Welcome to Gravity Bike HQ, the home of Gravity bikes. Our vision is simple; Share ideas, inspire others and make the gravity bike community more connected, fun and professional. Thousands of gravity bikers around the world use our site to stay in touch, learn and develop new ideas, organise events, sell stuff and inspire others about had rad it is to ride and race gravity bikes. We hope you enjoy the site and look forward to hearing from you along the way.
What's a gravity bike?
A Gravity Bike is a specialised two wheeled bicycle propelled by nothing other than gravity. Without pedals or a chain, Gravity Bike riders rely on steep gradients and gravity to reach incredibly fast speeds. Historically, Gravity Bikes evolved from modifying a traditional BMX where a rider would add weight, alter seating and handlebar positions and change a bikes aerodynamic characteristics in the pursuit of greater speeds. More recently, Gravity Bikes have evolved to become highly specialised and purpose built machines capable of reaching speeds over 130kph from a standing push start.
Gravity Bikes are ultimately built for speed. The steeper and more technical a road or dedicated racing circuit, the greater the adrenaline rush for riders. Fitted with full protective gear including leathers, helmets, gloves and boots, Gravity Bike riding combines the thrill of speed with a love of bicycles.
Gravity Bikes and Gravity Bike racing have a long and proud history. For more than 30 years there have been hundreds, if not thousands of people around the world contributing to the growth and presentation of the sport. Riding and racing Gravity Bikes is awesome. There is nothing like being poised at the crest of a 2.5 mile technical decent. Your hands clenched tight around the handlebars of a Gravity Bike, built for no other purpose than to break the sound barrier. Adrenaline is coursing through every inch of your body. To the left are 3 of the fastest riders in the world, to the right, another 2. It's the World Championships. You have trained for years, months and days for your chance to race this final 3 minutes, 10.4 seconds. In the blink of a eye its over and you are the newest World Champion!
So go on, get out there and give it a go.
For more than 30 years there have been hundreds, if not thousands of people who have contributed to the growth and presentation of gravity bike building, riding and racing around the world. This section of the site is intended to thank them whole heartedly for their contribution and the inspiration they have offered to all of those that have followed in their footsteps.
There are those of you out there that have either pioneered the technical development of bikes, promoted the sport in the media, ridden your asses of at events or simply inspired the kid next door to drop the bars, tuck in and attack the hill outside their house. You have all made a difference and you should be recognised for this.
Unfortunately, many of you have gone unrecognised due to the lack of historical recording in our sport. Dates, times and places live collectively in the heads of a few rather than documented in the pages for many. Over the course of the coming days, months and years we will do what we can to remember and document the best we can.
In looking at the history of Gravity Bikes, you could start with the story being told as a series of incoming and outgoing influences over the past 30 years. Every rider that we have spoken to can still describe their first encounter with a gravity bike, the first time they built one or the first time they saw one in the flesh, which is no doubt testament to how much fun they have had building, riding and racing them over the years. Disappointingly though, the formal history behind the evolution of the bike, its riders and innovations have remained largely in archive boxes.
For many, their first encounter with a Gravity Bike involved reading magazines such as BMX Plus or BMX Action in the early and mid 1980's. Publications like these took an interest in gravity bikes and every now and then one would present articles featuring American pioneers ripping down hills like GMR (Glendora Mountain Road) or Coal Grade Road near San Diego, CA. For others it was pivotal events like the 'SE Racing - Coal Grade Road - GPVA Nationals' that ESPN featured on "Vision Street Wear - Action Cycle Sports Series" back in 1988 or the Xgames in 2000 (which was the first and last time gravity bikes were included). Importantly, events like this not only provided an organised and safe environment for riders to test themselves and compete against others, but for the general public to see and engage with gravity bikes and gravity bike riders from around the world.
Pioneers like Dan Hanebrink (Holland) and his son Jarrad Hanebrink (Holland), Dwight Garland (USA), Scot Breithaupt (Germany), Jeff Bottema (USA), Eddy King (USA), Harry Leary (USA), Greg Hill (USA), Tommy Brakens (USA), Peter Casati (AUS), Karl Ebel (South Africa), Neil Orta (USA), Tommy Brackens (USA), Fermin Rodriguez (Spain), Kelly Stamps (USA), Hugo Nieto (Mexico), Polo Medina (Spain), Art Gonzalez (Mexico), Richard Kerr (USA) and Matthew McLemore (USA) sought in many ways, not only to invent a new kind of bike but develop a new kind of riding.
