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First time trials owner, advice?

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Hello All,

I am buying a trials bike for the first time tomorrow.  Any advice on where to start?  Gear, drills, maintenance, tools, tips, tricks?

Picking up a 2006 Gas Gas 300 TXT pro

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9 hours ago, JHensel said:

Hello All,

I am buying a trials bike for the first time tomorrow.  Any advice on where to start?  Gear, drills, maintenance, tools, tips, tricks?

Picking up a 2006 Gas Gas 300 TXT pro

Search out a group in your area to ride with. You will be one of the lucky one's if you find someone or a group

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Check the frame for cracks and major dents, take a look at the exhaust as the mounts can crack (can be welded however).

Check all the basics (Oil, clutch for function, make sure if shifts (FYI - they are not real smooth shifting), air filter and intake clean, etc...

Gear  -I ditched my Motocross helmet recently and bought a "real" trials helmet and like it a lot better.  Cooler and allows a lot better view when I am trying to be precise.  I also run with a light chest protector and knew/elbow guards and boot.  You will fall a lot - not the wicked fast falls like motocross but more like tipping over and hitting the ground at lower speeds.  The gear help a ton!

 

Good luck!

 

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I searched out a group of guys somewhat local to me. The leader of the group invited me to go watch them ride, and look over their toys, ask questions, etc. Great bunch of guys. I was so excited thinnking this group would be fun to ride with. I could invite them to my places and I to theirs. However, once there, they spent 98% of their time in turtle mode, balancing as they followed pre marked lines. I was so disappointed. That did not interest me. So I left and have never seen them again. However, looking back, now that I have more experience, that's a good way to start. All the other trials techniques all have this technique as the foundation. It did not seem that they were intending to do or learn anything else but turtle around. They actually said that the trials events they go to were this very thing. So, I guess I say this so you might learn from my experience, not so much riding experience, but experience enough to realize a better starting point. LOL, I wanted to see some stoppies, wheelies, huge log crossing, splats, etc. all I saw was turtles. Don't get impatient like me. Start basic and work up

Edited by 1gr8bldr
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Thanks Guys!  I picked up the bike today and bought my wife a Vespa scooter as well, now we both have new toys to play with.  I have found some great videos on Youtube and I am going to try and start with the basics.  I bought a trials helmet but I will probably just wear the other stuff I already have for boots, pads, etc.  I need to find a good low pressure tire gauge if you have any advice.  Also what is the best way to work on balance?  I just watched a video of a guy that could stand on the bike with the motor off completely still forever.  I only make it a few seconds right now.

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You need trials boots too. MX boots don't give you the freedom needed to move around the bike.

ATV pressure gauges (0 to 15psi) work nice with trial pressure ranges.

Start working your balance skills with front wheel against a wall or a rock. Apply brakes before putting your weight on bike.

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21 hours ago, 1gr8bldr said:

I searched out a group of guys somewhat local to me. The leader of the group invited me to go watch them ride, and look over their toys, ask questions, etc. Great bunch of guys. I was so excited thinnking this group would be fun to ride with. I could invite them to my places and I to theirs. However, once there, they spent 98% of their time in turtle mode, balancing as they followed pre marked lines. I was so disappointed. That did not interest me. So I left and have never seen them again. However, looking back, now that I have more experience, that's a good way to start. All the other trials techniques all have this technique as the foundation. It did not seem that they were intending to do or learn anything else but turtle around. They actually said that the trials events they go to were this very thing. So, I guess I say this so you might learn from my experience, not so much riding experience, but experience enough to realize a better starting point. LOL, I wanted to see some stoppies, wheelies, huge log crossing, splats, etc. all I saw was turtles. Don't get impatient like me. Start basic and work up

I like this. Without being confident in your balance, it's hard to be confident crossing logs and big obstacles. Lack of confidence equals crash! 

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11 hours ago, JHensel said:

Thanks Guys!  I picked up the bike today and bought my wife a Vespa scooter as well, now we both have new toys to play with.  I have found some great videos on Youtube and I am going to try and start with the basics.  I bought a trials helmet but I will probably just wear the other stuff I already have for boots, pads, etc.  I need to find a good low pressure tire gauge if you have any advice.  Also what is the best way to work on balance?  I just watched a video of a guy that could stand on the bike with the motor off completely still forever.  I only make it a few seconds right now.

