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  1. #1
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    Good but affordable/light BMX bike?

    I'd like to find a BMX bike or two for my kids. Some people have mentioned the value of riding BMX and while we don't have any clubs/racing near by, itd be great at the skate park with mom and good for tricks etc. I've invested a lot in the mountain bike already tho so I have a limited budget. Hopefully under 200$? My oldest is 5 and youngest is 3. New to BMX, not sure on the sizing or brand I should be looking at for them.

  2. #2
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    For the little guy you would want a 12 or 14" BMX bike. Availability is limited but the Cult Juvenile is the benchmark. Hard to find. They stopped making the 14" but I think they still make a 12"

    If you search the hashtag #14inchBMX on Instagram, you will see a few. Along with videos of 4yr olds doing things on a bike you'd never thought possible.

    For the 5yr old, you would want an 16" BMX bike. Options start to open up. The Redline Pitboss is very popular. Not necessarily a "freestyle bike" like the little Cult bike. But a nimble lightweight BMX bike he could play around with.

  3. #3
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    I love those bikes but they are both north of 300$. Wondering if there is like a 150$ option. Maybe not

  4. #4
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    Svinyard, if you raise your budget a little you can get something decent. $200, at least for the 5 year old is gonna get you a turd and quick. (Exception is if you find something left over)

    As Sacto brought up, the Cult's are really good. My son has been riding a Cult 16 since he was 6. It's definitely worth the extra coin. My son digs his. He's ready for a bump up to an 18 now. I may build up a Cromo frame (Sunday) for him. Or might just get him the Cult 18.

    The thing with the Pit Boss is that it's a "race" BMX bike. Rears a little longer, good for blasting it out of gates, but for messing around the park, nope. When you get into really running some DJ lines a longer rear end isn't bad, but neither is a tucked one. Just dont' loop out!! Uses linear pull brakes as opposed to caliper (U-brakes), which are easier to hit your feet on and are much more finicky if the bike is really getting ridden. Same goes for the much larger chainring. It's just that much more in the way. Easier to bend etc. All this is fine if you're at the race track. But if you're running jump lines, riding street, and generally bailing the bike, then they're not the best set up.


    Street/DJ or 'freestyle' as it were are just made to be treated more rough. Take it from me, I've been riding dirt/street for years, and I would rather have a DJ/street BMX over a race BMX, any day. I've bailed my cromo Terrible One from about 10 feet up and had it bounce off a landing lip that would have been the end of a race bike. I picked it up, and went back up for another run.

    The Cult is awesome in the 16 and 18 because they're made beefy, but are also aluminum as the little guys can get away with that at that bike size. There's a reason they stop the aluminum frames after the 18. Most bikes in their size are either full high ten, which is heavy and easy to bend, but again, like the aluminum, the little guys can get away with it wiithout mangling stuff. Better is cromo main frame, but best is full cromo. After the 18 sizes, I'd fully avoid the high ten and high ten/cromo frames, and go full cromo for sure.

    Fit looks to be putting out a decent little 12 now. It's aluminum. Gonna be pounds lighter than any high ten tank, and has good 'freestyle' geo.

    https://www.danscomp.com/products/10...t_12_Bike.html

    Good chunk over 200 though.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by svinyard View Post
    I love those bikes but they are both north of 300$. Wondering if there is like a 150$ option. Maybe not
    Uh, nope. They're worth it.

  6. #6
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    As above note that a park BMX bike is a totally different thing from a BMX race bike. I only (kinda) know race bikes. In that category the Chase Edge series of complete bikes seems like a great value. Race bikes are pretty specialized for BMX racing. They are not ideal as a general purpose bike and would be pretty bad at park/street (light, fragile, super skinny tires, and long geo). We have no park and not much if a street scene in my area but several good race tracks so we are going that route.

  7. #7
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    Those Fit Bikes look sweet!

    Quote Originally Posted by svinyard View Post
    I love those bikes but they are both north of 300$. Wondering if there is like a 150$ option. Maybe not
    You can always go down the rabbit hole and find a 12" POS BMX bike on Craigslist and throw a new rear wheel on it for a freewheel, then add a brake. But just the wheel and the brake will cost you $80-100.

    Or splurge on the 12" Fit and start hunting Craigslist for a 16/18" bike for your older kid. The bigger sizes are easier to find used.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by SactoGeoff View Post
    Those Fit Bikes look sweet!



