What is a good beginner trial bike?

I've been riding enduro-like offroad for just two years. But I'm starting to think maybe it's time to switch hobby. It's starting to get boring. Just trying to go faster and faster. Just a matter of time before I wrap myself around a tree and have to be hauled out in a stretcher.

But I'm not going to give up motorcycle. I'm thinking trial bike is safer and maybe more fun.

What bikes should I look for on Craigslist. For example, I saw a Yamaha TY350.

I don't think there's any organized trial riding here in Houston. So I might have to just learn in skate board park or something, and teaching myself trial. I already master the stand-up part riding trails.

Not really interested in competing. I do not have a competitive personality.

Besides, the nearest trial competition is 3 hours drive away.

Edited by Terminatr

The standard answer -- buy as new of a bike as you can afford and find at a good price.. I would not go older than late 90s... a "modern" trials bike - mono-shock, water cooled, disk brakes. I just upgraded from a 96 to a 2013 and find the extreme performance of a "latest greatest" a negative at my skill level. But I will master it, no going back once you have riden the best. :jawdrop:


Trials comps are fun. Not stressfull like a Hare Scramble race. Try it you will like it. :thumbsup:

I think I 'm going to buy new; I just got a raise. I heard Beta is the best.

What engine size should I get: 125, 200, 250, 300?

What is usually the out-the-door price for trials bike? For example, Beta 125 is $7100 MSRP.

Is it like buying a dirtbike? Dealer add setup fees and BS like that.

Edited by Terminatr

No, should not be any additional fees on a new Beta. Shipping if you order it. Should get a few hundred off full retail. Unless you are small and light at 250cc is best. They say it is easier to control at slow speed than the 300. I like the quality of the Beta. The older models are known for being durable. We will see how the Evo lasts. The lighter they make these bikes the more fragile some parts get.


Check out "Build your own Beta" on Beta USA site. for prices. Worth considering ordering with stuff like stiffer springs if buying new.


Hard call to say "Beta is the best". GasGas is more popular. I wanted the long range seat for the Beta. Killer on the hardest trails you can find. :ride:

Edited by DrKayak

The older models are known for being durable. We will see how the Evo lasts. The lighter they make these bikes the more fragile some parts get.



Oh, didn't know that newer bikes are more fragile than older ones. If that's the case, I might have to look for

an older bike. Cuz most likely, I'm going to be pretty brutal on the bike.

Edited by Terminatr

Hi, Terminatr!


I personally don't worrry too much about "the new bikes being more fragile than the older bikes". I have a 2010 Gas Gas 280 Pro. I ride at the Novice level, but sometimes *think* that I ride at a higher level than that. Meaning, I take chances & try stuff beyond my ability sometimes, and the bike simply takes that beating that I dish out to it, and keeps going. They're tougher than you think, in certain respects. 


The older bikes had their problems that I personally feel don't make them any more reliable than most modern bikes. Ignitions would give problems, or plastic bodywork problems can rear their ugly heads. I read recently at one forum where a guy had read numerous times that the 10 yr. old Montesta/Honda 315R 250cc 2-strokes were one of the most reliable bikes ever made. I've read that a couple of times here, if I recall correctly. This guy went out & bought one, and had nothing but problems with it!


Design, lack of maintenance from the rider/owner, neglect, old wiring, & etc. can all "conspire" to make any bike, new or old, one that requires constant attention. Not certain you can you can make the case that the older bikes are better than the newer ones. Now, admittedly, most of my own experience with older comes from an offroad/mx background, but there's some similarities there. The newer mx & offroad bikes are simply way more reliable than the older ones. As one who has ridden & raced on a budget, and sometimes raced 4-6 yr. old models against new bikes, I've pushed a lot of these non-running  "old reliable bikes" out of the woods, from far points of the track, & etc.. That can happen with trials bikes also......


