Pocket Bikes - Full-Sized Fun in a Miniature Package
Racing pocket bikes is a sport that is very popular in places like space-starved Japan. Racing meets are also found in Europe and elsewhere in the world. The bikes are also known as mini-moto's and the races as Mini GP Racing. Races are typically conducted on a kart track. The miniature motorcycles resemble sport bikes but are only about one-quarter the size.Mini-bikes are about 20 inches high and forty inches long. They usually weigh in at around 50 pounds. This small size means they can be operated by either adults or children. Power for the mini-bikes is usually supplied by a small two-stroke engine of around fifty cubic centimeters in size. The entry-level bikes usually provide from 2.4 to 4.2 hp, with increased horsepower for racing bikes. The high performance minibikes have anywhere from eleven to seventeen horsepower output.In Japan, where the concept of minibikes was first put into practice, the original bikes were much less developed than they are today. The early bikes were simply smaller frames with a small two-cycle motor attached. As the idea of mini motorcycles spread into Europe, the Italian engineering skills came into the picture. They took the idea of mini-bikes and upgraded the technology to produce a racing machine that is optimized for weight, balance and wind stream effectiveness. The speed record has been set at 78 miles per hour in a recent race. Races are typically held on kart tracks.Beginner bikes are available now from China at prices less than $200. At the other end of the range, superbly engineered racing machines sell for as much as $7000. Early racing models cost much more than they do today, because of the costly research and development expenses. The bikes of today reflect precise relationships between braking systems, engine configuration, geometry of the frame and available power.Even a child can pick up one of these mini-motorcycles and put it into a rear seat or cargo compartment of an automobile. The price means that both children and adults can enjoy the fun of operating a racing motorcycle. Children as young as six own and operate the mini-bikes in races. Adults can have the enjoyment of racing without the cost of purchasing and maintaining a full-size motorcycle.Mini-bikes are not legal for street riding in most countries. Even though you don't need a driver's license to operate a mini-bike, they should only be enjoyed in car parks, trails, parking lots or race tracks. They are safer to operate on fairly smooth and clean paved areas.Even though the mini-moto is a small and lightweight machine, riding it takes experience and skill. Safety training is important and safety equipment such as helmets, protective boots and other items are imperative. This is particularly important when young children are riding. Pick your place for riding based upon the skill and experience of the rider and always do a vehicle safety check before riding.If motorcycle riding interests you, pocket bikes may be a good way to include your family in riding. Racing events for mini-bikes are popular in Japan and Europe and are also found in the United States. Races are divided into categories by gender and age group. Three main types of bikes are raced.