25 BMX Freestyle Legends Of All Time

Inspired by the 50th anniversary of BMX, I decided to create a list of 50 legends of the sport divided into racing and freestyle. Yes, there are a lot of legends that have taken part in both specialties, however, in most of the cases they’ve had more influence in either one of them.

So here are 25 freestyle legends (for the 25 racing legends click here). Again, this is completely subjective. It’s extremely difficult (or impossible?) to compare some riders from different eras, but anyway, the main goal is just to have most of the important names in BMX history, despite the number on the list. Please feel free to leave a comment if you disagree (you’ll surely do) or if you find somebody you think should be listed.

Without further ado, let’s jump into it.

[25] Van Homan

Van Homan is not only a street legend but also a video star. His section in ‘Criminal Mischief’ (2001 video) is recognized as one of the most influential street sections ever.

He won four times the NORA (Number One Rider Award) Cup award for Street Rider of the Year (2000, ’01, ’02, and ’03). At the X-Games, he won silver in 2008 and bronze in 2009.

[24] Dakota Roche

Dakota is one of the biggest street stars ever. He won 3 medals at the X-Games (bronze in 2011 and 2013 and silver in 2014), however, he prefers filming to contests. The huge success of his clips is no mystery, he’s recognized for his creativity to find perfect street setups where no one else could see them.

Throughout his career, he got several magazine covers. He won a NORA Cup award in 2015.

[23] Daniel Dhers

The Venezuelan rides the park like very few others. He won the park event in the X-Games in 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, and 2013 (in Munich). In addition, he was four times the Overall Dew Tour champion and clinched many FISE medals, including the 2014 Overall championship.

In 2013 he opened a public park for BMX, mountain biking, and skateboarding called the Daniel Dhers Action Sports Complex. It’s located in Holly Springs, North Carolina, where he lives.

His greatest dream now is to give Venezuela an Olympic medal in Tokyo.

[22] Kevin Jones

Kevin Jones was one of the best flatland riders of the 1980s. He started BMX racing as a kid and soon discovered breakdancing. Then he took breakdancing to the bike and merged both passions.

He appeared in the ‘Dorkin’ videos, a series of popular freestyle videos that had him as the main character, showing his performances in contests.

He was always among the highlights of the AFA (American Freestyle Association) contests for his innovative style. Throughout his career, he created lots of tricks, such as the ‘Locomotive’, the ‘Elephant Glide’, the ‘Infinity Roll’, and the ‘Hitch Hicker’, one of the tricks that marked the beginning of the modern flatland era.

[21] Garrett Reynolds

Garrett Reynolds used to ride park as a kid. He turned pro at the age of 13, moved to street and his career took off. He won the NORA Cup award multiple times. He won all the X-Games Street competitions he entered but the 2013 edition. His first title was in 2008 and then he won again other 7 times. He’s is one of the best street riders of all time.

In 2011 he founded his own brand, Fiend BMX, which manufactures bikes for street riding.

[20] John ‘Dizz’ Hicks

The nickname ‘Dizz’ was born one day when he got dizzy after practicing spinning tricks continuously. His crazy rock-star looks and style earned him lots of fans and magazine covers. He impressed everybody when he won the Amateur category at the first-ever AFA World Championships.

His specialty was the mini-ramp. He mastered those jumps like no other at that time, being one of the pioneers in kick-turn tricks. Yet he was also a great flatlander.

Dizz left a deep mark in the 1980s. He was inducted into the USABMX Hall of Fame in 2019.

[19] Mike Aitken

Aitken is widely recognized as one of the most complete riders of all time. He had a unique style and creativity in park, street, and dirt. He’s got some great results at contests, however, he’s always preferred filming.

In 2008 he had an accident that left him in a coma for three weeks. He was at the peak of his career. He had a miraculous recovery and he’s riding again. In 2009 he was awarded the NORA Cup in Dirt.

[18] Chad Kagy

Chad rides professionally since 1997. In his first pro contest, he finished 6th among the world’s best freestylers and was immediately approached by Mat Hoffman to add him to his team.

Between 1999 and 2013 he won 15 medals at the X-Games, including one title in vert and three in Big Air. In addition, he obtained 3 Gravity Games medals and multiple Dew Tour podiums.

[17] Tinker Juarez

Tinker was one of the first stars of the freestyle movement. In 1980 he was called the ‘King of the Skateparks’ by BMX Action magazine. He was one of the founding members of the PRO (Professional Racing Organization). In the mid-1980s he took all his BMX experience to mountain biking and competed in Atlanta 96. He’s still killing it in all types of MTB competitions.

