BIKES & EQUIPMENT
Navigating the minefield!
The bikes. Race BMX bikes are quite different from any other kind of bike. In order to comply with local and international rules a BMX race bike:
must be built to withstand the rigours of BMX racing, free of dents, bent frames or cracked welds
Wheels of 20" or 24" [cruiser] nominal diameter
Handlebars with a maximum width of 74cm [29"]
Steering head must turn freely.
Brakes must be fitted and operating at least on the rear wheel. Front brake can be fitted but is optional. All cables must be secured to the frame and cable ends must be capped to prevent fraying
Seat must be constructed of material that is sufficiently strong to resist penetration form the seatpost.
Cranks, pedals and gears must be securely fastened to the so as to eliminate lateral movement. Toe clips and straps are not permitted but pedal cleat systems are.
The focus is on speed so weight, and how to reduce it, is the major focus for brands. Basically the lighter a bike is, the more expensive it is (think carbon fibre etc.). That said, for most beginners, 100 grams here or there will make no difference to how fast they go or how much fun they have so before you go spending any money read these tips...
Don't be afraid to ask questions or ask for help!
Try a club bike. We have a number of bikes to try and you can hire them for training and club night. This is a great way to get the size right and to find out if you like the sport before you spend anything.
Run what you brung. There are quite a few rules when it comes to BMX racing however the bikes themselves are relatively simple and many single speed BMX or Mountain bikes (as well as some geared bikes) can be used as they are or with minimal modification.
Don't be afraid to ask questions or ask for help! Seriously.
Invest wisely. BMX is a sport where the riders can outgrow their bikes and bike components (parts) much sooner than the bikes or parts lose their usefulness. There is a large market for second hand bikes and parts (see our useful links page) meaning there is a bike out there for most budgets or you could get a really great bike for decent discount over the new cost. There are also some good quality, entry level bikes that can be bought new at a sharp price. Before you buy either, talk to senior club members or coaches and do some research! Most kids will ride their first race bike for a while before you really know whether they are committed to the sport so its best to keep costs down at the beginning.
Get the right size.If you do decide to invest in a bike the MOST important factor to ensure fun is getting the right size. Bike sizing for kids is a bit like the weather: lots of people have an opinion but very few are experts. Trying several bikes, consulting our coaches and manufacturers size charts (see our useful links page) will really help you narrow it down but here are some general guidelines:
Micro Mini - The smallest race bike frame available, these will often have an 18 inch wheel diameter. Not all manufacturers make a micro mini. Generally these are used for children aged 5 or under who are shorter than 120cm.
20 Inch Wheel Diameter:
Mini - Best suited for children between 115 and 135cm tall
Junior - Best suited for children 130cm - 145cm tall
Expert - Best suited for children 140cm to 160cm tall
Pro - Best suited for riders 155cm to 175cm tall
Pro XL or above - For larger adult riders, or those who prefer a longer frame
Cruiser - Crusiers have a 24 Inch wheel diameter and are generally available in Junior, Expert and Pro sizes. Riders choose between 20 inch and Cruisers from personal preference, although most adults choose cruiser. Cruisers and 20 inch are raced in separate classes during bigger events, but often locally crusiers and 20 inch bikes will line up together.
The gear. Aside from a safe bike with good brakes there are a number of things a rider must have to ride on our track, whether for racing, training or fun:
A suitable helmet. Helmets must be of full face construction with a visor of at least 10cm. Open face helmets are not permitted under any circumstance. Helmet strap must be securely fastened at all times during the race. Try to find BMX specific helmets as they are generally lighter than helmets designed for motor bikes. Used helmets should be inspected very carefully, especially looking for cracks in the foam lining. A cracked helmet is not safe.
A jersey. Jersey must be loose fitting with long sleeves extending down past the rider's wrist. Lycra material is not permitted for outer wear. The jersey must be tucked into the rider's pants so as not to cause interference or get caught up should there be a riding incident. New and used jerseys are easy enough to source and Motocross jerseys are fine for BMX.
Race pants. Pants shall be loose fitting and manufactured of tear resistant material. Denim is not permitted under circumstance. Lycra material is not permitted for outer wear. Loose fitting shorts made of tear resistant material may also be worn if used together with knee and shin protection that has a rigid surface. Motocross pants are often worn in BMX however they can be heavier and less flexible than BMX / Mountain bike specific brands.
Gloves. Gloves must have fingers that completely cover the rider's fingers. Under special circumstances only, the competition doctor may allow riders to compete without gloves. Gloves specifically designed for riding are best.
Shoes. Shoe should be of sturdy construction and be securely fastened to the rider's feet by a lacing system or velcro straps. For bikes with 'flats' [flat, normal pedals] the best type of shoes are soft soled street shoes; brands such as 5 Tens or Vans. Flat pedals (as opposed to clip pedals / shoes) are now mandatory for all riders under UCI 13 and voluntary thereafter.
Protection. Other protective equipment may be worn under your jersey and pants. Mainly optional, except when wearing shorts, such as:
Knee and Shin protection
Chest and back protection
Neck protection [such as the Leatt Brace system]