2018 USA BMX Rule Changes

November 7, 2017 by  

2018 USA BMX Rule Changes

As the calendar gets thinner and thinner, the particulars of the new season are coming into sharper focus. We already have the full national schedule and, on Monday, we now have the USA BMX rule changes for 2018. Per usual, adjustments to the most mature BMX racing ruleset on the planet are greeted with both love and hate but, by-and-large, make sense for the purpose under which they were created.

2018 USA BMX Rule Change Highlights

  • Upper-age 20” classes have been remodeled to 17-20, 21-25, 26-35, 36-40, 41-45, 46-50, 51 & Over.
  • Moto building in the “race manager” program will be re-worked to behave similarly to pre-2017 logic.
  • NAG/NAT will now count your best EIGHT scores (instead of seven), plus the Grands. A MINIMUM of four national scores will be required to earn a NAG plate.
  • Canadian NAT/NAG riders will be required to run a maple leaf sticker on their plate
  • Striders will run on Friday and Saturday of each weekend.
  • As of July 2018, all riders at USA BMX Nationals will be required to run “side plates,” ala UCI
  • Trophy slips must be exchanged for a trophy or stamps at the event in which they are earned.
  • If you pull out before the cutoff, you will be issued a refund, instead of a credit.
  • No more 7-day membership.

2018 USA BMX Rule Changes – Official Release

New Classes
The 2018 Rules Meeting brought forth a few changes in the available classes for Novice, Intermediate and Expert riders. Starting at age 17, the new structure will look like this: 17-20, 21-25, 26-35, 36-40, 41-45, 46-50, 51 & Over.

The restructuring of the classes between 17 & 35 years of age should make for some exciting classes and accounts for the transitional phases in life that riders go through. The 17-20 Expert division will be amazing to watch and certainly have title implications.

And the 51 & Over classes should help bring more older riders into the sport, while keeping some of the existing “old guys” racing 20” a while longer.

Moto Building
With the moto building changes, the name of the game was rolling back the clock to a simpler time. Novice and Girl riders will continue to check up 3 years to find a legal class of 3 (or more) riders.

For Intermediate and Expert riders, we will go back to checking up 1 year and Novice riders can (once again) theoretically move up to the Expert level.

Girls will first move to Intermediate if they cannot find a legal Girls class, which is where they checked in 2016 and previous years. Expert riders will check up in age, then drop into the Intermediate class of that age (giving the class Expert points).

After checking up with Experts, Girls will reset to the Girls level – Novices reset to the Novice level. Again, this basically takes us back to the moto building process of a few years ago, which should produce more desirable results (for the most part) than the 2017 process.

USA BMX National Series
For 2018, the best eight (8) scores will be counted for NAG/NAT points, plus the Grands. Riders must have a minimum of four (4) national scores to earn a NAG plate.

To better assist the announcers and scorers, CNAG and CNAT riders will be required to run a maple leaf on their number plate if they are using a non-issued plate (the trailer will provide them, if needed).

Balance Bike classes will be offered on Friday and Saturday of each weekend, with the classes run at the beginning of the event.

Finally, we will be requiring the use of side plates at national events beginning in July 2018.

Many riders who attended the UCI Worlds this year in Rock Hill, South Carolina might have seen “side plates” for the first time in their BMX career, but they make the job of the stagers, starter and scorers MUCH easier.

The July deadline will give number plate manufacturers time to stock up on side plates in advance of this requirement going into effect.

In terms of policy changes, trophy slips will need to be exchanged for the award (trophy or Saver Stamps) prior to the conclusion of that event. While riders have always picked up their trophy or plaque at each event, many would keep their trophy slips to redeem for Saver Stamps at another national event. Now, that trophy slip will need to be redeemed for either a trophy or Saver Stamps at the event it was earned.

Another policy change will affect riders that pull out of an event prior to the close of sign ups. Beginning in 2018, refunds will be issued rather than a credit. Refunds will be issued based on your method of payment for that event.


There will be no 7 Day Membership available in 2018 and beyond. The original intent of the 7 Day was to generate online profiles, and (unfortunately) too many 7 Days came in where no online profile had been created. Even worse, in some cases, tracks were telling people to call the Membership Department and they will create the online profile for you, which simply was never the case. At any rate, the 7 Day will no longer be an option.

Scanning teh Interwebs, the side plate rule is probably the one drawing the most ire, while the rejiggering of age classes is popular in certain circles, and not-so-much in others. The general consensus is that 26-35 should have been broken in half (no opinion on that here at the BMX News Global Command Center).

So-called "Side Plates" at the UCI BMX World Championships

Speaking of the side plates: we asked USA BMX if they can be any-old side plates (think Uni and Seca side plates from the 80s). They confirmed to us that the side plates they are talking about are the UCI-style plates, behind the head tube (above). No word on whether a sticker would suffice. Box Components currently manufactures the “Phase Two Side Plate,” which is available on their website for $9.99. But you have until July to get that done.

No evidence that this is some kind of BMX Illuminati, New World Order push to bring USA BMX closer to the UCI’s brand of BMX racing. Be sure to wear the right socks though, just in case.

News also asked USA BMX if this was the full-extent of the rule changes. For example, are there still-to-come changes to team-related rules for 2018. USA BMX said: “There will be some team changes that will be outlined after the Grands. No other changes will be in the new rulebook.”

Thanks guys!

—Mike Carruth

2018 USA BMX Rule Changes