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With Track Cycling World Championships now inviting BMX and MTB riders to compete on the same platform, the BMX bike or Mountain bike debate is getting hotter by the day.
Is the Mountain bike a more superior two-wheeler? Does the BMX perform better?
If these are some of the questions on your mind, you have come to the right place. Let’s start by outlining the similarities between these two bikes. Well, they both have handlebars, a seat, and two wheels!
Seriously, everything else in their design and uses is different.
Hop on in and let’s learn about the key characteristics of each bike.
We will also analyze their key differences and go through their pros and cons.
Ready? Let’s begin!
Mountain Bike vs BMX Bike
Comparing a BMX bike to a Mountain bike is like matching a guinea pig with a hamster.
In this case, both are bikes, although their distinct designs make them ideal for different uses.
BMX bikes are designed for sprints around man-made tracks. Even though they can make large jumps, they excel better on smoother roads.
On the other hand, MTB bikes can cover long distances on rough, natural terrain.
Let’s have a more in-depth look at a few design aspects that make these two bikes quite distinct.
BMX racers aggressively race through ramps and jumps. This means that the bike needs to have a simple, but super-strong, rigid and more compact frame.
On the other hand, MTB bikes have larger, more flexible frames for smoother, more comfortable rides.
Even though a decent number of models have rugged looks, these bikes are not designed for extremely aggressive treatment.
A standard BMX will feature wheels that measure about 20-inches in diameter.
The cruiser BMX varieties often have 24-inch wheels. Irrespective of the size, these wheels are rigid to hold up to rapid changes in direction.
More often than not, they are laced for added strength and resilience when making big landings.
Mountain bike wheels are designed for smooth-rolling over rocks, logs, and roots on off-road trails.
A few models still feature 26-inch wheels, although most MTB bikes have 27.5-inch wheels.
Riders who want to cover more distance with each roll can choose oversized 29-inch wheels.
Usually, BMX bikes feature a rear caliper brake that also helps to control the speed and attitude of the bike when cornering or handling whops and jumps.
MTBs can have caliper or disc brakes. Some models even feature both kinds of braking systems for more power when riding through water and mud.
Because mountain bikes are ideal for long-distance rides, their brakes are capable of handling the heat generated.
Here’s the deal, while MTBs can have an impressive 24 gears, BMX bikes often have one speed. This single gear is sufficient to power and tempo your ride.
For MTBs, multiple gearing options make it easier to ride through different terrain.
Riders can maintain suitable cadence whether they are taking on steep climbs and descents or traversing through flat stretches of land.
BMX bikes are mainly appealing to people that love aggressive biking. For this reason, they don’t feature any suspension. After all, you need maximum power and thrust during a sprint.
The wheels and body of the bike are engineered to absorb impact and pump through whoops sections.
Some MTBs are hardtails with one suspension while others have full suspension systems.
The suspension compresses and absorbs the shock generated from mashing into potholes or bumping up and down on off-road trails.
Without proper suspensions, your hands will likely slip off the handlebars whenever you bash against something.
BMX is a sports bicycle. It is explicitly designed for racing, aggressive fun rides, thrashing around, and stunt riding.
The BMX brand is currently making a buzz within the sports fraternity, and stunt bikes are a familiar scene in sporting activities held on streets and rugged man-made paths.
Just like most types of bikes, these bicycles too come with different kinds of frames.
While many of them feature steel frames, you can also find models with carbon or aluminum frames.
Recommended BMX Bikes to Buy
It’s hard to deny that BMX bikes are sturdy and built for aggressive riding. Even with a one-speed option, you can still pick up higher speeds by riding while standing.
We took the time to test and study different BMX two-wheelers to pick out 5 of the best and virtually indestructible models.
Check them out!
Mongoose Legion Freestyle Bike
One of the key reasons to invest in a BMX instead of a road or even mountain bike is because even top-tier models come at friendlier price points.
The Mongoose Legion L100 is uniquely designed to provide expert-level performance at a mid-range cost. This makes it one of the most sought after BMX models on the market.
We must say that the high demand for this two-wheeler is justifiable. It brags of a strategic blend of a comfortable chromo frame design and top-notch components to provide a truly outstanding freestyle BMX bike.
From our tests, we unveiled that users get just the right amounts of toughness to outshine their peers during park riding.
Apart from offering smooth rides, reinforced strength, and increased stability, this bike has street-worthy aesthetics too.
However, its primary selling point is the drivetrain. The L100 uses two-piece tubular spindle cranks that provide a more accurate gearing ratio for freestyle riding and plenty of ground clearance.
What’s more, the brake levers and u-brakes offer suitable speed control, and the integrated chromo handlebar and fork ensure maximum steering responsiveness.
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Elite 20” & 18” BMX Bicycle
If you have always wanted to outshine the competition during park or street riding, there is no better bike to invest in than the Elite Destro.
