The Top BMX Bikes of 2019
When many of us were children, we lusted over BMX bikes, now that we’re getting older and have kids of our own, naturally, we’ll think about getting them a BMX. BMX bikes are great bike but are they the right bike for your child? We’ll have a look at the pros and cons and also look at dirt jump bikes to see how they compare to BMXs.
What BMX do I need?
BMX bikes tend to fall into one of two camps: freestyle or race. Race bikes are designed to be fast. They will have narrower tires, aluminum frames, larger chainrings, and a rear V-brake. The V-brake will help slow you down faster than a U-brake, and when things go wrong in a BMX race, you’ll want to stop fast.
The next segment of BMX bikes is the freestyle bikes. Freestyle bikes will be made out of steel, have wider tyres, smaller sprockets, and a different geometry from race bikes. These features are designed to make tricks easier, and these are the bike to look at if you fancy throwing tailwhips around.
The Rudge is designed for getting busy at the skatepark. Featuring front brakes, and a rear brake with a detangler setup, a detangler allows the bars to spin without getting the cables twisted, there are no tricks you won’t be able to do on the Rudge.
Should I buy a BMX or a child's bike?
One of the things that we often forget about BMX bikes is that they are designed to be ridden standing up. Being ridden standing up works out great for the skatepark or pump track but might not be as much fun on a longer ride. If you want your child to ride to school, you’ll want to use a proper child’s bike.
Another reason for picking a child’s bike for longer rides or going to school on is that they’ll have better front brakes and sometimes better rear brakes. On many BMX bikes, although they come with a front brake, it is often an afterthought, for legal purposes, and not of the best quality.
There will also be gears on the larger sizes of children’s bikes. That will allow them to pick a gear for the terrain they are on. On a BMX, you’ll be stuck with the one gear. The advantage of single speed is that there are fewer parts to break at the skatepark.
The BMX will also be built more robustly for withstanding skateparks. The robust construction will mean that they are heavier for riding around on, this is okay at the skatepark. The lightweight factors build into a kid’s bike will mean it won’t last as long at the skatepark or pump track.
If you want your child to be more into general riding, and less about giving you a scare at the skatepark, then you’ll want to be looking at a bike designed for your child. A bike that is designed to make pedaling easy and designed to fit your child when they are sitting down.
Luckily we have a range of bikes that do just that for you.
The Polygon Relic 20 is a 20” wheeled kids bike. You can expect this bike to fit children between the ages of 6 – 8, or between 120 -135cm in height. As you can see the size of kids that can fit a 20” kids bike is much smaller than the range that can fit a BMX. That is due to the child’s bike being designed for sitting on.
On the Relic 20, you’ll find a Zoom suspension fork, a 6-speed Shimano Tourney groupset, and mechanical disc brakes. The Relic 20 just looks like your bike but in a smaller package to fit your child.
The Polygon Relic 24 is a 24” wheeled kids bike. Age-wise we would be looking at children between the ages of 8 – 10 to fit on this bike, which is 135 – 145cm. There is also a nice little feature to the Relic 24 that will let you extend its use. You can convert it to run 26” wheels, giving you a couple of extra years of use.
You’ll again find a Zoom suspension fork, and again you’ll find a Shimano Tourney groupset, but this time it will be an 8-speed variety. You’ll also find that the bike is stopped by mechanical disc brakes, which helps to make swapping wheel sizes a little bit easier.
The Polygon Relic 24 Evo can easily be seen as the bike for a child that is taking their cycling seriously. The suspension fork has been upgraded to an SR Suntour XCT JR, a fork that will be a little more forgiving offroad.
The Shimano groupset has been upgraded to a Shimano Altus 24-speed groupset. The gears are provided by 8 at the back and 3 chainrings at the front. This setup will suit a child that is confident on their bike and used to changing gears.
As the bike is now expected to be ridden a little bit faster, the brakes have also been upgraded. You’ll find Tektro branded mechanical disc brakes on the Relic 24 Evo. All in all, this is a lightweight XC style mountain bike, more suited for longer rides than for trips to the skatepark.
What is the difference between a BMX and a dirt jump bike?
A dirt jump bike is a mountain bike that has been specifically designed for flying between two heaps of dirt. It will nearly always have a 26” wheel and will have a much tighter back end than a normal mountain bike, and it will have 100mm or less of suspension travel.
With a 26” wheel a dirt jump bike will generally be too large for the majority of children. It would suit a teenager, and above, who wants to spend time in the woods digging jumps. They can also be used at skateparks and will be great fun at pump tracks. They also suffer from the same pros and cons as BMX bikes for children riding around using, due to the very low position of the saddle which makes sitting down and pedal nearly impossible.
Should I try a dirt jump bike?
If you want to hang out down the skatepark or the race track with your kid, a dirt jump bike might be the bike for you. They are a little bit more comfortable for an adult to ride. They’ll also be great for older, or taller, kids who want to blast jumps all day, let's be honest who doesn’t want to that.
We have two hardtail jump bikes in stock, and we then have a full suspension slopestyle bike that we’ll come back to in a minute.
For the majority of us, a hardtail dirt jump bike is what we need. There will be enough suspension in the front forks to help cushion us when we land and to help sort out any squirrely landings we’ve made. Apart from the suspension, the rest of the parts will be similar to a BMX bike but just scaled up.
The Polygon Trid is designed by Sam Reynolds, a rider who is famous for pulling a superman over a 72ft jump. We’re not saying you should go out and try and jump over a canyon, but we’re showing you that bikes designed by Sam Reynolds are designed to be bombproof.
You’ll find the fork that is quickly becoming the core dirt jumper’s fork of choice fitted on the Polygon. You have an X-Fusion Slant DJ as standard on the bike. You’ll not be needing to upgrade this bike, and it comes with what you need out of the box.
The second of our hardtail dirt jump bikes and it again is designed by an English rider, this time Matt Jones. Like the Trid it uses a bombproof aluminum frameset and is designed to spend days down the bike park tricking your way through a set of jumps.
The Marin also comes equipped with an X-Fusion Slant DJ. The Marin and the Polygon are both single speed and come equipped with gearing that is designed to see you through a set of dirt jumps or carve around your local skatepark.
Both of these bikes are great for going dirt jumping, or hitting the skatepark or pump track, and you don’t want to be using them for a day of riding mountain bike trails. You’ll quickly get tired of standing all the time, and you’ll also find that they don’t have the geometry for an all-day bike.
The same can also be said for our slopestyle bike. A slopestyle bike might look like a full-suspension mountain bike, as it is one, but it again is not meant for trail centre excursions, it is designed for landing huge jumps. Slopestyle courses now look like they were designed for motocross bikes, so you need a little extra cushioning when you land.
The Trid ZZ is a serious bike for those who want to get in the air and throw down. It has a low standover meaning that you’ll easily be able to get your legs over the top tube for tricks. The bike features a RockShox Pike DJ suspension fork and a RockShox Monarch to make sure you keep the bike rubber side down.
You’ll also find a 7-speed SRAM GX DH drivetrain to allow you to get all the speed you need for clearing mammoth doubles. With a 5 year warranty on the frame, the Trid ZZ is not to be messed with.
You should now have a clear idea of what kind of kids bikes are available and what the main differences are. If you are still undecided about a few models, feel free to get in touch with our customer service team and we will direct you to the best option for what you’re after.