John is an experienced cycling enthusiast and a great asset when it comes to writing skills. He's a Bachelor of Arts and a talented journalist. John is in charge of our blog and writes posts on a variety of cycling-related topics.
Jessica is our expert consultant on all things connected to biking - gear, technique, you name it. Being a pro cyclist in the past, she knows exactly how things work in and around your bike. She's been with us from the start and has contributed countless pieces of useful information to our website.
Last updated: May 21, 2022
Bike The Site is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
Dirt jumping is a fun hobby for any age group or gender. The rush of adrenaline and pride as you land one of the jumps or acrobatics makes you want to never quit. However, dirt jump bikes can be pricey, especially if you are just starting out. So, we found the best dirt bikes that fit all experience levels and price ranges, so you know what will work best for you.
To make this list, we focused on some primary factors such as the type of bike, the frame material, number of speeds, suspension, brakes, and wheel size. Keep reading to learn which dirt bike we thought was best and which one might be best for you.
"This bike comes under $200 dollars, making it a wonderful beginner bike, especially for children. Though some of the parts may be on the cheaper side, the parts are easily upgradable, so you can build a bike as you gain experience."
More features: hard-tech frame, lightweight, excellent braking system
The Elecony Mountain Bike is considered one of the best dirt jump mountain bikes. It is one of the best dirt jump bikes under $500, a good value for the price.
This bike is noteworthy for off-roading down steep mountain trails, as well as trying out some dirt jumps. This bike also has strong rubber for its tires, giving it resistance to punctures and abrasions and a steel frame for absorbing bumps, making it a great bike for forest paths and highways as well. This is great if your aim is to try out a few different biking hobbies, but you don’t want to spend money and waste space with several different bikes.
There are 21-speed settings, which use trigger shifters to make switching for each situation a breeze. What really makes this bike shine, however, are the mechanical disk brakes, which make stopping in any situation or nailing a jump easy.
Being only a little above $200 dollars and having so many uses makes it one of the best dirt jump bikes under $500. It is a great bike for any kid or beginner to dirt jump biking. The bike is designed for people between 5’4” and 6’, but it may be able to adjust to a few inches in either direction. If you order this bike online, it comes about 85% assembled, making it easy to finish putting it together and go. It also comes in some pretty fun colors.
What makes it special?
Disk brakes that allow you to stop when you need to
Steel frame increases durability and makes it a perfect fit for many biking hobbies
Really neat colors
Low price for beginners
Front suspension fork to absorb even more shock
21 speeds - trigger shifters
It is listed as a mountain bike but is good for dirt jump biking as well
26” tires for more maneuverability and stiffness
What cons did we find?
Some bikes come indented from shipping
Instructions don’t match the bike making it confusing to assemble
More features: aluminum frame, ultra-durable, aluminum u-brake
The Mongoose Legion L500 is one of the best bikes under $1000. Depending on the demand, it usually runs somewhere between $500 and $700. It works well for mid-level jumps and aerobatics, allowing you to keep the same bike as your progress through a good amount of dirt tricks. This bike is listed as a BMX bike. However, it is rated for a park, street, and dirt, allowing this bike to have multiple uses. The bike is comfortable too, which can be rare for pre-built bikes. This bike is listed for people 5’8″ and up, though there are reviews that say people as short as 4’9” managed to ride it with no problem.
The braking system is a u-brake, which is revered for soft braking during tricks. The brakes are attached with removable brake mounts, which are great to set up new brakes or replace old ones.
The website is very clear as well, allowing you to understand exactly how the bike works and explaining each of the parts. This is great if you begin to replace parts, as you know what you are looking for. Out of all the dirt jump bikes reviewed today, their specs are the cleanest to set up and easiest to understand for beginners. The pedals are nylon, making them stronger than cheap plastic pedals. There shouldn’t be any worry with the pedals breaking mid-ride.
Why is it special?
Clear specs on the website
U-brakes for soft breaking
Great-mid level bike, especially for the price
Bike shape designed specifically for best shape for tricks
Rated for street, park, and dirt, making it multi-purposed and durable
Small wheel size for maneuverability
What are the flaws?
Handles don’t spin 360 degrees
Manual can be difficult to understand
Mass-produced bikes mean sometimes things get overlooked or messed up
Wheel sizes are good for small jumps but lack stability for large jumps
More features: quicker start, easy assembly, manual transmission
X-Pro is well known for making some of the best beginner dirt jump bikes for children. The X-PRO 250cc Dirt Bike is their first adult bike, and it is most definitely worth it. It is considered one of the best dirt bikes under $1800 dollars, at about $1500. It is the most expensive bike on our list, but as the only one with an engine, the price is definitely justified.
