BMX frames come in a number of varieties. From super strong street beasts to lower slung ramp-slaying machines and everything in between, we've tested the best BMX frames out there. Value for money, quality and brand credibility are the things we care about here at Ride UK.
The best BMX frames in 2018 from the top brands show great refinement all round. BMX frames and components have become fine examples of clever product design and you'll find some of the most useful features appearing on these frames.
The best BMX frames available in 2018 come from a healthy spread of manufacturers – these are all brands that the Ride UK team can recommend. They're legit.
"From super strong street beasts to lower slung ramp-slaying machines and everything in between, we've tested the best BMX frames out there."
Here are some extracts about each frame and why it made it onto our list. Check out the full pieces for all the finer details on the 16 best BMX frames for 2018.
For further reviews on everything BMX from complete bikes to tyres and tools, have a browse through the Ride UK 100, our in depth buyer's guide to the 100 hottest BMX products on the market right now.
A selection of the Best BMX Frames available in 2018
BSD is a Scottish BMX brand with one hell of a team. Their momentum can be traced along with the success of the riders who they sponsor – just look at Kriss Kyle, Alex D, Reed Stark, David Grant and Dan Paley. Some of these guys are almost brands in their own right.
BSD has kept the fire lit with great products and arguably some of the best video content of any brand, thanks to the efforts of Dave Sowerby. Pair that strong brand image with a reputation for high quality parts, and you have a genuinely strong BMX company.
The BSD ALVX frame is quite possibly the ultimate modern, super responsive street frame on the market right now. As Alex Donnachie’s signature frame, it has been proven by its massive popularity over the last few years. The success of this frame, in combination with his level of riding, has helped make Alex D something of an icon.
It’s easy to see why the BSD ALVX frame has been so popular. It’s crazy short. The back end is 12.5" when slammed. Seriously, 12.5". Insane, right? Alex said that when designing this frame, he just wanted a normal frame except for it to have the shortest back end possible. Well, it’s got that! But it also has a super steep 75.5 degree head tube angle – the BSD ALVX is super responsive all round then. With this frame, any bike will be kicky and whippy, no matter how you choose to set it up.
Kriss Kyle + BSD = The BSD Passenger frame.
This frame has been flying off the shelves since its introduction, most likely due to its fantastic versatility and also because Kriss Kyle is a straight-up superstar. Kriss rides all terrain on this frame and seems more than comfortable on it, so it’s no surprise that it’s been popular with guys who like to ride a bit of everything. Add in the fact that it comes in no less than five top tube sizes from 20.2 to 21.5, and you have a frame adaptable to any rider.
It seems like Reed Stark is always grinning. Especially after successfully riding away from a gnarly setup. We can’t fault that attitude, we can’t fault his riding, and we can’t fault his signature frame either.
The geometry on the BSD Safari frame is a little different to a traditional frame. It’s long at the front – all the way to 21.8" if you fancy it! That’s pretty much the longest toptube option in our lineup. However, the back end is the opposite, so the rear wheel feels comparatively closer. The handling this gives you is a nice balance of stability and manoeuvrability, perfect for the rider who likes to go fast but also likes to get tech.
Cult is quite the revered brand. Started by Robbie Morales in 2010, it has been a huge success, with a strong company image, a diverse team of riders and some of the most trustworthy products on the market.
Dak is an absolute powerhouse on a bike. Despite getting friendly with some stupidly big setups, everything he does somehow looks super smooth, dialled and calculated. There’s a level of detail in his riding that you don’t get with every street rider, especially on things like big drops and wallrides.
This frame, then, is designed to handle it all. Short and steep enough for the tech moves, long and stable enough for the high speed stuff. 75.5 degrees on the front, 13.25" at the back. Those numbers equal very responsive geometry without being too snappy. Add a bottom bracket height of 11.6" – that’s on the lower side of things – and you’re offered good general stability alongside that responsiveness.
When this frame arrived and we unpacked it, gasps were heard echoing around the office. The paintjob is that good.
This ‘Shorty’ frame (with Sean Ricany’s awesome signature colourway) is built for the streets, plain and simple. Tech street riding is where Ricany excels and this is the frame he does it all on – although we’re sure this geometry would probably feel quite at home in a skatepark, too.
With a headtube angle of 75.5 degrees, that front end is going to be highly responsive. A relatively high bottom bracket height of 11.7" will provide extra pop when you need it and the 13–13.3" chainstays make sure the back end has more than enough control. Plenty of top tube lengths are available on this frame, but as the name suggests, perhaps this is aimed at the shorter riders. Disregarding the longer options, this is one of the only frames we’ve seen recently available with a 20" top tube. Definitely a solid option for the shorter / younger riders out there.
