When searching for either freestyle or race BMX bike, you will likely stumble on the 20 vs 24 BMX. But how do you choose between the two? What sets the two BMX bikes apart?
20-inch BMX bikes are generally best for short riders, especially those who prefer to do stunts, as they have a smaller but more playful frame. 24-inch BMX bikes, in contrast, are best for taller guys, especially racers and cruisers, as they have bigger frames and are faster.
Those, however, are not the only differences. As we’ll look at later, these two BMX bikes also differ in bike weight, acceleration, maneuverability, wheel strength, resale value, market dominance, and tire availability.
Moreover, they differ in features like chainstays and bottom brackets. So, we will closely look at how all these parameters set the two bikes apart.
In a rush? Check out my most recommended 20-inch and 24-inch BMX bikes on Amazon below
Best 20 Inch BMX Bike Vs 24 Inch BMX Bike
- Mongoose Legion 500: Best 20-inch BMX for 5’8″ and above
- Mongoose Legion Mag: Best 20-Inch BMX for 4’8″-5’4″
- Schwinn Sting Pro: Best 24-inch BMX for 4’0”-5’0”
- Mongoose Title Elite 24: Best 24-Inch BMX for 5’7″ and above
20 vs 24 BMX Side-by-Side Comparison
Below is a table summary of the differences between 20inch and 24-inch BMX bikes that I’m going to discuss next:
|20-Inch BMX||24-Inch BMX|
|Rider Suitability||Shorter riders||Taller riders|
|Market Dominance||More Dominant as it’s the standard size||Less dominant as it’s not the standard size|
|Bike Weight||Lighter due to a smaller frame||Slightly heavier due to a bigger frame|
|Maneuverability||More maneuverable||Less maneuverable|
|Playfulness||More playful; thus best for stunts||Less playful; therefore not best for stunts|
|Acceleration||Better acceleration||Slow but steady acceleration|
|Speed||Slightly slower; thus not best for racing||Potentially faster; thus best for racing and cruising|
|Cruising Power||Not the best for cruising||Best for cruising|
|Wheel Strength||Stronger and tougher wheels||Not as strong or as tough as 20-inch|
|Stability||Fairly stable||More stable|
|Chainstays||Shorter chainstays||Longer chainstays|
|Bottom Bracket||Lower bottom bracket||Higher bottom bracket|
|Resale Value||Better resale value||Low resale value|
Let’s now discuss the differences:
1. Rider Suitability
20-inch bikes enjoy a smaller frame size, which only makes them best for kids and shorter adults. In most cases, these bikes are best for riders who are 7-13 years or 48-60 inches.
24-inch bikes, in contrast, come with bigger frames which makes them suitable for taller guys. Often, these bikes are best for taller kids aged 14 and above or adults who are 64-74 inches tall
Below is a size chart that demonstrates what I mean:
|Wheel Size||Age (Years)||Height (inches)|
2. Market Dominance and Parts Availability
20-inch BMX bikes usually are the standard BMX bikes, and so they dominate the BMX market. You are more likely to get a 20-inch bike, regardless of age than a 24-inch BMX. The replacement parts are also more available than those of 24-inch bikes.
3. 20 Vs 24 BMX Bike Weight
Given that 20-inch BMX bikes come with smaller wheels and frames, they don’t weigh a lot. If compared to 24-inch BMX, 20-inch BMX bikes are lighter. Their race options, for example, are at least 2 pounds.
4. Maneuverability and Playfulness
Due to their smaller frames and tires, 20-inch BMX bikes are easier to handle, thus, more maneuverable. They are also more playful as their size makes it easy to perform technical tricks, turn smoothly, toss around swiftly, and of course, do mid-air jumps.
That is the case with the Mongoose Legion 500.
This BMX bike generally stunts bikes who are 5’8″ and above. Its hi-ten steel frame allows it to bear aggressive handling, and it typically comes with a simple frame and wheels for ease of maneuver and playfulness.
24-inch BMX bikes, in contrast, are less playful and less maneuverable as their bigger frames make them slightly tighter when maneuvering them.
5. Acceleration and Speed
There are two aspects here. For one, 20-inch bikes enjoy better acceleration. They quickly gain speed, making it easy to accelerate than 24-inch bikes.
But when traveling at a top speed, a 24-inch BMX is faster when the conditions are even. That’s primarily owing to their bigger wheels which cover more ground.
For that reason, while 20-inch BMX bikes are best for doing stunts, 24-inch bikes are best for racing and cruising
One 24-inch BMX that demonstrates acceleration and speed is the Mongoose Title Elite 24.
This BMX bike is generally best for users who are 5’7″ or taller. Owing to its aluminum frame, this BMX is uncharacteristically lightweight, thus faster.
This bike comes in an aluminum frame, thus lightweight and comfortable to speed up.