This is a mid-range BMX whose specs are comparable to high-end models. For instance, its frame has reinforced tubing for outstanding impact resistance.
Another superb perk is that the Hi-Tensile steel frame has a 20-inch top tube. While this may seem like a basic design, it gives the bike a suitable weight to strength ratio.
On the other hand, the chunky wheels improve the overall stability of the two-wheeler and give it excellent aesthetics.
When inspecting the quality of the bike, we noticed that all components are top-notch.
Even the pedals are made from high-density plastic, which is both lightweight and durable.
We also liked the light chromoly handlebars with comfortable grips as well as the thick foam padded saddle with a 25.4mm alloy post.
Pedaling motion is reliably turned into rotational motion thanks to the 3-piece Cro-Mo crankset.
You can also expect this bike to provide excellent stopping power with the Tektro alloy U-brakes.
Air Zone Freestyle Bike
Here is the perfect BMX bike for beginner riders. It features a solid frame for increased durability and stability.
This increases the rider’s comfort and confidence when dirt racing or even during freestyle events.
Aggressively racing off ramps is also quite easy and safe because of the reliable wheelset.
The wheelset has thick tires ideal for taking on the demands of freestyle riding and 48 spokes for enhanced durability.
What’s more, the model is fitted with a freestyle rotor that allows the handlebars to make a complete 360° rotation without messing up the brake cables.
It’s not that hard to see that this is a BMX designed to spin wildly for more fun and more memorable moments.
With the rear and front pegs, you can pull off all manner of tricks, including flatland maneuvers.
The best part is that your safety is enhanced by the easy to engage U brakes.
Schwinn Predator Team 24 Freestyle Men’s Bike
If there is a BMX model that made quite a buzz in 2019, then it must be the Schwinn predator.
It is part of the new“Classic Collectio” series from the brand, and its design is based on the 1983 Predator version.
Do note that while the original bikes had chromo frames and forks, the new models are made of steel and mid-range components.
Generally, this is a well-made retro-inspired BMX with a high shine finish. It rides equally as good as it looks, and its overall quality justifies the price tag.
Thanks to the 21.5” top tube and a 26” standover height, this model is perfect for taller riders.
Moreover, this is a sturdy machine with a 15-inch Hi-tensile steel frame. It comes with a decent range of mid-range components, including aluminum alloy rims, rattrap pedals, and gum wall tires.
The 24-inch wheels are dirt-race ready, and you get reliable stopping power from the front and rear caliper brakes.
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Redline Bikes MX BMX Race Bike
Any beginner youth racer who is between 4’6” to 5’1” tall would find the Redline MX perfect.
This is an entry-level bike with an integrated head tube and 6061 aluminum alloy frame design that keeps the weight low for effortless maneuvers.
It also features an integrated seat post and saddle for additional weight savings.
Unlike a decent number of bikes in the price range, this one assures you of getting great value for the money.
It is uniquely designed for freestyle riding at trails and skate parks, and you can immediately feel the excellent quality of its components when you test it.
From the handle grips, seat, tires, wheels, and bearings, this is a model built to pass the test of time.
You will find it to be a worthy upgrade if you need a BMX for wheelies, jumps, and other complex tricks.
Another point worth mentioning is that besides the top-quality components, this bike has a cool design and sharp paint.
Generally, it is perfectly packed with visual and functional features ideal for youngster riders.
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The mountain bike is designed for off-roading adventures. This type of two-wheeler has a range of advanced features for improved performance on rugged terrain.
For instance, it comes equipped with slightly straight handlebars, a suspension system, and knobby tires for improved handling, traction, and stability on different terrain.
Whether you want to climb up steep mountains or hit the dirt at high speeds, this bike is intended to conquer it all.
Typically, the capabilities, performance, and cost of a mountain bike are highly dependent on the frame construction material.
Some MTBs are made of steel and carbon fiber, although most models feature sturdy aluminum frames.
Recommended Mountain Bikes to Buy
The geometry and gears of budget mountain bikes make them highly versatile, especially when compared to BMX bikes.
These two-wheelers are ideal for all terrains, and they even come with different tire sizes ideal for riders of various heights.
Dive in and check out the 5 best mountain bikes in the market!
Huffy Hardtail Mountain Trail Bike
The Huffy hardtail is ideal for anyone who wants more than just a regular bike. This model is rugged, robust, and designed to provide more thrill on any type of trail.
If you are an adventure junkie, the bike’s frame offers the stamina you need when hitting challenging off-road trails.
Using the wrong bike off-road can take a toll on your muscles. Fortunately, this two-wheeler offers outstanding rolling momentum to ensure that all the pedaling is easy on your muscles.
With an aluminum frame, it is light enough to pick up impressive speeds, even on rough roads.
Moreover, it comes equipped with the Shimano 21-speed drivetrain. Shifting gears is smooth, so you can maintain suitable cadence, irrespective of whether you are climbing up or down a hill.
