TRIALS TRAINING: hopping for extra traction
Traction is a constant theme in trials and the evil ones who plan your sections love to put you in sand, rocks, mud and steep climbs so they can laugh at you wheel spinning your way to a five. So before we look at advanced techniques, let's cover the basics again.
basic traction tips
Momentum is your friend. Get the most speed you can before you tackle obstacles and steep inclines.
Keep your weight to the rear on inclines to get a bigger footprint from the rear tire, but squat to keep your centre of gravity low and prevent flipping the bike.
Choosing a higher gear, slipping the clutch and maintaining revs will often maximize traction on steep climbs.
Keeping your legs bent not only lowers your centre of gravity, but your legs act as extra suspension to soak up bumps and provide more traction for the rear wheel.
hopping for extra traction
When we weight a trials bike by jumping on the foot pegs, the tires flatten out even more to provide a larger footprint and extra traction. If you have lost rear wheel traction, or are about to, you can hop the bike by weighting it and applying throttle when the tires have a maximum foot print on the ground, then backing off the throttle while in the air.
Experienced riders often hop all the way up a slippery climb using this technique - it's poetry in motion! When learning it's best to take it in steps. First, try just bouncing both wheels in the air at the same time when riding slowly on flat ground. Next, try on a slight incline using blips of the throttle as the suspension compresses fully. Finally, try the technique on increasingly steep and slippery slopes.
zaps for extra traction
At lower speeds, or even at a stand still, you can use hopping with zaps - using the clutch to jump the bike in the air and keep the front wheel very light or even in the air to maximize weight on the rear wheel. You will need to have excellent balance, clutch and throttle skills for this as it's very easy to lose your balance when hopping for traction at a stand still on a steep slope.
See our Hopping for traction video for examples of these techniques.
Copyright B. Morris 2014
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