"You can pick up tricks on an enduro bike pretty quickly if you’ve done trials because the skills are there. With my trials background, I never had to practice tricks on an enduro bike" - Graham Jarvis
A quick look at the world's best endurocross and extreme enduro riders is like the Who's who of former trials champions - Graham Jarvis, Chris Birch, Taddy Blazusiak, David Knight, Andreas Lettenbichler and Dougie Lampkin all swapped to hard enduros after winning trials events. Cross training is applying trials techniques to dirt riding and events like endurocross and extreme enduro. So what is trials riding exactly?
The emphasis in trials (and cross training) is not on speed but balance, traction, throttle/clutch control and advanced riding techniques - this has many benefits for dirt riding on enduro bikes. Trials riding (also called moto-trials or observed trials) uses incredibly light bikes to negotiate a marked course without putting their foot down, stalling or going outside of the marked course.
The vast majority of trials techniques have a direct application to dirt riding and enduro competitions, hence the growing popularity of cross training. Trials can be every bit as challenging as dirt riding or motocross, but with other advantages:
- minimal fuel used and engines, chains, sprockets and tyres last for ages
- There is a much lower injury rate compared to other types of competition
- the grades cater for all age groups and levels of experience
- the stop/start nature of the riding makes it a very social sport
- the skills learned pay dividends for all other forms of riding.
BUYING A TRIALS BIKE
Click here for a detailed guide on our sister site. Choose from the classic classes, twin-shocks, or mono-shock trials bikes from 1985 on which have become lighter and more capable every year. There is a growing market for electric trials bikes as riders can practice in their back yard!
DO I HAVE TO RIDE COMPETITIVELY?
No. Some riders don't like the idea of competing but still join a trials club and just ride socially. However, trials competitions are very social relaxed events particularly in the lower grades. You will find other riders very supportive and encouraging and you will really on be competing against the terrain, not the other riders.
DO I NEED TO BE A GOOD RIDER?
No, trials competitions cater for riders of all abilities. In Australia Introductory (or Intro) is the easiest grade with easy turns and very small obstacles like banks or small logs being typical. Clubman is the next grade with tighter turns and slightly larger obstacles including turns on hills, small logs and rougher ground. C grade has tight turns and larger obstacles and may require some skills like hopping the front wheel. 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. A grade riders need to be able to splat onto large obstacles after completing tight turns requiring hopping. .