Trials bikes, tackling tricky tracks & traversing tree trunks!
Autumn & Winter road riding can be exhilarating.
Golden Autumn sunshine & crisp chilly mornings are for some a joy & a pleasure. However, for a vast majority of bikers, Autumn/Winter is a time of either putting the road bike away entirely for the colder season, or only venturing out on the very rare occasion.
Therefore, Daniel Morris – Master Technician & Proprietor of mono motorcycles has decided to share his rekindled passion for Autumn/Winter riding.
“After a summer of doing some amazing track days, this year I was saving up to buy a track bike.
However, as we all know there’s a limited amount of time you can keep pushing at a fast pace before something goes wrong; so doing track days on my expensive Triumph road bike, was always a worry.
However, having spent out £300 on new rubber , £150 on the track day, £60 fuel for the bike & van (at least £60 depending on the track) then losing a whole day pay (as most track days are in the week); it’s an expensive pastime & that’s if it all goes well & you don’t take a trip into a gravel trap or worse an unplanned visit to a local hospital.
So that got me thinking, there’s got to be a cheaper way to get my biking kicks, especially through the winter months when road riding is more challenging. Trials?
Now I’ve done trials before. I started riding when I was seven in a motorcycle display team & the bikes we used were trials bikes, as the display team was a spin-off of the Waltham Chase Trials Club.
We used to ride trials in the winter months when there was no displays & we also took part in the summer trials Waltham Chase ran on a Wednesday evenings. I did also ride trials a few years ago, but simply didn’t have the funds to have both a trials & road bike; therefore, I sold the trials bike to fund a road bike for the summer.
Trials is one of the cheapest forms of motorsport.
£1500 will buy you a reasonable bike, £300 would fully kit you out with boots, helmet & clothing. However, unlike spending £150 on a track day, to enter a club trial is £15-20 if you are a member & membership for the year will set you back another £20. Don’t think you will need to do much to your bike during a year, as they are near on indestructible. A 6hr trial will see you use 1/2 gallon of fuel, there is a trial nearly every weekend & they are no more than 20 miles from your door.
With my mind made up, I needed a trails bike. After speaking to Zac, good mate & young gifted technician from Reliance Caravans; he gave me a lead on a 2006 BETA Rev3 270 that belonged to a friend of his, which he was only selling due to upgrading to a newer model.
The BETA engine had undergone a full rebuild & only been ridden a few times since. Upon inspection, the BETA was in fantastic condition for a 13yr old machine. Decision made & I parted with £1250 for the bike.
With the BETA back at my workshop & after a play around the farm at work; Zac began to show an interest in buying a trials bike. As I had let Zac ride my BETA a few times & he helps me out when I need another pair of hands in the workshop; I thought I would treat him to a day out & arranged to hire a trials bike from Non Stop Trials Centre in Ammanford, Wales.
It was set, we chose a date & started to plan our trip to Wales.
Despite me having hired a bike for Zac to use at the Non Stop Trials centre, spurned on by the experience of riding the BETA, the week before we headed to Wales Zac announced that he had purchased a bike off Ebay up in Evesham. Therefore, we arranged a slight detour to collect the Sherco the evening before on route to the trials centre. Having already paid the deposit on the hire bike, we thought we would make the most of it.
Upon arrival at the Non Stop Trials Centre, Zac borrowed a pair of boots (they can supply you helmet & gloves too), & showed Zac around the bike they lent him. It’s was a four stroke Montesa Honda 260, I would guess around 2010 model.
On site there was a small shop that sold a few trials parts, another hut for changing & a toilet; so everything you need really. The track itself had a man made section with various logs, tyres & concrete constructions to ride over. This part of the trials centre really helped to hone slow skills riding & taught Zac some great control manoeuvres.
Riding deeper into the woods, revealed tricky muddy conditions into a valley with a stream running through it.
We had managed to gain some flags with Zac’s Sherco, so we laid out some sections to push ourselves.
It is great fun freestyling, but having the flags in place really pushes a trials rider to stick within the boundaries of the flags, gaining great practise for real trials. It is also great fun seeing who manages to succeed through the made up stages.
Around the outside of the trials area was a marked out quad track which we took a spin around later on in the day, once the quad riders had finished. The trials area at Non Stop Trials really allows a fantastic experience for riders of all abilities. Whether you are planning a team building day, or want to hone your skills as a seasoned trials rider; Non stop Trials Centre, Ammanford, Wales, has more than enough different areas for all levels of experience.
We got chatting to the owners of the site who were more than happy to have a look at Zacs newly acquired Sherco & gave us some advice on fuel mixture for his bike, there was even a jet wash to rinse off the worst of the Welsh mud before setting off home.
On Sunday I went to my local practice track Halnaker Chalk Pit Near Goodwood.
Halnaker is a great practice ground owned by Bognor Trials Club & is open on the 3rd Sunday of every month. At Halnaker you can also ride quad bikes & pit bikes which is great for children to cut their teeth on in the mud in relative safety.
On Sunday I was joined by another new comer to the sport & supporter of mono motorcycles, Stuart. Stu recently bought a GasGas 280 for the mere sum of £750 & has never ridden off road. He took to it like a duck to water, attempting some challenging hill climbs & slow tight turns. He’s now looking forward to entering his first trial.” Daniel Morris
If you fancy having a go at trials riding, £80 will hire you a bike for the day at Non Stop Trials Centre. https://www.nonstoptrials.co.uk/