You can wedge your front tire into a corner ,to "cheat" if you get frustrated with all the up and down of the foot to keep from falling. It's cheating but it does qualify as practice. Letting the front air pressure down low helps as well. Soft tall grass helps. Cheating does not hinder your learning. It actually keeps you upright longer learning the feel, muscle memory. As you get better, more air and concrete. But that will be awhile and I'm not there yet. Try not to get into the habit of sticking a leg out. It works but I hate to see someone do it. It don't look cool. Try to learn by weighting the pegs, hip movement, etc, anything but sticking a leg out. If that's the way you train yourself you will never break that habit. In riding conditions, you will need that foot down for braking. As you get better, multitask. Learn your clutch,  by balancing and moving the bike forward slightly to recover rather than put a foot down. This will be good clutch control training. 

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4 hours ago, 1gr8bldr said:

You can wedge your front tire into a corner ,to "cheat" if you get frustrated with all the up and down of the foot to keep from falling. It's cheating but it does qualify as practice. Letting the front air pressure down low helps as well. Soft tall grass helps. Cheating does not hinder your learning. It actually keeps you upright longer learning the feel, muscle memory. As you get better, more air and concrete. But that will be awhile and I'm not there yet. Try not to get into the habit of sticking a leg out. It works but I hate to see someone do it. It don't look cool. Try to learn by weighting the pegs, hip movement, etc, anything but sticking a leg out. If that's the way you train yourself you will never break that habit. In riding conditions, you will need that foot down for braking. As you get better, multitask. Learn your clutch,  by balancing and moving the bike forward slightly to recover rather than put a foot down. This will be good clutch control training. 

The leg out is a last resort to catch balance but perfectly valid. It beats losing it entirely but I agree, finesse is better.

Additional tips.. keep even weight on the pegs, you will lose your balance if you use peg weight. Instead, small movements of the handlebars back and forth as needed for stability along with slight adjustments in hips and knees. Again the peg weighting is a last resort. The last thing is, have your knees close or against your seat/tank/plastics - that way you're leaving room for error if you need to stick a knee out a bit for balance. 

Edit: Holding pressure on the front brake also helps a lot, especially if you're at a stop and turned full lock. This allows you to almost lean the bike very slightly toward the direction of your turn, with your body weight slightly outside; this really locks in balance, but only on trials bikes, on the dirt bikes you need to keep the bike perfectly straight up due to weight, center of gravity and such. The trials bike weighs less than you while the enduro bike weighs 100lbs more (assuming 150lb rider). 

Edited by jacob429
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Practiced balance in the garage. Holy crap it is hard with the engine off. I will be curious to see what a month of practice brings. Right now I can balance for all of a few seconds before I have to put my foot down.

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The most important thing you can do is to find a club to ride with.  1gr8bldr's experience is not typical.  Clubs typically cater to any skill level from beginner to expert.    Although as a beginner you'll be working on tight turns, steep hill climbs, steep hill descents, off camber turns, rock gardens, stream crossings, low traction situations and small obstacles (logs, boulders, etc usually skid plate height give or take).  Turns and balance are the bread and butter though if you want to develop a solid foundation.

Here are a couple videos from my club.  

While there are certainly a lot of beginner and novice riders working on their fundementals there are also plenty of advanced and expert riders hitting the exciting stuff.  And in this case Phil Smage decides the expert line was a bit too easy and decides to work in a backflip while cleaning it.

Doc

 

Edit: I just googled "Colorado trials club" and it appears there is a club.  Even if they are not close to you I'd contact them and see if they have members in your area.

Edited by Doc_d
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The Colorado club is called RMTA (Rocky Mountain Trials Association).  There are quite a few videos on YouTube if you search for "RMTA trials".  Remember when watching videos that most trials events have lines for anyone from complete beginners to expert.  Also video tends not to do justice to hills and obstacles.  My point is don't watch videos and decide you're not going to check out the club because it looks too easy or too hard because it all depends on which class rider you are watching.  Also don't put off looking into a club until you get better in your own.  The whole point is to develop more quickly and not develop bad habits.

Good luck!  Let us know how it goes.

Doc

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I just wish we had a club around here to ride with.  Been thinking about trying to start one.....

