Trials Bike: Am I past it?

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  • Trials Bike: Am I past it?
  • ant0463

    Okay, please tell me if I’m kidding myself but I really fancy getting a trials bike. Problem is I’m 32, 6ft 1″ and have no idea about sizing, and if this is maybe a really dumb idea?

    My “reasoning” behind this is that I’ve started trying to attempt jumps and tricks on the mountain bike, which I’m really enjoying but also struggling a little bit with. Having never owned a bmx as a kid I just feel there may be some core techniques/skills that I could learn.

    I also think I could have a lot of fun in the process. Thoughts? Is this maybe just some sort of mid-life crisis?


    I don’t think you need a trials bike specifically to develop technique. What do you want to achieve? A hard tail with seat slammed and flats should cover most things.


    As fourbanger says really, trials to help with dirt jumping isn’t really going to work


    I got a 20in trials bike at a similar sort of age.

    Wished I’d done it sooner as I leart pedal hops….one of my life long riding ambitions!

    I found pedal hops much easier to learn than on an MTB.

    Am at present collecting pallets for a trials course round the garden hoping… my wife won’t notice.

    Do it!!


    I rode a 20 inch Monty when I was in my teens then got on one a couple of years back and couldn’t believe how small and unstable it felt, and I’m only 5ft 8. My recommendation would be to get a 24. Seems to work ok for Danny Macaskill

    32. Too old. Mid life crisis.

    Regardless I’d go for a 24″, you won’t get on with a 20″ as a beginner or being 6’3.


    I’m only a 5’8ish shorty and granted it takes some getting used to but is worth persevering…

    Any bike feels odd having ridden mostly 26inchers!

    I got a second hand 20 inch trials bike when I was 40 6 months ago, so I don’t think you’re past it yet! I absolutely love it. I got mine because I wanted to try something different, and have a workout in an hour or so. But having been at it for 6 months, I’d say it was virtually a different sport. I’ve tried to rear wheel hop a 26 inch mtb and it feels like a spongy mess compared to the trials bike. They feel very unstable when you first get on one – which also translates as agile and precise later on.

    Do you have plenty of time and are happy to spend it by yourself in a car park? It takes a lot of patience and perseverance but you get something you’ve never known how to do before, it’s magic.

    I’m going to stick my neck out here – I’m well aware of my skill level. My attempt at pedal kicks below took about 5 months to learn (car park, Camden Town London, a couple of weeks ago)

    messing around

    Here is a trials bike…..

    SSDT 2010 016 by jimmyg352, on Flickr

    By all means get one. Although definitely helps with overall skill and being confident on a bike, but I wouldn’t say it helps lots with jumps. I rode trials for a number of years and I find it helps for balance and putting my bike in the right place, but I notice it mostly when trying to nail tricky techy uphill sections.

    I wouldn’t say a 20″ bike is definitely too small – old 20″ Montys are notoriously short but some of the newer 20″ bikes are much longer and don’t feel THAT different to 26″ bikes. Plus you can get a decent-ish 20″ bike for a modest sum. If you just want to play at hopping around the back garden on pallets, then you could do a lot worse than something like this:

    If you get more into it then you can look at spending more money on something a bit better.


    Thanks for the responses. Some mixed opinions; guess you don’t know til you try.

    There’s a Saracen cr1 amplitude 24″ that’s just 3 months old, going at a very reasonable price locally. That’s certainly tempting, and not much risk if this venture fails.


