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Old 06-10-2013, 08:50 AM   #1
flo10 OP
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Trial-Sport the new beginning

There have been several discussions recently on web forums about trials that got me thinking and I would like to share an idea, get some feedback, and if others think it is a viable idea, help make it happen. Here's the thing: I enjoy going for dual-sport rides and I enjoy trials competition, so, if I could do both at the same time, that would be great and if there were organized events, I could. The basic idea is to create a new (new in the USA anyway) form of trials competition (Trial-Sport) that is road-based instead of on a closed course. The stage is already set and it would take very little work to make it happen--I think anyway. What I'm thinking is we could run trials events in conjunction with established Dual-Sport and/or Adventure rides on street legal motorcycles. The observed sections would be in the off-road areas along the route. There could be classes for all sizes of motorcycles and skill levels (three motorcycle weight classes and three skill levels within each weight class) so anyone currently riding in these events could compete in the trials portion of the event if they desired or just ride the route if that's what they want to do.
To the best of my knowledge, we have never had road-based trials events in the USA--there may have been one or two somewhere along the line--I don't know for sure. Anyway, our current trials events and the bikes have evolved on a closed course system. This has made the motorcycles very specialized to the point they aren't much good for anything but trials competition. That's fine and I don't want to change that--I really enjoy my 4RT. For road-based events however, the bikes will have to be street legal, somewhat comfortable to ride, and could be used for other purposes. All the Dual-Sport and Adventure bikes could compete and the newest generation of extended ride trials bikes (maybe we could start calling them Trial-Sport bikes) would have a purpose in life too. And if someone wanted to ride their street legal trials bike for 100+ miles, they could.
There are of course many other things to cover, but as I said, the stage is set, the events are there, the bikes are there, and we can make it happen if there is enough interest--let's talk about it. This is basically our opportunity to take trials back to its roots, change the direction a bit and let it evolve.
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Old 06-10-2013, 10:10 AM   #2
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That sounds like a de-evolution of Trials, close to way it all started.
I'd love it, I think you should try it.
I've tried for years to promote a Trials class for trail bikes so that riders could get involved in the sport without buying a specialized bike. What I've found though is that there are more people interested in buying a Trials bike than in competing in Trials. I've had very little interest in the class.
There's also been a problem with selling used bikes. They are frequently bought by people who never come to an event so we lose a bike that could have gone to a new rider and a perfectly good bike gets ridden in someones pasture without the rider ever learning its, or their own, capabilities.
Such a waste.
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Old 06-10-2013, 10:58 AM   #3
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A good bike for that would be the new Ossa Explorer or the Gas Gas Randonne and a good old bike for that would be a Honda Reflex 200.
It definatly sounds like fun but would require a special bike most people dont have.If it generated enough interest then people would start snatching up those in between bikes.
It is something you would have to get going and eventually it would probably catch on.
It is a cool idea though.
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Old 06-10-2013, 10:59 AM   #4
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Trials on the "road" is "nearly" impossible with trials bikes imported to the USA, as of now. Here's simply a one of many reason's why, COST.

Gasgas is/was making a trials based bike, radonner. Importer told me they 'probably' wont be street legal, in the usa. I said hmm, why? He said that the EPA testing and subsequent approval, for "Street legal" bikes would cost over 20 thousand (maybe more for CA?), per model (aka 125, 250, 280, etc). Hon/Yam/ et al other "imported" bike's companies, and anyone else making an "EPA street legal" for the USA market, have to conclude before production/import, that they can spread the costs out over thousands of bikes of any 'model' will be sold. I bet honda learned that lesson the hard way with the "86 Reflux" yet I bet the costs associated with EPA and Government regs, to make a street legal bike in 86 was helluva lot less back then, anyhow!

Trials in USA is "Niche" at best. And all of this, is kind of which comes first the "chicken or the egg" type of thing, that keeps being observed but nobody has pushed to much to change in the USA. Since businesses rarely (without government subsidies it seems) will try to develop a market and a product, by risking "its own" millions to do so.

It doesn't take much to see/prove it. look at electric cars, alternative fuels, they all took Billions from our White House/congress/house to start up businesses, and try to develop a "market" that could benefit "all" (except the consumer IMHO)...