I think that someone else here has already given you (what I feel) is some very good advice. Buy the newest one you can afford, at the best price. I might add to that, if you have a dealer that treats you right, that factor should influence what brand you buy. If the only dealer nearby happens to be, say, a Sherco dealer, that would possibly influence what I would get. But really, with this here interweb thing, or the telephone, parts & advice for most all brands are pretty easy to get.


Which brings me to another one of my own recent personal experiences. Riding ability can indeed influence how reliable or "tough" a bike is. Right now, i'm waiting on the money & parts to fix my Gas Gas, due to an accident my son had on my bike. He's a Novice level big bike rider, and was having some fun on my trials bike the other afternoon. Was doing well at static balancing, could ride slowly, stop & balance for a moment, was riding along my "balance beam" obstacle in my yard, and then would do a crude Bunny Hop over it. He began practicing wheelies, and after about 15 minutes of that, looped the bike out. At that point, I might possibly have agreed that the "older bikes are better built/tougher". But I have seen, and probably done that to older bikes that didn't fare any better from that sort of thing. Crashes are crashes, and can take out some strange parts of motorcycles. My son wasn't hurt, thankfully. But I'm thinking what he did on my bike would've hurt any brand or age of bike in a similar fashion.


Hope this helps some,


Edited by Mr. Neutron

I think I 'm going to buy new; I just got a raise. I heard Beta is the best.

What engine size should I get: 125, 200, 250, 300?

What is usually the out-the-door price for trials bike? For example, Beta 125 is $7100 MSRP.

Is it like buying a dirtbike? Dealer add setup fees and BS like that.

Typically - no setup fee, but there is usually a shipping fee and of course sales tax if applicable. Many trials dealers discount bikes and Beta has end of season 2013 leftover bikes for $500 off right now. The 200 or 250 are great starter bikes IMO. 

So if I want to buy new from a dealer, which brand should I get ?



Beta dealer -> 200 miles

Gasgas dealer -> 200 miles

Sherco dealer -> 200 miles

Scorpa dealer -> 200 miles



What brand am I missing?

Edited by Terminatr

Ossa,   my friend just ordered the explorer

are there or is there a list of older 90`s bikes to buy or avoid?


I really tryin my best to get into trials,but most stuff is out of my price range.



Where are you from in oklahoma.  there are a few of us that ride down there with the NEOTT group, www.neott.com based out of Tulsa, we've ridden places including south of meskoogie?  next month (well sorry in October) the 2 day event is at Grand Lake of Cherokees spillway/ORV area (right at or near Disney).  Come on up and watch, lots of things to do and see and learn, you can buy any bike out there, give it a go...  The Rub like anything else competition or satisfaction wise, depends on what you buy, only after you exert as much time and effort, learned the skills, that your competition has...  The bike "can be" secondary to all of that, but most of us find out the hard way, that the better and newer the bike, there are just "little things that keep adding up" that makes some aspects of riding "trials" easier or better.  these are all degree's that are magnified by skills.  To the uninitiated, later in the 90's the better off you are, from there everything IMHO is variable...  


Analogy:  like the difference in a Hendrix Chevy engine powered nascar race car, driven by Johnson, vs same car and engine driven by me...  Since I never have driven nascar ever except simulation/games, there is not much I could probably need that uber expensive, and powerfull top of the line "perfectly setup and tuned" car against the nascar guys...  But, if I was in nascar, I sure as hell wouldnt show up with my shade tree built 96 monte carlo dirt tracker, now would I?

Edited by sting32

thanks,looking around on the google,kinda looks like anything in the 90`s would be ok for a starter.

Your Problem is/will be, and it is hard to tell someone whos not "been there done that"... 


Many people start any sport thinking they just want to have fun. But before you know it, they want to get better and compete to find out how they compare with their peers running the similar equipment.  so, if you find out you like Trials and want to compete competitively, now you have to go out and buy another bike to compete with.


