From Technique is important but how do we learn how to ride a trials bike with confidence? Much of trials riding is a head game – you will ride better when you feel confident in your abilities. Here are some basic tips to improve your confidence when trials riding. Thanks to Tom Wager from Western Districts Trials Club at A surprisingly large part of trials riding is a mind game. Your skills and experience provide the foundation for your riding, but how positively or negatively you think plays a huge part in how well you will ride.

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We’ve all experienced that feeling on our first lap of the sections that we’ll never make it, but on the final lap of the day we are cruising through all the sections with confidence. Part of this is because we now know the sections, but a lot of it is the confidence gained with each lap and we can relax and ride our best. First, let’s be clear that safety always comes first – regardless of the class you are riding in there is nothing wrong with realizing a section is beyond your abilities, taking a five and skipping to the next section. It’s very rare in trials clubs, but if you have an arrogant dick who is full of himself, don’t act like that, unless of course that happens to be your thing. Also, everyone will put themselves at different places on a spectrum between pushing things to the limit or just having fun and staying well within the comfort zone. So what can we do to develop confidence and a positive approach to riding?

So having said that, a positive approach to a challenging section can be a good thing. Have you ever lined up for something new and thought to yourself I’ll never make this? Your body reacts accordingly and you will tense up, not allow your bike to move freely, your technique will be stiff and forced, and chances are you will bugger it up nicely.
At other times, you will surprise yourself and sail through it, and the confidence gained will show each time you tackle it after that.
With practice, most of our trials technique comes from an instinctive subconscious level, and a negative approach interferes with this. Close your eyes and picture yourself doing the same techniques in your head. This visualization starts connecting synapses in your brain that will actually prepare you for the real thing. One of the great things about trials is everyone respects the approach of others, so never worry about what others will think and bite off more than you can chew. Look at riders in the club who exude confidence and act in a similar way. Of course it will be an act but there is plenty of evidence from sports psychology that acting with confidence can lead quickly to true confidence. Focus on your strengths. Most top athletes use visualization as a powerful psychological technique for tackling new techniques, and it works. Watch videos of trials riders doing the techniques you want to learn. Finally, there is nothing wrong with a safety net. If you are concerned about falling in a steep part of the section, get other riders to spot for you.

Do you tell yourself “I’ll never make this!” whenever facing a challenge? Deliberately choose to think confidently e.g. “I have the skills and I can do this”. Negative thoughts only get in the way of letting your body do what you’ve trained it to do. Confidence does not mean tackling the impossible with blind faith! This isn’t negative thinking, but simply removes a concern that could get in the way of riding positively. Likewise, plan where to put a foot down if needed and make the most of that dab. Again, this isn’t negative thinking but simply having a back up plan that allows you to focus fully on the task ahead.


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Comment (20)

  1. When I was a small boy age 6 or so my uncle put me on his trials bike. This is around 1990. I fell in love with trials. I still don't own one. Now that my kids are getting older I think I may purchase one. I'm a big guy. 6ft4 220lbs. What would you recommend for a good beginner bike for me? Im looking for used not new. I'm barely a middle class American.

  2. One of the most important things you can do is physical fitness. If you get fatigued easily it will affect your riding as the day goes on. The sections will get harder to negotiate and your mind will tell you to quit. Stay fit….practice harder sections than you ride.

  3. I was very happy when I dicovered this channel but I didnt think it would effect my bank balance so much :-(..I now have 2 enduro bikes and just purchased a gas gas trials bike..all great fun and great channels.

  4. So as someone who wants to get into trials, the closest thing I have to a trials bike is a honda XR100 lol, do you think this would be an okay bike to get the basics done with? In my defense, the damn thing is light, right around 160 lbs, not much suspension travel, seems to be sprung alright for my weight, SUPER low torquey gearing (which is needed with like 8 ish horsepower LOL). How bad of an idea is this?

  5. Please send one "Power dressing outfit" in blue with triple padding. I am trying to muster up the money, confidence and courage for a Fantic fixer upper, a Bugatti and one pierced earring with a cubic zirconium. I would also like to save up enough money to have the letter "M" banned from the English alphabet indefinitely.

  6. I live by Chicago in the US, and the closest place that does work on Sherco's is a few hours away.  Have you guys thought about doing any videos about regular maintenance?  Awesome channel guys!


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