How to Choose a Trials Bike – Part 2
The second part of our blog how to choose a trial bike, looks at what size of bike you should be looking to buy and what things you should look at when it is time to make a purchase. If you are new to trial biking things are a little different to buying a road bike and you should be aware of the nuances before you part with your hard-earned cash.
Which Size of Bike You Should Choose
Trial bikes range from 50cc right up to 300cc, in both two and four stroke engines. The best way to choose which power suits your style of riding is to get on as many bikes as possible and try them out. Remember you are not choosing a road bike, the weight of the bike has a great impact in trial competition and the extra cc’s needed for power on the road are not necessary when competing.
Again, the competition of trial riding is a great leveler it is skill that matters more than engine size. A good trial bike rider can compete just as well on a 125cc bike than on a large 300cc machine. Many adults opt for a 200cc bike for their first trial bike, the reduced power is easier to control while you are learning and is sufficient to take you into the higher grades of trial bike riding.
Some experience road riders opt for the larger 300cc engine from the start, the thinking behind this is that they will not have to change the bike as they progress up the grades. The biggest problem with this is that it will be harder to control and learn on this size of bike.
What to Look for When Shopping
Buying your first trial bike is normally done in second hand avenues. Many trial riders already own a road bike so buying a second one just for competitions is rather an expensive way to enjoy your pastime. Firstly, try to buy from somebody you know, so you have an idea of the history of the bike.
Most trial bikes are stripped down to the very basics as they are not allowed on the road. So, there is far less to go wrong with the machine. A good indication how much general wear and tear the bike has undergone is the overall appearance.
Are there any really bad marks? What scrapes and rubs are on the actual frame and forks?
Get the bike on a stand and test the forks. Grab them with both hands and pull/push them back and forth to test if there is any play on the bearings. Then rotate the bars slowly so you can feel if there is any jarring or roughness.
Look for leaks on seals, and shocks in both the front and rear. Check the brakes so that you can see they release fully and the disc has no drag. Check for wear on the pads and that the discs are not marked in any way or distorted.
The engine is a problem area as it is difficult to check, you may have to purchase or loan a compression guage. The engine noise will display any top end problems and display clutch rumble as well. If all this sounds a little difficult then take a professional mechanic with you to check the bike out, and then you are free to enjoy your new sport.