The X-PRO comes with an electric kick start for the engine. No matter the situation, you can still start your bike and go. This bike also has a manual 5-speed hand-clutch lever, making it easy and smooth to switch gears and control speeds.
The muffler is high-quality and designed to reduce noise, while the paint is UV-resistant, and the plastic is made to handle tough use. The tires are on the fatter side for more stability. This dirt bike can easily get to speeds of 60+mph. A few customers complain the carburetor for the bike is fairly weak, but getting a stronger one if needed is only a $50 replacement.
For the price, it is a little much for a starter, but if you really want a bike with an engine, this is a great one to go with for your first. It is built for rough handling with a steel frame and long-lasting Zongshen engine.
What makes it stand out?
Front and rear hydraulic disk brakes for great stopping power
The Zongshen engine is rated for long life, meaningless pricey replacements early on
Great trail bike
Seller is quick to respond to any issues
Allows bike to be built for you for an extra cost
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
A stock carburetor is weak, needing a replacement early to avoid the bike struggling
Really only works for off-road
Suspension may not be strong enough for a lot of dirt tracks
More features: aluminum frame, durable design, 170 mm one-piece forged steel cranks
BMX dirt jump bikes like the Mongoose Legion L20 appeals to those under 5’. This means it is a great bike for kids or just adults on the shorter side. It also comes in a variety of colors, gearing it towards kids even more.
Mongoose bikes are known for their quality parts, and this one is no different. With a durable design, aluminum frame, and forged steel cranks, its goal is to last for many years to come.
The tires on the smaller side, at 20”. Many professionals tend to prefer 26” for the best balance between stability and maneuverability. However, for beginners or those on the smaller side, the 20” is a great way to practice trickier moves on lower-level tracks.
At $350, this bike is a great price for beginners. For an additional $190, you can even add in expert assembly. This means that besides the pedals and handlebars, the whole bike will be built for you. When buying a bike for a kid, this can be a great option, as it allows you to not have to worry about understanding where the parts go and reading a confusing manual.
Without the expert assembly, this bike falls into the category of best bikes under $500. It is made to be sturdy and strong to support whoever rides it as they try out new tricks.
What stands out?
Multiple size and color options to fit every rider
What cons did we manage to find?
Tires may be too small to offer stability for large jumps
Rigid suspension is better for paved roads than race tracks or mountains
More features: aluminum frame, rear mechanical disc brakes
The Schwinn Bonafide is a bike suited for every purpose. With thicker tires, an aluminum frame, and 24-speed settings, you can tailor it to whatever purpose is needed. This includes dirt jump biking. It’s incredibly stable, making it a good fit for beginners. This bike also comes with a higher weight rating than average, making it great for anyone.
This dirt jump mountain bike comes with aluminum u-brakes, allowing for precision control, where you can adjust around tight corners and slow down if needed.
Like the Mongoose Legion L20, it has an option for expert assembly. However, even with the assembly, it is recommended that it be taken to a mechanic soon after buying it. There are reports of the torque being too tight, which can lead to your chains breaking or popping off while riding.
Besides that, the bike is ideal for novices. At under $1000 and the ability to be used anywhere, this bike can be great to use on weekends at the track and on weekdays to get to work. You can get your money back in no time.
Why are we impressed?
24 speeds for a high range of adjustment
Works great for rough mountain trails, pavement, and dirt tracks
Lightweight aluminum frame
Rear disc brakes for easy stopping
What negatives must you be aware of?
Tires may be a little too wide to hit some of the more technical tricks
More features: oversized headtube, pump track performance, all-condition speed control
The Mongoose Pt26 is the only actual dirt jump bike on the list. It is the only bike specifically made for dirt jump biking and has the features for it. Thanks to the rear disc brakes, you have excellent pump track performance, allowing you to hurdle over those small humps with ease. This Mongoose has 26” tires that are 2.3” wide, allowing perfect traction and maneuverability for dirt jump tricks. They also provide comfort for every situation, making your ride easier.
The bike is designed for people from 5’4” to 6’2”, making it a bike for the average person. At $200, it is a bike that has the best value for your money. It is great for someone just getting into the dirt jump bike scene that wants to learn some tricks and doesn’t mind upgrading later as they learn the skills.
