LUXBMX Race Blog
Author: Mitch Date Posted:1 June 2015
Author: Bruce at LUXBMX Date Posted: 17 August 2021
Buying a BMX frame, where to start?
Since the birth of BMX racing in the 1970s, there have been distinct periods in BMX race frame design and geometry that have been dictated by things like track design, innovation and material availability. The first frames were predominantly steel and generally short, even in the pro sized frames. Unbelievable as it is, a Pro sized frame in 1980 would run a 20 inch top tube, or even shorter. Looking at that in the modern context, we see expert frames at around this size, or longer. The smallest Pro frames start at 20.5 inches, though we do see some brands pushing their Expert XL frames to 20.9 inches. Times have definitely changed!
What this illustrates is two trends appearing since what I call the “modern” era of BMX, which for me starts around the time that BMX racing debuted at the Olympics in 2008. It’s a neat intersection of time where BMX racing started taking to the 8m hill on a regular basis, with the higher speeds and general increasing in size of the corners and jumps seeing frame geometry and design become standardised to a certain extent. At this period in time, a Pro XXL across the brands still tended to be 21.5 inches in top tube length. Pro XL and Pro at 21 and 20.5 respectively.
When comparing frames from one brand to another, you could be pretty confident that you were comparing apples to apples because on say a Pro XXL frame from X brand, you would have the same top tube length from brand Y. This made weighing up the pros and cons of frames from different manufactures pretty easy. Not so much anymore as the lines between sizes have become really blurred.
With a little look back at the 70s and 80s, BMX bikes were also pretty standardised in size, with micros, minis and junior sized frames being pretty exotic. If you look back through any old school shots, you’ll see kids on a mish mash of bikes, and if they were little kids, on bikes that were inevitably too big for them. This changed around the mid to late 80s when the Australian race market matured a little and “youth” frames became more available. Still, they were predominantly custom builds and not available to be purchased as a complete bike.
Shifting to the past 3 to 5 years though, we have seen a move into another era in frame design with the emergence of carbon fibre and further broadening of frame sizing, with the 20.9 Expert XL frame mentioned above being a clear example. In the first part of the last decade, the longest Expert XL wouldn’t push over a 20 inch top tube. Now this “size” can range from 19.7 inches, to 20.9 inches. What this means for race customers looking for a frame change is that no longer is a Pro XXL a Pro XXL, if that makes sense? Ditto for Expert XL. What you really need to look at is the top tube length in the specs. On the flip side, a rider isn’t a “certain” frame size now, with frame designations like Expert XL having such a broad range. One inch is a massive variation and stretch for a rider. So again, when looking at upgrading a frame for a growing child, just don’t assume that they need to move up from a Junior to a Expert, though this is a natural progression (and a safe one), make sure to triple check the top tube length on the frame they are currently riding and then the one you are looking to move to.
Making the big jump
This becomes a problem when the customer is jumping across brands when up-sizing. Within brands the size progression is set to a certain extent and the customer is usually comfortable with the geometry of that model range that they are currently on. But as stated, an Expert XL is not an Expert XL. This problem is exasperated when parents look at jumping a frame size, commonly jumping from Junior to Expert XL, or Expert to Pro. In the first example, a racer could go from an 18.5 frame to a 20.7 frame. A massive jump. We see this when kids are chasing a certain brand or colour. Ditto for the Expert to Pro. A rider could jump from 19.5 to 20.9 if not paying particular attention to specs and the parents have been advised that the kid should be on a Pro bike. Be it from a coach, or a good intentioned parent on the sideline.
Another trend to look for in 2021 is the push on longer frames into the 22 and 23 inch top tube length. For sure we’ve seen this type of top tube length over the years, but the past 5 we’ve definitely seen more legitimate manufacturers pushing their top level frames to this length, with a corresponding increase in rear length to suit. Brands like DK, Stay Strong, Radio and Meybo all have offerings in this size currently. With the later brand, Meybo, seemingly at the forefront of this movement. As mentioned previously, a Pro XXL frame was pretty fixed at 21.5 inches for the top tube for a long time, though these naming conventions are now more fluid, with some Pro XXL frames coming in at 21.75 inches, which is their only offering (with their Pro XL having a 21 inch top tube. Speedco as an example). While brands like Chase have a Pro XXL at 21.5, and a 21.75 inch frame that they designate a Pro XXL+.
This has led to some confusion in the market as customers need to look beyond the designations of Pro XL, Pro XXL, and refer to instead the actual top tube length when comparing frames and not all Pro XXLs are the same. Especially when, like we see in the junior frames, a rider is jumping across brands and a Meybo Pro XL is actually a traditional Pro XXL size at 21.5 inches. I think they were running out of Xs when labeling their 22, 22.5 and 23 inch frames. Speaking of Meybo, their HSX range frames are so dialed that these fixed rear end frames have differing rear ends (chainstay lengths) specific to the top tube size. This is high attention to detail and geometry design, especially when looking at their new carbon models. Most manufacturers use a common rear end length as this cuts the costs as they only require one mould. Having dedicated rear ends for each size is quite the investment, and commitment to design. It’s the sort of thing we really dig here at LUX.
What this ultimately means is that taller riders over 6 feet aren’t restricted to a small (for them) frame that has long been a tradition. A trend that has been embraced by European countries where you see some of their riders in teams all around 6 feet tall as BMX becomes entrenched in the supercross era of 8m hills and 50+ kph speeds. As the rider/athlete shape changes, so does frame design, meaning that racers can now find a frame comfortable for them without compromising.
What next for frame design? Disc brakes are definitely a trend that is here to stay. No matter how little we actually use a brake in BMX racing, the precise fingertip control, and clean aesthetic of deleting the brake posts means that (we feel) that this is a trend that’s here to stay. One major company we know of is looking at, on their pro sized frames, deleting the traditional cable linear brakes (and associated hardware) to run just disc brakes.
