How Do I Deal With My 3 Year Old& 39 History of Pocket Bikes

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History of Pocket Bikes

With the sudden influx of pocket bikes, many Americans may believe that this is a new sport. But small, motorized bicycles have been around since the 50s. They appeared soon after mechanized racing cars became common. There were malicious competitions such as “jutting”. Two riders would ride next to each other holding rolled up newspapers and try to blow up a balloon tied to their opponent’s helmet. After the 60s, the mini-bikes became relatively rare in the states.

During the 70s, pocket bike racing became a serious sport in Japan. They used cheap and low-tech bikes for racing. In the 80’s the Italians took the sport up a notch and started racing better quality, high tech bikes. However, the bicycles they first used were powered by relatively weak motors with no more power than an electric screwdriver.

From the later 90s the sport spread throughout Europe. In 1996 the Swiss Pocket Bike Championship was created. That championship grew to include other pocket bike clubs to eventually become one of the largest in the world. Over 120 people compete in 8-11 races each year. The races, which are held on different tracks, are divided according to the age and gender of the participants as well as the type of pocket bike (junior, stock or racing).

Pocket bike racing remains one of the fastest growing sports in Europe and is also spreading to other countries in Asia and North America. In some European countries the races are even televised. Italy remains the number one producer of Minimotos, although the machines they create now are much more powerful than the earlier models. The Chinese have just started producing the bikes, which although of a much lower quality than their Italian counterparts, are still much less expensive.

Many of the top motorcycle racers first learned their sport on a Minimoto. World champions who started on pocket bikes include Valentino Rossi (Italian), Loris Capirossi (Italian), Nobuatsu Aoki (Japanese) and Daijiro Kato (Japanese). However, an English motorcycle instructor named Alec Tague holds the latest land speed record. Alec, who is 39 years old and 5 foot 10, reached 78 MPH on his 12-inch bike. The old record, held by American Dave Myers was 63.888 MPH.

Modern pocket bikes that have not been souped up usually have between 4 and 14 horsepower. Entry-level bikes produce 3 to 4 hp, while racing models can have the power of 11 to 12 hp. Most bikes weigh around 40 pounds and run anywhere from $200 for a low-end Chinese model, to $5,000 for a well-crafted, top-of-the-line Italian bike.

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