Rhysty, the Steel Panther, and the aim of the game..The finish line. Photos: Tyson JP

Rhysty jumped back into BMX racing a few years ago and has been making moves across the east coast, travelling to races like the Australian titles earlier this year, as well as the recent state round at Southlake BMX track last weekend.

Rhys recently dialled in his latest race rig, an S&M Steel Panther, so we thought it was a good chance to show what gets him snapping out of the gate and across the finish line.


Rhysty's S&M Steel Panther race bike

Back Bone BMX handlebars

Give me a bit of a rundown of your race bike:

This bike compared to the 38 Special feels a lot more stiff. The Steel Panther frame is sleeker and I'm loving the in-built chain tensioners. I went for a longer length for a bit more stability at high speed. I guess I just really like CRMO bikes so I can bike rack a few doubles and not have to worry about it too much [laughter].

Plus I'm just trying to hold onto my roots as much as possible. I've got nothing against the dudes running alloy and carbon frames - it just makes my bike look even better [laughter].

S&M Steel Panther race bike check cranks

I have another bike for riding the trails and skatepark, but lately I've had some really good sessions at the skatepark on my race bike, which might just become more of a thing for me in the future. With the setup I've got the only thing that you'd have to change is the tires.

While I'd love to run a 44/16 gearing, I quite like the 46/17 combo with the rear tire I'm running now. I'm not the most powerful dude to the first jump but that gearing is a good in between for me.

I have always run Profile products. No doubt there's lighter products and hubs with quicker engagement, but personally Profile hasn't ever let me down.

S&M Steel Panther bike check profile hub

I also love Sun rims, I've run them forever and I'm just sticking with stuff that I know is quality gear. I'm too old to have a part fail on me at high speed.

When I was younger I snapped the head tube off some alloy frames. While I'm sure alloy frames are made a lot stronger now, I don't want to risk it.

S&M steel panther rhysty manual tuggeranong bmx track

I bolted on a set of the (just about to be released) Back Bone handlebars which have a traditional sweep compared to a lot of the flatter bars that racers run. I just like a good feeling set of bars that feel good to jump, rather than get a slightly better gate with flat bars that feel horrible to me. 

I run a slightly wider front tire than most on the track, I just like the way it feels and I don't think it makes too much of a difference for rolling resistance.

S&M Steel Panther bike check front tire

I never thought I'd get back into BMX racing like I have. All I really want to do is ride the trails full time, but now that my two boys race, racing has taken on a different meaning for me. I get share the experience of travelling to BMX event with them, and cheer them on. I'm less worried about my results and the competition has become more about doing the best that I can, rather than what position I ended up in.

I want to say a big thanks to Chris Moeller and Scott Shepherd for helping me out with this badass bike, Andrew Mapstone at Vans for keeping my feet fresh and BentSpoke for keeping me hydrated after the race.

S&M Steel Panther bike check Rhysty tabletop

August 07, 2019 — Tyson Jones-Peni