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What is Bike Trials?

Bike trials is an individual sport that incorporates the use of a special bicycle which the rider must maneuver and balance on in order to complete specially designed artificial or natural "sections." The objective is to pass through the sections with as little physical contact with the ground as possible, hence obtaining minimum penalty points.

Bike Trials comes from Motorcycle Trials. Motorcycle trials riders wanted to give their kids something to practice on before moving up to motorcycles, and some of the kids grew up to love bike trials more. For a more detailed history, click here.

There are 4 different classes at competitions in the United States - Beginner, Sport, Expert, and Pro.

Depending on your class, you have either 2 or 3 minutes to complete one section. There are usually about 5 different sections that are done in order 2 or 3 times. 1 penalty point is given each time riders touch the course with one part of their body. 5 penalty points are given when riders touch the course with more than one part of their body. When a rider reaches 5 penalty points in one section, they are finished with that section until the next loop. For more detailed rules, click here. BIU World Round rules can be found here.

There are two categories of competition, one for each kind of trials bike:

Part of an expert section at Mammoth that riders on modified bikes had to maneuver up (steeper than it appears)


The number of dabs you take in each section are punched out of this card after every section.
20" (Modified) Trials Bikes Stock & Mod Tech Info
20" trials bikes are made specifically for the sport of bike trials. Generally speaking, beginners and younger riders go for modified trials bikes because they are simple to maintain, there is no rear derailleur to break, and they often provide more clearance in the likely incident of a crash. Here is a quick look at what you can expect on most bikes...


• 20" front wheel
• 19" or 20" rear wheel with fat tire
• Wide rims
• Bashguard bolted to the frame to protect the ring/freewheel
• 1 gear
• Gear Ratio: 18/12 or 22/16
• Strong brakes

Browse the Modified Bike section of the Product Review

2004 Veritas Beginner Mod Trials Bike
26" (Stock) Trials Bikes Stock & Mod Tech Info
This category includes 26" trials bikes made specifically for bike trials, as well as cross country and dual slalom bikes that are modified for bike trials use. Here is a quick look at what you can expect on most bikes...


• 26" wheels with fat rear tire
• Low frame for standover room
• Short chainstays for better balance on the rear wheel
• Wide rims
• Bashring on the crankarm to protect the ring
• 5 or more gears
• Gear Ratio: ~20/12-21 (commonly used: 20/17, 22/18, 22/19, 18/15)
• Strong brakes

Browse the Stock Bike section of the Product Review to see more bikes.

2003 Zoo Boa Stock Trials Bike


Where did the name come from?
    Trial \Tri"al\, n. [From {Try}.] 1. The act of trying or testing in any manner. (Webster's Dictionary)

    Bike trials is a sport in which one's bike skills are tested. They are tested through a series of sections, or trials. I assume that this is how the name bike trials came about.

    Observed bicycle trials is another name for bike trials. "Observed" refers to the checker watching the rider and counting penalty points.

2005 BikeTrials.com