dirt jump bikes still use 26-inch wheels. There is a good reason for this - the smaller diameter wheel not only increases manoeuvrability when performing jumps and navigating pump tracks but is also technically stiffer and stronger. As a result, dirt jumpers can ride with confidence knowing that their bike is up to the task of taking on anything the trail throws their way. So if you're wondering what size wheels dirt jumpers have, the answer is 26 inches. And there's a good chance that's not going to change anytime soon.
What is the best frame material for dirt jump bikes?
Steel is typically more durable than aluminum, meaning it can better withstand repeated impacts. frames made from steel are also often easier to repair if they become damaged. However, steel frames are usually heavier than their aluminum counterparts.
Aluminum frames are often lighter in weight than steel, making them easier to manoeuvre. Aluminum is also less likely to dent or crack than steel. However, aluminum frames may not be as strong as steel frames, and they may be more difficult to repair if they become damaged.
When choosing a dirt jump bike frame, it is important to consider what type of riding you will be doing and what properties are most important to you. If you prioritize strength and durability, then a steel frame may be the best option for you. If you prioritize lightness and ease of manoeuvrability, then an aluminum frame may be the best option for you.
Do I really need suspension on my DJ bike?
You need to be able to control stiffness to make sure you don't bottom out on big jumps, but other than that, you don't need suspension for pump tracks, skateparks, and BMX dirt jumps. Downhill bikes and enduro bikes use different internals that isn't needed for those purposes. Bigger dirt jumps and slopestyle tracks might require some form of suspension to keep the ride more comfortable, but that's about it. In general, DJ suspension isn't as important as people make it out to be. Just make sure you're not bottoming out and you'll be fine!
What is the difference between dirt jumping and slopestyle?
Chain Tightening Tutorial