BMX Tips

What’s Best BMX Frame Material?

bmx frame material

Do you also want to know what’s the best BMX frame material?

The answer is simple: Chromoly!

But let’s dig deeper.

Your bike frame should take A TON of beating.

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Thus, you don’t want to choose a material that could bend and break – at least not easily.

When it comes to BMX frames, there are mainly two big players: chromoly and high-tensile steel.

Both have their fans, but let’s be real, not all materials are created equal.

Here’s the scoop: Chromoly has an epic strength-to-weight ratio, making it tough as nails without weighing you down. Plus, it’s durable and performs like a champ, making it the top pick for freestyle BMX frames.

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So, if you’re serious about riding, chromoly is the way to go. Trust me, it’s a game-changer!

But for kids or if you’re just starting out and don’t plan to shred hard right away, you might go away with a HiTen steel BMX frame, too.

But know that a hi-ten frame won’t last you forever, while a chromoly one actually can.

2 BMX Frame Material Options

Overview Of High-Tensile Steel

example high-tensile steel frame

This is your basic, sturdy steel.

It’s pretty common and doesn’t hit your wallet too hard.

High-tensile steel frames are solid and can definitely handle a fair share of riding. Initially!

However, if you take BMX seriously, they won’t last long.

Also, they’re heavier, which can be a bit of a bummer when you’re trying to pull off tricks.

Also, hi-ten steel frames are usually for smaller/younger riders, where extra weight can be a challenge.

Overview Of Chromoly

example chromoly frame

Think of chromoly as high-tensile steel on steroids. It’s not bigger-looking, but it’s way more tougher.

It’s lighter, stronger, and more flexible.

Chromoly frames can take a hit and keep going, perfect for pushing your limits.

But I recommend chromoly even for something starting out unless a kid or someone who’s light.

They offer the perfect balance of durability and performance without making your bike feel like a ton of bricks, which is exactly what you want during your sessions.

Why Chromoly Dominates Freestyle BMX

why chromoly dominates freestyle bmx

Strength-To-Weight Ratio

Chromoly is strong yet surprisingly light, making your bike feel nimble and easy to throw around in the air.

Compared to other materials, chromoly lets you ride harder and land those tricks without feeling weighed down.

It’s a no-brainer for freestyle.

It is the BMX material that you can trust 100% – and not worry about breaking something.

Note: Yes, even chromoly parts can break, but that mainly depends on how you ride. Be gentle. Don’t throw your bike around. Learn how to land tricks smoothly.

Durability & Lifespan

Think of chromoly as your ride-or-die buddy.

It’s got your back through thick and thin, surviving crashes and bails that would send other bikes to the scrapyard.

The material’s toughness means your frame can take a beating. This means it’ll last you longer and save you cash in the long run.

Riders who push their bikes to the limit have noticed a big difference. With chromoly, it’s like your bike has nine lives.

Performance & Ride Quality

Ever notice how some bikes just feel better to ride?

That’s where chromoly’s magic really happens.

Its flexibility and vibration damping means smoother rides, better control, and less fatigue on your hands and feet.

The Drawbacks Of High-Tensile Steel

Weight & Handling

It’s on the heavier side, which can be a real drag when trying to pull off those tricks.

A heavier frame means you’ve got to work harder to maneuver your bike, and that’s not what you want.

If you’re getting a 16″ or an 18″ BMX bike, high-tensile steel can work great, but I’d avoid it for all costs when getting a 20″ one.


You’re mainly using your bike to ride around, not doing much sessioning.

Susceptibility To Fatigue

A HiTen steel frame can experience “fatigue” much quicker than a chromoly one.

This is especially true if you’re landing hard and always push it to the limits.

Over time, this wear and tear can lead to cracks or breaks, which means you might need to shop for a new frame sooner than you’d like.

Economic Perspective

Here’s the deal: High-tensile steel might seem like a bargain at first glance. And yes, it’s true, your wallet won’t feel much lighter right away.

But think long-term.

Hey, you’re in this for the fun of it, right? And you want to have fun for many years to come!

With the potential for more repairs or even the need for a new frame down the line, those initial savings can start to seem a little less sweet.

On the flip side, investing in a chromoly frame might pinch at first.

But you save money and hassle in the long run.

You get a better ride out of it, plus you feel much more comfortable without constantly worrying when something will break.

Making The Right Choice

For New Riders

Picking your first frame is exciting, but it can feel a bit like a maze, right?

Here’s the thing: balance your budget with your need for performance and style.

If you’re just getting into BMX, it’s okay to start with something more affordable, like high-tensile steel.

Or you buying a bike for your kid.

It allows you to learn what you love (and don’t) without breaking the bank. (Also, there are always some sort of deals on complete bikes, so watch out for those.)

You’ll feel where your bike holds you back as you get better.

That’s when you should start considering upgrading.

Remember, it’s all about finding that sweet spot between not overspending and getting a bike to keep up with your progress.

For Experienced Riders

You know the drill and how much difference a good frame makes.

If you’re still rocking high-tensile steel and feeling its limits, it’s time to level up.

Investing in a chromoly frame is smart.

These frames can keep up with your tricks, spills, and thrills.

They offer better performance and durability, and hey, they even save you money in the long run since they last longer.

Plus, that improved ride quality?

If you’re serious about pushing your limits and learning new, harder tricks, chromoly is your best bet.

It’s an investment in your passion and your future in BMX.

Conclusion: Just Opt For Chromoly!

Alright, after diving deep into the world of BMX frame materials, here’s the bottom line: chromoly is the way to go!

Chromoly frames are lighter, stronger, and more flexible, making them the perfect partner for your BMX shenanigans.

I’d have switched to a chromoly frame sooner if I had known earlier. But hey, you have to start somewhere, right?

The frame is the foundation of your ride.

And going with chromoly means investing in your passion, your performance, and, yes, even your bike’s longevity.


If you’re getting a bike for your kid or you’re just starting out (don’t yet plan to go hard), then high-tensile steel frames will do the trick.

Further reading:

FAQs About BMX Frame Material

What’s the main difference between chromoly and high-tensile steel BMX frames?

Due to its unique alloy composition, chromoly is lighter and stronger, offering better durability and performance. High-tensile steel, while sturdy, is heavier and less stress-resistant, impacting maneuverability and long-term resilience.

Why do experienced BMX riders prefer chromoly frames?

Experienced riders prefer chromoly because it provides a superior strength-to-weight ratio, making their bikes easier to control and perform tricks. Plus, chromoly’s durability means their frames can better withstand burly riding over time.

Is chromoly worth the extra cost compared to high-tensile steel?

Yes, for most riders, chromoly is worth the extra cost. Its longevity, performance benefits, and lighter weight make it a better long-term investment, potentially saving money on replacements and repairs.

Can beginners benefit from chromoly frames, or should they start with high-tensile steel?

Chromoly frames benefit beginners with improved ride quality and durability. However, if budget is a primary concern, starting with high-tensile steel is perfectly acceptable.

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About Author

Rok has been riding BMX for 20+ years, and when he's not having a session, he binges on videos, new product drops and works on creating the best content (sharing tips, tricks & more to make riding bikes easier for you) for The BMX Dude.