And of course, the change in materials across brands sees some manufacturers exclusively offering carbon fibre frames only, while other brands have a mix of alloy and carbon frames. For this decade, we can see carbon fibre frames becoming more and more dominant at the upper end. Again, design and manufacturing flexibility is leading this change when using carbon fibre over alloy tubing as it has a lot more freedom when it comes to manufacturing. Carbon fibre allows for precise engineering of a frame and who knows what the 3D printing world will bring.
When looking at upgrading your BMX race frame, LUXBMX has Australia’s largest range of brands and sizes at hand, as well as a wealth of BMX knowledge to be able to answer all of your questions when it comes to race frames and gear.
Author: Bruce at LUXBMX Date Posted: 29 July 2021
BMX Racing Full Face Helmet Guide 2021
Without doubt, BMX racing in 2021 is fast, hectic and at any time you’re milliseconds from disaster with 7 other riders all vying for the same few inches of track in the first turn. Over the 50 years of BMX racing, we’ve seen BMX go from flat tracks to the start hills reaching 8m in height and reaching speeds of nearly 60kp/h on the first straight. For this reason, full face helmets are mandatory in Australia if you want to participate in any formal BMX racing event, from coaching, gate nights to racing.
So with the speeds and jumps involved in modern BMX racing, it makes total sense to wear a full face helmet right? With tracks becoming ever more slick and curated with concrete like rendered surfaces, even your neighbourhood track is faster than ever before and a full face helmet not only protects the face, it covers the important areas like the temporal lobe from direct impacts. From coaching sessions, to world cup SX racing, we've witnessed just about every way of crashing a BMX bike on a race track and you definitely want to get a decent helmet on your melon whether you’re just on a casual ride with your mates, or dropping in off the 8m ramp. BMX full face helmets we sell here at LUX have met the Australian standard and are distributed through Australian suppliers.
In this article, we breakdown the features that you need to look for in a helmet, the brands and models we sell and match them to the type of racing and riding that you might be doing out there.
Entry Level Full Face BMX Race Helmets
For the club level rider that is just starting out with some riding at the local BMX race track or pump track and looking to comply with the regulations, the helmets at this level meet both the minimum protection standards, as well as fitting into the family budget. Though one thing we advise you never do is scrimp on the dollars when it comes to helmets and source a second hand helmet as it may have already taken a hit, compromising its integrity as a safety cell that is there to protect your most vital organ, your brain.
Bell Sanction -
At just 850 grams, the Bell Sanction is a low-profile full-face helmet that runs a slightly smaller shell than other helmets we offer. This shell though is still manufactured from tough ABS (which stands for Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene and is a common thermoplastic polymer) which is known for its impact resistance as well as the aforementioned structural strength and stiffness. This helmet is perfect for pump track duties where (unfortunately) head-on collisions are not uncommon, with kids going in all directions. For race duties, as this helmet is on the smaller and lighter end of the spectrum, it’s well suited for the beginner rider 12 years and young who aren’t likely to be traveling too fast yet on tracks, or boosting the bigger jumps.
100% Status -
The 100% range of helmets have been offered by LUXBMX since we got super serious about racing back in 2016, appreciating the features, style and colours on offer from the San Diego company. These guys have a solid history in the MTB and BMX scene and their range of Status helmets reflect their experience.This level of helmet is a step up from the Bell Sanction and is suitable for any riding racing up to national level rounds. One of the main features found in the Status range is that the youth sized helmets run a smaller shell size, and aren’t just the standard “one size fits all” shell that manufactures at the more budget end of the full face spectrum offer.
With the youth sizes in the Status helmet range having this smaller shell size, it helps keep the weight down without compromising the safety features. One of the main advantages of a low weight in the helmet is the fact that it helps young riders keep their head stable as they race around the track as they don’t yet have the necessary neck strength to maintain a level eye line.
We see really young riders in MX helmets which are perfectly suitable for moto-cross which involves higher speeds, though they are generally 1.5x the weight of a helmet like the 100% Status. While arguably a little more safe in regards to impact resistance, the bigger issue is that a rider with an unstable head and eye line is more prone to crashing.
The 100% status range is manufactured from ABS plastic and as mentioned, this engineered material is super strong, with high impact resistance. 100% has also managed to produce the adult helmets in the weight range not too much higher than the Status youth sizes, which again is an advantage out on the track on a machine that is usually weighing in less than 10kg. It also contributes to being able to run longer practice sessions without inducing neck fatigue from using a heavier MX helmet.
Some of the features of the 100% Status helmet include
- Ultra-light design featuring a composite fiberglass shell
- Active cooling system maximizes airflow offering maximum ventilation while riding and also while rider is stationary
- Removable comfort liner, cheek pads and chin strap covers for easy washing
- Engineered with 2 shell sizes and 2 EPS sizes to achieve the perfect fit
- Compatible with inflatable emergency helmet release systems
- Padded PU chinbar interior for enhanced impact protection
- Adjustable visor with light-weight screws
Mid-Level Full Face BMX Race Helmets
At this level, these helmets are running the MIPS systems which greatly contributes to the reduction of head injuries by utilising a helmet liner that is engineered to slip (or rotate) in all axes. An important safety feature as BMX accidents are far from uniform falls where the rider can strike the ground from any angle and often at high velocity. The MIPS system is a world recognised safety technology that is licensed to helmet manufacturers in a global effort to reduce severe brain injuries from bicycle accidents. Having a helmet with this safety system incorporated in its design decreases the chances of an injury from head impact.
Here’s our pick of MIPS helmets for 2021
Fox Rampage Helmet - Youth and Adult
Like the 100% Status range, the Fox Rampage helmet is offered in youth and adult sizes, with the youth range sporting a dedicated shell which is smaller than the adult helmet’s shell. Again this brings with it the advantages of a lighter weight helmet for these smaller riders,aiding in maintaining control with a level head and eye line.
Both the youth and adult helmets feature the exact same lightweight, injection molded ABS shell and mesh vent screens providing extra ventilation, meaning that your head will stay cooler during those longer track sessions, or if you find yourself in the warmer parts of Australia, which face it, is all of Australia in summer.
