Racing 4X with one gear?

Hi Lee, i was wondering if it’s possible to race 4X with a single speed bike and be successful with racing? Let me know what you think.
Thanks, Cameron

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Hey Cameron, what a fun question.

If it was still 2006, I’d say you can’t race 4X with a single speed. The 2006 NORBA Rulebook says:

“3D12. Bikes must have three working gears and two working brakes.”

Back in the day, these sorts of rules were made partly for safety, but mostly to prevent BMXers from stomping on mountain bikers.

The 2007 NORBA Rulebook makes no stipulations regarding 4X bikes. I’m not sure why they omitted the rule, but that means you can race 4X on a BMX cruiser if you like.

Can you be successful racing with one gear? It depends on the course, your skill and your competition. If you’re racing pro, forget it. If you’re racing a lower class, and the course is steep, and you have a strong start, and you can pump like a champ, you can probably compete just fine.

If anyone can win an expert 4X race with one gear, it’s Michael Ontiveros. I’ve seen this mathematical genius win 4Xs with just a few cranks out of the gate and the smoothest pump you’ve ever seen.

Get out there and see how it goes. If you decide you need gears, you know what to do.


— Lee

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