There are bikes out there, if you get in a hurry you will spend more than you need to, to find out you should have waited, you know.  Now take this with a grain of salt, I dont know you from Adam, so this is advice to a person that is showing real interst, by asking questions...  I would say, buy no older than 1999, if you ask me, even then these are getting old.  But your situation could dictate differently, so get whatever you think you can afford then, just know there is a reason for new bikes every year, they improve more than just "looks" every year, dad buys a bike every year, since 2010, before that it was every other year.  yeah helps he has the $ compared to me.


BTW, he just sold a 2010 Raga pro (most expensive version of gasgas) for $4500, so just keep your eyes open.  gasgas.com, Ryan young products, Beta Usa websites, Lewissport.com, plus there are clubs in many states that have forsale adds...  Craigslists.  


NEOTT members if you get to know them, probably know where a bike that is not listed "yet" because it takes time to make that decision and clean up and post pics, then answer 100 emails and phone calls...  But they need to even know you to discuss things like that, you know?


One more thing...  there are a lot of the NEOTT and "area" trials riders (ks, mo,ne, tx, ok and of course others) on Facebook, there is an 06 Sherco forsale from Neott area I think it was.  He didnt list the price though, I haven't looked to see if it is on Neott site or anything.  there was a 2001 gasgas 321 for $2000 when I craigslist friday I think it was, using OKC (results come up, from all over since so "few items found" when searching for TRIALS.

thanks,I mean seriously thanks, sting32 :thumbsup:


I`m kinda talking with a guy about a deal for a aprilla climber :ride:

funky colors though :rolleyes:    :lol:

what kind of money?  I'm tellin you the 200 321 is 100% (times 3) a better bike for ANY new rider!  It was for 2000 but it could bealready gone I guess.


Just sayin.  plus if you dont like, you can sell easier because enduro guys will like them, if cared for.  Aprilla might be a beyotch to get parts for, and if it is Fiberglass tank, alcohol based pump gas eats the tanks resin out of the fiberglass without coating.  That gasgas, they make decent dual purpose the engine/tansmission (not gear ratios) or porting of cylinders, but same as the enduro bikes gasgas made at the time for 2 strokes.  

yea I tried,it "aprilla" got sold to another trials rider for 500bucks :cry:

I just gotta still be even more patient,and wait for my currant bikes to sell,I`ve been looking for at least a year anyway :excuseme:

Well, $500 might be worth jumping on, I just can't tell you to jump on a new defunct (no longer producing) bike brand, but at least the Aprilla is supported by "THE TRYALS SHOPPE" out of new york, he's got one hangin from his dealership sign.  


if it were me, trying to get going cheap as possible, in Oklahoma area you might find a few sherco/montessa/beta/gasgas around, they are main bikes, gasgas imported more bikes every year than others, old bikes sit in active and inactive trials diehards, until the find out someone could use a bike, if you know what I mean.  Like I said gasgas I know pretty well, 99-2003 (no pro) are heavy but up to date of everything gasgas had before switching to the many pounds lighter PRO models.  I think just about now is the time to look for bikes, new ones on the way, stuff like that.  you just have to get to know people, sometimes it is a chain of events that gets you a nice used bike.  you cant afford new, or 2nd owner (2010 and up) so you need to be knwing that Joe is wanting to sell his 2010, Randy wants to sell his 08 so he can buy the 10, then somewhere in there someone has an 04 that wants the 08, but figures he cant sell his bike fast enough, and doesn't try...  otherwise you are going to make offers on bikes you find online, know what I mean Vern?


Get to NEOTT, they have links to our 5 states (6 clubs) in the regionals, plus texas & NTTA link together, so big state, surely a bike to be bought decent price.


I think you will want to spend 1800, until or unless you can steal one from a friend or something.  I dont know, prices are weird, I paniced and sold my bike cheaper than most do, so go figure.

Edited by sting32

thanks,I`m gonna look up an old friend this week who should know "someone"

wish me luck,I could use all i can get....

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