It is lightweight with an aluminum frame. With a fork and an oversized headtube to support it, the shock from your jumps will be absorbed without a problem.
While having a single speed can be a bit of a bummer, as you can’t tailor your speeds to fit every situation, the single-speed allows you to focus on your jumps and tricks without worrying about adjusting at the moment. You get lower speeds but can focus on the tricks instead. They can also be easier to care for.
What stands out?
Rear disc brakes for enhanced stopping
50mm travel on a fork to absorb shock
Great value, and can be upgraded later
Tires are perfect size and thickness for dirt jump biking
Lightweight aluminum frame
What cons did we manage to find?
May need upgrades to actually be able to do higher-level tricks
Can’t adjust breaks
Parts may wear down easily
Things to Consider
Jumping into a new hobby can be overwhelming. There is a lot to learn and complicated features that everyone says you ‘have to know.’ It can get to the point where the excitement can die down, and you end up quitting. We have worked hard to make a list of the most important features when choosing a dirt jump bike and show you why we picked the six bikes we did.
There are six features that are key in choosing a bike that best fits your needs. These are the type of bike, frame material, number of speeds, suspension, brakes, and wheel speeds. We will show you why these are important to know and which ones work best for certain lifestyles
Trusted SourceRSNG | The Man Who Does 720s Off Dirt Jumps And Freerides Down Sheer Mountains Has A Whole Basket Of Tips To Get You Jumping, Descending And Shredding On A Mountain BikeExtreme mountain biker Sam Pilgrim loves riding down stuff – fast. He’s also got some next-level jumping skills, landing 720 corks and holding his own in slopestyle competitions. What’s more he’s a mean freerider too, taking his bikes backcountry and sending some super-gnarly lines. But everyone has to start somewhere, so RSNG got him to reveal the best pro tips for beginner and improving mountain bikers – give it a go, you won’t regret it!
Type of a bike
There are many different types of bikes out there on the market today. Road, mountain, city, electric, folding, cargo, BMX, recumbent, BMX, cyclocross, tandem, hybrid, single-speed are just some of the different kinds of bikes you can find – and even within each of those categories is a whole assortment of subcategories to consider. But only a few of them can handle the dirt jumping and rough terrain handling that you may want in a bicycle. Of course, dirt biking is usually done by dirt bikes, but some mountain bikes and BMX-style bikes like the Mongoose Legion L500 can be considered for dirt jumping tricks, too, while being a better bike for more situations.
Trail dirt bikes are the most common type of dirt bike, and it’s easy to see why. With a lower seat for easier balancing and a range of power from 125cc to 650cc, there is a lot of choice for beginners and pros alike.
These are a great choice for hobbyists who want to learn the ropes of hopping rocks and weaving in and out of the treeline like you can on the X-PRO 250cc Dirt Bike.
Motocross bikes – or MX bikes – built for dirt bike racing on specific courses with dirt obstacles. They are lighter than most other dirt bikes, and as a result, they don’t come with any extra bells and whistles which you may want or need in a dirt bike. They can be very loud and have a small fuel tank built for racing as opposed to rigorous recreational use. These are mostly used by professional racers.
Enduro bikes meet in the middle of trail and motocross bikes.
They are easier to ride and less tiring than operating a motocross bike, but some use the same engine as a motocross bike. These bikes are often used to race in enduros and events known as hare scrambles. They can cost more than your average trail bike, but that will buy you more gadgets than what a similarly priced motocross bike would.
Much like enduro bikes, dual sport bikes strike a balance between the style of rides, and it does everything well but nothing exceptional. It functions doubly as a trail bike but also as a dirt bike that is street legal to suit your needs.
You can go even further and select the type of wheel to suit the type of riding you do most. If you go off-road more, choose a wheel designed for that to get the best performance knowing that you’ll still be able to ride it on smooth roads.
A trials type dirt bike is just what it says – it’s for observed trials that test the skill and control of a rider in ways that many of the other bikes don’t. This is not a bike typically used by novices as it has no seat and its distribution of weight is different from dirt bikes to help get over obstacles.
Maybe you want something that looks a lot like a dirt bike and can, indeed, be used as one but is much more casual? Supermoto dirt bikes are typically converted dirt bikes that maintain the aesthetic and appeal (such as the acceleration) of a dirt bike while being street legal. Unless you convert it back to its original state, you probably aren’t going to be doing dirt jumping any time soon on these bikes, though.
