From motocross to trials

BRZ

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#1
I’ve been racing motocross for a long time, but I’ve always been curious about trials. Over the years I followed the sport half-heartedly through the rare magazine or TV reports, but I had a strange feeling that one day I would eventually give it a try.

Well, the years passed and it seemed like I was losing interest. Then, three months ago things started to change. First I saw a test of the TXT 280 Pro. For some unknown reason something clicked and just couldn’t believe how much I wanted to try it out. I remember bringing the article home, showing it to my wife and saying that I wanted to buy this bike, but it was too expensive. Given the money factor, I decided not buy it and tried not think about it too much.

About a month later I was surfing the net and I saw that the ’03 Pros were on sale because the ‘04s would arrive soon. As a result prices were down and it looked (at least to me) like a sign that I should buy this bike.

The bike arrived about two months ago. At first I couldn’t believe how different it was from my other bike, a Honda CRF 450. Even now, I still have a hard time making the transition from one bike to the other, especially when going from the Pro to the CRF. In fact, I feel like I lost some speed on the motocross track, but I’m hoping it’s a temporary thing until I get used to switching back and forth.

I also bought the training videos from Ryan Young and Tommy Ahvala, and they’ve helped incredibly. Most of the time I ride by myself and it’s harder to improve if you’re not watching more advanced riders.

Coming from a motocross background, I feel at home when climbing, doing steps and any other situation that requires a lot of throttle. Predictably, I’m having a hard time with the tight turns and the lack of room to maneuver. I’ve improved a bit by practicing balancing, nose wheelie turns and front wheel hops in my garage. I’m gradually getting better at those, but once I get to the rocks there is no way I can do them consistently.

Anyways, I’m having a lot of fun and I just wanted to share the experience. Last weekend I entered my first trials competition, but that’s another story and I’ll let you guys know about in another post…
 

Patman

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#2
EXCELLENT! It's all about having fun so it looks like your on the right track (section?) ;) .

I've found that years of riding off road creates some habits that are tough to break but once you do it makes a huge difference in both trials and off road riding. The biggest one to me has been learning to steer the bike with the pegs and not upper body strength as I have always done in the past. Trying to grip the bike with my knees is another one that I'm getter better at NOT doing.

Hope ya' don't fall in a creek with any of them Pirhana's in it when your practicing or riding a section in an event :laugh:
 

wayneg

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#4
One other thing that I've noticed after having a bit more experience riding trials is that you gain sensitivity as to what your wheels are doing (good riders have this anyway, but at the lower end of the spectrum the subtle differences between full drive and partial slip). Trials is all about traction, and having the mindset of always trying to get the best traction can help with line selection for normal off road riding, and probably motox as well - especially if you're riding in slippery conditions. One fault that I had as a trail rider was that when faced with a slippery uphill I would usually keep the throttle on the whole time and be scared of letting off - sometimes with disasterous results. Now after approaching similar conditions on my trials bike I would tend to only fully open the throttle when there is good traction and use smaller amounts of throttle when theres not much traction - same result but less energy lost, less crashes and because you need to look ahead to do this properly less target fixation problems.

Steering with your feet is something that you normally don't do so much when riding in the woods or MX - but it can save huge amounts of energy and lessen the impact of arm pump or tired arms. When you watch some of the truly smooth MX riders such as Stefan Everts, you notice just how easy they make going fast look - I believe that they use their feet to do a lot of their steering as well, and I guess that skill and confidence help with the rest. Compared to a clutzy and slow rider such as myself, you can see most of my efforts are more to do with trying to direct the bike by using the handlebars, and the result is someone that is pretty tired and making a lot of mistakes by the end of the race. Have you ever got to the end of a race or days riding and the last part is torture?? That used to be me, with huge mistakes and fairly entertaining crashes happening by the end of the day.

I have improved my trials riding quite a bit recently by telling myself to use my legs and lean the bike in each section to turn and by slowing myself down while in the section, before entering the start flags at each section. I have noticed in recent trials that at the end of the day I want to go and do another couple of loops whereas it used to be a hard struggle just to get the bike back on the ute.
 

