2017/02/17 – Tried a Trials Bike.

I should write down my thoughts on having tried a trials bike out a Dave Fair’s place. (He welded up the broken subframe on my DRZ.)

It was light.

It was really really light.

Throttle was quite different, and with the lightness, a bit ‘scary’ to start.

As I got used to it, I think I came to use the clutch a LOT… especially at low speed… you’d have the clutch partly engaged, front brake just a touch on, and no or very little throttle. By the end of my 15 minute parking lot / driveway session I was fairly comfortable. No idea what the bike would really do if you just tried to go fast… to be honest, without a tach I had no real idea what the revs were and where they were supposed to be… and being a two-stroke I expected it to be a bit different.

Shifting… is different. As Dave put it, the shifter is in the normal spot, but the footpegs are 6″ farther back, so you don’t shift a lot, as you gotta lift your left foot and hunt for the shifter.

Dave said one finger clutch and one finger brake. That probably was the right way to go, even if I found myself using two fingers a lot (no surprise, that’s what I normally use offroad).

It was _not_ a total breeze to wheelie. Then again, I can’t wheelie the  DRZ worth sh*t either. I spent a few minutes seeing if it would be easy to get it to stand up at low speeds, but gave up as I REALLY didn’t want to mess up and drop the bike, nor did I want to be that hard on it.

Hill climbing in 2nd seemed to work better than first… not that I really wanted to open up the throttle anyway, as I was riding on the grass beside the shop and didn’t want to tear it up. Front end would get light and seemed to be “just fine” floating off the ground.

In theory I was killing time waiting for Dave to lead me on a short ride on the VMC property, but he couldn’t get away.

My ride effectively ended when I realized I was starting to sweat from the low speed (straight line) exercise. But even that was interesting, I’d bring the bike to a dead stop and hold it there for a good fraction of a second… and still not be wildly off balance. I can see how you could  balance one of those at a stand still. Also the geometry is different, you
DO get some effect from rolling the bike from side to side. And with the  steering turned (it goes farther than a normal bike’s)… there is some geometry in effect too.

All in all, I don’t think there were any real surprises. A trials bike would be a great platform to learn the low speed trials type skills which are supposed to transfer to enduro riding, a’la Chris Birch and all the Barry Morris videos. But since much of that is the hard riding stuff, it would mean lots of drops… not really the thing to do on a borrowed bike :(

I definitely do NOT want to trade in my DRZ. On the other hand, I didn’t actually get out on any trails, maybe that would change my mind.