In the last few years, Kialani Hines has emerged as one of mountain biking’s top riders in downhill, dual-slalom and pump-track racing. A long-time top BMX racer, she made the switch to mountain biking in 2016, then moved up to the pro ranks in 2017, where she’s now become one of the top riders in the world.
Name: Kialani Hines
Birthdate: August 27, 1997
Birthplace: Seattle, Washington
Weight: 145 lb.
Shoe size: Women’s 9.5
Helmet size: Medium
Marital status: Single
Current home: San Diego, California
Cars: 2021 Ford Transit Connect
Started racing: I started racing BMX at the age of 8 and continued that for 10 years. I then moved to mountain biking in 2016, where I have been a professional since 2017
Turned pro: 2017
Racing specialty: I am a Crankworx athlete, so being good at multiple disciplines is important. Disciplines I excel in are dual slalom and pump track.
Favorite course (North America): Any track at Dry Hill in Port Angeles, Washington.
Favorite course (Europe): Crankworx Innsbruck DH
Favorite food: Sushi, tacos, chocolate, soda, steak and potatoes. Ha ha. I love food. This list could go on forever!
Goals: Become Queen of Crankworx 2022!
Heroes: My mom. She truly has been an example of independence, hard work, and being true to yourself and what you believe in. I am surrounded by so many talented athletes and riders who I can say are inspiring or hero-like, but no one beats my mom
Favorite recording artist: I don’t choose favorites with music, but I am currently into the Teskey Brothers, Joy Crookes and Fat Freddy’s Drop.
Jobs held (other than racer): I washed dogs for a while at a pet boarding/hotel down the street from my house. I honestly loved the job and would do it again just for fun!
Most embarrassing moment: Wow, I had a lot come into my mind, but one that is fresh with me is failing to open the biggest bottle I’ve received on top of the Sea Otter Classic dual-slalom podium this year. I was there for what felt like an eternity. It wasn’t quite that long, but it was long enough for the other riders to exit the stage and leave me there to struggle and never get the bottle open—that was a walk of shame off that podium. Recently, I was able to open it for the holidays, which brought up that funny memory.
Always takes on a trip: Headphones
What you would be if you were not a racer: For racers/athletes, I think this is something we often think about. What I would wish I could be is someone who works with animals. Since I was a kid, I wanted to be a vet or zookeeper. It is still something I think about, and, who knows, maybe I will start to pursue it in the near future.
INSIDE THE PROS’ BIKES:
Kialani’s Pivot Mach 5.5
As one of the world’s top riders in the Crankworx competitions, Kialani races a variety of different disciplines, including downhill, dual-slalom and pump-track events. She chose her dual-slalom bike, which also doubles as her trail bike, for our profile here.
Frame: Pivot Mach 5.5
“My dual-slalom bike of choice is my Pivot Mach 5.5 with 140mm of travel. It is a full carbon fiber frame, and I run a size medium. This is my ultimate slalom weapon when racing most slalom tracks. It’s a solid frame and design that works well for many different types of terrain.”
“I run Marzocchi forks on all of my bikes. I have a Bomber Z1 on my Mach 5.5, 140mm travel as well. When I have this bike set up as a trail bike, I run 150mm. Though for slalom, having as little travel as you can is sometimes necessary on most tracks. I enjoy my Marzocchi forks because they perform at a top level while keeping my contact-adjusting simple and quick.”
“I run Maxxis Tires on all of my bikes, though what models I run varies for each race. My Mach 5.5 is a 27.5, and the tires I prefer are a Dissector in the front and an Ardent in the rear—tire pressure varying from 26–32psi.”
Stan’s NoTubes sealant, rim tape & valves.
“I do the three-spoke width technique when putting in sealant. Seems to be the money spot for fresh sealant in your tire for an extended period of time, though I try to change my sealant every few races or anytime I do a tire change.”
Stan’s NoTubes, Flow MK3
“I run Stan’s because they are reliable. These are high-performance rims, which are lightweight and fast-rolling. On top of that, running the Stan’s tubeless setup is easy and great for racing!”
Hubs and spokes:
“I’m running a full Stan’s wheelset.”
Shimano Deore XT four-piston brakes, 160mm Deore XT RT86 Ice Tech rotors front and rear, six-bolt.
“Braking power is important, and control is so important in any kind of racing! Shimano has some of the best brakes that are responsive and reliable.”
Deity Speedway, 35mm diameter, 780mm wide, 30mm rise, 9-degree bend, 5-degree upsweep.
“My Deity handlebars I prefer running wider. As a taller, lengthier person, bar width is important for feeling comfortable and strong on my bike. My Deity bars add a strong feature to my bike.”
ODI SDG Lock-On
“This is a personal preference. I like the feel of the SDG grips on my more rugged-riding bikes (slalom, Air DH, trail riding).”
Bottom bracket and bearings:
Shimano Deore XT Press-Fit
Shimano Saint SPD
“These are my favorite clipless pedals—great platform, solid and sturdy for slalom and DH! Shimano pedals are a must when racing.”
Shimano Deore XT 170mm
“I use 170mm on my trail bikes and slalom bike. As someone who is tall and has longer legs, having 170mm cranks is helpful for getting the most out of pedal strokes. Shimano cranks are reliable and perfect for the job, able to handle the power, whether it be long trail rides or quick sprints.”
Chainring: Shimano Deore XT 34T
“A 34T is another personal preference for slalom, as I run a 10-speed cassette.”
