Like many around the world, my eyes have been glued to the television (for the first time in many months), because of the Olympic games. There’s something spectacular about watching the best athletes in the world competing at even the most mundane and unusual events (after NBCs mandated tape delay.)
The Summer Olympics are particularly fun for pedaling enthusiasts because they’re choke full of cycling events. Everything from cross country, to track, and since the 2008 Beijing Olympics, BMX. The sport of BMX racing is incredibly engaging for millions of viewers who don’t understand the subtleties of road racing. Instead of being subjected to an hours long race filled with tightly packed spandex clad athletes, a BMX race is over in just a few tense minutes, and features gigantic doubles and sweeping berms.
The BMX bikes ridden during these races differ greatly from the freestyle oriented rigs you’ve seen in the videos we sometimes feature. The frames have steeper headtubes, longer top tubes, and longer chainstays. Builds are usually finished of with longer crank arms, generally 180 mm, but varying with rider size, for improved torque out of the gate. Gear ratio’s vary according to rider preference, and are frequently fine tuned for a particular course, but most riders choose a ratio around 2.85:1. A 45/16 is very common. A larger ratio means slower acceleration out of the gate, but faster overall speeds, while a lower ratio means faster acceleration down the first straightaway. In BMX, the vast majority of races are won or lost during that first straightaway.
This year the United States Olympic Team had three men and two women on their BMX squad. What will be they be riding?
Alise Post, 21, will be riding one of these custom painted Redline bikes. The majority of the athletes brought two rigs with them to London, just in case. The 5’2 Olympian missed the 2008 Olympics because she didn’t meet the mandatory age requirement of 19.
She missed the majority of the 2011 season due to a bad crash, but we wish the “beast” all the best in her gold medal pursuits.
You’ll be able to spot Alise easily in this custom painted full face.
Unfortunately, Arielle Martin suffered a crash due to a her chain snapping during practice, and was rushed to the hospital with a severe liver laceration and collapsed right lung. This is the second time that injury has taken her out of Olympic contention, and we’re sending her our best as she makes her way back to full recovery.
You can find her on twitter @AMV15 if you’d like to offer her support.
Her Olympic race bikes specs:
Frame: Intense Podium Pro, Fork: Sinz 20mil, Bars: S&M T4 Race, Stem: Profile Acoustic 53mm, Grips: ODI Lock on Patriot, Cranks: Sinz XXX Anodized 175mm, Pedals: Crank Bros Mallets, Bottom Bracket: Hawk Ceramic, Chainring: Rennen 46t, Chain: SRAM PC-1, Hubs: Profile Elite (rear) Sinz 20mil (Front), Rear Cog: 17t, Rims: Sinz 1.75, Tires: Intense Hustler 1.75, Seat Post: Thompson, Seat: THE Mini, Seat Clamp: Sinz
Her father hand builds all are her race wheels.
Brooke Crain, originally an alternate, has been called into prime time. The 19 year old Haro rider finished 3rd place in last years Jr womens UCI BMX World Championships.
A photo of Connor Fields BMX bike was unavailable for this post, but we will update if that changes. All you need to know is that he is the first rider to win three consecutive World Cup Final races and he disdains goggles. He is considered an Olympic favorite to win this event.
David Herman was the first American to be named to the BMX squad, because he clinched the necessary 138 points to grab the automatic nomination slot. He will be riding the same Free Agent frame piloted by Latvian Maris Strombergs, winner of the 2008 event.
Nic runs Stealth hubs laced to Alienation rims. The hubs are on the heavy side, but they’re made in America, and utilize a roller clutch for instantaneous engagement. He usually runs a 43/16, 177.5 mm cranks, and prefers to runs a larger tire in the rear.
Premium and Cliq components (both Haro brands) round out the rest of the build.
The complete build comes in at 20.76.
The BMX finals are scheduled for Aug 10th.