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Best Dirt Jump Bikes

By Jordan Grimes   /  Last updated - September 15, 2022   /  Best-Of-Reviews, Dirt Jump Bikes, Reviews
best dirt jump bikes

Image source: cannondale.com

A dirt jump mountain bike is essentially a mountain bike crossed with a BMX. This hybrid performs much like an oversized BMX, making it ideal for riding slopestyle, pump tracks, street riding, and your local skatepark.

The perfect dirt jump bike is characterized by strong 26″ wheels, jump-specific geometry, narrow handlebars, a short stem, tough, lightweight components, and stiff suspension. These features allow you to ride hard in a skatepark, whip your tail on dirt tracks, and crush big jumps.

Check out some of the best dirt jump bikes that we recommend below!

How to Choose a Dirt Jump Bike?


All best dirt jump bikes must have the following features:

  • Ultra-durable & lightweight frame (CroMoly or Aluminum)
  • 24″ – 26″ Wheels
  • High PSI tires with mild tread
  • Gyro or long brake cables for spinning handlebars
  • Stiff fork suspension
  • Narrow handlebars with a short stem
  • Single-speed drivetrain
  • Hydraulic disc brakes

Should You Get a Dirt Jumper or BMX Bike?

A dirt jumper is more suitable than a BMX for riders who want to try out skatepark riding, test their skills, and develop their confidence before switching to the pure BMX jump bike.

With bigger wheels and wider tires, fork suspension, and a larger frame, the dirt jump MTB provides a great entry point for pump track or skatepark riding without fully committing. In addition, these bikes have the added benefit of being more comfortable for street riding and slopestyle riding when compared to a BMX.

Best Dirt Jump Mountain Bike Brands

  • GT
  • NS Bikes
  • Cannondale
  • DMR
  • Specialized
  • Kona
  • Marin

Choosing the Right Wheels

The most common wheel size for the dirt jump bicycle is 26″, making them one of the last bikes on the market using this wheel size.

Dirt jumper wheels should have a high number of spokes to improve durability. A high number of short spokes on these wheels makes them extra strong for landing jumps.

Occasionally, you can find models with 24″ wheels or even a 27.5″ dirt jump bike; however, this is unlikely as most manufacturers have standardized at 26″.

Should You Go for a Suspension Fork or Rigid?

One of the defining characteristics of dirt jump bikes is the suspension fork, distinguishing them from rigid fork BMXs.

That said, some cheap dirt jump bikes use a rigid fork along with the other features described above. The fork suspension on these bikes should be pretty stiff, offering just enough to take the edge off big hits and making this style of riding more accessible.


Best Dirt Jump Bikes


1. Marin Alcatraz

Marin ALCATRAZ dirt jump

MSRP: $1,504

  • Manitou Circus Expert 26″ Coil Spring 100mm
  • Tires: Vee Tire, XCV 2.25”
  • Wheels: Marin Custom Extrusion 26″

The Marin Alcatraz is an aluminum dirt jumper that pays close attention to detail. This sleek 26″ dirt jump bike comes with some of the highest quality components in the category. 

A considerable chunk of the price of this bike goes into frame manufacturing. It uses a solid Series 3 aluminum alloy with horizontal dropouts, ambidextrous internal routing, and short chainstays. 

A Manitou Circus Expert 100mm fork helps take the sting out of any big hits and combines well with the wide Vee Tire XCV 2.25” tires on durable custom Marin wheels. Finally, Marin includes a rear Tektro hydraulic disc brake to provide stopping power.

The PROs:

The high-quality DJ-specific fork, custom-formed wheels, and a carefully engineered frameset.

The CONs:

The Alcatraz is slightly more expensive compared to the competition.

The SUM:

An excellent choice dirt jump bicycle with top quality components. For those with a big budget, you’ll certainly get value from this DJ machine.

Buy from Jenson USA


2. Cannondale Dave

Cannondale Dave Dirt Jump Bike

MSRP: $1,225
Gravity Coalition

  • Fork: Manitou Circus Expert 100mm
  • Frame: SmartForm C3 Alloy 
  • Tektro mechanical disc 
  • 26×2.3″ Maxxis DTH

The Cannondale Dave is a dirt jumper from a leading bike brand. This model has been a consistent feature in the brand’s lineup over the years.

The Cannondale Dave’s design gives it a unique feel. Relaxed geometry balances stability and agility so you can be confident at high speeds and on tight tracks. Additionally, it has integrated chainstay tensioners on the high-quality SmartForm frame. 