6. 20 Vs 24 Inch BMX Bike Wheel Strength
20-inch BMX bikes wheels are naturally stronger because of their smaller size. They feature shorter spokes and have less rubber (owing to their smaller tires), making them tougher.
That’s is the case with the Mongoose Legion Mag.
This 20-inch BMX bike is best for 4’8″-5’4″. It features smaller, stronger wheels and a hi-ten steel frame that makes it more robust.
24-inch BMX bikes, in contrast, can be stronger, but in fair conditions, a 20-inch BMX is the strongest.
7. Chainstays and Stability
Notably, the 20-inch BMX usually has a shorter chainstay, matching its smaller frame and low ground clearance. Generally, a shorter chainstay helps you easily maneuver the bike around corners and when doing stunts.
As for 24-inch BMX bikes, their chainstays are slightly longer (by about 2-inch), which translates to a longer wheelbase. As a result, they are more stable, more so when riding at high speed.
8. BMX 20 vs 24 Bottom Bracket
A 20-inch BMX’s bottom bracket is closer to the ground. So, it generally has a lower bottom bracket height. To some extent, a lower bottom bracket offers you stability but more importantly, it’s compatible with shorter chainstays.
On the other hand, a 24-inch BMX comes with a higher bottom bracket, translating to longer chainstays. The advantage is that you enjoy stability and gain an advantage when riding on rocks, roots, and logs.
9. Cruising Power
Since 20-inch BMX bikes come with a smaller wheelbase and smaller wheels, they are generally less speedy. As a result, they are not the best for cruising.
If you want a cruising option, you must go for a 24-inch bike as they are speedier and offer you more pedaling leverage. No BMX bike matches the description better than the Schwinn Sting Pro.
This cruiser BMX is best for guys who are 4’0″-5’0″. It’s perfect for both racing and cruising and generally promises a fun experience outdoors.
10. 20 Inch BMX Bike Vs 24 Inch BMX Bike Resale Value
Given that 20-inch BMX bikes are the standard BMX and more available, most BMX enthusiasts have them. Therefore, it’s easy to sell their parts second-hand or sell the entire bike.
In contrast, you may have a hard time trying to sell your old 24-inch BMX or its components. So, overall, 20-inch BMX bikes have a higher resale value.
Pros and Cons of 20 vs 24 inch BMX
- Readily available
- Easy to maneuver
- More playful
- Fairly stable
- Stronger wheels
- Better resale value
- Not best for taller guys
- Not suitable for cruising
- Not as fast as 24-inch
- Fit tall riders
- More stable
- Potentially faster than 20-inch
- Better cruisers
- Allow easy transition to mountain bikes
- Low resale value
- Fewer choices
- Less playful
1. Is A 20 Inch BMX for Adults?
While 20-inch BMX bikes are designed for kids who are 7-13 years old, they can accommodate shorter adults, especially those who are 48-60 inches (or 4-5 feet).
So, if you are an adult who is 4-5 feet and preferably does not weigh a lot, you can comfortably ride a 20-inch BMX.
2. Is A 24 Inch BMX Bike for Adults?
24-inch BMX bikes generally suit riders who are 56-66 inches. That is usually the medium height for adults, and that means that adults just as much as taller kids can ride 24-inch BMX.
Besides, since BMX bikes come in different frame sizes, it’s easy to find a comfortable adult 24-inch option.
3. Is A 20 Inch BMX Bike Small?
A 20-inch BMX is generally a kids’ bike, suiting kids aged 7-13 years or about 4-5 feet. So, if you are taller than 5 feet, the chances are that a 20-inch BMX will be smaller.
It’s, however, essential to look at the frame size or the manufacturer-recommended rider’s height before making the decision.
4. What Age Is A 24 Inch BMX Bike for?
24-inch BMX bikes are generally best for riders who are 10-15 years. They usually are taller kids but still, these bikes can accommodate adults 56-66 inches tall.
However, adults need to consider the frame size to ensure it matches their height.
5. What is the 24-inch BMX Used for?
24-inch BMX bikes are speedier and have good acceleration. As a result, they are best for cruising and racing. They are, however, not the best for doing stunts as they are less playful and maneuverable.
6. What Size BMX Should I Buy?
BMX bikes are generally sized according to their wheel sizes. Typically, the bigger the wheel size, the bigger the frame, and the more suitable the bike is for taller guys:
Note, however, that bikes of the same wheel size may have different frame sizes. So, you also have to check the manufacturer’s recommended rider’s height.
Overall, here is a general BMX sizing chart that shows you what wheel size to go for according to your age and height.
|Wheel Size||Age (Years)||Height (inches)|
There you have it – a detailed comparison of the 20 vs 24 BMX bike. Hopefully, you now know which of the two BMX bikes suits you better. Once that is clear, the remaining thing is finding your bike, and I’ve suggested four options that you may fancy.