AND... If you watched anything but MTV news as your news source, you also now know that since those lucky grants were given, they have all managed to have the "entrepreneur" to bail out, with the money, without of course, losing a dime as far as I can see, yet investors and US tax payers have. That rant is just for big picture info.

Trials bikes, are mostly imported to the USA for "competition use" only, so that they dont have to cost 15,000 a piece, extra "taxation" for street legality they would have to do all the time. No, I don't know all the in/outs for Cali and red/green sticker, and which bikes finally get ability to be street legal when imported anymore. There seems there might be a loophole, but I admittedly don't know enough to make much more than a big assumption = they are not able to, not anymore?

I guess closest thing you could do is a "non trials, street legal dual purpose bike" with sections laid out for them types of bikes, on private property, with all land owners willing to allow you use of the land, or even government land. NMTA (New Mexico) saw over half of the "for public use" riding areas closed, without a notice or vote this year, so how long until you cannot but hike on forest land?
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Old 06-10-2013, 03:25 PM   #5
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Personally, I really like this idea. I really like trials, but can't afford a bike, and am old enough now that I don't think I'd be terribly competitive on the modern hardware. For that reason, vintage trials interests me more, but those bikes are *really* hard to come by in my area. Sounds a bit like hard enduro, but perhaps without the pounding you'd take away, and with more liason type stages.

I've got a TW200, and to be honest, its a good bike to example in the small size "trials-sport" way, as its relatively low-cost, already available, street legal, and a boatload of fun in crap terrain. I don't know what to say about bigger bikes; it would be fun to try some harder stuff on my XL600R, but I don't know how competitive it would be with me as a pilot :) My brother rides a DRZ400, and does a pretty banging job on some stuff a lot of people wouldn't dare touch. Half the time, he's doing it two-up with his wife on the back

I certainly agree that it would be extremely difficult to get any backing on this, and so the best way is probably to simply start grass-roots; if it takes off, all the better for those involved. I think the idea has a great bit of merit, and would be a nice "modern sunday rider trials competition". Not everyone has to push the very limits of gravity and the time-space continuum to have fun. The pros do that pretty well, and I know better than to try.
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Old 06-10-2013, 03:53 PM   #6
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A fair number of national level events here in the UK are still road based, and this is reflective of the very early days of UK trials, where few if any events were run on closed courses.

Road based events have many advantages, and it would be impossible to run trials such as the SSDT without roadwork between the sections. However the major problem in countries where road based trials have not been running for may years is insurance cover...............it may be difficult/impossible to provide cover for riders competing in such events.
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Old 06-12-2013, 07:14 AM   #7
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Cool idea! You could have trials sections for non trials bikes, for the majority if you will. But there are problems if not done right.

In North America we love big. Big spaces and big bikes. A KLR650 is considered a mid-size bike and it is a total pig in Beginner a trials section. The majority, who have never thrown a leg over a modern trials bike, just can't understand the incredible difference a trails bike makes, nor can they understand all of what they do not know exists, or even the skills they have never mastered. You can tell them much about trials, but they will look at you like, "What planet are you from?"

This could work if the sections are wide open and super easy, sub beginner level in trials. Anything harder and the majority will run smack into THE GREAT TRIALS EGO FILTER (GTEF).

What is the GTEF? Ask trials riders about their beginnings in the sport. You will find a theme: I had no idea I was so unskilled! One recently put it this way, "I was an Expert flat tracker. I got into trials and got seriously humbled. Trials taught me I really didn't know how to ride. I only knew how to twist the throttle." My story is Expert-level cross country and being knocked back to Novice in trials. But I persisted and the rewards came and today I talk Chinese to no trials riders and get that look

