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Pocket Bike Racing: A Background & Introduction

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Motorcycles

Pocket Bike Racing: A Background & Introduction

Ted Belfour
March 30, 2006

Pocketbike racing, which is also known in some places as Minimoto or Mini GP racing, is a racing that is doine with the use of miniature racing motorcycles, which are known most commonly as pocket bikes. These bikes are raced around kart tracks. It is an extremely popular sport in Japan and Europe, and is gaining in popularity in other parts of the world, particularly in the United States.

A typical pocket bike is roughly one quarter the size of a normal motorcycle, and is powered by an internal combustion engine of between 40-50 cubic centimetres producing somewhere between 3 and 15 horsepower, depending on the particular model. The machines have no suspension, relying on the tires to absorb bumps and handle cornering, and most weigh right about 40 pounds. The entry-level models often produce about 3 to 4 horsepower, but the more expensive racing models run with much more power. The best pocket bikes for racing are ones that provide a favorable power-to-weight ratio. Performance enhancements are sometimes added to increase speed and acceleration. Despite their tiny size, both adults and children race pocket bikes at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour in organized racing leagues.

The ease of transportation afforded by their size, and the low cost of the bikes (they are priced anywhere from a mere $200 for the most basic models built in China, to anywhere upwards of around $5,000 for a top notch, best of its kind Italian model) make them an affordable way for children (some as young as six) to learn the basics about motorcycle racing and for adults to live out their hunger for the adrenaline rush of bike racing without the high costs and heavy risks associated with full-sized motorcycle racing.

In most countries, a lisence is not required to ride miniature bikes. Even so, pocket bikes are not usually street legal and should only be ridden on private land, such as car parks, gardens or on race tracks. Some areas have very specific laws against riding pocket bikes on the street, and because of their small size, people driving cars and trucks may not see them. For this reason they should never be driven on busy public streets. Dave is the owner of http://super-pocket-bike.info a website that provides information on pocket bikes and mini moto racing.



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