ABR’s resident expert of all things two-wheeled answers your questions.
Hi Dave, while waiting for my wife to purchase family birthday cards in WHSmiths, you know how long that takes, I found a copy of ABR. Your mag has given me a lot of inspiration over the last two or three years. The ZZR600 has been replaced with a BMW F800GS, and I did my first trip abroad last year.
I purchased a Yamaha Serrow and have been having some fun on local lanes. Now I feel I’d like a go at trials riding, it looks like good fun and would improve my off-road skills. I haven’t a clue where to start though!
Well Russ, the first thing will be the purchase of a trials ‘iron’, as we used to call them. There are plenty of good used bikes about, advertised on eBay or AutoTrader, best of all, get back to Smiths and find a copy of weekly paper Trials & Motocross News (TMX), this is a paper with plenty of ads and all the news written by enthusiasts.
No need to buy the latest bike to the market, a good used bike will make a good starter.
Make the usual checks, trials bikes are quite robustly built and handle abuse very well.
Have a chat with the seller, shop or private, they may be able to give you some insights to the local scene.
Proper boots, gloves and helmet are a must and are designed for the sport. If you feel the need, there’s a huge range of specialist clothing available, only you can decide if you look gook good in Lycra!
Once you’ve bought the bike and you’re suited and booted, find a bit of open space, no need to look for hills and streams just yet, peg out a figure of eight course and practice full lock turns, this will give you throttle and clutch control. Try weighting the footpegs and feel how that helps you steer the bike, these techniques you’ll pick up with practice. There are a few training schools about, generally run by expert riders, and it’d definitely be worth investigating this option.
Find a local trials competition near to you, they will be advertised in TMX. Get yourself along and watch what goes on. A chat with the observers on each trials section will help you understand what’s going on, they’re usually well informed senior competitors with loads of experience.
Trials is one of the friendliest sports about, so join a local club. The first time you enter an event you will do it all wrong, fall off a lot and generally cock things up, quite normal when starting out, but you’ll find the other competitors can be really helpful and encouraging to a newbie. You’ll never forget your first ‘clean’ on a section. Remember, it’s all about enjoying yourself.
Got something to ask Dave?
Send in your bike related questions to email@example.com and if we publish yours you’ll get a free subscription to ABR!