BMX bikes are some of the most versatile cycles on the market, and BMX is incredibly popular, especially now it’s an Olympic sport.
Whether you’re hitting the race track or performing tricks at the skatepark, a BMX bike is for you.
The top BMX bikes for street riding will be ready to tackle any obstacle in their path—whether that’s staircases, rails or simply racing between traffic lights.
Haro Thread One DJ Bike—Best BMX Bike for Adults
Before I go into each one in detail, check my guide below to pick out the right bike for you.
Freestyle Bikes vs. Race Bikes
There are various types of BMX bikes, and although most look alike, small details set these main categories apart:
Each bike will differ in weight and components to fit the riding style.
The ideal BMX bike for street riding is a freestyle, as they’re are ideal for flat, hard surfaces.
Jumping bikes are sort of the “in-between” style, so we’re going to quickly go over the main differences between a ‘freestyle’ and a ‘race’ BMX bike:
Freestyle bikes are ideal for those riders who like to do tricks, like one-tire stands and wheelies.
They’re heavier than jumpers to give the biker more control while performing a stunt.
A typical freestyle bike will feature front brakes and rear U-brakes, enabling the freestyler to keep one wheel stationary while the other is airborne.
However, some freestyle bikes don’t have brake cables, allowing the rider to spin the handlebar without tangling the cords.
When looking at the wheels, you’ll notice smoother treads, which allows you to rotate the tires easily. In addition, freestyle bikes will also have more spokes than race bikes, for added stability.
The original BMX bike was designed for racing—in fact, in the late 1960s, children would race around dirt tracks, mimicking their favorite motocross riders.
Back then, the Schwinn Stingray was the name of the game and the go-to bike for kids racing around the off-road track. However, bike manufacturers would quickly catch onto the growing sport, and more models were soon available.
Racing bikes are sturdier and heavier than freestyle bikes, with upright handlebars for more control.
Unlike freestyle bikes, racing bikes only feature rear brakes. This is to prevent the rider from flying over the handlebars—something many of us have experienced growing up!
Instead, racing bikes are typically equipped with linear-pull brakes—some of the most powerful brakes available.
Another significant difference to freestyle bikes is the wheels. Racing bikes feature thinner, lighter tires with knobby treads. The knobs will add traction, while the narrower wheels add speed.
Finding the Best BMX Bike for You
Whether you’re planning on riding around the skatepark or going off-road, we’re here to help you find the right bike.
The following points will help you figure out what material to go for, how to choose the right size, and more:
1. Size and Wheels
BMX bikes are available for kids, teenagers and adults, with only small differences in size:
- Kids: Between 15 and 17 inches.
- Adults: Between 20 and 24 inches.
- Standard size: 20 inches—significantly smaller than mountain bikes.
- Freestyle and street bikes: Between 18 and 20 inches.
- Race bikes: 20 or 24 inches.
Although wheel size remains relatively consistent, frame size changes subtly depending on the rider’s height and riding style.
Also, street bikes or freestyle BMX’s will generally come off the shop floor with a 21-inch top tube. This provides the rider with ample room to swing the bike during airborne tricks and stunts.
As you can imagine, BMX bikes have to be able to take hard hits, especially when riding on the street, so different materials suit different situations.
Steel is the preferred material as it’s resistant to fatigue and won’t crumble after a hard landing.
Furthermore, steel is easy to repair and more comfortable for the rider as it reduces pressure on the body.
Most freestyle and high-level BMX bikes are made of a steel composition called chromoly 4130. It’s alloyed steel that offers more strength than the cheaper hi-tensile steels that are usually found on entry-level bikes.
Chromo steel is preferred at higher levels because it can be “butted.” This means it can be formed thinner and lighter in the middle of the tubing but with reinforced ends and joins.
If you’re looking to race with your BMX bike, aluminum is a better choice.
Aluminum is stiffer and lighter, enabling you to gain speed easily.
Pro racers often use carbon fiber frames due to its vibration-dampening properties, which you don’t get from aluminum.
If you’re a beginner, be aware that carbon fiber is expensive and fragile. Since beginners are more likely to wipe out than pros, I don’t recommend carbon fiber if you’re just starting down the BMX journey.
3. Bike Level
As with all things competitive, BMX bikes are available at different levels. Which level you should go for depends solely on you.
The levels include:
If you’re just starting, you need a reliable bike that will help you gain experience around the skatepark and in the streets—a beginner-level bike is just the help you need.
However, if you already know your way around the skatepark and have a few tricks up your sleeve, an intermediate bike is more suitable.
Intermediate bikes offer an excellent balance between affordability and performance. They’re a great option whether you’re just moving up from entry-level or on your third or fourth bike.
Pro bikes feature multiple refinements that you don’t get from the intermediate bike. This includes a lighter weight, more robust tubing, after-market components and even rider endorsements.
If you plan to perform tricks and stunts on your BMX, the type of tire you choose is essential. The tire will essentially affect grip, handling and speed.
A wide, smooth tire is preferred for street riding since these will give you a good grip but not too much traction.