Federal Bikes was launched by Seventies Distribution in the year 2000. It’s certainly been through a few different chapters as the landscape of the BMX industry down in Hastings has changed, but Federal continues to be, without question, one of the UK’s strongest BMX brands. Their team over the years has been consistently strong – from international big dogs like Davey Watson, Jared Washington, Stevie Churchill, Bruno Hoffmann and Steven Hamilton, to homegrown heroes such as Dan Lacey, Mark Love and Dan Cox. Federal has always maintained its status as a honourable brand to represent, which has translated into the success of its products, both in the UK and further afield. Federal has earned global respect.
This frame is a true street machine. You only have to look at Lacey’s videos to see the kind of tasks it’s up to. It’s designed to handle the Dan Lacey abuse, which means it’s strong, manoeuvrable, dependable and versatile. One thing that might surprise you is the level of detail on this frame though – it’s not just a burly street beast. There are numerous little touches that really add appeal to the DLX, nicely designed, subtly branded.
These elements of strength, detail, rider reputation and brand history all add up to crown the Federal DLX frame as a real street classic.
Garrett Reynolds started Fiend in 2011. Garrett Reynolds. X-Games gold medalist every year, Simple Session winner every time, absolute legend boss of street riding every day. His video parts have probably melted more minds than any other, he’s just unstoppable.
Fiend forms the outlet of that kind of riding – the perfect blend of super technical skill and brutal gnarly massive big-balls riding. As Brian Tunney once said, the Fiend crew may very well ride a one-foot-high ledge but they’ll also truck off the roof next to it. Fiend’s success as a BMX brand has been carried purely by amazing bike riding – exactly as it should be. Zero gimmicks, pretty much no marketing, just a solid crew of riders who absolutely slay the world of BMX riding on a regular basis.
RRP £309.99 / £319.99
The Fiend Varanyak is a beast of a frame, fit for the best street riding in the world.
It's a frame designed around responsive geometry and a super strong front end – just check those gussets.
"I really like the bottom gusset, and head tube/BB angles for the bearings. I’ve always been into the old E30 M3 so I wanted to give my frame that boxy look. It’s just a really easy bike to ride and do anything on. Easy to bunnyhop and spin on flat ground. Kids always hit me up telling me how much easier it’s made their riding in general." –Colin Varanyak
Flybikes began in 1999 in Vigo, Spain. A beautiful place! The guys have a crazy passion for BMX bikes and strive for perfection in how their products look and how their parts ride. There are some signature design aspects in Flybikes parts that let you know they’re part of the family as soon as you see them. From the little tree insignia to their clever and stylish design principles, Flybikes stuff is carefully dialled. The Flybikes team has always been strong, supporting some of the world’s most stylish and most progressive BMX riders, from icons like Ruben Alcantara and Sergio Layos to future legends Courage Adams and our man here, Devon Smillie.
RRP: £299.99 (Trans Colours £319.99)
Devon Smillie is some kind of wizard on a bike. His prowess at fakie manuals and jaw-dropping tech combos has been wowing other riders for the last few years, and Devon continues to push progression on the Flybikes Fuego line of products.
This latest version of the Flybikes Fuego frame is, obviously, made for the streets. It features a steep and responsive 75.5º headtube angle, a generous 9.25" standover and a 13" back end.
Specified to Devon Smillie’s needs, loved by his fans, the Fuego frame is a beautifully designed frame that’s built tough. Plus, it looks pretty sensational in this flat trans blue colour…
Haro’s history in BMX is long and rich. Undisputed pioneers of a lot of what we call Freestyle BMX, it was founder Bob Haro who moved across from racing into this new BMX movement in the late 1970s. 1981 saw Haro design the first freestyle-specific frame and fork, the Haro Freestyler, and the rest is history. These days, Haro remains a household name and supports a relatively small but absolutely savage team including Dennis Enarson and Chad Kerley.
Chad Kerley. Undisputed boss of the super tech street line. The way Chad links up grinds, bars, whips, manuals and nosemanuals is pretty insane – and often quite unlikely, but he makes it happen. There’s a lot of control there. Perhaps it’s his racing background (see the intro to his section in Markit Zero) that explains his bike control, perhaps he just thinks differently, perhaps he’s a wizard. Whatever it is, he does it all on this – The Haro CK – his signature frame from Haro.
When we saw this Haro XX, the Ryan Nyquist signature frame, it divided opinion. Yes, it’s different. Very different! Looking at all the little details and the general look of the frame, there’s clearly some mid-school influence in there, as Ryan himself explains:
“Seeing as this frame commemorates my 20th anniversary of riding with Haro, I wanted it to reflect the design of my most favorite signature bikes I had, while modernizing the geometry and technology to have it ride like a modern day frame." – Ryan Nyquist
The XX frame then – throwback style, modern geometry and feel, great paintwork, interesting details, different!
Established in 1994, Kink still has the same mission today as it did when it began – to help its customers have a good time, enjoy being on their bikes, and spend time with friends. A brand thoroughly respected the world over.
Sean Sexton has been a fan favourite for several years, and it’s easy to see why. His style on the streets is consistently excellent – from those opposite downside whips to the rail tooth over 360s, Sexton makes it all look damn fine.
