BMX Race Buying Guide

The sport of BMX Racing has evolved significantly since Scot Breithaupt held the first "offical" BMX race in Long Beach California in the early 1970's. You may have recently seen BMX racing in the Tokyo Olympics and marvelled at the track and bikes ridden by the sports best riders. The gateway into BMX racing for new riders is quite affordable however, by choosing wisely, you can be on the track with a new bike and race gear (helmet, gloves, jersey and pants) for under $1000.

When I had my first race back in the late 1980's most BMX bikes were basically the same size. I was riding the same size bike a rider twice my age would have been, not exactly ideal for a small 8 year old. Smaller bikes with parts scaled to the riders size were available however but were not common place, usually only ridden by the very best riders, they were lightweight, fast and very expensive! Now in 2021, there is a standardised range of sizes used by the industry with bikes to suit the smallest and youngest of riders (Micro Mini) through to the tallest of riders (Pro XXXL).

Bike handling is a term that refers to a riders use of their bicycle. Skills such as manualing and jumping are considered forms of bike handling skills but so are things you may not think of as much such as turning/steering, braking and weight distribution/balance and is where the use of a correctly sized bike really comes into it's own from the riders perspective.

Imagine as an example, a 7 year old, riding a bike that was designed for a 16 year old. Using Haro's Annex range as our standard, the Pro XL model weighs in at 10.5kg, while the Annex Junior is 3kg lighter at 7.5kg. That additional 3kg is going to take a lot more effort to accelarate out of the start and turns. Using the overlay below of the Annex Pro XL and Junior models (note: image is not 100% to scale), you'll see the Pro XL frame is significantly longer, whilst the handlebars are a lot taller than the Junior. This would make the Pro XL more difficult for a younger rider to manouvere through the turns and jumps, the wider tyres would cause further issues with accelatation and manouverability whilst the longer cranks could create an uneven pedaling ryhthm leaving you at a distinct disadvantage to your fellow competitors before the gate even drops. 

How do you know which the right size bike for yourself or your child though? Below is a general size guide we've compiled of the most common size bikes used in BMX racing, along with the average top tube length and wheel size of each bike.

The other question we're commonly asked is in regards to price points and bike spec. In the Haro range there are two models under the $1000 price point, the Annex and the Racelite. With a $350 price difference we've compiled a side by side listing of the spec of each bike. The Annex features a fairly standard looking BMX frame design, while the Racelite uses a larger diameter tubing throughout with an integrated headtube and Haro's PTC, Power Transfer Center, downtube with a BB86 bottom bracket. These features make the Racelite frame significantly stronger and stiffer over the Annex, a definite advantage in BMX competition. Both bikes use a chromoly fork but the Racelite has tapered fork legs as a weight saving measure. The Racelite uses a 2 piece aluminium crankset with a 24mm hollow spindle for extra strength and power transfer compared to a conventional 3 piece chromoly crank on the Annex. The Annex's single wall rims and loose ball bearing hubs will serve new racers well who may not be jumping a lot while the Racelite's doublewall rims and sealed bearing hubs will provide a smoother ride and additional strength against any cases or hard landings. The most noticable difference between the two models is certaintly the Racelite's rear mechanical disc brake, providing an increase in braking power the Racelite is best suited to riders who have learnt the correct braking technique so as to not be disadvantaged by the increase in stopping power.

The entry level Annex is aimed at riders new to BMX who may compete at local level club races and perhaps the occasional open meeting. The Racelite spec however is the ideal for a more experience racer with a couple of years experience under their belt who races regularily compete at state level events

2021 Haro Annex Pro

2021 Haro Racelite Pro

 

Bike

2021 Haro Annex Pro

2021 Haro Racelite Pro

Frame

6061 Series Alloy, 3D Dropouts, Built In Chain Tensioners.

6061 Series Alloy PTC Disc Frame, Integrated H/T, Internal Cable Routing, Smooth Weld.

Fork

Full Chromoly, 1 1/8" Threadless.

Full Chromoly, 1 1/8" Threadless, Tapered Legs.

Headset

1 1/8" Threadless, Looseball.

1 1/8" Internal, Sealed Bearing.

Stem

Forged Alloy Top Load - 45mm Reach.

Forged Alloy Top Load - 45mm Reach.

Bars

Hi Tensile Steel, 8" Rise.

Full Chromoly, 8" Rise.

Grips

Micro Knurl Grips

Micro Knurl Grips

Brakes

Promax MV-295L Alloy V Brake.

Promax DSK-300 Mechanical Disk Brake with 160mm Rotor

Bottom Bracket

Euro, Sealed Bearing.

Press Fit BB86, Sealed Bearing.

Cranks

Haro Chromoly 3 Piece, 175mm.

Alloy 2 Piece with 24mm Hollow Spindle, 170mm.

Pedals

DX Alloy, 9/16".

DX Alloy, 9/16".

Chainwheel

44 Tooth Alloy.

44 Tooth Alloy.

Chain 

KMC 410

KMC Z33.

Rims

20" Alloy 36 Hole, Single Wall.

20" Alloy 36 Hole, Double Wall.

Front Hub

Alloy 36 Hole, Loose Ball.

Alloy Low Flange 36 Hole, Sealed Bearing.

Rear Hub

Alloy Flip Flop, 36 Hole, 3/8" Axle Loose Ball. 16 Tooth Freewheel.

Alloy Disc Cassette 36 Hole, 3/8" Axle, Sealed Bearing, 6 Bolt. 16 Tooth Cassette.

Tyres

Kenda Kontact 20" x 2.25"

Kenda Konversion 20" x 1.95" Front, 20" x 1.75" Rear.

Seat

Haro Slim Padded.

Haro Slim Plastic Pivotal.

Seat Post

Alloy 27.2mm.

Alloy 27.2mm.

Seat Clamp

Alloy 31.8mm.

Alloy 31.8mm.

Weight

10.47 kg.

9.75 kg.

Price

$499.

$849.