Tinker was inducted into the BMX Hall of Fame in 1993.

[16] Martti Kuoppa

The Finnish is recognized as one of the most skilled and influential flatland riders of all time. He completely dominated the flatland world in the early 2000s. He won the X-Games competition three times in a row (2000, 2001, 2002) and many other competitions around the globe. In 2001 he appeared in the Guinness Book of Records for rolling no-footed on the front wheel for 100 meters and achieving 59 pinky squeaks in a minute.

In 2015 Kuoppa surprised everyone by coming out of retirement and winning the FlatArk contest.

[15] Jay Miron

The ‘Canadian Beast’ toured with Wilkerson Airlines, GT, Hoffman, and Schwinn. He was featured in multiple videos, including the Baco and Dorkin’ series. He won 9 X-Games medals from 1995 to 2001 between park, vert, and dirt. In 1995 he won the inaugural dirt event. He created more than 30 tricks in vert and park, including the double backflip and variations of the 540.

After leaving Schwinn, in 1997, he founded MacNeil Bikes, which he sold in 2010.

[14] Kevin Robinson

‘K-Rob’ is one of the greatest vert riders ever. He was the first person ever to land a double flair (took 9 years for anyone else to do it again) and got the Guinness World Record for the highest jump on a BMX bike when he hit 27 feet in 2008.

He won a total of 10 medals at the X-Games, including 3 Big Air titles in 2006, 2007, and 2009.

Tragically, Robinson died of a stroke in 2017, at the age of 45.

[13] Scotty Cranmer

‘The Bulldozer’ is one of the best park riders in history. He won a total of 9 medals at the X-Games (tied Dave Mirra), including his titles in 2006, 2009, and 2012.

Scotty’s YouTube channel is one of the most popular within the BMX industry (over 1.6 million subscribers). In 2016, while filming for his channel and Monster Energy, he had a terrible accident, broke his neck, and injured the spinal cord, which left him paralyzed. After a hard, long recovery process, he was able to ride again.

[12] Taj Mihelich

Taj is one of the most influential riders of all time. He’s been a pro from 1994 until 2009 when he had to go into surgery due to a back injury. He was spectacular riding dirt, but he was fantastic in park and street too.

When riding for Hoffman Bikes he got his signature frame, which he used later to produce his ‘Barcode’ frame when he founded T-1.

Once retired, he started working for Odyssey on a blog he called Fairdale, which later turned into the bike company he owns today.

[11] Bob Morales

Bob was a very successful dirt bike rider before jumping on a BMX bike. Through BMX racing he met Bob Haro, who introduced him to freestyle. Together they traveled all across the USA promoting this new sport. In 1982 Morales formed the Amateur Skate Park Association (ASPA), which later became the AFA.

He rode for the best teams of that era, like Haro and GT. At the peak of his career, he appeared in a Mountain Dew TV commercial, which led him to appear in many other national commercials.

Since his first brand, BME (Bob Morales Enterprises), he founded and co-founded with other freestyle stars several companies, producing and patenting lots of bike components. For his contributions to the BMX bicycle industry, Morales was inducted into the National BMX Hall of Fame in 2018.

[10] Rubén Alcántara

From park to street and vice versa, the Spanish is just something different. Although he has competed in many X-Games editions, Ruben is clearly not a contest rider, he loves filming, and his work is just amazing.

His bike is his brush and the urban landscapes are his canvas. He’s a freestyle artist that revolutionized the way we ride BMX. His style is so unique that it has that special spark required to inspire anyone to grab the bike and go jumping around.

[9] Matthias Dandois

The French is probably the best flatlander in history. His style goes beyond anything Flatland has seen in the past. He’s got his own ‘La Bastille’ Haro signature bike.

He won the World Circuit in 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2016, and 2017, and the World Championships of 2018 and 2019. In addition, he won the NORA Cup award twice. He’s still far from retirement, so lucky for us, we still have so much of his magic to enjoy.

[8] Ryan Nyquist

Nyquist turned pro in 1995 and one year later was already competing at the X-Games. He’s considered one of the best contest riders ever. He won a total of 16 medals in the X-Games, including 4 titles (two in park and two in dirt). He also holds the record of most Dew Tour finals appearances, with 60.

