Bike trials riding

From Academic Kids

Bike trials is a is a form of offroad cycling derived from motorcycle trials where one slowly negotiates man-made and natural obstacles. It originated in Spain and is said to have been invented by Ot Pi who wanted to practice motocross trials on an ordinary push bike.

At the most basic level, trials riding can be summed up as bicycle handling skills, therefore there is much overlap with BMX racing. It evolved from motorcycle trial riding (riding up, over obstacles, man-made or natural) into an off-season bicycle pastime. It now has a strong, though small following and can be seen worldwide. Skills taken from trials riding can be used practically on any bicycle for balance, standing still while still on the pedals, braking, and many other uses. Trials-specific bicycles are usually modified mountain bikes (good brakes, light with little extra baggage).

It is totally different from individual time trial races, which are used in road bicycle racing.



The general principle in a bike trials competition is to ride a number of pre-marked sections (usually 2 laps of 10 sections), the winner being the rider with the least points at the end of the competition.

The maximum number of points that can be obtained in each section is 5, the lowest (and best) score is 0 points. The most common way to gain a point is by putting your foot down within a section, for this reason points are sometimes known as "dabs". Certain rules enforce the number of points gained within a section, for example, putting both feet down will result in 5 points.

The fastest rider that does not dab has the lowest time (trial) and score, giving bicycle trials its name.

Types of bike trials

Currently there are two regulated types of competition ruling, enforced by the UCI and BIU.


Within UCI ruling, if any part of the bike except the tires rest on an object in the course, a point will be given. The UCI rulings are currently popular in Northern Europe with countries such as France, Czech Republic and Germany.


Within BIU ruling there is more leway on points, unlike UCI ruling, parts of the bike can rest on a section object without resulting in a point.


A popular place to ride bike trials is on ordinary walls and objects commonly found in towns and cities. In this setting, it is known as urban scuttling.

Much of the style described as "Street" is derived from BMX riding.

Types of bikes

Trials bikes are no longer standard mountain bikes, but over the years have become very specialist.

The bikes can be put into two classes, classified by the wheel sizes of 20" and 26".

The 20" variety of trials bike (known as "Mod" bikes) are more specifically designed for bike trials, consisting of only 1 gear, a bashplate for resting on, and a large rear tire similar to a trials motorcycle rear tire. The term "Mod" comes from the fact that the frames are modified BMX frames, now used for trials. Monty makes some of the best examples.

The 26" variety of trials bike (known as "Stock" bikes) were originally derived from a normal mountain bikes and thus resemble them. These bikes consist of a minimum of 6 gears and have a low gear ratio.


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