This 26 dirt jumper has tough double-wall rims and Maxxis’ DTH 2.3″ tires to absorb anything you can throw at them. For backup, a 100mm Manitou Circus Expert dirt jump fork absorbs all the extra energy from pumping and jumping.

Finally, you can put your trust in a rear Tektro mechanical disc brake to provide consistent and reliable stopping power.

The PROs:

The Cannondale Dave is a bike made with the expertise of one of cycling’s leading brands. It has a quality frame, DJ-specific components, and a reasonable price. 

The CONs:

The stock alloy wheels are a bit disappointing.

The SUM:

The Cannondale Dave is slightly cheaper than some of the others on this list despite being from a big-name brand. Overall, the level of components is as expected for the price.

Buy from Gravity Coalition


3. GT LaBomba Pro

GT LaBomba Rigid Bike

MSRP: $875

  • Fork: GT Pro Pump Track rigid
  • Frame: 6061 Aluminum
  • Promax mechanical disc 
  • 26×2.35″ Kenda 3-Sixty

Southern California-born GT is a company of BMX and MTB specialists at the core. They produce fun bikes, and their LaBomba rigid dirt jump 26″ is the cheaper model of the LaBomba range and an excellent entry-level choice for DJ riders who don’t want fork suspension.

With its significantly lower price, LaBomba’s main component change is the suspension fork. It uses a rigid steel fork instead, which limits your ability to land hard jumps. 

Kenda optimizes their 3-Sixty 2.35″ tires for the pump track, skatepark, and dirt jump track, using a minimalist thread that makes for a fast-rolling tire. 

This GT dirt jumper uses a light and stiff 6061 aluminum frameset with a threaded BB and sliding dropouts for chain tension adjustments. Finally, a Promax mechanical disc brake is lesser-known and not as well made as Shimano or SRAM alternatives.

The PROs:

GT’s Labomba is an excellent price, and it weighs less and requires less maintenance without the fork suspension.

The CONs:

Cheaper brakes perform worse and are less durable. Doesn’t hold value as a used dirt jumper.

The SUM:

The LaBomba is the perfect entry-level dirt jump bike and delivers much of the same performance without the hefty price tag. 

Buy from Jenson USA


4. NS Bikes Zircus

NS bikes zircus

MSRP: $949

  • NS AL6061-T6 Aluminum frame
  • Suntour XCM 24′ 50mm travel fork
  • Kenda Small Block 8 24×2.1″ tires
  • Tektro Aries mechanical disc (r), Alhonga v-brake (f)

The NS Bikes Zircus release is a stylish DJ bike that performs well for a sub-$1,000 price tag. As with all NS Bikes options in this price range, you have their NS AL6061-T6 custom-formed and butted-tube frame.

This aluminum has excellent rigidity and strength-to-weight characteristics, perfect for dirt jump riding.

Kenda Small Block 8 24×2.1″ tires are common among dirt jump bikes, and the Zircus is no different. They sit on an NS JR 24” wheelset that easily handles the dirt track’s demands.

This bike has a Suntour XCM 50mm travel to take the sting out of your landings. All of this makes this bike a great value purchase. Finally, put your trust in a Tektro mechanical disc brake to provide reliable stopping power on the track.

The PROs:

A high-quality T6-6061 Aluminum frame and fast and responsive ride feel.

The CONs:

Lower performance Suntour fork.

The SUM:

Well-priced aluminum-frame dirt jumper with excellent ride quality; the Zircus doesn’t leave anything to be desired.

Buy from Mike's Bikes


5. Haro Steel Reserve 1.1

haro steel reserve 1.1

MSRP: $679

  • Cromoly steel
  • Rigid Cromoly fork
  • Kenda K-Rad 26 x 2.3″
  • Tektro mechanical disc 

Haro’s Steel Reserve 1.1 is a super-cheap DJ mountain bike with a rigid fork and suspension correction that allows for the addition of a suspension fork. 

The Steel Reserve has BMX-ready Kenda K-Rad 26 x 2.3″ tires on durable and lightWeinmann XM260  double-wall alloy rims. Pair this wheelset with a rigid fork and you’ve got a versatile dirt jumper.

The one area in which this bike sacrifices some quality to account for the excellent price is the lack of suspension which means it won’t be comfortable taking hard hits. Finally, it comes with a Tektro mechanical disc for reliable stopping power. 