One of the cons of this helmet is that it is slightly heavier than the 100% Status by 100-200grams (size for size), though with the extra protective layer of MIPS this is, we think, an acceptable trade off for the added safety afforded by a helmet in the same pricing strata. In the youth sized Fox Rampage helmets, there is very little difference in the weights comparatively.
We also love the bright colour options in the Fox Rampage range, especially the white and red options. They will help you identify your racer out there on the track easily amongst the darker, multli-coloured helmets we see on a lot of riders.
Fox Rampage Comp Helmet
The Fox Rampage Comp incorporates MIPS technology, super sleek styling and attention to detail, along with added features such as a removable, washable moisture wicking liner. A step up from the Rampage helmet, the Ramage Comp is offered in adult sizes only and is definitely suited to the biggest tracks out there in the race world for those riders pushing the limits.
A premium offering from the company well known for MX and BMX race gear, the Fox Rampage is just one level below their carbon shelled Comp helmet, but retains all of the same features. This helmet is our pick for the rider coming in off the 8m hill, or racing seriously at national level events. It also is perfect for the rider looking to protect themselves from the “big one”
Author: Bruce Morris Date Posted: 12 February 2021
As a BMX racer, coach, and mad fan of BMX racing since the early 80s, there’s no topic that dominates the pits, race day banter and Facebook groups like BMX race gearing does. As soon as you are immersed into the BMX race world, from club night racing to world cups, a common conversation is often “what gearing are you running mate?”
But what is BMX gearing exactly, and what does it all mean in relation to you or your young rider when you’re just starting out? In very basic terms, it’s how hard the bike is to pedal, and the BMX bike you buy out of a shop, or secondhand, has its gearing set as per the combination of the sprockets. But how do you know if it’s right for the rider, or track? We are going to try to explain this, and give you some knowledge so that you can make an informed choice on whether you need to change the gearing on your race bike. Afterall, because BMX bikes are a single speed bicycle, the only way to make the bike easier (or harder) to pedal, is by changing the sprockets.
When you’ve been around BMX racing for a little bit, you’ll also hear terms like little Johnny is a spinner, so he runs an easy gear. Or he’s a cranker, so he runs a harder gearing, and this can throw even more confusion into the gearing mix for a newbie to the sport. But the truth of the matter is, no one at a sub-Olympic level has the scientific measured evidence (or biomechanic analytical know how) that would give the parent of a young racer around the ages of 8 or 10 the differences between peak power (or torque) output at a certain RPM versus peak power at a lower/higher RPM. There are some (track cycling studies) that show that the difference between a spinner and a cranker is within a 15rpm range. Hard to measure with the naked eye from the side of the track, or with an i-Pad when your kid is spinning at 140rpm+ down the start hill. Short note here, ignore this advice from the trackside parent in your early search for the holy grail of gearing.
If you’re just starting out in BMX racing do you really need to know a lot about gearing?
Well, yes and no. But only in the sense if the bike is geared too hard, or too easy either straight out of the shop, or on that second hand bike you’ve bought. The main problem for new racers (or parents) is that the range between a too easy gear, and too hard a gear is really narrow. More on this later.
At the risk of being kicked out of bike camp, I’m going to bust a few myths and try to pinpoint an average gearing that you should shoot for from kids jumping off a balance bike onto their first pedal bike, up to the old folk who are getting back into BMX after 20 or 30 years off the BMX track (the 911/000 class). Then you can work up or down from there.
If you’re the impatient type, scroll to the bottom to find out what we recommend. If you want to know why you need to run an easier gearing than you thought you did, then read on and learn.
What is BMX Gearing? A Little History on Bicycles and BMX
A modern bicycle has a front chainring (or sprocket) and a smaller rear cog (also referred to a sprocket), with a drive chain that links them. Before this system was universally adopted, in the era of the pennyfarthing, if you wanted to go faster by having a “harder” gearing, you simply built a bigger front wheel for your bike. This would enable each full crank rotation to drive the bicycle a longer distance (this is referred to as “roll out”), and for a given leg speed you would go faster compared to a smaller wheel. The cranks on a pennyfarthing are attached directly to the drive wheel. That’s why those bikes are so high! A massive front wheel in the quest for speed.
Before the advent of geared bicycles, all bikes were single speed and BMX bikes still are. Of course road bikes, mountain bikes, and all the segments in between have multiple gears to help you climb hills and descend mountains.
Bicycle gearing is almost exclusively expressed in “inches”. Put simply, this term refers to the relationship between the size of the front sprocket, the rear sprocket and the diameter of the drive wheel. Using set calculations, we can use the gear ratio to determine the effective size of the imaginary driving wheel. Going to a larger front, sprocket, or smaller rear one, effectively gives us a larger drive wheel (the rear wheel) and linking back to the pennyfarthing, is akin to slapping on a larger front wheel to your iron horse.
BMX bikes are a simple, single speed bicycle that are “geared” by nature, very low (easy) compared to most bicycles manufactured and sold. BMX bikes are geared for acceleration, not high speed. With your typical BMX race track around 400m in length, sometimes a little longer, often a little less, and with just one easy gear, BMX racers typically spin the cranks a whole lot faster than a road or track racer (though track racers do get up there). Want to go faster, just pedal faster!
Back in 1980 or so, your off the shelf race bike typically came with a 44 x 16 gear-set and more often or not, on a Tioga Comp III tyre (20 x 1.75). That gave you a gearing of 53.92 inches. Keep this gearing in mind, and let’s round it up a little to 54 inches.
Now, since the early 1980s, race tracks have changed a lot! I still race, I’ve raced in every era since, and one thing that I am constantly amazed at is that our gearing has evolved to, wait for it, 54 inches! Some elite BMX racers run up to 55 inches off the 8m supercross hill. This gearing has for the most part stayed the same for 40 years or so despite tracks that are way faster, with bigger jumps and asphalt corners.Logic would dictate that as an Olympic sport, with athletes having access to world leading strength and conditioning programs, that racers would be running a harder gearing to gain a higher top speed at the bottom of a 8m high ramp. But they don’t. So what gives?
