trials training: how to set up your trials bike
We are all different shapes and sizes but the basics of setting up your trials bike will be the same - ensuring you are well balanced and can use the bars, levers and bike with ease.
handlebars & levers
Ideally your handgrips should be in line with the front forks. If the bars are too close then there is a tendency to go forward over the bars too easily. If the bars are too far forward then you won't be able to position your body back far enough when required.
If you are very tall, you may want to install bar risers and/or handlebars with a high bend. However, the natural stance in trials will have you leaning forward, so don't feel you must raise the bars to match the normal stance on a dirt bike. Give it time, speak to experienced riders, and see if you really need those risers or high bend bars.
Position your hand levers so that when standing your arms don't need to move up or down to use the levers. Riders usually have their levers between 30 and 45 degrees from horizontal as you will be standing on the pegs all the time. However, experienced riders often position their levers closer to horizontal for when they are leaned back right over the rear wheel for some techniques.
Make sure that the take up on your front brake and clutch allow you to disengage the clutch or apply the front brake without pressing against your other fingers. Ideally you should only have one finger on each lever so you don't want to crush your other fingers!
Position your levers inward along the bars so that your bars will probably hit the ground first if you drop the bike. This lessens the chance of braking levers. You can also loosen the lever mounts enough that they will twist on impact to lessen the chance of breaking levers - obviously it's always a good idea to carry spare levers too.
lanyard kill switch
Make sure you have a lanyard kill switch fitted, and your throttle returns properly. You don't want your bike screaming away if you drop it, and these will be assessed in the machinery inspection prior to any trials event. Trials bikes don't usually have a rev limiter so you can easily seize your engine if the throttle grip is jammed into the ground wide open.
Tire pressures are typically 6psi for the front and 4 psi for the rear but can be varied to suit conditions and the individual rider.
Your suspension becomes increasingly important as you progress through the grades as techniques like hopping the wheels rely heavily on the suspension. Experienced riders in the club will be happy to look at your bike and see if you need to get the suspension tuned to suit your weight and style of riding.
Copyright B. Morris 2014
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