Shimano Saint 10-speed
Shimano Saint 10-speed
Shimano Ultegra 10-speed, 11/28t
“I use a road cassette because it offers a gear ratio needed for slalom racing, getting rid of the unnecessary climbing gears. It’s also on the lighter side.”
“I keep my chain lubed with Maxima chain lube throughout the season. I usually swap my chain out when it gets to about 0.75 percent wear.”
“I use all Maxima cleaning and lubricant products. It keeps all of my bikes fresh, clean and functioning properly.”
Deity Sidetrack I-Beam
“Sleek and fast look/style.”
Deity Retina I-Beam Post
Pivot precision-sealed cartridge
“I prefer to use the headsets that come with my bikes, unless they need to be replaced.”
FOX Float DPX2 Elite
Deity Copperhead, 35mm length
“Deity provides solid stems that give me the reach and positioning I am looking for, specific to each of my bikes. I enjoy not only the quality of the Deity stems but the variety of colors they come in as well! Keeps my bikes unique to my style.”
Head angle: 66.5 degrees
Bottom-bracket height: 34.04cm (13.4 inches)
Weight of complete bike: “Shhhhhh, it’s a secret….”
Estimated value of bike: “Rough estimate, $8,500.”
MBA: Where did you grow up?
Kialani Hines: I grew up in Burien, Washington, a town a few miles south of Seattle and right near the Sea-Tac international airport. Yes, I grew up where airplanes look like they are landing in my backyard!
MBA: What kind of work have you done?
KH: I am a full-time mountain biker at the moment. I have done some one-off jobs for some extra cash. The only official job I actually ever had was as a dog washer at a pet boarding/hotel right down the street from my house. I really loved that job but had to quit in order to do all the traveling I wanted to do the first year as a pro mountain biker.
MBA: When did you first learn to ride a bike?
KH: I technically learned how to ride a bike with the girls at my daycare. I clearly remember being at a park riding around a running track. I had never ridden a bike with training wheels, and all the girls were struggling. I seemed to get the hang of it quickly and loved it! This was before BMX and all the racing I would do in the future, but it’s so interesting to look back at a memory like that and realize bikes were always going to be in my future.
MBA: Who taught you?
KH: I sort of learned by just doing it. Whether it was with my daycare or at home with my family, just riding with training wheels, I only got better by attempting to do it. I always say the BMX track really taught me how to ride.
MBA: How long did you race BMX?
KH: I raced BMX for 10 years. BMX bikes have 20-inch wheels, so it was a big jump from BMX to mountain bikes. I started when I was 8 and stopped when I was about 18. I only ever raced as an amateur but did well. Nationally, BMX carried a lot of pressure, so I would race all year and win lots of nationals going into the last race of the year, the “Grand Nationals,” but I always seemed to struggle to put the whole year together on that final weekend. I always wanted to be National Champ but just always seemed to miss my mark. I won other titles, such as many State Championships, R.O.C. champs, Gold Cup Champ, and others in between.
MBA: When did you get your first mountain bike?
KH: I started mountain biking officially in 2016, but I did have a couple of experiences before that. My parents had gotten me a Specialized hardtail “mountain bike” in 2015. We would go out and do some laps around walking trails near my house, and that’s what I had envisioned mountain biking to be. No wonder it took me so long to get into it!
MBA: When did you start competing on mountain bikes?
KH: I made the jump fairly quick after ending my BMX racing in 2015. I had crashed at my final BMX race in 2015 and broken my collarbone. Almost immediately after recovering from that injury, I got a full-suspension mountain bike and started riding! In 2016, I went into racing the full Pro GRT Downhill series.
MBA: How did you finish in your first competition?
KH: Funny, I actually went out to my local mountain at the time, Stevens Pass, and raced a Thursday night race. Though it wasn’t that long ago, even back in 2015/2016, there weren’t very many girls racing. So, I think it was just me and another girl. I placed first on a six-minute track! I thought, “No way I can do that again.” Mind you, BMX tracks are about 30 seconds; six minutes to me was a lifetime!
MBA: What have been your best results so far?
KH: I think coming in second in the overall for the Queen of Crankworx title twice is a highlight. Crankworx really is the test of who is a great overall rider as far as mountain biking goes, and it’s great to know I am proving that I am officially a true mountain biker—although next time I hope to be on top of that podium!
MBA: Did you go to college?
KH: I did not go the route of college, although it’s not something I keep out of the cards for me.
MBA: What other sports have you played or enjoyed?
KH: I played baseball as a kid. More so because my brother did it and my parents didn’t want me just there watching in the bleachers! I played volleyball in middle school and was quite good. I think that would have been a sport I would have carried on with if I didn’t go the route of biking.
MBA: Can you tell us something interesting or unusual about your family?
KH: When I was younger, my parents used to run a fishing guide service. They fished for salmon on all the rivers in Washington state. I wish I appreciated fishing more when I was younger. It’s something I wish I were able to do more of now, but I never have the time, and, honestly, I didn’t pay attention enough to all the proper ways to do it! Hopefully I can make it a hobby again.
MBA: Is there some other interesting fact or trivia that people might like to know about you?
KH: Something I just want to mention because he’s so special to me is my dog Milo. He is an Australian Blue Heeler. I got him over a year ago and, man, he came into my life at such an important time. Sometimes I don’t know how I lived my life without him! He is the ultimate road-trip buddy, trail dog and entertainment. He is always on and is one of the happiest living things I have ever known. He reminds me to keep calm and be cool, oh, and that there is always time to throw the ball for some fetch. Ha ha!