BRZ

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#5
Patman and Wayneg, thanks for the tip about steering with the pegs. I tried it yesterday and it helped a lot. It made the most difference in a place near my house where I have a tight turn followed by a steep climb. Working with the pegs really improved the traction in that situation.

Wayneg's suggestion to slow down was also cool. Coming from motocross, I have a tendency of trying to go fast - without even noticing it.
 

DAB

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#6
If you watch the top riders (or watch a video), you'll see them really getting squatted down when climbing, with knees bent and the body low. Then move forward and back to regulate the weight on the rear tire and manage traction. If the front starts to come up, you want to get low and move your body to the front (get your crotch on the gas cap!) because if you have to let off the throttle to keep from wheelying then you are not going to make it up a really steep hill. Too much forward will unweight the rear and break traction. So the key is to keep steady throttle and low center of gravity and move your weight forward and back as needed.

Maybe the biggest thing to learn on hills is how to get off gracefully without tossing the bike into ground loops with fenders and other parts flying! If you can't make it, try to step off on the uphill side and rotate the bike around and underneath you. Always get yourself above the bike. Once you master the ability to stop gracefully, then you can go at hills without fear.

Hope this helps! If not, we sell fenders.

dan brown
www.trialstrainingcenter.com
 

wayneg

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#7
How much are the fenders? Do I get a discount on quantity? :) I have been lucky with the Rev3 as the rear fender has been modified so that it is held on at the back with zip ties - it just pops off if I loop out. So I am still on the original rear fender, and although it doesn't look very pretty it still hasn't broken yet. I now have 'managment approval' to go and get my bike upgraded to a 2004 subframe, airbox and fender, so the bike will look a bit prettier real soon. It will be a relief to finally get rid of the 2000 model airbox.

The way that I would describe hill climbing when I get it right is to be very loose on the bike and flex at your ankles and knees so that you are flexing them towards the water pump on the bike. If I feel that I'm losing traction then I try and drop my heels a little bit. Most of the hill climbs that I have to do are relatively short and not extremely steep (compared with the experts), with the challenges more about having some loose rocks or slippery bits on them. It is usually a challenge to keep traction when the surface changes several times before the top, and this is what I'm trying to describe with the 'more throttle' and 'less throttle' thing.
 

Patman

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#8
Originally posted by wayneg
It is usually a challenge to keep traction when the surface changes several times before the top, and this is what I'm trying to describe with the 'more throttle' and 'less throttle' thing.
Sort of saying --> on the gas when there is traction and off the gas when there is not? I try to ride the flywheel when there isn't anything for the tire to grip as it tends to keep me from sliding around and picking up points or lumps.
 

wayneg

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#9
Yes definitely on the flywheel when things aren't too steep, but on a longer or steeper hill climb you really need to keep your momentum up so need to use a fair bit of throttle.


Patman - there is a good thread by a guy called 'Ronm' on the 'General trials talk' forum on Trials Central giving some ride impressions on the '04 Beta. The conclusion seems to be that the Beta is better for poor traction conditions compared to the GG or Sherco, which are better for obstacles. This suits my skill level and our slippery conditions in NZ better I think, but may not be the best bike for you with all your rocks and nice sunny weather!!

My younger brother is having a brand new '04 Beta delivered mid-january (its a pity that theres no green jealous smiley), and I'll have to put up with the '00 model for a while yet. The new mudguard should tart it up a bit better though.

Am I just feeding the addiction by posting this?? Do you need another cold shower??
 
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Patman

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#10
You are not exacly helping things Wayne! I think it will be very tough when the time comes to pick between a voluptious Beta or the 4T Monty. Sort like choosing between the beauty queen and the girl that can cook :laugh:
 
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#11
Originally posted by DAB
Maybe the biggest thing to learn on hills is how to get off gracefully without tossing the bike into ground loops with fenders and other parts flying! -dan brown

Dan raises an excellent point here that I do not hear discussed that often. There is an art in knowing when to "bail." The better you are at bailing off the bike, the faster you improve because you become more comfortable at more difficult obstacles. You can get more 'aggressive.' "Bailing" is a hard skill to learn, but it is an important one. Many people ask me how trials riders do what they do, and I think that many of them "try" to do what they do because they know when to "bail" if if doesn't go right. That's important..

Wesley
TXT 280 Pro