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8 hours ago, Doc_d said:

The Colorado club is called RMTA (Rocky Mountain Trials Association).  There are quite a few videos on YouTube if you search for "RMTA trials".  Remember when watching videos that most trials events have lines for anyone from complete beginners to expert.  Also video tends not to do justice to hills and obstacles.  My point is don't watch videos and decide you're not going to check out the club because it looks too easy or too hard because it all depends on which class rider you are watching.  Also don't put off looking into a club until you get better in your own.  The whole point is to develop more quickly and not develop bad habits.

Good luck!  Let us know how it goes.

Doc

Thanks Doc,

I will definitely check out the RMTA.  Unfortunately it looks like most of their events are 3+ hours from where I live.  Still it would be fun to go down and check it out some time.

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I've now been riding MotoTrials for 25 months. Started out learning the basics (balancing, going as slow as possible, practicing tight turns and eventually working on off-camber turns, logs, lightening front wheel to float over obstacles <-- still need more practice on this). Most riders are impatient for spending the required time learning the basics; but that is where the dividends come from. Though I live in the "snow belt" of New England; we've been pretty fortunate over the past couple winters having somewhat mild weather - so I've joined a local club with seasoned Trials riders and pretty much ride every Sunday morning at the club. Other days are just finding 20-30 minutes to practice more slow stuff, balancing, nose wheelies, etc. Having ventured a bit further away from my home base, I found out there are so many different types of terrain to compete in (NY, PA, etc.) The more exposure you have to different terrain, the better your skills will improve. Best to find someone else to practice Trials with and challenge each other.

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Trials is a great sport, I've recently gotten into it in a big way and ride more trials than enduro. Even just bought a 2nd electric trials bike so I can practice at home without noise. I have 14 videos in a series that are up on YouTube showing my transition into trials from technical hard enduro and a back ground of motox and other go fast biking endeavors. Like these guys have pointed out, the seamingly boring stuff is the basis of everything tougher. If you don't develope great balance and low speed skills you'll suffer greatly on anything you want to try later...there are no short cuts. Once you've mastered balance you could work on wheelies for fun and funny enough that is one skill that pays dividends in advanced skills. Guys who are comfortable on one wheel float around difficult terrain easier than those who aren't. Not saying that's the next thing you should practice but it fun and and a incredible skill that few talk about.

 

 

 

 

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On 9/7/2017 at 2:23 AM, JHensel said:

Thanks Guys!  I picked up the bike today and bought my wife a Vespa scooter as well, now we both have new toys to play with.  I have found some great videos on Youtube and I am going to try and start with the basics.  I bought a trials helmet but I will probably just wear the other stuff I already have for boots, pads, etc.  I need to find a good low pressure tire gauge if you have any advice.  Also what is the best way to work on balance?  I just watched a video of a guy that could stand on the bike with the motor off completely still forever.  I only make it a few seconds right now.

Milton S-917 gauge.  Better quality than you typically will find locally, and not expensive.  

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I like the TEKTON 5941 Digital Tire Gauge, cheap and small. But if you are serious, get a 0-15 PSI gauge from a drag racing speed shop, like this one:  JEGS Performance Products 65530, Deluxe Tire Pressure Gauge 0-15 psi

I am new to this, and went to a Mid-Atlantic Vintage Trials event last weekend, everyone there was wonderful, friendly and helpful. Actually riding the trials bike is hard, probably due to the stance, and my complete lack of skills

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On 9/6/2017 at 0:33 PM, 1gr8bldr said:

I searched out a group of guys somewhat local to me. The leader of the group invited me to go watch them ride, and look over their toys, ask questions, etc. Great bunch of guys. I was so excited thinnking this group would be fun to ride with. I could invite them to my places and I to theirs. However, once there, they spent 98% of their time in turtle mode, balancing as they followed pre marked lines. I was so disappointed. That did not interest me. So I left and have never seen them again. However, looking back, now that I have more experience, that's a good way to start. All the other trials techniques all have this technique as the foundation. It did not seem that they were intending to do or learn anything else but turtle around. They actually said that the trials events they go to were this very thing. So, I guess I say this so you might learn from my experience, not so much riding experience, but experience enough to realize a better starting point. LOL, I wanted to see some stoppies, wheelies, huge log crossing, splats, etc. all I saw was turtles. Don't get impatient like me. Start basic and work up

That is what observed trials is all about, riding pre-marked lines.

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