What hasn’t changed about BMX racing in nearly 40 years, the rider leading into the first corner has an 80% chance of winning that lap, and this is set up by being in the lead at the bottom on the start hill. One thing that has become vaguely standardised in BMX racing is the distance from the start gate to the first jump, around 12 to 15m, so even to the casual observer, or parent, you’ll see that the fight to the first jump is hotly contested, and at any level above club racing your race can be decided virtually by the third crank stroke out of the gate (where the right crank from top to bottom is one stroke, and the left crank from top to bottom is one stroke. Think one rotation of the crank as a two-stroke cycle).
So, by the completion of the third crank stroke, you have travelled (on a 54 inch gear) approx 5.5m. This is the reason why BMX gearing has remained so low to this day, even if the start hills are higher, the ramps steeper, and the track speeds much higher due their construction. It comes down to this, there are no lanes on a start hill and if the rider next to you (or either side of you) has a faster start, they can move across on you, thus impeding your progress.
So here we are, BMX racers are running the hardest gearing they can WITHOUT compromising their ability to accelerate and risk being “cut off” down the start ramp. 40 plus years of BMX evolution and we are still running nearly the identical gearing as the founders of the sport. Obviously there are riders out there running harder gearing, but I am drawing upon my experience with elite racers, and their coaches, when making the statement that we are still (roughly) running the same gear ratios as 1980 despite the changes in track design. Some elites do creep up to a little over 55 inches, but certainly not much higher. And even then it’s not much more than a 2% increase.
BMX Gearing, what’s right for me, or my rider?
For our complete race bikes currently on the LUXBMX website, I’ve gone through and punched the numbers into a BMX gear chart calculator and listed the gear ratio of each bike in its main description. As standard, as it comes from the factory. And it’s definitely interesting to see what manufacturers think is the appropriate gearing for a junior race bike (as an example). They range from a very easy 47 inch gear, up to a monster 55 inch gear! This sized bike is designed for kids around 6 to 8 years old roughly, and some manufacturers are asking them to run gearing an elite racer would run, and on really short cranks. Somewhere in there is the Goldilock’s gearing and I’m going to lay out what I feel are the appropriate gear ratios for the different categories of race bikes from Mico 18” up to Pro sizes.
Again, these are my numbers, based upon my experience as a racer, coach, and industry knowledge. And the gearing is based upon the bike’s size as it dictates the size (and to some extent physical development, not always true though) of the rider riding it. After all, not all 8 year old kids are the same size, as an example. So gearing based on age isn’t appropriate.
Bike Sizes and Suggested Gearing
Micro 18 Inch: 45-47 inches
Mini: 47-49 inches
Junior: 49-52 inches
Expert: 51-53 inches
Pro: 52-54.5 inches
Cruiser: the equivalent of the rider’s 20” race bike (maybe a little lighter by up to 0.5 inches for the larger wheel)
To work out what you gearing is on the bike you have currently, here is a link that is one of the most popular in the world for BMX racers. You punch in data such as tyre size, the front chainring, and rear cog combo. (hyperlink). From here you can work up, or down the range we recommend above. This will be your bible.
Natural strength differences between boys and girls as they mature should also be noted, with male riders having higher strength levels once puberty kicks in and beyond, as a broad generalisation. But it has been this author’s observation that after talking to parents of female riders, that they run a slightly lighter gearing than boys of the same age as they mature from 12 or 13 upwards. Hence the “Pro” gearing range starting from a low 52 inches. Physical development of the individual rider should also be noted, which is why we correlated the gearing to the size of the bike, not the age of the rider as mentioned previously.
Now a caveat, as mentioned before, the information provided here comes from my personal experience with racing, coaching and general interactions and discussions with other coaches, riders and parents. These suggestions aren’t born from scientific research, though I feel that they should shed light on why a rider should be running a certain gearing, and why you shouldn’t feel the need to go up to too high a gear. Most of all, it should give you a pretty good understanding of the base from which you should work from.
In summary, BMX race performance and results are dependent on a bunch of factors, with gear ratio being just one piece of the puzzle. I’ve seen plenty of racers over the years chasing the win through a magical gearing, but for the beginner and intermediate rider, as long as you’re in the ranges above, you can then go out and just focus on being a better rider.
Author: Tim at LUXBMX Date Posted: 22 May 2020
The Odyssey Graduate Peg.
BMX has been through a lot over the past 40 years. Bikes have changed, technology has got better and materials are getting more durable. At LUXBMX we love getting in new products and trying out the new bits and pieces that hit the market.
Leading into the 2000’s stunt pegs came in all sorts of shapes and sizes. The interesting thing about this time in BMX was no one knew the best ways to construct anything. As a result, a lot of trial and error happened and stunt pegs were fitted to the forks, mounted on the axels, and welded to the frames of the bikes.
As time moved on, and the need for stronger parts got greater, BMX companies had to decide on how the best way of attaching pegs to your bike. The bike companies answered, and made a peg slot over the axle without threading onto anything. The axle nut would act as the fastener and from here pegs would become a staple in all bmx scenes around the world.
As the leading companies came up with ways to improve the stunt peg by making it smaller in diameter and stronger materials. A company founded by George French was thinking outside the conventional peg box. Seen years earlier on one of Matt Hoffman’s bikes, GSPORT BMX had come up with a fully plastic peg. The pleg boasted strength and a great compound that enhanced the grinding experience tenfold all in a lightweight plastic peg.
However this caught on across the BMX scene and very soon companies began making plastic peg sleeves with steel or aluminum cores. Different companies used different compounds and soon enough there were several options for plastic pegs on the market. Shortly after these companies started lengthening the pegs, to give the rider more room when grinding. This age-old debate will go on and on. The fact is, companies need to offer new products to stay alive, every year since the invention of the plastic peg it seems that they have gotten longer and longer wit out anyone noticing.
