Keirin? You Bet!


Put down your Kirin…and check out the Keirin.

That’s spelled K-E-I-R-I-N.

Like the beer, it’s Japanese.

It’s a sport. And yes, you can bet on it.

Keirin, which literally means ‘racing cycle,’ is a competitive style of bicycle racing that began in Japan in 1948.

Although it’s been an Olympic sport since 2000, the Kierin we’re talking about is a bit different.

Japanese Keirin is a professional sport that involves more than 4,000 riders, more than 50 velodromes and millions of dollars. Riders graduate from an elite Keirin school that admits less than 10% of its applicants.

There’s big time betting on it in Japan…and now there’s big time betting on it here at Sportsbet.

The Basics

-9 riders per race, each numbered and in different coloured uniforms

-Riders use brakeless, fixed-gear bicycles

-It’s usually an 8-lap race, roughly 2000 metres and run on a banked track, but like horse races the distance can occasionally vary

The Derny

-The riders draw lots for positions and line up behind a motorcycle called a Derny which leads the pack around the track, slowly increasing the speeds to approximately 50km/h

-No rider can overtake the Derny

-With about 2 ½ or 3 laps to go, and speeds getting close to 70km/h, the Derny departs the track, leaving the riders to go it alone

The Finish

-From there it’s essentially a sprint to the finish line

-There are plenty of tactics: blocking, breaking into lines of 3, teamwork, younger riders helping and even deferring to older riders

-It can be rough and tumble, and certain infractions (overtaking on the inside, pushing an opponent to the outside) can cost result in a penalty or even a suspension


-Just like horses or greyhounds, you pick a winner – maybe it’s the favourite or maybe you have a lucky number or colour – and ride it home

-Check out our man Felix von Hofe with his daily tips on our social platforms:

What do you think?