    You can always go down the rabbit hole and find a 12" POS BMX bike on Craigslist and throw a new rear wheel on it for a freewheel, then add a brake. But just the wheel and the brake will cost you $80-100.

    Or splurge on the 12" Fit and start hunting Craigslist for a 16/18" bike for your older kid. The bigger sizes are easier to find used.
    Yeah, Fit's been a good company for quite some time. I'm betting that they just stopped doing the Cult 12 and decided to continue the Fit since Cult is an off-shoot of Fit.

    Some of the other guys were doing 12"ers (United, We the People, Stolen etc.) but I guess they have stopped since I was last looking. That said, I didn't look that hard last night.

    Svinyard, consider it this way...

    Your little guys are going to be on these particular size bikes for a couple years at least, before needing to move up. 350/2 is 175 a year. Not much, really. The 3 year old can jump onto the 16, when the 5 year old moves to an 18. Do it, do it!

  9. #9
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    I got a very lightly used mid-90's 20" Bontrager B1 on ebay about a year ago for about $125. Bike is totally awesome, extremely well constructed, and won't go down in value unless it gets trashed.
    WTB: Med Bontrager Ti Lite, PM Me...

  10. #10
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    ^^Jestep, hang on to that!! Those are so sweet. Santa Cruz made. I wanted a Warthog so bad when they were in the Bontrager catalog. (Before Trek bought and ruined them) Keith designed those to be strong for 'trails' (dirt jumps), but loosely in his words, not as heavy as dragging your refrigerator to the jumps.

    So awesome.

  11. #11
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    I made my son a 16" mini BMX using a Ramones 16 that I got on year-end closeout and a 4" riser bar. Turned out pretty sweet, maybe $250 all in. Commencal stuff seems to be on sale frequently or you have a decent shot at finding one used. Here's a few clips of him riding it:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CamoGYj7Dpo
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7deLvyPwgCY
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xgGLUL9cWI
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sYX6wcXy5Wc

  12. #12
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    I had good luck with a Wethepeople Seed 16" BMX bike for our oldest when he hit 4/5. He rode it quite a bit and a little on the BMX track. When he got into racing, he made the move to a mini bmx with 1 1/8 tires. A others pointed out, there is a difference between street and racing bmx bikes.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by RMCDan View Post
    I made my son a 16" mini BMX using a Ramones 16 that I got on year-end closeout and a 4" riser bar. Turned out pretty sweet, maybe $250 all in. Commencal stuff seems to be on sale frequently or you have a decent shot at finding one used. Here's a few clips of him riding it:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CamoGYj7Dpo
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7deLvyPwgCY
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xgGLUL9cWI
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sYX6wcXy5Wc
    I have an old 16" Stampede Sprinter that I could throw a riser bar on. Would that work ok? The bike isn't getting much use since both kids are now on Spawn Bikes (16" and 20"). Its about 17ish lbs I think.

  14. #14
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    The rear end on those is a bit longer than the Ramones, but I think it would work pretty good. Won't cost you much to try.

  15. #15
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    My daughter is on a Framed Impact 16, Great bike for $100. Only thing needed is to swap to a shorter set of cranks. I plan to get the 18 from them soon as my 4 year old will move onto the 16.

    Then as far as race bikes, just don’t bother if your not racing. We also have Redline Proline Mini and Micro , but they are not really durable for anything but racing.

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    Haro(/Premium) makes nice little 16" and 18" park bikes at decent prices and they seem to be more readily available at LBS's than some of the other brands. We've had great luck with them for a lot of years now.

    Light weight isn't something that really comes in to play with BMX bikes unless you're racing and/or want to spend a bunch of money to lose durability. As mentioned, the race bikes are great for racing (and pump tracks!) but don't work well at all for skatepark stuff.
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  17. #17
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    The claimed weight of that Framed Impact is really good at 20.25 lbs, and amazing for the price. Before I built up the Ramones I bought a Hoffman Scarab 16 thinking that because it was a 16", Hoffman brand and not cheap that it would be reasonably light. It turned out be a 25 lb tank. I wasn't expecting race bike weight, but that is ridiculous.

  18. #18
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    check out the for sale section of bmxmuseum.com

  19. #19
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    Need some advice. I'm about to buy that Framed Impact 16" bike, but I noticed it has a coaster brake on it instead of a handbrake. The price is fantastic 99$ but I'm not sure if the coaster brake is a good thing or not. We are planning on using it at pump track, skate park, and BMX/MTB Park. You guys think the coaster brake is that big of a deal?

