Sunday, February 22, 2009

Pit Bikes: From the 1950s to the 21st Century

When pit bikes started appearing in the 1950s, they reached the summit of their era by the late 1960s to the early 1970s. Assembled from spare parts in enthusiasts’ garages, pit bikes were then used as a convenient and quite efficient means of transport in drag racing pits—thus the tag ‘pit bikes.’ They were highly maneuverable in harsh terrain, and any terrain for that matter, they were faster than other modes of transport back then, and they could easily fit in the back of a pickup with room to spare. As minibikes gained popularity, appealing and attracting kids and adults alike, they also gained market demand, and eventually companies sprouted up to meet this demand. Pit bikes, and the foremost companies that manufacture them and their spare parts, soon had themselves a cult of followers and enthusiasts. The minibike craze sure caught on pretty quick in those decades, but what about in the 21st century?

Today, though one doesn’t really encounter pit bike everyday, they can still be considered common. Their original use as handy and effective maneuverable, mini transports still hold, and even races and exhibitions using these small bikes still go on. Their legitimacy, on the other hand, became somewhat a complicated issue. Different countries treat pit bikes and their legal use equally differently. Indeed, it’s one thing to use a minibike in a local neighborhood or race circuit, and it’s another to use it on public highways and roads. So in some countries, they’re legitimate, in others, not quite. Strict laws on safety precautions also apply; though you don’t really need laws to remind people to be responsible and have common sense. Protective gear and measures are needed because though pit bike may be small, it can kill in an accident. With speeds from 30 to 70 kilometers per hour, even their small frames could crush a man.

Perhaps one of the most notable differences in the use of minibikes between then and now is the fact that today, kids who’re barely teens can perform and race as good as professional motocross racers using their minibikes. Contests and competitions have sprouted in several countries where competitors are children and their racing thoroughbreds are perfectly tweaked minibikes. Though the danger posed by these races dramatically becomes more pronounced what with the competitors being kids, this seems to stray to the peripherals when the races begin. They can be quite engaging, and the kid racers do certainly have skill.

Most notably, though this might be a generalized observation, the craze that catapulted minibikes then and the way they are seen now is markedly different. Back in the 1950s to the 1970s, interest in the small machines ballooned into trend, where people got into minibikes to be in with the mainstream culture, whereas now, minibikes are more of a hobby. People get into an individual decision to engage in minibike sport, and are not drawn by popular choice or mainstream psychology. Well, whatever the reasons, minibikes are still around today, and would probably still be around for a while.

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