It isn't fun to wake up and find one's self actually unskilled on two wheels. There was a dualsport class at the Sipapu trials event on Saturday running the beginner line. A few did that and had fun, but the biggest bike was a 450, and that was ridden by a very skilled off roader. But still, trials sections scattered round the country would work... but only if adapted to the majority riders, which is big pig bikes (compared to trials bikes) and relatively low skill levels (relative to trials).
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Old 06-13-2013, 08:13 AM   #8
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Allright then--very promising feedback. The idea is to run these events in conjunction with Dual-Sport and/or Adventure rides to maximize participation and to add an element of competition to these rides. The sections would need to be layed out with these types of motorcycles in mind and designed to be challenging and safe. I have a rough plan for class structure and section layout, but, the first thing to do is to find a club willing to take on the first event. If there is anyone out there willing to help get Trial-Sport up and running, let me know and I'll help however I can.
There are any number of ways to handle scoring and it really depends on the stature of the event on how casual or structured the scoring is. For a casual club event peer scoring would be fine; however, for a national level event there should be checkers at each section. This can all be worked out later.
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Old 06-13-2013, 08:37 AM   #9
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You could have a fun, challenging, ride with skills tests (Trials sections) at one location at the end of the ride. This would allow spectator access and not require scorers spread across the route.
Some of us "mericuns" may be put off by the term Trials, you could call it a "rodeo", now that sounds american (unless you speak spanish).
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Old 06-13-2013, 09:35 AM   #10
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Yea, I guess we could call it a rodeo or even a circus for that matter, but, that's not what the concept is. And having spectators isn't the goal either. The idea is to add an element of competition to an already enjoyable ride on natural terrain and to provide an opportunity to stop and chat a bit throughout the day while checking out the sections. This would also give Dual-Sport and Adventure riders that aren't competing in the trial an opportunity to stop at the sections and watch if they wanted to. I'm not sure why any motorcyclist would be put off by the term Trials though. I've just run every type of motorcycle event I can think of through my head (many of which I've never attempted) and they all intrigue me in one way or another and it didn't even hurt my head. I guess to each his own.
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Old 06-13-2013, 10:14 PM   #11
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Speaking as an adventure rider whose just bought my first trials bike, I think its a great idea. In fact I believe the KTM 350 freeride was developed for this very style of riding. Sadly I won't be joining you guys on any rides though as my Beta doesn't have the fuel range to get me to the Northern hemisphere
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Old 06-13-2013, 11:29 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flo10 View Post
Allright then--very promising feedback. The idea is to run these events in conjunction with Dual-Sport and/or Adventure rides to maximize participation and to add an element of competition to these rides. The sections would need to be layed out with these types of motorcycles in mind and designed to be challenging and safe. I have a rough plan for class structure and section layout, but, the first thing to do is to find a club willing to take on the first event. If there is anyone out there willing to help get Trial-Sport up and running, let me know and I'll help however I can.
There are any number of ways to handle scoring and it really depends on the stature of the event on how casual or structured the scoring is. For a casual club event peer scoring would be fine; however, for a national level event there should be checkers at each section. This can all be worked out later.
Events very much like you have in mind have been running in the UK for many years. They are known as long distance or trail bike trials, and seem to be fun events. Here is a video of some of one of the longest running events the "Lands End Trial" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4r6FIjilrac
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Old 06-14-2013, 07:16 AM   #13
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Thanks for posting that link Twin-Shocker. I had no idea these events even existed--and I lived in England a couple of years way back when (1979-1982). That's the idea though--trials on Trial-Sport, Dual-Sport and Adventure bikes.
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Old 06-14-2013, 07:38 AM   #14
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In the US, especially the west, it may be possible to have a road-based trail using a dirt / gravel road loop that allows OHVs. So street-legal wouldn't be a requirement.

With careful selection of the route, all the sections could be on private or state lands, minimizing or eliminating SRP & NEPA headaches (depending on the State).
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Old 06-14-2013, 07:44 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motobene View Post
There was a dualsport class at the Sipapu trials event on Saturday running the beginner line. A few did that and had fun, but the biggest bike was a 450, and that was ridden by a very skilled off roader. But still, trials sections scattered round the country would work... but only if adapted to the majority riders, which is big pig bikes (compared to trials bikes) and relatively low skill levels (relative to trials).
Actually, the biggest DS bike that competed at Sipapu was a Honda XR650L piloted by one of our Expert class riders. He won.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Twin-shocker View Post
Events very much like you have in mind have been running in the UK for many years. They are known as long distance or trail bike trials, and seem to be fun events. Here is a video of some of one of the longest running events the "Lands End Trial" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4r6FIjilrac
Very interesting. I especially liked the Sedan/Sportscar class shown in one of the video links. I would just assume that dabbing is not much of a problem in those classes. Looks like fun though.
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