There are quite a few different ways you can experience the freedom of riding a motorcycle. Some prefer to kick back on touring bikes like Harley Davidson, others prefer being out in the dirt hauling ass on a motocross track, and now we even have freestyle where doing double back flips is a regular thing. One thing they all have in common, they all require balance. Some more than others, but none of which requiring the technical skill and ridiculous balance needed to be competitive in the Trials Championship.
It’s mostly popular in Europe, but also has a decent following in the United States, Trials Motorcycle competitions use a specially made type of motorcycle that is designed to be extremely light, have a quick accelerating small engine, and a good suspension setup that can take some punishment. These bikes are not necessarily fast, matter of fact in a competition you are lucky to see a bike get into double digit speeds. But you will most likely see it climb a vertical wall or jump to a obstacle across a five foot gap to another balance beam type obstacle all before the wheels or riders feet touch the ground again. Trials is all about balance. Each rider will attempt a series of timed runs over multiple different obstacles where they are penalized each time a foot touches the ground or if the bike gets off course. The Bikes are made without a seat, we assume to help save weight, because there is never a time that a rider would be seated.
I literally could not believe my eyes when I first saw video of what these riders were able to accomplish on these bikes. The balance, throttle control, brake use, and overall bike control it must require to keep these bikes balanced on a surface no wider than the tires, then some how pop a wheelie and bunny hop over to another obstacle, is really hard to wrap your head around. If you ever tried to balance your bike without moving you will know how hard it is, but somehow these highly skilled riders are not only able to keep the bikes balanced while not moving and they make it look so damn easy.
This year Toni Bou, a rider for Repsol Honda won the FIM X-Trials Championship for the tenth year in a row. X-trials is a competition that is held indoors using man made obstacles and Bou is currently the most dominant competitor on the circuit. Bou is also currently leading the Trials championship which is an outdoor competition that uses natural obstacles. The the next race is scheduled for the 23rd of April in Motegi Japan and it will be interesting to see if Bou can maintain his lead over second place in the point standings, Adam Raga who is also a Spanish born.
Here is a highlight real from the 2016 FIM X-trials World Chapionships where Toni Bou takes home the title
and the highlights of the 2015 FIM Trials World Championship that Bou also won the title on