More expensive BMX tires can be filled to a pressure of 110psi. At this point, you’ll go faster, and the higher pressure gives higher rim protection when coming down on a hard landing.
Premium tires may not be necessary if you’re at entry-level, but it could be worth upgrading your intermediate bike as you gain experience.
What Are the Best BMX Bikes for Street Riding?
With the help of the pointers above, you should find a great bike that suits your size and experience level.
To help you out, I’ve gathered some of my favorite BMX bikes available. I wanted to include different bikes that would suit various budgets and levels.
Material: Aluminum alloy and chromoly steel.
Redline Bikes’ Proline Pro race bike is an excellent choice for bikers with some experience who look to gain great speed, whether on the streets or the tracks.
The bike is made of a combination of aluminum alloy and chromoly steel, with the frame being aluminum with an integrated head tube, sealed hubs, alloy-forged cranks and a quality Euro bottom bracket. It’s a very lightweight frame that enables you to gain speed or do flying tricks with ease.
Furthermore, the race fork is made of 100 percent butted and tapered chromoly steel. This keeps the weight low while increasing performance and maneuverability.
Unlike most other BMX bikes, this one features Redline’s Microline seat/post combo. Even though this sounds great, it’s a rather hard seat that many users found uncomfortable. Also, the seat is integrated into the post; therefore, you have to remove the entire post if you want to replace it.
Another slight issue is the bike’s size—it’s 16 inches, so is only suitable for riders between 5’3’’ and 5’8’’.
- High-quality materials.
- Durable construction.
- Highly maneuverable.
- Hard plastic seat and post are uncomfortable to use and difficult to replace.
- Small size.
Material: Hi-tensile steel frame
Size: 20-inch Beginner
The Legion L60 bike was designed to help beginners gain experience as they navigate their way through the skatepark or the streets. It’s not made of top-notch materials like the Redline model but is mostly of hi-tensile steel with some chromoly parts.
In saying that, it’s a lightweight bike that’s easy to maneuver, making it ideal for beginners. However, it might not be suitable for intermediate riders who need a slightly more reliable bike.
The wheel size is 20 inches with a width of 2.4 inches fitted with 36H rims. The wheels offer good durability and grip, giving the rider more confidence when doing tricks.
Also, the bike is fitted with aluminum U-brake and levers, which provide reasonable control as you’re doing tricks and stunts. Additionally, the handlebar and fork are connected by a stem and sealed integrated headset, providing good steering performance.
Similar to the Redline Bikes’ option, this is also best-suited for smaller riders. Mongoose recommends a height between 5’0’’ and 5’6’’.
- Aluminum U-brake.
- Steel construction.
- Durable tires and rims.
- Easy to maneuver.
- Small size.
- Not suited for intermediate riders.
Haro Thread One DJ Jumper BMX Bike—Best BMX Bike for Adults
Material: X6 alloy
Size: 26-inch wheels
If you’re looking for a bike that can easily transition from the streets to the dirt, this Haro Thread could be right up your alley.
It features an X6 alloy frame and a tapered head tube that gives you slightly more firmness while reducing weight. The entire bike was designed for jumps and speed with its 100mm fork and a 20mm thru-axle.
For even more control when out on the streets, the bike is fitted with a Tektro Auriga
hydraulic rear disc brake. This will help you to stop in an instant and remain in control while doing tricks or stunts.
Note that the wheels measure slightly large at 26 inches, so it may not be ideal for sliding down rails. But, the tires are fitted with double-wall alloy rims that provide extra strength to help you land jumps and tricks flawlessly.
- Excellent size for adults.
- High-quality construction.
- Durable rims.
- The large wheels might limit the stunts and tricks you can perform around the streets.
Giving your youngster a good start to BMXing is essential—they need encouragement and a bike that boosts their confidence.
This Dynacraft Magna bright-yellow bike is fitted with coaster brakes and a handlebar pad for extra flash. It also comes with optional training wheels that you can remove when your youngster feels ready to go solo.
The bike is made mostly of steel and weighs a little over 24 pounds, so it might be slightly too heavy for children who are just learning to ride. However, it’s an excellent bike for children with more experience and better balance.
The adjustable seat is a must-have feature in any kids’ bike as it enables the bike to grow with your kid. In addition, the bike also features matching handlebar grips and saddle for an extra-sleek look.
Parents are extremely pleased with how solid and sturdy the bike is—despite the slightly heavy weight, it’s easy to steer.
Overall, this is a good budget-friendly children’s BMX bike with its sturdy frame. However, you probably shouldn’t expect it to last years with frequent use.
- Cool colors—suitable for boys and girls.
- Adjustable seat.
- Solid, sturdy frame.
- Coaster brake.
- Slightly heavy.
Hitting the Streets
BMX bikes are incredibly versatile, making them a good choice for any biker. Whether you’re a casual rider or a pro in the making, don’t underestimate the benefit of choosing the right bike.
Consider the materials available; steel or chromoly are preferred due to their strength. Aluminum is lighter and most likely won’t hold up as you’re performing tricks on the street.
But, most importantly, the bike has to suit your level, size and riding style, so take your time when searching through my best BMX bikes for street riding.