ADVANCED TRIALS TRAINING: HOW TO SPLATTER (OR SPLAT) ON A TRIALS BIKE
The splatter, or splat for short, is an advanced technique for very high or undercut obstacles. You definitely want a solid grounding in your basic and intermediate skills before tackling this!
A well executed splatter actually has the rider beginning a back flip, but the rear wheel hits the object first and prevents the flip. As the front wheel of the bike is forced down it provides a lot of momentum, so the spat is also an excellent way of speed if there is slippery terrain, a steep climb, a wide gap or another obstacle ahead.
When beginning, choose a small obstacle or ledge, and use a rock as a kicker so you can move it around to get the desired distance. Make sure you have someone spotting for you at the top too when learning. They should keep their gloves on, and should try and grab a safe part of the bike (e.g. not the wheel spokes) if it looks as though you will fall backwards.
The splatter requires a kicker such as a mound or rock to help launch the bike. It will usually be located at about the same distance from the obstacle as its actual height.
Often riders rev their bike before the splat to ensure the engine will respond, and particularly to make sure a two-stroke isn’t clogged and will rev freely. On smaller bikes such as this 125, the faster spinning flywheel stores energy which can compensate for the smaller engine’s lack of power.
Select a higher gear, usually second or third depending on your approach speed.
The rider compresses the suspension just before hitting the kicker. The timing is difficult, but extra energy can be stored in the compressed suspension by a small wheelie before bouncing hard on the footpegs.
The timing here is critical. The suspension should be springing back up just as you launch the bike off the kicker. At the same time, straighten your legs and de-weight as much as possible. A good dose of throttle, or ideally dropping the clutch at the same moment and pulling on the bars should see the bike in the early stages of a back flip
Ideally the rear wheel should hit the obstacle first. Let your legs take the impact and straighten your arms to let the front wheel drop.
If there is plenty of grip you can keep the throttle on to keep momentum.
You need to become comfortable with leaning back to allow your rear wheel to touch first. Hopefully you will already have developed this by going past the balance point when learning to cover the rear brake.
The most important point? Make sure the bike is doing the splatter, not your body against that rock ledge!
Aim for bigger obstacles as you improve.
Experiment with moving the placement of the kicker. You can move it closer to the obstacle for less run up, then use less speed but focus on more lift. Move it back further so you hit it at high speed and focus more on distance covered than elevation.
This is the text version, watch our Youtube video How to splatter on a trials bike.
Copyright B. Morris 2014