Naturally the benefits of a longer peg are obvious. The more peg, the more platform you have to grind on. Spinning out of grinds could be easier since you’ll be on the ledge longer before starting the spin, giving yourself more of a pivot point. Landing on rails from gaps could also potentially be a little easier to hit your pegs on to the rail or ledge since (once again) there is more peg. Not to mention crooked grinds having more room to move around on the rail under you. While some riders won’t go past the tried and trued 4 and ¼ size pegs, younger riders would probably be starting on a 4.5inch peg. Regardless of what you prefer, Odyssey BMX has released a 5-inch peg that offers more grind room than ever. Odyssey is among one of the most trusted brands in BMX and they have decided the world was ready for the 5 inch Graduate peg.
Don’t take our word for it, check these things out now!
Author: Bruce Morris Date Posted: 1 February 2019
That’s a really weird title for a race article, adapting to race in flats when BMX was born on flat pedals, but at this stage, your young rider has potentially been racing in clips for one or more years. Maybe even 4 years if they jumped on them at 8 years old and go into the 12 year age group next year. Rightly so, some of the kids are a little miffed as to why they have to go back to flats, as well as the parents, and well, me as a coach to be quite honest. And I grew up racing on flats as a child of the 80s! I still race now and you guessed it, clipped in. Having done so for the past 10 years. They aren’t evil despite what the old schoolers (some of them are my mates) yell from the top of the crumbling dirt berms, they are a part of BMX racing just like carbon fibre frames and tarmac corners are in 2018.
Flat pedals were relevant across all age groups in the era lower speeds and stop-start corners, but this modern era of BMX is more complex, with the technical requirements being at a much higher level, as well as higher (and more constantly higher) leg speeds. Leg speed development is a key component of BMX racing and clips purely and simply enhance this component. This of course is all pure conjecture on my behalf as research doesn't exist to confirm, or reject my theory. It's based upon my 30+ years of racing across the various eras of BMX, my coaching experience, and the fact that I still race to this day at a relevant (to my peer group) level.
There’re two considerations here depending on the age of your rider. Firstly for those that are 11 and under in 2019, they will be forced to race on flats in those age classes for a minimum of 2 years, while those going into the 12 year groups (as stated above) will be going back to flats for a year, then at the stroke of the 2020 New Year, go back into clips. You don’t want to restrict the development of racing speed by not preparing them for racing in clips in their year of racing the 13’s group. There might be a few bad habits to work out of them as well as clip pedals can be responsible for promoting a pedalling style not conducive to skill development. I see some really weird body positions during pumping that are impossible to do in flats, and not desirable as the rider gets older and progresses to manualing and jumping. It takes a fair bit of "un-training" to get the rider back on track.
Lincoln is going to go back to flats for one year in 2019, but there's nothing wrong with his form on clips.
Though that said, the allowance of a rider to ride up in the 13 year age groups and hence be allowed to run clips could cause confusion for the 11/12 year old rider (and parents) as they may “ride up” at every possibility in the 13 year age group. Then be back on flats for any championship event like the nationals, state championships and down to zone champs.
So to circle back to help you and your racer to decide on how to attack next year. Well, it’s nearly the end of 2018 and there’s less than a month before your kid’s (potential) first flat pedal race and you guessed it, you should be on them now if you aren’t so already. Get a good quality set of flat pedals and make sure they match the bike because your kid is going to want that, and if in doubt, just go the reliable black set. Thin profile with a good number of pins. You might scoff about getting the right colour, but they’re your kid…. If they feel good about their race rig, then half the battle is one with this change.
Queensland State Title's Final 2018 - not many of the girls on flats here at Sleeman where speeds are high.
The one issue and resentment to change I’ve already seen in my 10-11 year kids is that in flats they are immediately a little slower initially than they are clipped in and struggle to clear jumps that they were doing easily. It’s not because they are poor peddlers, they’ve lost some power transfer from going from a stiff soled clip shoe to a softer soled casual shoe (okay, Vans. We got plenty of them at LUX just quietly). I’m seeing this on a track that has a flat gate and therefore requires a bit of HP to get going. But even on a more downhill track I’ve seen the same group struggle a bit and yes, jumping does feel different initially. I know as I swap between the clips and flats as well in my own riding, so I can empathise with how they feel. So the kids were bummed for a few weeks, but they are adapting quickly. Though I’ve had to think pretty quickly to keep them pumped on riding when they’ve felt a little regression.
This is only a small sample group of kids I coach and may not be a broader issue. But no doubt you’ve had to face the same questions from your kid(s) as to why they’ve had to go back. I’m in two minds as what to advise for next year in the 12 year group. Do you race them “up” to let them continue in clips? Do you revert fully in preparation for the 2019 Aussies in Shepparton? Ditto for the 11 year age group for the year after. Those that never converted to clips are cool, no change for them.
At the end of the day, the fast kids will still be fast on flats and there will be no revolution at the national championships when a completely unknown kid comes out of the skate bowl to win the 12 year Boy's/Girl's title. So my tentative advice for your 12 year old is keep them on flats and running in their own age class up until the Aussies (if that’s where you are heading) and focus on the adaptation period over the next few months. Anyone that says that there’s no difference in the two systems hasn’t ridden them, if at all, but the kids will quickly adapt. Just reassure them that it’s the same for everyone. Then start to blend their usage in riding and training sessions (kids can train at 12, it’s not a crime) throughout the rest of the year to prepare them for getting back on them in 2020 by letting ride up into the 13 year age group. If the rider's goal is a state title, then stick with flats right through to Sept/Oct, but once they are done, switch them over and "ride up" in a few races after that.
As far as the younger age groups go, just hide the clip pedals and send off the berm into the rhythm section and they’ll figure it out. All they need to clear something is enough speed and the realisation that sometimes you crash. The fundamental pedalling skills are still the same. We mash the hell out of pedals in BMX whether you’re on flats or clipped in. Gate starts may feel a little funky for the little shredder, but they’ll adapt. Kids are good at that.
Here's our pick of the best pedals for smaller feet.