These last two are specialized dirt bikes that we don’t recommend for a beginner to purchase or ride but are valid dirt bikes. Hill-climb bikes do exactly what they say on the tin, except they are extremely dangerous. These modified dirt bikes have much more kick than the average rider can handle, and when you use them to climb hills that look like walls, it’s easy to see why they aren’t for everyone. Meanwhile, flat-track bikes do the opposite – they’re meant for riding on flat dirt tracks. Their lower suspensions and specifically made tires allow you to drift around specially made tracks at high velocities. Again, these bikes aren’t for beginners, and you aren’t going to get much dirt jumping out of them, so avoid these if you want to get air time and show off your tricks.
The frame material is often one of the first things that people consider when buying a dirt bike. Most people also know that your main choices are steel or an aluminum body, but they may not know why. We compiled some research to help you figure it out.
Right out of the gate, aluminum frames are lighter than steel frames making the Mongoose Legion L20 a great choice for midair tricks. They’re still durable since they are usually alloyed with another metal to give it strength while keeping it light. Aluminum isn’t as reactive as steel, so it’s also less prone to corrosion, although it isn’t immune to it.
Steel frames, like the Elecony Mountain Bike, are much heavier than their aluminum counterparts, but they are more durable when dirt biking off-road. They also provide a somewhat springy ride which helps reduce strain and fatigue on your bottom during long, bumpy rides. The other important thing to note is that there are two main schools of steel production in dirt bikes – Hi-Tensile and Chromoly.
Chromoly is similar to aluminum in the way that the steel is used in an alloy form to make it even stronger, while the Hi-Tensile steel is usually weaker and therefore cheaper.
You may also hear about carbon fiber or titanium bike frames, but these are typically used more in road bikes than dirt bikes – not to mention their costly nature!
Number of speeds
If you’re a beginner, you might easily be confused about how many speeds you need or when to use them. These days you can easily see bikes with speeds of up to 27 – the Schwinn Bonafide has 24 speeds – thanks to combinations of front and rear gears on your bike chain. Do you really need 27 speeds, especially on a dirt bike?
The short answer is no. What you do need is a good range of speeds that allow you to balance the amount of torque needed to get moving on inclines and rough terrain with the top speeds needed to perform tricks safely and consistently. Having low gear – and therefore a low speed – will let you climb inclines with ease, and then you can upshift to a high speed when you’re on flat ground or even going downhill to maximize speed.
Suspension is arguably one of the most important features to consider when buying a dirt bike because it deals a lot with your safety and comfort as a rider. The first decision you must make is deciding whether to look at bikes with full suspension or hardtail suspension.
Hardtail suspension comes on lighter bikes, like the Schwinn Bonafide and Elecony Mountain Bike, and since only your front wheel is dealing with absorbing the impacts of the terrain, they are usually the cheaper option. That doesn’t stop them from being great hardtail dirt jump mountain bikes, though!
Full suspension, on the other hand, has springs and other mechanics to compress and dampen bouncing on your dirt bike on both of its wheels.
It’s important to check what’s called rider sag on your dirt jump bike. This is how much the bike compresses on its suspension simply from you sitting on it with your rider gear. If you have too much rider sag, the bike’s suspension won’t be able to fully absorb impacts on rough terrain, which can lead to injuries to yourself and damage to the bike if it bottoms out.
To prevent accidents, you may have to make your suspensions stiffer by getting different springs with a higher spring rate, using heavier shock oil and possibly more of it, or changing internal valving. These can add up in cost and be quite technical for a beginner, so it’s best to get the right suspension from the beginning if possible.
When it comes to dirt jump bike brakes, things don’t get too complicated.
Although you may want to consider hydraulic brakes over mechanical brakes for applying pressure, most dirt bikes use disc brake pads to achieve the stopping power required for sharp turns or sudden stops – something we were impressed by on the X-PRO 250cc Dirt Jump Bike. They’re even relatively easy for home mechanics to replace themselves! The only decision you have to make is between the three main kinds of the brake pad.
Metallic brake pads (also known as sintered brake pads) have tough metal acting as the force behind the braking power. They last the longest of the three kinds of brake pads, have good performance in wet or muddy conditions, and can tolerate high temperatures generated through braking. This makes them an ideal choice for off-road and dirt biking, especially with long downhill segments.