The PROs:

Best value in terms of price.

The CONs:

Only available in one size, lower performance with the rigid fork.

The SUM:

Highly competitive pricing makes the Steel Reserve 1.1 DJ bike one of the best choices, but a suspension upgrade would take it to the next level. 

Buy from JensonUSA.com


6. NS Bikes Metropolis 3

ns bikes metropolis 3

MSRP: $1,050

  • NS Bikes custom-butted 4130 Cromoly
  • Rst Dirt T, 100mm travel fork
  • 26″ x 2.1″ Kenda Small Block 8
  • Tektro MD-M300 Aries 160mm mechanical disc

The Metropolis 3 is another mid-range dirt jumper from BMX specialists NS Bikes, except with a steel frame instead of aluminum. 

This bike comes equipped with custom-butted Cromoly steel with dirt jump geometry. This frame benefits from years of experience in BMX frame design and is optimized for dirt track, skatepark, and pump track riding.

The Metropolis 3 uses a cheaper Rst Dirt T 100mm travel fork along with Jalco DBX 26” rims and Kenda Small Block 26″ x 2.1″ tires. These tires are fast-rolling and durable tires. All combined, these three components ensure a controlled and long-lasting ride. The Metropolis 3 also has a Tektro mechanical disc brake. 

The PROs:

Durable and comfortable Cromoly steel frame. 

The CONs:

XC mountain bike tires aren’t as well rounded as BMX-style versions, just one size dirt jump frame 26″, no integrated chain tensioners.

The SUM:

Mid-range dirt jump bike with solid components and ride quality. 

Buy from Mike's Bikes


Best Dirt Jump Frames


1. Chromag Monk Frame 2021

Chromag Monk dirt jump Frame

MSRP: $736
evo.com

  • 4130 Chromoly Steel Tubing
  • Fork compatibility: 80 – 120mm
  • 26″ wheel compatible

Chromag’s Monk frameset is the perfect base for your next 26-inch dirt jump bike.

This frame is made from lightweight and durable 4130 Cromoly steel, which optimizes comfort and longevity compared to an aluminum alternative. Cromoly steel also has the best strength-to-weight ratio on the market, boosting ride quality and durability.

The Monk frame is perfect for single-speed DJ drivetrains and disc brake setups. In addition, it will work with 80mm to 120mm travel suspension forks. Finally, this frameset is ready for a gyro which allows you to spin your handlebars without worrying about cables, integrated chain tensioners, and custom chainstays.

The PROs:

Highly durable and comfortable.

The CONs:

Only compatible with 26″ wheels.

The SUM:

High-quality steel frameset with a premium price.

Buy from Evo.com


2. Santa Cruz Jackal Framesetsanta cruz jackal frameset

MSRP: $999

  • Aluminum
  • 26″ wheels
  • 2.5″ tire clearance
  • Available dropouts: 142x12mm geared or 135x10mm single speed
  • Fork compatibility: 100-160mm

Santa Cruz is a premium mountain bike brand with world-class bikes among its range. Thankfully all of this design trickles down to their frames and components.

Their Jackal frame is an aluminum dirt jumper made from 6061-T6 alloy. Although Santa Cruz is mainly known for its carbon frames, this aluminum offers a light and stiff ride quality for a cheap price.

The frame is compatible with disc brakes and a geared or single-speed drivetrain. It has sliding dropouts for chain tensioning, a tapered headtube, and short 15.2-inch chainstays. In addition, you can choose from two sizes.

The PROs:

Two sizes available and broad, 160mm fork compatibility.

The CONs:

More expensive than other models. 

The SUM:

A great quality frame by one of the best mountain bike manufacturers.

Buy from Mikesbikes.com


Conclusion

Because of the narrow specifications and limited variety of dirt jump bikes, choosing the best model for you will be less complicated than, for example, selecting a hardtail mountain bike.

For this reason, your budget, bike availability, and design preferences will be the strongest influences on which one you choose. Your ride style, ability, and local routes/parks will also determine which bike is the best fit.

Finding a great dirt jump bicycle is getting easier as the niche discipline becomes more mainstream. With prominent brands like Cannondale, Specialized, and Kona releasing new models, it is likely to continue its upward progression.

If you’re thinking of trying your hand on the track or just looking for your next dirt jumper, we hope this article helps you find the perfect one.

 

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