It’s clear there are lots of key features on his signature frame, for both strength and looks. On the strength side, that oval downtube will certainly do the job, and the whole tube set has an air of high quality to it. We like the dropout design with the open tubes, it’s a unique detail that gives the SXTN frame real character. Lastly (along with some more likely candidates like gloss black) this frame comes in some cracking colourways, from this gloss trans blue to matte slate green. Paired with some decent sticker graphics from Kink, the SXTN definitely stands out.
Sunday do things differently. Their flagship Soundwave frame features many unique kinds of technology that Sunday have developed and patented – things like the wave tubing that resists dents and enhances stiffness. They look different, have different handling and are often chosen by those riders who like to be a little different. Sunday have been treading their own path since the beginning and we respect them for it.
From the headtube to the dropouts, the Sunday Soundwave boasts features that no other frames can, such as The Wave down tube. How the original Wave frame got its name. Sunday have kept this feature in their design for ten years now, proving its dent resistance and strength.
The Soundwave also features a Wave top tube. Down from there, the chain stays are ‘boxed’ tubes. This squarer tube shape again provides extra stiffness and allows clearance for wider tyres – 2.4" blimps are no problem in the Sunday Soundwave.
On top of all that tubing technology, Sunday have employed a rust-proof coating, integrated chain tensioners in hollow 8mm dropouts, Odyssey’s proven 41 Thermal heat treating process and have backed the Soundwave with a lifetime warranty. Magic!
S&M is a true BMX brand. It doesn’t get much more real than S&M. Founded by a pair of wild teenagers in 1987 (Swingrover & Moeller) they’d already had enough experience with BMX race frames to know that they needed something better and were prepared to try and make it themselves. So began the history of S&M aka The Shield… In 1988 the Slam Bars were introduced, 1989 saw the Dirt Bike, and everything pretty much rocketed from there. With the departure of Swingrover in 1990, Chris Moeller set about running the brand on his own – while riding and partying as much as possible, naturally.
ATF = Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms = All Terrain Frame. Clearly then, the S&M ATF is a well rounded BMX frame. You can do whatever flavour of BMX you like on this bad boy. It’s the benchmark that S&M have used for a while when developing their team riders’ signature steeds. It’s also the choice of most of the S&M employees, and those guys know what’s up.
“It’s a little stronger and heavier than some of the frames on the market but it’s what people that really ride want. Stylish, classic, and burly all rolled up into one." –S&M
The geometry is wonderfully balanced, as you’d expect. One more note on its versatility – the ATF is available in seven toptube lengths, all the way from 20" up to 22". Mega.
When Bas Keep started his own BMX company in the spring of 2016, it was big news. Bas has endured a legitimate career as a pro rider, both as part of the Seventies Distribution family and with massive companies like Vans and Red Bull. After putting the years in with Hoffman Bikes and then Cult, Bas took a pretty big leap forward and started his very own BMX company, playfully calling it Tall Order.
The Tall Order 215 frame is so-called due to its standover height in millimeters – that’s 8.5" by the way. They also offer a similar frame, the 187, with (you guessed it) a standover of 187mm for shorter riders or those who simply prefer a lower standover.
The geometry on the 215 is a good balance for most kinds of transition riding. 13.5" chainstays give enough kick without being too whippy and the 11.6" bottom bracket height is low enough for some extra pump and stability when going fast. This is one of the only frames in our lineup that’s available with a 21.5" top tube – definitely a good shout for the taller guys.
Total BMX is a UK brand synonymous with high level ramp riding. Deeply involved with BMX trick progression, sponsoring some of the most influential ramp riders on the scene today, Total has remained a popular brand for clear reasons.
Integral to the brand itself is the Total Hangover frame – Alex Coleborn’s signature rig. Perfectly matched to Coleborn’s style of fast, technical park riding, it’s seen a number of revisions over the years and is now even better than ever. The result is a frame nimble enough for Alex Coleborn to do the things he does. If that kind of riding is your cup of tea, the Total Hangover is a clear choice.
Apart from the wacky seatclamp, you’ll also notice that this frame is low. With a standover of a mere 7.3", this is not a vision of comfort and stability – but it’s not meant to be. Its primary goal is to make the most mind-bending ramp tricks possible by being small, short, light and responsive. On the subject of short, this is the only frame we reviewed with a 19.8" top tube option.
Started by Ian Morris in 2006, United Bike Co. has been pumping out some of the finest, most durable products on the market since its inception. Not unlike Ian’s riding, the brand is full-commitment and steadfast, all whilst maintaining one of the greatest BMX teams on the planet.
Slim tapered tubing with no weird eye-curdling geometry, this is the absolute BMX frame, 100% BMX. Now I am no innocent… I’ve strayed off course, I’ve dabbled in some fancy head angles and miniscule chainstay lengths in my time. But, like a castrated former sex offender, I can now see the errors of my ways. I’ll be riding this geometry for the rest of my life. A perfect all-rounder, this frame is for the trail riders and bowl roasters, but will also stand up to the worst the streets can offer.