See you at the track, and if you have any questions about coaching or bike set up, hit me up here.
Who’s the Coach?
Bruce Morris – LUXBMX’s race program manager
BMX Racer – 35+ years
BMX Coach – 7+ years
Additional Experience – 30 years in the fitness industry training people from all walks of life
Author: Bruce Morris Date Posted: 30 April 2018
Introducing LUXBMX Coaching – Finding Your Edge
We’re all riders at LUXBMX, which isn’t really surprising as all the good BMX only shops around the world are owned and staffed by passionate people who love what they do. We’re thankful every day that we can combine both work and riding BMX and as LUXBMX expands its racing side, we thought we would add another service layer and share our passion for coaching riders by regularly offering insights and tips to make you a better racer, a faster racer, and a racer that’s stoked on BMX 24/7.
Marrying carbon and clips to the world of CrMo and flat pedals at LUX has been in the works now for just over 12 months and as the shop’s racer, I thought it was time to confess my age and give a little background on my riding, and the other BMX stuff I do outside of LUX. As a rider, I’ve been on the pedals racing for over 35 years, starting at 12, and wearing a coach’s hat for around the last 6 or 7 years. Prior to, and blended into all of these years of racing, is a career in the health and fitness industry allowing me to apply my understanding of human physiology with the physical demands of BMX racing.
BMX coaching in the modern era (post Olympic introduction – 2008) has been caught up in the Wattbike/Ipad/gate “reaction”time/1RM frenzy, and whilst there’s a place for that at the top end of the sport, for the other 95% of racers not destined for elite racing, or the even smaller percentage heading to the next Olympics, there’s much more gain to be had in understanding the rider you are, and understanding what truly makes you smile on the bike. Crack that formulae and the rest will come easy. Including winning if that’s your end goal because training in a fun environment will allow you to truly reach your potential.
Eminent Australian BMX coach Sean Dwight with Connor Fields and Chase/LUXBMX riders Shannon Petre and Ashlee Miller at a recent session at the Sleeman SX track in Brisbane. Training in a group elevates all of the riders with the right environment.
Finding the Edge – I’ve been very fortunate to have insight into the world of Australia’s foremost BMX coach, Sean Dwight, and it has been very surprising that the coach of the current Olympic gold medallist Connor Fields (amongst many other champions) talks at length about the artistry of riding a BMX race bike and the similarity of racing skills and freestyle (or vice versa). Touching on points such as the connective points of the body to the bike through the hands and feet, and the irrefutable proof that big-bowl riders have the sort of spatial awareness that BMX racers could only dream of.
Track speed is much more than simple horsepower out of the gate and out of the corners. Modern BMX tracks demand a very high level of bike handling skills and it’s perplexing that many current BMX racers, young or old, are looking for the edge in the gym, or doing road sprints. The paradox is that that approach would be applicable in the 80s when most track’s total jump count equalled (or more likely to be less than) the jump count on the third straight of most modern tracks.
The real science of BMX coaching is breaking down the physical and mental elements of a BMX lap, and presenting them in a format where a rider can work on those individual elements, then reform them to start banking all the skills to build a perfect lap.
Chase rider Connor Fields and BOX BMX's Trent Jones applying maximum focus before hitting the 8m hill at a recent Sleeman SX track session.
Where do you start? Let’s start at the gate and look at rethinking our approach to what is typically 99% of the Australian BMX racer’s training methodology of smashing out a 100 starts at “gate night” in as short of time as possible. So changing our mindset with regards to “training”.
Let’s try this… before you pack the bike in the car, have a plan of what you want to achieve from the session that day/night. Are you going to do the same thing as last week, and the week before? Or are there some other skills that you could work on to give you track speed advantage? Plan rest periods and don’t rush! Of course, the gate start is vital, but are you going to work on your reactive ability tonight and break it right down to just the first pedal out of the gate? Combined with a 5 or so first straight efforts.
Or maybe you don’t go near the gate and work on nailing the backsides on the rhythm straight at over-speed. Just have a plan before you get there to make the most of the time on the track and apply focus to your session. Don't just don't wing it because it's virtually impossible to train all of the elements of a BMX race in one session with the various energy and skill requirements compromising the outcome of the session. Not to mention the risk of craching. You'll be amazed at the change in your riding after a few weeks of focused sessions.
So, there’s a little bit about my background and hopefully you’ll realise there’s plenty to talk about when it comes to making you a better racer. Progression isn’t just about the results’ sheet, it’s about evolving your riding and training sessions as well. Identifying your strengths and weaknesses and making a plan to work on them. Not just following the others.
Catch you next time
Bruce Morris - LUXBMX
Author: Bruce Morris Date Posted: 7 March 2018
Balance – A New Approach to BMX Coaching and Mentoring
Centenary Plains BMX Club is set to host a BMX event that will draw upon a pool of talent and will collaborate in an Australian first to bring the riders of Queensland an unprecedented depth of BMX knowledge and wisdom. The end goal is to provide high-level coaching and mentorship on the day for riders as well as cement their love of riding BMX.
The coaching/mentoring line-up looks like this.
- Connor Fields – Olympic Gold Medallist 2016, (USABMX) Pro Champion 2017
- Warwick Stevenson – UCI World Champion 2004, (USABMX) Pro Champion 2001/2003
- Khalen Young – Olympian London 2012, (USABMX) Pro Champion 2008
- Tony Harvey – 2000 Elite National Champion
- Jamie Gray – 2003 Elite National Champion
- Trent Jones – Olympian Rio 2016
- Brett Scruse – Multiple National Titles, 2 X World Titles
Connor Fields - CF11
The coaching/mentoring group is drawn together by event organiser Sean Dwight, his experiences have spanned 4 decades on the domestic and international BMX circuit, Sean like the group associated has witnessed firsthand more major changes in the sport than any other generation. The collaborative experience of this group creates the opportunity to pass on this knowledge to stimulate growth and longevity.