The solid alloy linear-pull brakes also guarantee smooth and gradual stops.
Comfort-wise, Huffy also did an impressive job of putting together just the right components.
Everything from the premium-quality saddle and knobby tires to the top-notch suspension system is built to provide adequate cushioning and shock absorption on rugged terrain.
Mongoose Dolomite Fat Tire Mens Bike
The fat tire MTB series from Mongoose has built quite the traction since its release. Dolomite MTB in specific is quite a beauty that gives you this instant feel to take a spin on sand, mud, or snow.
This is a well-built two-wheeler designed to conquer all kinds of terrain, and it even has a light aluminum frame that keeps your ride controlled and well-balanced.
There’s something quite exceptional in the way this bike rolls over roots, deeps, and other obstacles typically found on mountainous terrain.
It has extra knobby 4-inch tires designed to make your rides on rough trails surprisingly smooth.
We also feel that its male-specific geometry makes the trips more comfortable for male riders.
With 7-speeds and twist-style shifters, you can quickly shift gears to keep your riding momentum steady, irrespective of the terrain.
The chain design naturally reduces the chances of accidental chain drops, and this makes pedaling more comfortable, while at the same time enhancing rider safety.
This bike looks heavy and is indeed on the heavier side. However, its geometry and frame design makes it ideal for racing and MTB competitions.
The more robust components also give the model a tremendous 350 lbs weight capacity.
Vertical Equator 26″ Dual Suspension Bike
This 26-inch MTB built around a sturdy steel frame is one of the most affordable dual-suspension mountain bikes in the market.
The top-notch suspension system allows riders to overcome all kinds of obstacles commonly found on off-road trails.
Generally, this is a well-built machine that can make your off-road biking adventures more pleasurable.
Apart from the apparent good-looks and comfortable rides, the Vertical Equator also offers smooth shifting with the 21-speed Shimano twist shifters.
For an entry-level bike, the swiftness of the gearing, front, and rear v-brakes came as a complete surprise.
This bike is available in a range of sizes that can accommodate riders from 5’3″ to 6’2″. The 26″ model can hold up to 275 lbs, and its wheelset has adequate spokes to ensure minimal rolling resistance, even on rugged trails.
You can expect exceptional performance whether you want to exercise or crush the trails in search of adventure.
During our tests, we were eager to also unveil a list of cons. Well, it seems the machine ticks all the right boxes.
The assembly process was, however, technical because the gears and brakes needed tuning.
Diamondback Bicycles Overdrive Hardtail Bike
With brands like Diamondback around, it is possible to get a well-made bike at a pocket-friendly price. The Overdrive is an off-road capable machine with a decent, modern design.
Everything from its sturdy aluminum frame to its geometry is designed for maximum stability, and this gives you the confidence to take on new routes.
This bike offers 24-speeds, with plenty of gearing options to hit tricky mountain trails and still maintain reliable speeds.
The plush SR Suntour XCT 80mm suspension fork keeps the rides comfortable by adequately absorbing road vibrations and shock from mashing into obstacles.
Moreover, the Tektro Aries mechanical disc brakes provide unrivaled speed control and stopping power.
This 27.5″ bike looks good on large, Blanchard wheels. These wheels not only roll smoothly but are also tubeless compatible.
If you want to enhance your grip on mud or snow, benefit from lower rolling resistance or even ride on low tire presser, simply ditch your tubes and go tubeless.
We can confirm that this is one of the best cross country mountain bikes in the price range.
It holds up well to off-road abuse and also requires minimal maintenance, making it ideal for beginners.
24″ Royce Union RTT Mens 21-Speed Bike
We like to wrap up our reviews in style. Last but not least is the Royce Union 24″.
This is a heavy-duty bike designed to offer real off-road cycling abilities. Its specs alone make it apparent that this is a beast that is tough enough to handle challenging mountainous terrain.
This bike features a durable aluminum frameset and a reliable suspension system.
It also offers a 21-speed gearing combination, and the handlebar shifters make it easy-peasy to maintain the right cadence whether you want to climb hills, roll on flat surfaces or take on steep slopes.
Among the highlights of the model is the top-quality wheelset with machined alloy wheel rims.
Knobby tires get a good grip on the ground, providing you maximum control, irrespective of the terrain.
This wheelset, coupled with the high-quality suspension, ensure you hardly feel the hit when you traverse through dirt trails.
We were quick to notice that this is a heavy bike that is not easily portable. Even though it only weighs 26 pounds, it is heavier than similar MTBs on the market.
Some users see this as a downside, while others claim it is a small price to pay for the otherwise stable bike with a robust frame and dual suspension system.
BMX bike and mountain bike; which one suits you best?
Well, these are two different bikes designed to take on various tasks.
While the BMX is perfect for abrupt changes in direction and extreme strength, the MTB is packed with features that make it dominate on different off-road terrain.
Now that you understand the main differences between these two types of bikes, making an informed decision should not be a challenge.