The Japan Institute of Keirin (JIK) recently implemented Wattbikes as part of their mandatory entrance exam for both male and female keirin riders. The JIK is part of the Ministry of Economy, and this examination makes up a part of their official state examinations. The first entrance exam for women took place at the end of November, and the men's exam took place on the 5th of December. On the day of the entrance exam, riders were put through the following tests on the Wattbikes:
For men: 2 X 6 second test, and 45 second test
For women, 2 X 6 second test, and 30 second test
This marks a significant shift to testing with data to identify the keirin champions of tomorrow. And with the completion of these two entrance exams, the Wattbike is now officially the certified training and testing bike for keirin in Japan.
keirin History in the making
Professional track cycling began as a betting sport in Japan in 1948, and has since become a very popular sport. Today, keirin racing is regulated by the JKA Foundation, and the number of attendees at keirin races across Japan regularly exceed 4 million people per year.
For those of you who don’t know, keirin is a form of motor-paced cycle racing in which track cyclists sprint for victory following a speed-controlled start behind a pacer. It was developed in Japan and became an official event at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. Keirin racers use brakeless, fixed-gear bikes and races are typically 1.5km long, or 6 laps on a 250m track. Riders must remain behind the pacer for three laps, starting off at 30 km/h and gradually increasing to 50 km/h before the pacer leaves the track at 750m. The winner’s finishing speed commonly exceeds 70 km/h.
In Japan, aspiring professional keirin riders compete for entrance into the keirin programme at the Japan Keirin School. Only 10% of applicants are accepted, and they undergo a strict 15-hours a day training regimen. Only those who pass the graduation exams, and who score high on the Wattbike tests, are approved to become eligible professional keirin racers in Japan.
This partnership with the JIK showcases the increased importance of accurate performance testing within sport, and further solidifies Wattbike’s place in an elite sport landscape with increased focus on athlete data to determine future success.