Connor Fields with coach Sean Dwight
This event itself is aimed at younger riders split into two groups, 8 to 12 and 13 to 16 with the first group’s session in the morning and the older group in the afternoon. The Centenary Plains BMX precinct houses a newly opened pump track which will be utilised along with the BMX track to give the riders exposure to a wider riding environment. Technical aspects of BMX riding will be covered in separate sessions in each group, including an opportunity for parents of the riders to connect with the coaches in a Q&A session which will allow them to draw upon the experience of the coaching group and learn about the history of the sport in Australia.
Interspersed throughout the day will be a “Ride IN2 BMX” day that will give the opportunity for potential new BMX racers to witness what the sport has to offer. We will encourage the camp’s participants to connect with the new riders during the break between the two groups to spread the word about how awesome BMX is and what it has done for them. The participants of this side of the event will also have the opportunity to meet 2016 Olympic Gold Medallist Connor Fields. People who sign up on the day as a new Centenary Plains’ member will have the chance to win a Redline MX Expert race bike courtesy of Redline Australia.
Colony BMX Brand and LUXBMX will host a freestyle jam session on the day showcasing what free riding and flow truly means. Wade Bootes, Cycling Australia’s National BMX Technical Director will be keeping an eye on proceedings with the UCI's Freestyle App being launched to the wider freestyle community in a test of its ability to highlight grassroots riders.
Whilst the event is focusing on coaching and mentoring of young riders, the event’s organisers hope to show the BMX community that we can work and learn from all disciplines of BMX riding.
Camp Information - click flyer below or:
Register on OSM - Click here.
p. 0419 960310
Warwick Stevenson and Kyle Bennett
Khalen Young representing Australia at the 2012 London Olympics
Author: Bruce Morris Date Posted: 1 March 2018
BMX Race Helmet – Buy one that fits right.
Without doubt your helmet one of the most important pieces of your race kit, it’s one area that any rider or parent shouldn’t skimp on and yet we are still amazed that helmets pop up on second hand sites for sale. Not only does the mere thought of sticking your head into someone else’s sweat pit kind of leaves us nauseous, you have no idea if that helmet has taken a big hit prior to you buying it, leaving you vulnerable to a potential head injury from just a small off. Most manufactures recommend replacing a helmet after a big crash, and so do we.
Luki J - 100% all the way
At LUXBMX we sell a range of helmets for a range of budgets and even those helmets at the bottom end of the price spectrum will protect your head better than a ill-fitting second hand helmet. Not only does the correct fitting helmet protect you better, your range of vision isn’t compromised and as coaches, the first thing we often do with new riders in our sessions is push up their peak and then check the fit of the helmet. Too big a helmet and it’ll slip down over the rider’s race obscuring their vision, plus it will move too much in a crash. Or come off completely!
100% Status in camo and in youth sizes
We stock the 100% Status helmet and it carries a few features that we really think makes it a perfect BMX race helmet. One of those is that the Youth range actually has a smaller shell, rather than just extra thick lining and padding, plus the helmet comes in at just 1 kilogram. Lessing the strain on young rider’s necks.
Click here to see you full range of race helmets.
Going to happen one day...
Author: LUXBMX Date Posted: 26 February 2018
The first round of BMX Australia’s national series in Penrith NSW saw the Chase/LUXBMX team make its debut on a hot weekend of racing in western Sydney in late February. Bringing together riders from Cairns, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, the team was housed under Elite Cycle Imports (Chase Bicycle’s Australian distributor) corporate set up for the first time which gave the riders a area to chill out, and the rider’s families a chance to meet each other.
A brand-new team to the Australian race scene, the Chase/LUXBMX partnership was pulled together in a short time frame at the end of 2017 after Gary Brookes from Elite Cycle Imports (ECI) met with Chase’s Christophe Leveque and Pete Dylewski, along with Aussie coach Sean Dwight at the USA BMX Grand Nationals in Tulsa Oklahoma to discuss forming a team. Partnering with Aussie BMX icon retailer, LUXBMX, the idea was to create a team that would foster rider development, mentorship and generate results through harmonious reationships. The 8-rider roster is made up of four riders that were already part of a existing ECI Chase team, and four riders coached by Sean Dwight, all brought under the one umbrella to form the Chase/LUXBMX Team.
The weekend was an outstanding success for the team, not only for the wins and podiums, but also for the chance the riders and families had to meet each other. After the introductions, there was an immediate feeling that this was a group of people that all shared the same vision of BMX, with high achieving athletes hanging out together in a supportive environment. With only a couple of the riders directly competing against each other to add a little spice. No egos, just acknowledgement of each other's performance and ability, and a fair bit of Aussie humour to keep the nerves at a containable level. The team immediately gelled as a unit and the results flowed by the end of racing Sunday.
By the end of the weekend the results sheet read:
Max Cairns – Elite: 2nd
Izaac Kennedy – Jr Elite: 1st
Ashlee Miller - Jr Elite: 2nd
Shannon Petre – 15 Girls: 1st
Wade Turner – Elite: Semi
Dean Patch – 35+ Masters: 5th
Phobe Wallen – 16 Girls: Hit the deck and the ER room.
Harvey Brooks – 8 Boys: 2nd
Straight after this round, both Max Cairns and Izaac Kennedy flew out to the US for 2 months of training and riding with Chase Bicycles team rider Connor Fields, while the rest of the team will be competing at the national championships in March. Both ECI and LUXBMX can’t wait to take this show on the road and are looking forward to an incredible 2018.
Author: Bruce Morris Date Posted: 22 December 2017
Two major forces of Australian BMX have partnered to form a new race team for 2018 and beyond. Australian Chase Bicycles Distributor Elite Cycle Imports, and Brisbane bike shop LUXBMX have a long-established business relationship, with ECI supplying the shop with various brands stretching back to the opening of LUX in 2010. Established as a freestyle shop, LUXBMX decided to go “racing” in 2017 with a philosophy of reconnecting freestyle to racing like it was in the beginning and immediately struck a chord with the race community off the back of the enviable reputation already built by LUX owners, Mitch Wood and Evan Jaques.