    The alternative is adding some riser bars to an old Stampede Sprinter 16" bike that does have hand brakes and no coaster. Geometry isn't on par with a normal BMX bike tho.

  20. #20
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    Build a rear wheel with a cassette hub.

    Probably a 1 hour job at most to relace that wheel and throw on some brakes.

    https://www.danscomp.com/bmx/Parts/Rims/

    https://www.danscomp.com/products/42...ette_Hubs.html

    https://www.danscomp.com/products/48...Brake_Kit.html

    You'll still be cheaper than the Cult.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by jochribs View Post
    Build a rear wheel with a cassette hub.

    Probably a 1 hour job at most to relace that wheel and throw on some brakes.

    https://www.danscomp.com/bmx/Parts/Rims/

    https://www.danscomp.com/products/42...ette_Hubs.html

    https://www.danscomp.com/products/48...Brake_Kit.html

    You'll still be cheaper than the Cult.
    Can I mount brakes on that Impact frame? I have those items already in the stampede bike and can harvest there

  22. #22
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    Aside from that, just get the Cult or a United or Fit etc.

    This size will be good for a number of years. 350 in my opinion isn't a big deal. Get something good, now, so you don't regret it later.

  23. #23
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    Yes, the pics I've seen all show the impact has posts for u-brakes.

  24. #24
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    My Impact came freewheel with hand brake. Just looked and it seems they changed to coaster brake. The Haro shredder 16 is also a good choice for the money. Comes with hand and coaster brake

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by jochribs View Post
    Aside from that, just get the Cult or a United or Fit etc.

    This size will be good for a number of years. 350 in my opinion isn't a big deal. Get something good, now, so you don't regret it later.
    Yup.
    FWIW,the Haro Downtowns are about $275, come ready to rock off the shelf, and should easily last through any number of hard-riding groms.
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  26. #26
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    Coaster brake wouldn't bother me at all on a BMX. Non-issue IMHO.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by RMCDan View Post
    Coaster brake wouldn't bother me at all on a BMX. Non-issue IMHO.
    Ugh...really? Coaster brakes would suck just as bad on BMX bikes as they do on MTBs. Probably even worse. I'm curious as to why you would ride BMX with one. Hell, most serious BMX riders I know don't have any brakes on their bikes at all.
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  28. #28
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    ^^100 percent agree. Coaster brakes have zero place on a pumptrack or anywhere for that matter.

    The moment your feet move to follow the flow of the rollers, jumps etc., you're going to be engaging the brakes.

    One thing I've noticed at this new flurry of pumptracks popularity, is the high number of folks that have their kids on the worst possible type of bike for the job. This includes bikes like the Hotrocks etc.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by jochribs View Post
    ^^100 percent agree. Coaster brakes have zero place on a pumptrack or anywhere for that matter.

    The moment your feet move to follow the flow of the rollers, jumps etc., your going to be engaging the brakes.

    One thing I've noticed at this new flurry of pumptracks popularity, is the high number of folks that have their kids on the worst possible type of bike for the job. This includes bike like the Hotrocks etc.
    Not as bad as MTBers trying to ride FS bikes on them.
    Like the poverbial monkey with a football.
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  30. #30
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    Oh, dude. Tell me about it. Seats way up....pedaling over the rollers....


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    U-brakes also happen to completely suck, and back in the day there were tons of BMX riders who slayed it with coasters. It's lame they switched it to a coaster, but he should just buy the bike since it's still a stupidly good deal at $100 and 20 lbs. Not a deal-breaker. If the coaster turns out to be problematic he can rebuild the wheel with a cheap freewheel hub. Hell, you can buy a nice complete rear wheel and threaded freewheel from Cleary for under $70.

    https://www.clearybikes.com/collecti...nt=22502435524
    https://www.clearybikes.com/collecti...heel-metric-13

    There are also numerous tutorials on the interwebz that show you how to convert a coaster brake hub to a freecoaster. One of many: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uI11KXFQPno

  32. #32
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    The brakes on our BMX bikes actually work pretty well. YMMV
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  33. #33
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    Thanks guys, this is helpful on all sides. My kid(s) should be thanking you, but he won't because he is busy destroying our house with his little brother to the detriment of my wife's life.

    Side note, that framed impact has 140mm cranks are those huge for this size bike or decent enough?

  34. #34
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    Crank length on BMX is usually longish since they are never pedaled seated, the leverage aids acceleration and the length aids fore/aft balance. It may be a problem if he's small for his age, or a good thing if he's tall.