For younger riders, outside of the United States, digital media opened the doors of communication and inspiration. As early as 1996, riders were able to contribute to a range of blogs and sites like www.graviytbike.com presented a professional face to a burgeoning and infant sport. The ability for riders to study the latest developments, ask questions, connect with others and most importantly share images of their builds, meant that engagement with the sport slowly increased and riders could finally have access to a like minded community and knowledge bank.
Since 1996, GBHQ has been sharing the stoke of riding and racing gravity bikes. But the reality is we can only do so much without your help. If you rode in the early days or know someone around the world that has pushed, crashed or has just ridden their way into gravity biking folk law, then we would love to hear from you. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can start to fill in the blanks. In the meantime, you might like to discover some of the GBHQ interviews;
The International Gravity Sports Association was founded in 1996 when a group of street luge and downhill skateboard enthusiasts recognized the need for fair, unbiased leadership for the sport. Since its inception, the goals of the association have been to foster strong and fair competition, to provide reasonable rules, to administer the competition program with impartiality, and to reduce the hazards associated with the sport.
The first IGSA event was held in May 1997 in San Bernardino, California. A few months earlier, IGSA Founder Marcus Rietema had been awarded the “Street Luge Sport Organizer” contract for the 1997 ESPN X Games to be held in Oceanside, California. The San Bernardino Grand Prix served as the open qualifying event for the 97’ X Games. In the early years, the IGSA events featured Street Luge only. In 2000, the IGSA added classes for Downhill Skateboarding, Classic Luge, Inline Skating, and Gravity Bike. This brought more competitors to each race and for the first time organizing races became financially viable for event organizers.
Each year the IGSA designated one event as the IGSA World Championships. The competitor who wins their respective class at this race is awarded the title of IGSA World Champion. Past host cities include Kaurnatal-Austria, Auerburg-Germany, Scheid-Switzerland, Jungholz, Austria and Goldendale, Washington.
Unfortunately, the IGSA no longer holds sanctioned Gravity Bike races as part of their national or international world championship series. GBHQ has preserved the historical records from the IGSA should they ever been removed from the IGSA website. The official records can be found on the IGSA site here.
Year Name Nat Event Location 2009 Brett Phillips AUS Newton's Playground Bathurst, Austraila 2008 Brett Phillips AUS Maryhill Festival Of Speed Washington, USA 2007 Cedric Burel FRA Almabtrieb Jungholz, Germany 2006 Cedric Burel FRA Chill On A Swiss Hill Scheid, Switzerland 2005 Cedric Burel FRA Almabtrieb Jungholz, Germany 2004 Cedric Burel FRA Red Bull Almabtrieb Auerberg, Germany 2003 Cedric Burel FRA Braun Hot Heels Kaunertal, Austria 2002 Donovon LeKock RSA Braun Hot Heels Kaunertal, Austria
World Champions - Fairing Gravity Bike
Year Name Nat Event Location 2003 Fermin Rodriguez USA Braun Hot Heels Kaunertal, Austria
World Series Champions
Year Name Nat 2011 Dave Stinton UK 2010 Dave Stinton UK 2009 Alex Frischauf AUST 2008 Brett Phillips AUS 2007 Andreas Johnson SWE 2006 Dave Kessler USA 2005 Dave Kessler USA 2004 Dave Kessler USA 2003 Dave Kessler USA 2002 Jason Johnson USA 2001 Frank Waterhouse USA
World Series Champions - Fairing Gravity Bike
Year Name Nationality 2003 Fermin Rodriguez USA 2002 Matt McLemore USA 2001 Dwight Garland USA
Thankfully, Gravity Bike racing is on the increase and there are many associations running national championships all over the world. In the coming months we will look to update the following list as we confirm the best of the best.
Year National Championship Name 2014 Australia Brett Phillips