Observed Trials

Observed Trials is the World’s most popular participatory motorcycle sport. This is an awesome sport! Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, trials motorcycle riding is as fun as it gets. Get one and join in on the fun…
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Jesse Estrin working the rocks
There are classes for everyone, from Juniors of 10 years of age (or younger) to “Graybeards” of 40 – 70+. There are classes to cover all rider ability levels, with Novice, Intermediate, Senior Intermediate, Advanced, Expert, and Champ. While it is spectacular and sometimes appears dangerous at the top level, it is a very safe sport. Short “sections” of natural terrain are set out, over which competitors must ride without putting a foot down or falling, and penalty points are scored against them when they do. A typical course consists of 8-10 sections spread over a loop a few miles long, with riders completing 3 or 4 loops. Speed is not a factor, so the sport is very safe. Few injuries are sustained due to the low speeds involved.
Modern trials bikes are manufactured by Gas Gas, Beta, Scorpa, Honda-Montesa, and Sherco. They are highly specialized machines with new models costing around US$7400. They are typically lightweight (134-165lbs). Disc brakes front and rear, hydraulic clutches, water cooled engines of around 80-330cc capacity. Tires are super soft compound, and run tire pressures of about 4-6 psi.
The section incorporates terrain such as rocks, creeks, mud, tree stumps, etc. with markers set out within. Marked Splits in the sections determine the “line” a particular graded rider must take. The higher the grade, the more difficult the line.
A rider “earns” one point each time he/she puts a foot down (a “dab”). After three points in any one section the rider may continue to dab without incurring any more points. If the rider falls off or stalls the bike, rides out of the section markers, or rolls backwards they are given five points (a “five”).At the end of each loop the section scores are totaled to give a loop score, and when the rider completes the designated number of loops a total score is tallied. The rider with the lowest score is the winner of the class.
It’s all about balance and control skills. Essential trials riding techniques are different than what is required to go fast in motocross or cross country trails, but new trials riders consistently report that they are better “fast” riders after learning to trials ride. Check out this collection of Trials Riding Tutorials to learn more: How to ride motorcycle trials
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