OK so you like the look of it so far. Trials riding (also called Moto-Trials or Observed Trials) is a non-speed event on specialised motorbikes which are extremely light, lack seating and have relatively short suspension travel compared to other off-road bikes. Riders negotiate a marked course while trying to avoid putting their foot down, stalling or going outside of the marked course – see examples of trials riders in action here.
Many riders use trials riding for cross-training – its emphasis on balance, traction and throttle/clutch control has many benefits for all types of motorcycling. This is particularly obvious in extreme enduro events where most of the top competitors are former trials champions. More information on Cross Training can be found on our Links page.
Your typical trials club is full of friendly, supportive riders who bend over backwards for new members in terms of helping them work out which bike will suit, how to buy one, set it up, then learn the basic skills. Just contact your nearest club and ask if you can attend their next meeting. They’ll definitely look after you!
Buying a Trials bike
Click here for a detailed guide. Choose from the classic classes, twin-shocks, or mono-shock trials bikes from 1985 on which have become lighter and more capable every year. Sizes vary from 50cc kid’s trials bikes to over 300cc in two strokes, four strokes, and even electric trials bikes. See our Buying a Trials Bike page for plenty of detailed information.
Do I have to ride competitively?
No! Newcomers are sometimes deterred at the idea of having to compete, but there is never pressure to compete – you can just ride socially. But competitions are always very social laid back events. You are really only competing against yourself and the terrain- you will find other riders are very supportive and you never have to ride a section that you feel is beyond your abilities. Read more about how a trials competition works here.
Sounds good, but what will it cost?
It costs $18 a year to be a member of Western Districts Trials Club, or $30 for a family. Cheap as chips! Download the forms on the link below.
You also need an MA licence for insurance purposes – $135 a year for a recreational licence, or $240 a year for National Restricted Licence. See our Membership page for more details.
Our practice days have been as cheap as $2 per day just to cover insurance. Club events are typically under $20 for a day’s ride and often include a sausage sizzle and kids under 12 ride free. Combined with the low cost, minimal depreciation, and cheap upkeep of a trials bike, it’s a bargain sport.
I’m in! What’s the next step?
I’m dead keen! How often can i ride?
Almost every week if you want! As a WDTC member you can enter the events of other trials clubs – see the 2018 calendar of events here. Just show up with your WDTC club membership receipt. Our club typically has a competition event every month. Any practice or training days are announced on our Facebook page.
Do I need to buy trials-specific riding gear?
If you are already a dirt rider you can use your existing helmet (if legal for road use), gloves, boots and clothing, but you will find as you progress that you will probably buy trials-specific gear, e.g. a trials helmet is cooler, lighter and has better visibility, while trials boots give you more comfort and flexibility on the bike and are great for walking the sections prior to riding them.
How good do I need to be?
Observed trials competitions cater for riders of all abilities. In choosing what grade to ride at your first competition, it is best to decide what skill level you have, then start one grade lower. The aim is to have fun and finish with you and the bike in one piece!
Intro is the easiest grade. A typical section includes easy turns and very small obstacles like banks or small logs. Classic bikes usually compete on an Intro line. This video has samples of Intro sections and skills required.
Clubman is the next grade, where a rider follows white arrows in a section. There will be tighter turns and slightly larger obstacles including turns on hills, small logs and rocky ground. Twin shock bikes and the better classic bikes are common in this grade. See this video for typical sections in this grade.
C grade is the next highest grade. Riders follow blue arrows in a section and typically encounter tight turns and larger obstacles. C grade riders sometimes need to hop the front wheel to complete a section. Modern trials bikes dominate in this grade, but capable riders do ride C grade on twin-shock bikes. See this video for examples of C grade sections.
B grade riders follow yellow arrows in a section. Typically B grade riders need to hop both wheels in order to line up for obstacles, and are often required to do floater turns. The obstacles become much larger, and the turns tighter. This video has examples of A & B sections.
A grade riders follow red arrows in a section. A grade riders in observed trials need to be able to splat onto large obstacles after completing tight turns requiring hopping.
Expert riders follow green arrows in a section. They ride over extreme obstacles seemingly defying gravity!