Four Best Affordable Entry Level BMX Bikes
Choosing a Cheap BMX Bike That Rides Well
Unless you're living under a rock, you've probably noticed that BMX bikes are getting to be incredibly popular with riders of all ages. They are unbelievably fun, and the small frames and rugged construction make trick riding a joy to do. They're also among the most affordable options when it comes to two wheeled transportation. There are a lot of 'no-name' brands out there, and finding a good, cheap BMX bike for below $200 or $300 can be a tough task.
Because they're so simple in construction, many manufacturers take that to mean they should skimp on quality. There's a bit of smoke and mirrors when it comes to name brand stuff, and tracking down a good quality ride with decent parts isn't always easy. A prospective new rider needs to analyze the most important aspects of each model: the braking system, the ruggedness of the frame, the drivetrain, and the wheels.
This article will be looking at a handful (four, to be exact) of my favourite inexpensive BMX bikes for sale today. I want to showcase a few brands that are doing everything right, and hopefully I'll help set you up with a ride you'll use and love for years to come. Before we get into the reviews themselves, we'll be chatting briefly about the primary components of these and what you'll want to have at a minimum.
Let's get started and check out some bikes!
Framed Verdict: A Good, Affordable BMX Bike with Bulletproof Frame
I'm a big fan of Framed BMX bikes, because their name focuses on their best quality. The frame on this model is made from high-ten steel and will survive a bomb blast.
Seriously, you can throw anything at it. They're built really well.
I love most of their lineup, including the Verdict. It's simple and looks great. They have that 'stealth' look a lot of riders love, not too flashy. Let your riding do the talking.
The two-piece bars are nice and high, so an adult or teen can comfortably ride this one too. It includes a rear U-brake that works pretty well, but this beast isn't meant for high speeds so much as on demand power and acceleration. The 25 by 9 gearing is explosive, powering you up ramps and jumps with ease.
It comes in at around 25 pounds. That's by no means the lightest ride around, but it's not noticeably heavy, which is the important thing. The price is really quite good for what you get, and I'd say it's one of the best BMX bikes under $300 that you'll come across.
If you've got a bit more money to play around with, consider opting for the Framed Attack, it's a great step up.
Diamondback Grind Pro: A Cheap BMX Ride with Pegs
The Diamondback Grind Pro is one of the best BMX bikes under $300 that you can find, and it includes a ton of stuff that other 'higher end' models don't. They're not as well known on the BMX scene as some of the other models I've listed here, but this is really a bicycle you ought to consider.
First off, this is a great looking one! The frame is high tension steel, making it slightly heavier than chromoly but still very durable. It comes with an integrated 3 piece crankset that's chromoly, and it's got the 9 x 25 gearing ratio that I prefer.
How about some extras? It comes with front and rear pegs, something that a lot of other models don't boast. It also has both front and rear brakes, and unlike many competitors there is a built in brake detangler that allows you to spin the bars without any tangling. (These can be tricky to set up, so you might want to bring it to a shop to tune). The brakes themselves are Tektro and will stop you on a dime when tuned up right.
The rims are super strong with an astounding 48 spokes per wheel. The whole bicycle is built to withstand an atomic bomb, and it's perfect for a rider who loves to take it everywhere and anywhere. It's a great choice and one of the least expensive options you'll find.
Madd Gear Boost: A Versatile BMX Bicycle at a Discount (Under $300)
I really like Mad Gear. They have a fantastic lineup of BMX bikes for sale and they're getting rave reviews all around. In fact, I can't remember hearing a negative thing about this company. The fact is, they have managed to do a lot for a very reasonable price point, and they a company that I think it going places.
The Boost is a beautiful model with its simple, stealth styling. I love the classic lines and the fact that there's very little in the way of cheesy badges or stickers. The frame is full chromoly, so it's strong and light, with a steel fork. The bottom bracket is sealed and the crankset is a 25 by 9 system that's perfect for acceleration and quickness: this one is a sprinter for sure.
It comes with Kenda Kontact tires and the rims have 36 spokes and are quite strong and light (and look really nice). A rear U-brake helps stop without getting in the way. The bike comes with pegs front and back.
With the high riser bars and the comfortable, upright seating position, this model is a blast for cruising around town or for taking to the park to do tricks. Definitely one to check out, and be sure to take a close look at some of Madd Gear's other bikes on offer.
