Unlike most other forms of motorcycle sport, Moto Trials is not racing. It is simply a competitor and their bike pitted against the terrain.Moto Trials is a sport of balance, skill and concentration. One at a time, competitors will ride over an obstacle course of boulders, streams, hill climbs, logs, drop offs, and nearly anything else. Moto Trials is one of the world's most popular participatory motorcycle disciplines. In Australia about one thousand riders compete - in Europe many thousands compete regularly.
Moto Trials riders compete in ALL weather conditions! From Juniors aged 7 years through to Veterans from 40 to 70 years plus, there are classes to cover all rider ability levels such as Expert, A, B and C Grade, Club Class and also Veterans (40 years plus). Whilst it is spectacular and sometimes appears dangerous at the top level, speed and other competitors are not factors likely to cause incidents, so the sport remains very safe. Very few injuries are sustained due to the low speeds and "one at a time" use of sections by competitors. Riders in the top classes attempt seemingly impossible obstacles, and in the process perform some of the most amazing skilled and trick riding - including air turns, bunny hops and bouncing the front and rear wheels during turns.
Moto Trials motorbikes are specially made high-tech machines. Very light (less than 70kg), low seat height and lots of power. They are usually single cylinder, liquid cooled engines, around 250cc capacity. They have lots of ground clearance and suspension travel with hydraulic disc brakes - front and rear. Tyres are super soft compound and run tyre pressures of about 4 to 6 psi. They are very similar to the bikes ridden by world champion riders such as TonI Bou. Modern trials bikes are mostly manufactured in Europe by manufacturers such as Gas Gas, Beta, Scorpa, Montesa, Ossa and Sherco. Honda and Yamaha also manufacture engines for modern trials bikes. Although new models cost up to $11,000, you don't need a new bike to start riding and enjoying yourself. Second-hand models with mono shock rear suspension and front disc brake can be bought for around $1,400 to $2,500.
A trials event will be made up of different sections to enable riders to test their skills. A Moto Trials section is typically a taped area of natural terrain, incorporating obstacles such as rocks, creeks, mud, tree stumps, etc. Different colour markers within the section determine the passage through the section ("the line") a particular graded rider must take. For example an A grade rider will ride between red markers, B grade follow yellow markers, C grade follow blue markers and Club Class riders follow white markers through the section. The higher the grade, the more difficult the section and line. A rider "earns" one point each time they put a foot down (a "dab"). After three points in any one section the rider may continue to dab or stop without incurring any more points. If the rider falls off or stalls the bike with their feet on the ground or if the bike moves backwards they are given five points (a "five"). At the end of each lap the section scores are totalled to give a lap score, and when the rider completes the designated number of laps a total score is tallied. The rider with the lowest score is the winner.