    Looking at what's available on sourcebmx, stock crank length on 16" BMX varies from 115-145 mm with 127 being the most common: https://www.sourcebmx.com/en/BMX-Bik...teValueIDs=629

    They have a cosmetic-damaged United Recruit 16 on sale for $235. 19 lbs, 25/9 drivetrain, 127 mm cranks. Pretty sweet deal: https://www.sourcebmx.com/en/United-...d/m-32944.aspx

  35. #35
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    The Haros come with 135s.
    Worked fine for us.
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  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by RMCDan View Post
    U-brakes also happen to completely suck, and back in the day there were tons of BMX riders who slayed it with coasters. It's lame they switched it to a coaster, but he should just buy the bike since it's still a stupidly good deal at $100 and 20 lbs. Not a deal-breaker. If the coaster turns out to be problematic he can rebuild the wheel with a cheap freewheel hub. Hell, you can buy a nice complete rear wheel and threaded freewheel from Cleary for under $70.

    https://www.clearybikes.com/collecti...nt=22502435524
    https://www.clearybikes.com/collecti...heel-metric-13

    There are also numerous tutorials on the interwebz that show you how to convert a coaster brake hub to a freecoaster. One of many: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uI11KXFQPno
    Uh totally disagree about U brakes sucking. A brake that can hold you on the edge of a ledge or coping in a fufanu is a worthy brake. And they are 100% fitting for the task at hand.

  37. #37
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    As mentioned way above , swapped to shorter cranks. Was cheap , like $20 to do it.

    Sizing cranks to the kids is something needed for best results. My son is riding 110mm cranks, my daughter is riding 130mm cranks now.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by terrasmak View Post
    As mentioned way above , swapped to shorter cranks. Was cheap , like $20 to do it.

    Sizing cranks to the kids is something needed for best results. My son is riding 110mm cranks, my daughter is riding 130mm cranks now.
    Ah yeah, I hash forgotten about that. What cranks did you buy?

  39. #39
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    What cranks you get for 20, Terra?

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  41. #41
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    Been following this thread for a while...

    I've got an 8 yr old who's wanting a BMX bike to ride. He's a very solid mtb rider who has an abundance of skill. I recently moved him up to a 24" wheel mtb. I'm thinking he may be in between wheel sizes (16 vs 20) for BMX though, and I've noticed on the Haro Downtown recommendation that it comes in 18". This seems like a good middle ground. What are your thoughts about the 18"?

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by CBaron View Post
    Been following this thread for a while...

    I've got an 8 yr old who's wanting a BMX bike to ride. He's a very solid mtb rider who has an abundance of skill. I recently moved him up to a 24" wheel mtb. I'm thinking he may be in between wheel sizes (16 vs 20) for BMX though, and I've noticed on the Haro Downtown recommendation that it comes in 18". This seems like a good middle ground. What are your thoughts about the 18"?
    My son moved to an 18" from 16" when he was 8 and still prefers it over 20", 5 years later (though I'm pretty sure with the last growth spurt, he'll be moving on soon). Big fan of 18"s in general; I see way too many kids on 20" BMX bikes that don't fit them like a BMX should.
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  43. #43
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    Yeah, 18 is a sweet spot wheel size for our guys right now. There are shorter TT 20's but for them that would be like us riding a cruiser. Which are fun of course, I have one. My wife rides it, but 20" is my favorite.

    If you look, there are some really nice 18's out there. Cult's is sweet. Aluminum. Colony has a dialed full cromo. Not sure if you can get that one anymore. If you find one, grab it quick. Sunday has a full cromo frame and fork. Nice if you want to build a custom whip.

  44. #44
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    Yeah, there're all sorts of sweet 18"s out there. They're a hoot to throw spin tricks with; come around super fast.

    If I was buying today, I'd likely get a Fit, cuz chrome.

    https://www.albes.com/bikes/18-inch-bmx-bikes/
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  45. #45
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    ^^still have the lime green sidewall Aikens?

  46. #46
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    My 8 year old rides a 18" bmx for park riding and a Junior size 20" for racing with 140mm cranks.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by jochribs View Post
    What cranks you get for 20, Terra?
    Just OEM 1 piece style , went to my LBS and they ordered a set. Took me about 15 minutes to swap out

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by jochribs View Post
    ^^still have the lime green sidewall Aikens?
    Yup. Too cool.

    Premium does a 20", same color scheme; they've got one at my LBS.

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