LUX has supported riders from the beginning and currently have a killer team roster that includes a couple of ex-racers carving up the freestyle world; and they were itching to add racers to the line-up. It was through a connection between LUXBMX race program manager Bruce Morris and world-renowned BMX coach Sean Dwight, that sparked a conversation with ECI owner Gary Brookes about combining many years of BMX racing experience to form a team. Elite Cycle Imports also has a long history of supporting riders and teams in Australia since 1997 from its conception and continues to distribute some Quality Race BMX Products, Brookes is as excited as the riders to be involved. Thus, the Chase/LUXBMX team was created.
Speaking of riders, the first four riders on the roster below are mentored by Sean Dwight and one of the cornerstones of the team’s philosophy is that of personal development, with as much emphasis placed upon it as all other aspects of the training program. Dwight, amongst many of his other world class achievements, took Connor Fields to a gold medal and Alise Post to a silver medal at the 2016 RIO Olympics, he will be a huge asset to the team.
Following the first four riders are a collective of Victorian racers that ECI was already supporting under the Chase banner, with new comer Phoebe Wallen rounding out the gate of 8 riders. Anyone following Australian BMX racing over the past several years will read the list and recognise the names immediately, having either seen them on podiums around the country, or result’s lists from races like the recent USABMX Grands. An enviable line-up of depth and potential.
Underpinning the team is the support of Chase Bicycles owner, Christophe Leveque and team manager, Pete Dylewski. Brookes and Dwight met with Leveque and Dylewski at the recent USABMX Grands to discuss the formation of a national Australian Chase team and were onboard immediately, recognising that the potential of the team and its association with Dwight would see the Chase brand’s profile lifted even higher here in Australia. In addition, Sean’s relationship with Christophe and other key industry people, along with his professionalism and experience provides an opportunity for the riders to tap into the broader BMX world beyond Australia, elevating their racing development and ultimately providing long-term sustainability in the sport.
Congratulations to the riders listed below and all the success in the upcoming 2018 race season.
Chase/LUXBMX team line-up
· Max Cairns (Elite Men) – VIC
· Izaac Kennedy (Junior Elite Men) – QLD
· Ashlee Millar (Junior Elite Women) – NSW
· Shannon Petre (15 Years Girls) – QLD
· Dean Patch (45-49 Men) - VIC
· Wade Turner (Elite Men) - VIC
· Phoebe Wallen (16 Year Girls) - VIC
· Harvey Brooks (7 year Boys) – VIC
Team Manager Bruce Morris
Author: Bruce Morris - LUXBMX Race Guru
One of the benefits of age, if not necessarily wisdom, is seeing a bunch of trends come and go across all aspects of life. This includes BMX where I’ve seen some wacky ideas in my time that have lasted less than 5 minutes, and some which have become staple in the racing world.
Though in the past 5 years or so, there’s a couple of trends in BMX race frames that we here at LUXBMX think are going to last. One trend that has a genuine rider performance advantage, and one that pushes design and ideologies in an area that’s not seen a change this radical since the single sided Kastan forks of the late 80s.
One of the trends we are seeing is the lengthening of top tubes with some frame brands pushing towards 23 inches in their “standard” ranges. This is being seen across a number of brands. Another trend is being driven by one manufacturer, and normally that would send up the BS antenna, except it’s from world respected, and rider respected Dutch brand Meybo.
This major change in (BMX) frame design came in the form of their HSX frame which saw Meybo drop a new design that featured a fixed axle rear end. When the 2020 Olympic frames were offered to us, we snapped up several of them, and promptly sold out of all of them, bar one which we kept as a shop build. The quality of these frames really impressed us, and the customers that bought them, who are still out there shredding on them today.
A major advantage of this design is the fact that you can change chainrings and rear cogs quickly and without having to be concerned about chain length and trying to get the rear axle located back in the same spot as you were running before. Thus removing a lot of anxiety when changing your gearing set up. That, and the fact that there’s no need for a chain change either if you’ve set your bike up correctly in the first place. That’s been our experience so far off the HSX builds that we’ve finished.
The second advantage of the fixed rear axle is the disc brake caliper (mount) can be solidly mounted to the frame and doesn’t need to be designed to move with the rear axle, thus eliminating components required to facilitate this. With the bikes we build now with a disc brake set up, the disc brake mount/adapter needs to be able to slide to accommodate changes in axle location when a change of gearing happens, or when fitting a new chain. You will see on the Meybo frame that it runs a chain tensioning device which keeps everything in check as far as chain tension goes, plus its derailleur ready for those early adopters going for a 2 speed set up. This is one thing that we feel won’t take as we’ve seen this before over the years, but who knows, if Twan wins a gold medal, people might change their minds.
A third advantage is that rear wheel changes can happen really quickly. Now, we aren’t exactly competing in the Tour de France here and need 2 minute wheel changes, but with all the disc brake set ups we’ve seen presented to us from manufacturers, there is a certain amount of fiddling around when changing a wheel. Be it for a flat tyre or a gearing change, it’s still a little fiddly with the adapters and extra components compared to a regular V-brake bike.With a fixed rear axle frame, this is 100% eliminated. You could literally change a rear wheel in 2 minutes with this fixed axle design. Again, reducing the anxiety level on race day.
The announcement that Meybo is manufacturing their HSX frames in carbon got us all pretty excited here at the shop! We feel that this is a solid indication that this movement to a fixed rear axle length is becoming more legitimised. Something that 8 Olympians will attest to. We can’t see these Dutch riders choosing these frames just because their sponsor told them to, if they had any doubts around the inability to “change” the rear length of their frames because it would affect performance, then they would stick to the established dropout design seen on almost all BMX race bikes.
The other factor is well, just look at this thing! It is so slick and LUX is committing to all of the sizes in the range from Expert, to the big dawg Pro Cruiser. As well as all the Pro sizes in between. Pre-orders are open now on our store, so jump in quick as the demand for these carbon Meybos will out strip the supply for 2022 stock.