DK Effect: Good Quality BMX Bike Well Below $200
DK was one of the innovators of the original BMX cycling movement, and they're still at it producing excellent quality rides.This is a basic ride, but it comes with solid components at an extremely accessible price tag.
Everything on this model is sturdy, and it's built to withstand just about any type of riding, no matter how hard you are on it.
The frame is aggressively built with high-ten steel. It has a very upright seating position that keeps you up above the bars and ready to redistribute your weight for a jump or trick. Despite that, it's a very stable cruiser and great to learn on. The three piece crank is steel as well, and it features a 9t cog on the rear and a 25t chainring on the front, a great gearing ratio for freestyle riding and ramps.
The rear brake is well positioned and will stop the bike very nicely. Furthermore, it features a cable detangler, meaning the bars can be rotated freely for spins and tricks.
With generously tall riser handlebars and wide, flat platform pedals, plus front and rear pegs, this model is a ton of fun to ride and allows the rider to feel super planted, secure and ready for any type of terrain.
Are BMX Bikes for Kids or Adults?
This is a question I hear often, and the answer is simple: both! Most kids love riding on a BMX, I know I did. They're simple to ride and a great choice for a new cyclist. However, many adults ride BMX bikes for the ability to do tricks and stunts.
If you're an adult looking for a cheap BMX bike for less than $200, you might be out of luck. You'll probably find products that are mostly geared towards a younger rider. That said, some cues to look for are the seat angle. If the seat post looks a bit 'bent' at a backwards angle, it's probably a bike that's intended for an older rider.
Most mid to high end stunt and freestyle BMX cycles are intended for riders of all ages. If you're taller, you'll probably want to opt for a ride with 24" wheels instead of the standard 20".
Component Minimum Requirements:
If you're looking for a good, cheap BMX bicycle that will last a long time and be enjoyable to ride, you'll want to pay careful attention to the components that come with it. Some manufacturers can be a bit tricky with their equipment, and they'll try to make a part look brand name when it's actually not.
Here are a few specific components to keep a close eye on.
Brakes: You should be quite careful with brakes on any inexpensive BMX bike, especially below $200. In a lot of cases they can be really ineffective and difficult to tune properly. Just about all the bikes in this price range will feature cable brakes, which isn't a bad thing.
If possible, try to buy one with brand name brakes. In this range you're likely to see options by Tektro or Shimano. Try to find bicycles with both front and rear brakes. Remember, front wheel brakes generally stop better than rear.
If you're wanting to do tricks and bar spins, look for a front brake cable detangler, which lets you do it without messing up cable routes.
Drivetrain: A good quality drivetrain is important, and getting a crank system that matches the type of riding you prefer to do is a big benefit. Again, look for brand name parts. You'll see both one and three-piece cranks. I personally prefer three piece for modularity. Look for sealed bearings.
Some models will come with a 'micro drive' system, which essentially consists of a smaller chainring and cog. That lets you accelerate faster, but limits your top end speed.
Frame Material: Any cheap BMX bike is only as good as the frame it's built around. You'll want something compact and light yet strong and durable. You won't get a feather light frame at this price range, but you can definitely find frames made of lighter high tension steel or chromoly (my personal favorite).
How It Will Arrive:
When you order a bike in, it will arrive in a big cardboard box, usually about 90% assembled. You'll be responsible for putting on the front wheel, setting up the pegs and the brakes, attaching the handlebars and the seat, as well as minor fit adjustments to the rider's specifications.
If you've never done this before, I highly recommend you take the whole box in to a trusted bike shop and pay to have them assemble it for you. It will cost around $30 - $50 to get it done, but it's generally worth the money to ensure everything is greased, tuned and working right. (Cable detanglers in particular can be tricky to adjust, so a shop can ensure your brakes work perfectly.)
If you want to build it yourself, be sure to read a few tutorials on brake adjustments, and make sure everything is tightened up, especially that detangler.
If you're feeling handy or adventurous, you can try assembling it yourself. Diamondback has a wonderful instructional page on how to assemble a BMX bike from a box. Keep in mind that each bike is different and the instructions may vary from model to model. That said, most cheap BMX bikes for under $300 will be quite similar to build.