Nyquist is in his 40s now and has dedicated the last few years to mountain biking, however, he’s still part of the Haro team and his passion for BMX remains untouched.

[7] Dennis McCoy

DMC turned pro when he signed for Haro in 1985… and he’s not yet retired! What’s the word for ‘beyond legend’? Maybe ‘living legend’? He’s been impressing the world for over 30 years now. He’s written every chapter of the BMX freestyle history.

He competed in every single vert event at the X-Games from 1995 (its first edition) to 2018. He collected 7 medals, including his title in Vert Double in 1998. In 2014 he won bronze and set the X-Games record for the longest gap between medals: 16 years. A record that will be really hard to beat.

In 2016 McCoy was inducted into the BMX Hall of Fame.

[6] Bob Haro

Bob is one of the most important people in freestyle history. He was a pioneer, innovator rider, promoter, and businessman, all in one, from a very young age.

In 1978 Haro and RL Orborn formed the first freestyle team. In 1981 Haro and Bob Morales toured across the USA and Canada promoting freestyle. That same year he appeared in Steven Spielberg’s E.T. movie as a stunt rider. He was featured in tons of magazine covers.

He stopped riding in 1984 after four knee surgeries and focused on Haro Designs, one of the most important BMX companies in history.

In 1987, he was inducted into the ABA Hall Of Fame.

[5] RL Osbourne

Along with Bob Haro and Mike Buff, RL Osborn is considered one of the founders of freestyle BMX. They were the first group to tour around the country putting up shows using a portable kick ramp and quarter pipe.

RL was the main test rider for BMX Action magazine (founded by his father). He’s also considered as the rider that popularized flatland.

In 2009 he was inducted into the BMX Hall of Fame. Today, almost in his 60s, he’s still passionate about riding.

[4] Mike Buff

Mike Buff is the third member of the group of freestyle pioneers along with Osborn and Haro. He started racing but soon got charmed by this new freestyle world, where he saw an opportunity of big growth and went after it. They were the leaders of this new trend, from the jumping style to the bike setup, clothing, and hairdos.

The ‘BMX Action Trick Team’ toured 48 states in the US and over 15 countries, taking BMX to unreachable places for racers and tracks, turning thousands of kids into the sport.

Mike was inducted into the BMX Hall of Fame along with RL Osborn in 2009.

[3] Jamie Bestwick

Bestwick is a true living legend. He’s the best vert rider in history. He won 20 X-Games medals (so far), including 14 titles (with 9 in a row between 2007 and 2014).

In 2005 he won every single contest he entered. He was named ‘Athlete of the Year’ in 2006 after winning 10 Dew Tours. In 2014, he won the prestigious Laureus World Sports Award for Action Sportsperson of the Year.

Jamie was born at the same time BMX was, yet he’s still riding so passionately that he’ll continue to be a podium candidate in every contest he enters until the day he retires.

[2] Dave Mirra

No other BMX rider has ever reached the fame and recognition that Dave Mirra has.

Dave participated in every X-Games edition from when they started in 1995 up to 2009 and won at least one medal in each edition. He’s got a total of 24 medals, including 14 titles. He’s the first one to perform a successful double backflip (in X-Games 2000).

Off the bike, he founded MirraCo, hosted a couple of MTV shows, and was featured in the popular videogame ‘Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX’ (I & II).

Mirra committed suicide in 2016. He was posthumously diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a neurogenerative disease.

He was inducted into the BMX Hall of Fame in 2016.

[1] Mat Hoffman

Besides being one of the best freestylers of all time, Mat Hoffman is recognized as responsible for saving BMX from disappearing in the 1990s.

‘The Condor’ built his famous big ramp in 1993, a 24-feet vert ramp. He reached 27 feet above the ramp in many of his jumps. As a rider, he invented numerous tricks in vert, street, and park.

Off the bike, he founded ‘Hoffman Productions’ in 1991 with which he organized and promoted freestyle contests everywhere, like the ‘Mat Hoffman’s Bicycle Stunts Contest Series’, held in several states. ESPN called him to co-produce the X-Games (at which he won 6 medals). He has his video games series too, called ‘Mat Hoffman’s Pro BMX’. He’s the president of the International BMX Freestyle Federation (IBMXFF) since 2005.

Mat’s contributions to freestyle BMX have been priceless and crucial. Without him, today’s freestyle popularity would be only an illusion.

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Photo credits: [Featured image: by Martin Terber / Flickr / Creative Commons License]

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