    32 isn’t too old for anything, you are in your prime


    Im 32. I have ridden trials since I was 17. Im also 5ft 8. I ride 26″ wheel. I still compete on occasion.
    It helps a lot with slow speed control. I am a very slow climber on my xc bike, but on technical climbs, I find myself cleaning things most people couldnt.
    Town centre trials wont do much for your riding, but proper pure trials, rocks root, logs banks etc will teach you loads. Itll teach you how to pick a line at any speed and how to use your body to correct your bike.
    trials bikes are twitchy nervous little things and if youre not used to them, they have a habit of biting back, but once you have them figured out, they are so pin point precise and agile.
    At 6ft 1, I would look out for a 26″ wheel bike. Something long and low. If you can find a bike with a low bottom bracket it will help. Trials bike geo is based on wheelbase chainstay and bb height. Anything 1080-1100 wheelbase will be fine. They all have chainstays around 375-390mm. You wont notice much difference. BB height can be anything from 0 to + 80mm. + 80mm will work brilliantly for pro riders who spend all day on one wheel and do nothing with more than a 1/4 pedal turn but it wont favour a novice. Anything from 0mm to +30mm would be fine. An old echo control or echo pure would suit you well as would an onza limey. If you can find one, a coustellier st blaise would be perfect. 1080 wheelbase. +0 bb and 385mm chainstay. Can probably pick a frame up for less than 100 quid.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith

    esselgruntfuttock – Member
    Here is a trials bike…..

    No thats something from a Bay City Rollers gig….


    im cruising around on a “Beast of the East ’97” i ride mainly to work and back on it ,i love it as i bought a simalar one in 97 it is awesome for trails make an offer ???


    Whilst we’re on the subject of sharing gratuitous pictures of our bikes, he is my beloved 4RT when new up on the moor above my parents’ house. Recently sold on due to no time to ride because of work and family commitments

    As a friend of mine who owns a good number of bikes he doesn’t use as often as he should (which his wife is most pleased about!):

    “I’m thinking about getting a trials bike, there’s something I definitely won’t use!”


    I’m 6ft (tho’ a bit older …) and ride a long’ish 26″ trials bike.
    I did a couple of seasons of competition on it back along, and although I was only ever in the bottom quarter of the results table (at best πŸ˜‰ ) I really enjoyed those afternoons in an assortment of fields and woods, whilst trying to get a bicycle up a pile of rubble / logs / tyres …

    I don’t think I really took anything from it that I could use for just-riding-along, but it was good for balance, strength and tolerance (and proving the value of shin guards πŸ˜› ).

    Still goes out every so often now, but that’s a time thing as much as anything else …


    Okay, there is possibly a second option here that I’d like an opinion on.

    I have a Boardman MTB Comp 2009 hardtail that I used to ride on the trails until I progressed onto my Lapierre Zesty 314 full susser. For most the riding we do, the full susser is great – where as I hardly use the boardman anymore, as I find the riding position simply feels too high and too far forward, to the point I’m over the front wheel.

    The components aren’t half bad, so I guess I could potentially look for a more smaller hardtail frame and transfer them across? Would this be more suitable for learning some jump skills on do you think?

    Just feel I need something lighter/more nimble for this element of my riding, at least until I have refined the techniques.

    From what you’ve said I think the second option is better for you. By all means get a trials bike if you want to learn trials, but if all you want to do is tackle some jumps and learn to manual or do some pivots, then get a dj or play bike frame.

    DMR Trailstar or Giant STP for instance are nice and cheap, good for jumping but can also be ridden with the seat up.

    Get a 26inch trials bike, will certainly help other riding disciplines.
    I happen to have a 26inch wheeled echo control for sale by the way πŸ˜‰


    I inherited an Onza 20inch trials bike off the boy when he got bored with it, if my experience is anything to go by then, yes your too old…


    Option 3 it is! Buy a Yeti DJ frame, and build up a play thing. Likely going to cost more than I was planning, but looking forward to the project.

    Thanks for your help folks! πŸ˜€


    I’ve got a DMR trailstar frame up for grabs if you decide to go down that route. (email in profile)

    I’ve had a go at all kinds of riding, 20 inch trials, dirt jumping, xc, downhill and it all helps, not sure riding trials will help with jumping more than getting a small hardtail and having a crack at jumps and general messing around on but its still a very fun way of getting confident on a bike!

    I also have an onza T Pro for sale at the moment…

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