Looking for a few simple and affordable tips to make your race bike go even faster? Then we have the tips you have been looking for.
While there is no cure for some things in BMX racing—like a bad gate or a surprise trip over a berm—when it comes down to races won or lost over a matter of inches, these simple tips may be all you need to turn your second-place streak into pure domination.
Proper chain line is the most commonly overlooked sapper of speed. On race bikes, adjustment is limited; but if you have a cassette hub, spacers can be added or removed from behind the cog to align the chain and reduce friction and drag between the chain and teeth.
Secure grips will ensure better gate starts and stronger acceleration out of turns, allowing you to pull harder, without holding back for fear of throttle grip. Lock-on grips are the best approach, but clean bars and a shot of WD-40 are a great alternative for securing conventional grips, or those with loose spots resulting from dirt or water.
Make sure your brakes are centered and are working at their best. Brake drag will obviously slow you down, but dialing in your brakes will also allow you to ride faster and harder before you need to apply them, meaning better lines and positioning into turns.
Spin your wheels, pedals and cranks; they should all spin smoothly but not be loose. While loose bearings can feel smooth, when they are under load, they can bind more than a bearing that is slightly tight. Clean grease and well-adjusted bearings all mean a faster spin and top speed, so be sure to check them regularly.
Check your spoke tension before any race. While loose spokes can lead to an out-of-true wheel and brake drag, they also slow the bike down, as they rob the wheel of its rigidity. The process is simple: Spin your wheel to make sure it is visually straight, then pinch all your spokes where they cross, feeling for even tension all the way around. If you find loose spokes, have them professionally tightened.
Chain tension is important for a quick transfer of power, but over do it and the binding will slow you way down. Find a tension that allows your cranks to spin freely and doesn’t bind up your cog or
freewheel. If you have those annoying tight and loose spots, adjust for proper tension at the tight spot.
Proper air pressure in your tires can really pump up your track speed, so be sure to check your tires before every race and maintain a balanced psi. On smooth tracks, you can also try bumping up your
tire pressure by a few psi for even faster speeds.
Think you’re up to speed because you are clipped in? Not so fast! Loose or worn-out cleats, paired with soft or old springs in the pedals, can mean a less secure clip, leading to blown pedals or hesitation when on the track. Replace your cleats once a year and keep them clean. You can also increase spring tension on most SPD-style pedals with the turn of an Allen wrench, or back out the set screws on Crank Bros style pedals to prevent unwanted twisting of the foot.