I have been using these as long as I started learning.... Supa cheap yet I am very satisfied. I recently change rotors from avid g3(bent-slam) to (knock-off) sram centerline. still bites good enough for me.
La Bourde- your post really nailed why I wanted to get into trials.
As I mentioned earlier, I have quite a few bikes.
Every time I built a new bike, I built it in hope that it will make me ride longer and maybe more often (I do ride often though, I just feel that I could do better).
I started with road, but at some point I found it a little boring. So built a triathlon bike, a single speed, a full suspension mountain (the one in the pics), a hard tail, etc etc just to diversify and add some variety and spice to the act or riding.
However, I have moments when I feel something is missing. Granted, one type of riding and bike I have not added to the riding "portfolio" is downhill, as the idea scared me to death without even trying.
(Will go on a short tangent here. That might be just about to change. Last Sunday I went with a group of friends for some zip lining. Boring as hell, but the course is abutting a ski resort, Berkshire East, that in summer functions as downhill park, We went to the resort restaurant for a bite, which gave me an opportunity to look into the park. They have one green trail, and they offer lessons for beginners. Once I got home I watched youtube vids of people going through it (it's called Sugar Line if anybody is curious); I could do that with my present skill. If I keep going and allow myself a leisurely pace of progression, I think I would tremendously enjoy it, even though I might never try the black/diamond runs. Enough about this though, it;s beyond the scope of this discussion).
I've been thinking of it lately and I think I figured out why. It's utterly predictable and repetitive, even the mountain biking I do (granted it is the least so of all the types of riding I do). I am scientist. My brain craves constant, renewed challenge. Otherwise it gets bored to tears. And it occurred to me that trials riding offers that. Just nailed a skill or trick? There's a brand new one that you could start working on right away.
So once this frame happened to fall on my lap so to speak, I got really excited about it and, like you said started working on basic skills on my hard tail. Yesterday I spent a few hours trying to really figure out the track stand. Never felt like giving up although it was a few hours of miserable failure (towards the end I started seeing actual progress, albeit timid). In fact I loved the struggle. Oddly, it reminded me of being young in school and trying to tackle harder math problems. And for the same reason I got a little excited about the downhill thing last weekend, although the difference is I have to drive 1.5 hours for that downhill park, but I live 5 minutes away from a state forest where I can practice skills all day long.
So if I understand you correctly, as long as you are willing to trudge through disappointment (I am), it matters less what bike you have.
If that is the case, and if a 26" will only bring marginal advantages, I can stick with the Onza then.
And will say it again, this feedback is very appreciated!
I think it is difficult to answer.
I was many years one of the moderators of the biggest french trials forum and I observed many times people giving up with trials just after a few months or weeks.
Sometimes they even had bought a better bike than mine. It was not related to the frustration of having a cheap bike. They just found this sport thankless.
Trials differs a lot from regular mountain biking.
Maybe it can be compared to riding downhill in a - real - bike park. Many people think they will enjoy it when looking at neat videos. But when they are for the first on a 17kg bike with double crown fork, with a full face helmet and protection on a track that is steep, fast and rough as hell, with burning legs, arms and hands ... They realized first that it is much thougher as they expected.
But some will enjoy the sensations so much that they will continue.
Please don't get me wrong, I don't want you to abort your project.
In my previous answer I just wanted to point out that you might need some weeks or even longer to get used to the bike and really start to enjoy riding trials. So my advice is to persevere... I guess perseverance is a common trait of trial riders. Determination is key, it is a long journey!
In addition, if you enjoy the process of building a bike, this is already enough to continue...
But as Ali mentioned, you don't need a trial bike to first know whether this sport fits you or not.
You could have try to learn the basics (if you don't have them) on one of your bike and observe whether you get bored or not.
A trials bikes makes some tricks easier but other harder. For example balance on 2 wheels is much easier on a DH bike than on a comp bike (mostly due to the head angle).
If one starts with a comp trials bike, he/she will have to switch his/her riding style from rolling to hopping directly.
With a comp bike you basically don't ride and you even try to avoid to ride some distance! Ideally you live 200m far from a good place to ride or you take your car (or other vehicle) to get to the adequate location(could be almost everywhere for a novice though).
To me, you seem to be highly motivated and that is really the most important!
If you train regularly and correctly, you will progress and notice how your riding evolves. This is really enjoyable! I think it is more difficult to observe in other MTB disciplines.
Thought I would inquire about this possibility as well, just to have a rough idea of what type of frame I should be looking for.
For a baseline, this is my 26" full suspension frame. My first mountain bike build, and it shows in the mistakes I made. And it was built it for comfort and function- to get me started in mountain biking, with secondary focus on esthetics, hence some perhaps odd choices for certain components.
Frame is a medium; I am 5'10" so sitting right at the boundary of medium and large, however, with the 26" wheel the bike is too small for me, I really feel like the proverbial bear riding the circus bike.
I don't ride it much these days, because the next mountain bike I build is a 29" wheel large frame hard tail which fits me like a glove.
I would suspect this is a bad candidate for a "trial" conversion, given the full suspension frame, I suspect it could be made to be more "trials friendly" but swapping a rigid fork, converting to a single speed sprocket and a smaller chain ring, and swapping for trials specific stem, handlebars and one of those rudimentary "seatposts".
But it would still be a rear suspended frame, heavy as hell (it is carbon fiber, but it was overbuilt, so it is pretty heavy for a CX bike).
What I am most interested in is geometry though.
Not having any actual frame specs, just by gauging by eye- if I was to buy a small framed MTB as suggested, do I need to be looking for something with significantly altered geometry?