Organic or resin pads are an alternative to metallic brake pads that don’t last as long. However, they bed in quickly, meaning you don’t have to worry about inconsistent braking early on after replacing brake pads. They are nice and quiet while remaining inexpensive for beginner cyclists.
Semi-metallic pads, much like the 650B’s discussed below, are the choice that slides in somewhere between the first two. These pads take the positives of both the metallic and organic pads while reducing the negatives at the same time. This means they are more durable, have good braking power, and are quieter. However, they aren’t perfect because different brands can come in different ratios of organic and metal back plating, which can significantly change the price and performance of the pads. This means finding the right semi-metallic pad for your riding style can be quite difficult and requires research.
Wheel size plays an important role even in the best dirt jump bikes out there. So, what are the usual sizes and why? The standard diameter for dirt jump bike wheels is 26, 27.5, and 29 inches, with each having its pros and cons.
26-inch wheels are lighter since they are smaller, but they are also stiffer and stronger as a result. On something like the Mongoose Pt26 Dirt Jump Bike, they allow for greater acceleration and maneuverability – especially when climbing steep inclines. This is at the cost of the rider’s balance and control over particularly rough terrain, though. These wheels are best for high mobility tricks over moderate ground conditions.
29-inch wheels are basically the opposite of 26-inch wheels. They’re heavier while offering a smoother, more controlled ride since they can roll right over the majority of objects while you off-road on your dirt bike. However, that also means that you lose a certain amount of mobility and acceleration capability. These wheels are more common on bikes meant for cross country riding and general-purpose mountain biking.
27.5-inch wheels – commonly known as 650B’s in the dirt jump bike community – offer the best of both worlds. You’ll have greater control and stability on your dirt bike while maintaining the maneuverability and acceleration you need for almost any situation.
There are specific dirt jump bikes, which are made for dirt jump biking. Many professionals tend to buy a good frame and then replace parts as needed/wanted. There are a lot of arguments about which parts are better, such as the type of brakes or aluminum vs. steel frames. The most important part, especially as a novice, is to figure out what parts of the bike you like and what parts you don’t. That way, as you go to search for a proper dirt bike or parts down the road, you know what features you are looking for to give yourself the best experience.
It is best to clean your bike after each use to prevent muck getting into the parts and wearing them down faster. Most of the time, just using simple water and a soft cloth will get the job done. A low-pressure hose is best, but be sure not to spray water on your seat or any place that has bearings. For those areas, just take a damp cloth and wipe them down. Occasionally, you may have to take apart your bike to get to the tough to reach areas and make sure they are cleaned out, especially if your bike has an engine. This deep clean can be done about twice a year.
Keeping your bike clean is the best thing you can do to keep your bike in shape. Every time you clean it, be sure to inspect it for any cracks, damages, or worn-down parts as well. Always be sure to lube up your chain and check tire pressure as well. If you have a motorbike, check the air filters after every ride. Constantly inspecting, maintaining, and cleaning your bike is the key to having it in top-notch shape for jumping. It will also keep it in prime condition and last for years longer than your bike and the individual parts would otherwise.
The Elecony Mountain Bike has a low cost but also contains some important features, which is why it is the Editor’s Choice. However, the Mongoose Legion L500 is good for mid-level tricks before an upgrade is necessary, which is why it is our Premium Pick. The X-PRO 250cc Dirt Bike can be pricey for a starter bike but contains an engine to hit those top speeds. The Mongoose Pt26 Dirt Jump Bike is the Best Value, coming in under $200, having a good frame that will allow you to form a base for your upgraded bike later.
Finally, we have the Schwinn Bonafide and the Mongoose Legion L20. These are both great but may not have the specs to be great for dirt jump biking. With this article, we hope to show you which are the best dirt jump bikes and the important features when choosing a bike so that you can now go in, confident of what you are looking for.
RSNG | The Man Who Does 720s Off Dirt Jumps And Freerides Down Sheer Mountains Has A Whole Basket Of Tips To Get You Jumping, Descending And Shredding On A Mountain Bike
Extreme mountain biker Sam Pilgrim loves riding down stuff – fast. He’s also got some next-level jumping skills, landing 720 corks and holding his own in slopestyle competitions. What’s more he’s a mean freerider too, taking his bikes backcountry and sending some super-gnarly lines. But everyone has to start somewhere, so RSNG got him to reveal the best pro tips for beginner and improving mountain bikers – give it a go, you won’t regret it!