Rad Rides: The Top Ten BMX Bikes Of All Time

Knees still scarred from the wheel skids of your youth? We look at ten of the best BMX bikes.
Photo of the book 'Rad Rides: The Best BMX Bikes of All Time' by Stuart Robinson
Rad Rides: The Best Bikes of All Time
By Mark Noble

Putting together a list of the top ten of everything can be a contentious issue when it comes to personal favourites of anything… but when it comes to BMX bikes, a handful of people worldwide should really know their onions and come up with almost definitive lists – and I have mine – so here’s one such person.

Stuart Robinson spent a couple of years creating the recently published coffee-table book, 'Rad Rides, The Best BMX Bikes Of All Time' for renowned creative design book publisher, Laurence King. It’s a fantastic book, extremely well laid-out, photographed and researched, and filled cover-to-cover with the most jaw-dropping, saliva-inducing bikes made through the decades of history of bicycle motocross – if you’ve swung a leg over a BMX and understand its history, then you need this book in your life.

But I wanted to know more, so I posed Stuart the rather difficult task of nailing that list down to just ten bikes. And yup, as Stuart confirmed, “Choosing a top ten from the book’s a really difficult task, especially as once it was published I realised that two of my favourite frames of all time – the Hoffman Taj and the T1 Barcode – hadn’t even made it in there. But, here’s my list of top ten bikes…”

Photo of the book Rad Rides: The Best BMX Bikes of All Time on the collectors page.
Decades of the best BMX Bikes fill the book

10. 1981 Diamond Back Silver Streak
“By the time I’d really started to fall in love with BMX the rich kid from the end of the street already had a Silver Streak. He knew I loved it, never let me ride it and just did skids everywhere.”

9. 1982 Diamond Back Harry Leary Turbo
“If I was going to conjure up the image of what a BMX really should look like this would still be pretty close to where it’s at, I love this bike, I love the stance, the tyres, the quality of the build.”

8. 1984 GT Pro Performer
“The GT Performer changed everything for me. My mate Nick Floyd apparently bought the second one in the country, from Faze 7 in Waltham Cross, and I’ve never been so jealous of a bike in my life. This yellow one is an exemplary example, I love it.”

Photo of a page in the book Rad Rides: The Ten best BMX Bikes of All Time showing the GT Pro Performer BMX Bike.
The GT Performer: The yellow brick BMX bike

7. 1995 Standard STA 500
“How can any top ten not include this bike, in the mid-nineties anyone who rode one of these you knew was a proper rider. Heavy, strong, bad to the bone. I still love Standard Bykes, innovative to the core and a good guy’s brand.”

6. 1995 S&M Dirt Bike
“Dirt jumping was my favourite style of riding in the nineties and Cyclone Cycles of Waltham Abbey always had a Dirt Bike frame in stock. I loved the angles and clean style of the frame, I loved S&M as a brand and the Dirt Bike was a step away from the super heavy builds of the nineties towards a lighter feel, which was much better for me.”

5. 1997 Standard Trail Boss
“Sticking to a theme here, Robbie Morales was an inspiration to me, I loved his style and the way he rode trails. Rhythm! What more can I say, this is a great frame.”

4. 2011 Deluxe Tech II
“Believe it or not this isn’t in here for any ass licking reasons – I love this bike because firstly it’s clean, light and built to shred trails. Secondly it’s a brand from Great Britain where I can honestly say BMX is at the strongest it’s ever been and finally because it comes from the mind of one of the man who helped firmly establish BMX as a lifestyle here in the UK. Sweet bike. I could easily have picked he FBM Steadfast in here, they’ve done a lot for BMX and make great bikes, but the Deluxe just does it for me.”

3. 2011 T1 GBSFA
“This was a tough tough call, it was between this bike and the S&M XLAF. S&M actually make the SFA these days, but I went for the SFA over the XLAF purely because I ride one of these and it’s absolutely amazing. When I picked it up from Volt BMX – if Carlsberg made BMX shops etc – I was blown away with it. And Joe Rich at T1 is a star.”

Photo of the T1 SFA Bmx Bike in the book Rad Rides: The Best BMX Bikes of All Time
The T1 SFA Bike: Hand-made, with love in the UK

2. 1978 JAG Cafe Racer
“This is a classic bike. I love the history behind it, I love the look of it, I love the guy that built it – Glynn Hicks – and I love the JAG brand and heritage. I want to ride this bike to the track and roll round it.”

1. 1984 Hutch Pro Star
“Did you ever see a more beautiful, perfectly made, shinier object than this? It was expensive, sure, I could never afford one that’s certain, but the lucky few kids round my way that did have them also rode them, and rode them hard. The air they got on these things made me so happy. This bike is the bike I’d happily have on my wall over all others.”

Photo of the book Rad Rides: The Ten Best BMW Bikes of All Time showing the 1984 Hutch Bike.
The Hutch: The BMX E.T should have taken home

Any other bikes you’d like on the list, if it was more than ten bikes? “I’d have loved to have included the Hoffman Condor in this list alongside the DK SOB, the Hutch Judge and of course the Woody Itson Gold Hutch Trick Star, but hey, there’s only ten for a reason and this is my top ten.”

We have 3 copies of 'Rad Rides' to give away, just leave us a comment telling us the name of one of the parts of the Empire of Dirt course to win.

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