What is BMX Racing? The History and Basics of Bicycle Motocross Racing

As a biking enthusiast, you must have thought of getting into BMX racing at-least once in your life. In this post, you will get to know about the BMX racing basics and advanced information about it. Albert Einstein once said, “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

And nothing is more challenging than testing your balance in BMX racing. Let’s just delve into knowing what BMX racing is, how it started, and how you can take part in it. You will also get to know about the recommended BMX racing gear in the end. Are you excited? We heard you screaming, ‘hell yeah.’

What is BMX Racing?

Cycling has so many forms of racing that you often get confused. BMX stands for Bicycle Motocross, and there are many forms of BMX racing as well. But the ones internationally recognized are BMX Racing and BMX Freestyle. We will talk about the first one here. BMX racing is an off-road bicycle racing whose format has been derived from motocross racing. There are single-lap race tracks to cross as the BMX racer.

BMX racing is clean and pure fun and one of its kind experiences for a bike enthusiast like you. One of our most favorite things about it is that you involve the whole family and friends of yours. Yes, BMX is a family-oriented sport today. You can find racers as young as three years old riding balance bikes. The organizers create the races according to age groups and skill levels.

You, as a racer, must cross serpentine-style dirt tracks with rollers, jumps, and turns. It shows your biking skills to the entire world around you. It’s a sport full of adrenaline and sprinting speeds. It has been an Olympic sport since 2008. There are over 300 BMX tracks located around the US, go find the one near you here.  The highest governing body of BMX racing is Union Cycliste Internationale.

How BMX Racing All Started?

Bmx Racing

BMX racing is a fan-created sport that went on to have its World Cup series and became a part of the Olympic Games as well.

Fan-Created Sport

BMX racing started when kids began imitating motocross racers on their bicycles. Experienced bikers were given more tough tracks with more turns and jumps. It created another level of pedal-powered sport, later called BMX racing. Informal bicycle racing has always existed in the world. But it was in Southern California where BMX racing started to become a full-fledged organized sport. The pioneer racers include Ron Mackler and Scot Breithaupt in 1969.

Foundation of Bicycle Organization SFN

BMX racing became a developed sport in the US in the late 1960s. Since then, bike makers have created stronger bicycles and dirtier tracks. Mainstream companies like Yamaha, Kawasaki, and Suzuki started making special BMX bikes in the era. In 1978, Gerrit Does from Germany discovered BMX bikes on a motocross tour to the US. He believed the bikes to be a perfect tool for training kids. One thing led to another and Does founded a bicycle organization called SFN.

BMX World Cup Series & Olympic Games

The organization SFN later expanded to the International BMX Federation (IBMXF). Bicycle Motocross took off like a sprinting rocket. Furthermore, movies like ET released in 1982 helped boost its popularity even more. As a result, cities started developing their BMX tracks. The sport boomed like never before with the UCI World Cup series. The Olympic Committee noticed the popularity of BMX racing and included it in the Olympic Games in 2008. Maris Strombergs and Anne-Caroline Chausson grabbed the first Olympic gold medals in BMX racing.

BMX Racing Basics

The overall flow of BMX racing depends on the number of participating athletes involved. The organizers complete three separate laps to carry out the competition. The hydraulic starting gate opens, and almost eight riders sprint with almost the same age. Racers pedal with the fullest of their power. The BMX racers at least compete in three laps.

The event organizers rank them according to points. The lower the issues, the better. The minimum number of participants required in a specific category is three. If there are more than eight racers and less than 17, there happens a main. If racers are less than 24, the organizers create an additional semi-final. If it is between 24 and 32, there will be a quarter-final between the two segments.

Fans are mostly crazy about the main and then the semi or quarter-finals. Usually, racers are of the same age, gender, and skills. If there are less number of participants in some particular game, they move up to the next age or skill group. Locally, there are four levels of BMX racing, such as district, provincial, and national.

Get Started with BMX Racing

Get BMX Racing

Get BMX Racing

As we learn our first pedal, we always have a hint of our love for bikes. BMX racing has become a family sport now. So it has got closer to your heart than ever. If you ever wanted to get into BMX racing, you need to have the basics of things work here. Different organizations administer BMX racing depending upon different countries. If you are in the US and want to take part in BMX racing, you need to contact the American Bicycle Associate.

And if you are an Australian racer, you need to register with BMX Australia. So the concerned authority conducting BMX competitions depends on your location. There might be some fees to get into these organizations. But this is for getting into BMX racing competitions. If you want to start it on your own, you need to know the following rules.

  • Stay safe. Wear the BMX full-face helmet all the time.
  • Clipless pedals are not for the kids under 10.
  • The plate must be visible. Have a side plate if you are going out of your province.
  • Don’t wear track pants or sweatpants. Loose-fitting trousers or shorts are great.

You also need to get the following things to get off the road.

  • BMX Bike
  • Special Pedals
  • Lengthy Cranks
  • License
  • Safety Equipment

Let’s discuss them one by one now.

BMX Bike

For BMX racing, using an ordinary bike is the worst idea. You need to have the best BMX bikes on the market. It must have the assigned color and the number plate. You can also use trick bikes to do the BMX racing. But they must not have a rear brake or pegs. When it comes to the size of the bike, it depends on the specific category of BMX racing and organizing events. Make sure all of its parts are in place before you get it off the road.

Special Pedals

If you are just starting, we recommend you get the platform pedals with traction nibs. Don’t go for clipless pedals if you are a newbie. BMX special pedals can make your experience great if chosen carefully. If you are new to the BMX racing world, a flat pedal will be perfect for building confidence in you.

Lengthy Cranks

Lengthy cranks give you more speed, comfort, and overall grip over your racing. That’s why the lengthy cranks get going while you are racing. The lengths of cranks vary from 145mm up to 190mm. BMX cranks are one-piece, two-piece, or three-piece units. Most of the cranks are steel. However some makers use aluminum to reduce weight.


To compete in a particular BMX racing event, you need a license. For example, you need a province race license to compete in the provincial series. You might need a general license if you are a strider rider or a rider under 5. Depending on the location, you can get other licenses, including a UCI license as well.

BMX Racing Gear

BMX Racing Gear

BMX racing gear includes a certified full-face helmet, a long-sleeved shirt, and closed-toe shoes. You also need full-finger gloves and chest protectors. Let’s get a bit deeper.

BMX Racing Helmet

BMX racing helmet is a special full-face helmet to cover the maximum of your face. It’s a bowl-shaped gear that will have minimal vents. You can also extend it to cover your ears. You take a stack while racing and thus are at risk of landing in any direction. That’s why every BMX racing event has its rules and regulations about the helmet.

BMX Racing Shoes

Look for mountain bike clips in shoes if you have clip-in pedals. BMX racing shoes will play an important role in your race. Go for comfort, looks, and durability while choosing for the perfect shoes for your BMX racing. You should choose something you can rely on. Durability is the natural key to picking out your pair of shoes.

BMX Racing Clothing

You should wear loose-fitting clothing for BMX racing. Avoid sweatpants or other related stuff. You will get perspired as soon as you get started. BMX jerseys and pants are special and loose. Investing in a pair of acceptable BMX pants and jerseys is a wonderful idea. The makers designed them to be light. The BMX special pants allow airflow.


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