From dirt to vert, a BMX bikes have to hold up to the daily abuse of big drops, hard hits and fast approaches. Meanwhile, they have to be light and agile enough to soar and spin with ease. Do you want to trust just any hunk of steel or aluminum to do that while holding your unmentionables a few short feet from stairs, rails and concrete? No. You don’t. So consider these high quality options instead.
Best Race: Redline Flight Carbon (Project 79)
If you have deep pockets and a desire for the fastest, techiest frame on the market, then you’ll have to at least look at the Redline Project 79, which drops this August. The frame uses one of the most high-tech substances known to man–carbon fiber (also seen in rockets, million-dollar supercars and other cutting-edge, max-performance equipment)–to give you the most durable frame with the least amount of weight. Not only that, but Redline adjusted the specific blend of carbon fiber on different areas of the bike to provide the ideal amounts of weight, stiffness and response. Engineered to the core to deliver. Learn more.
Best Freestyle: Stolen Stereo
Google either “Stolen Bikes” or “Stolen Stereo” and the first thing that pops up is information related to the BMX brand, not a flurry of news stories and police reports about stolen gear. Considering that both bikes and stereos are hot tickets for thieves, that says something. A hoard of 22 riders on VitalBMX also said something: The 2011 Stereo is a legit bike that pulls in 4.2 out of 5 stars. It gets particularly high marks for being a solid option for beginners. Learn more.
Best Dirt/Street: Felt Pyre
Like the Stolen, the Felt Pyre has been gaining a rabid following over at VitalBMX, earning a 4.1-star rating amongst 24 riders. The 100-percent Cr-Mo frame, Salt Moto brakes and suede Pivotal saddle give you a few reasons to agree. BMX Plus! did. When testing last year’s model, the magazine summed it up succinctly: “The Pyre rode great. Plain and simple. Straight from the box to the streets, it was ready to ride.” The 2011 Pyre barely breaks 23 lbs. (without brakes). Learn more.
Best MTB Dirt Jump Bike: Santa Cruz Jackal
Let’s face it–muscles and bones don’t last forever. Eventually, every rider is bound to grow out of those tiny, fast-pedaling BMX bikes. That doesn’t mean old guys can’t throw down, just that they may enjoy the benefits of front suspension and 26s. Singletracks.com rated the Santa Cruz Jackal its top dirt jump bike. The Jackal delivers an aluminum frame and super-adjustable drop-outs that let you switch between single-speed and multi-cog set-ups without a hitch. Learn more.