Selecting a Trials Bike, what should you buy?

SO you have decided you want to try this strange sport of trials?  Better get a bike then…. 

Often when riders make a decision to have a go at Trials, they are not sure what to buy, 125cc/ 250cc/ 300cc/ modern or new, or is a second hand bike going to do the job.  There are a number of things to consider such as; Why you are riding? What do you want to achieve? Are you serious about riding the sport? Or do you just want to build skills for your Enduro bike? Is it for the kids or for you?  What sort of level of control do you have to start with?  Here are a few things to consider when Choosing.

The Trials Market is not big! – Trials being as small as it is means there is only a limited number of bikes around.  You don’t always get a huge range of options.  Also they can be hard to find and many change hands only inside the Trials Clubs.  But don’t rush in and buy the first one you see!  Go along to an event and have a look around and have a chat.  Amongst the club you will find out what is getting around and who is thinking of selling.  Within every club there is always the people who have been around a long time and know all the goss!

The Enduro Rider wanting to build skills – Are you going to actually ride a trial regularly?  A Trials bike is really a waste of money if you don’t intend on actually coming and riding a few events through the year.  The massive benefit to your skills is provided by being forced to ride the courses that are laid out, and not being able to put your foot down!  The bike itself is not really important.  If you can’t fit a few trials (even one or two will have a huge effect) in through out the year, maybe a coaching day will be a much cheaper option.  Then you will learn all of the exercises and skills trials riders use and then you can practice on the Enduro bike, without having to outlay for another bike.

The genuine rider – If you are going to ride at least a few trials, ( thats awesome you will not regret it!!) then the one thing to get out of you mind is bigger is not better!! A 300cc factory model, whilst very nice to look at and ride, will end up physically leaving you behind….. Yes I can hear you saying,”But i rode one and it wasn’t that powerful, quite manageable actually”.  Yes that is true, compared to an Enduro or MX bike they are very sedate and theres no aggressive power band.  But in an actual Trial you will be bound by tape and markers and unlike Enduro you can’t just run through a corner!  Trials is all about accuracy and control and that little extra bit of power can make a huge difference, often for the worse!

We always recommend, you pick the smallest bike you can, 125cc, 200cc or a max of 250cc will be adequate.  As you build your skills you will find the smaller bikes are best as when you make a mistake they don’t “bite” so much.  A basically tuned 125 will be capable of being ridden all the way to A grade.  If you are have the physique of an All Black front rower…. well maybe go for a 200 or 250.

4 Stroke or 2 stroke or what about Electric? –  Now is it for your child??  Kids under 8 with little or no bike experience…. then you cannot go past the Electric bikes.  With three adjustors for SPEED, POWER, THROTTLE response, they are really customisable and can be tamed right down, to not even moving! They are based on push bike sizes 12″, 16″, 20″ and 24″.  So its easy to pick a size and they are quiet.  But once the child is riding confidently and can progress to an 80cc, then get them onto a bike with a clutch and develop their clutch skills early!

As for 4 stroke or 2 stroke?…. What ever you prefer, 4 strokes have more moving parts and are a little more expensive to buy and to rebuild, but this is trials, rebuilds are not really needed!  If you have a preference go that way as at club level there is no real difference.  Expert level there is, but thats another story!  

2nd Hand or New? – If your trying the sport out for the very first time, you should go as cheap as you can afford.  Theres no point taking a big hit and not liking it.  There are plenty of old roughies out there but you just have to find them.  You may even find someone is happy to lend you a bike to try the sport out!  Older roughies whilst cheap, need a little love and some mechanical knowledge.  If you don’t have the mechanical know how you may want to spend a few dollars more!

What ever you decide, just remember Trials is about the rider against the course! Often its more about you against your own self.  If you can afford new… by all means get a new one, that is always nice, but that wont make you a better rider! Only YOU can make yourself a better rider, with time and effort.

No matter what you ride, it doesn’t matter as long as you have FUN ….

Keep your feet up!