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Total beginner. What style bike and wheel size?

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I'm interested in getting a trial bike for using in my local woods so riding boulders, rock outcrops and logs. Initially just for fun so I'll be buying second hand and for little outlay to see if I like it but as a complete novice what style bike and what wheel size should I go for.

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How tall are you and what sort of riding experience have you got ie :bmx or mtbing etc

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5 feet 8 inches tall. Ridden mtb xc for 20+ years so nothing too radical, never bmx'ed.

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I expect trials is difficult whatever bike you choose as a beginner. I got a 2nd hand 24" Inspired. I really want to try a 20" mod. Some people seem to progress fast some progress slow. As you plan on riding in the woods a street trials bike might not be the best choice. 26" should roll easier than 20", but this is trials we're talking about. I guess that might be advantageous to a beginner, but I don't know as I have a low level of experience/skill in trials.

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This question's abit like "how long's a piece of string??", particularly off that generic of information.

Nevertheless, if you were a mate and you'd come to me and said "I wanna do abit of that [trials] like what you do" and that mate had a background in bikes but like road or XC; like, rides bikes, but nowt where skill is primary over athleticism,

[what I'm getting at is that a die-in-the-blood-never-done-owt-else "cyclist"/road rider would and can smash me when I'm out for a road ride, because athletic AF and does "training" and goes for "training rides" & has watts for days but same person X would never leave tarmac and couldn't even hop a curb in an evasive - like wise light trail/trail centre/XC peeps are more skills orientated by nature but I could never think of them manualling rollers or riding wooden features or doing gap jumps and so forth - some might be able to endo turn and bunnyhop a bit and half do a trackstand clipped in]

and that 5ft 8 mate described their ambitions as you have, my intsticts as someone whose been around trials 15yrs ish would be to get them hooked up with a "cheap" Mod (that is, 20in wheel front and owt above par/a certain standard will have a 19in wheel in the rear with a trials specific large volume tyre in the rear and, frame in particular, 4bolt mounts for magura HS style rim brakes and/or a disc brake mount capable of a large disc brake).

The manoverablilty and ease of use, I 'spose, is the reason I grab the mod more often than not over my 24in Inspired these days. A good mod is just so easy to cock around on, I drop myself on it and no matter how long it's been or what I was riding last I can just click myself into where I left off, like I was just on a pause button.

In this hypothetical I would advise my mate that they want around 700gbp for bought new from shop (Echo, cough, from tartys, cough)

or as ebay/farcebuck mrktfceplm/gumtree etc is your oyster;

<100gbp can buy you a shitter to idley sesh the curb outside your house if you are willing to put the effort in bargain chasing and are not scared of the tools and hard graft/unf**king other peeps finest workmanship and learning the tough way about trials parts and standards.

100-300gbp - kinda same same, less of a shitter spec wise, could be a right shed and at the very least a money pit. I'm exprienced enough to be confident in this price range and would take an educated punt I wouldn't advise others to do. Do your research, know your shit, shop wisely, still be prepared for a frame up rebuild/service and maintainance items to be done for piece of mind. You could get a gem.

300 - 450 squid - proper money now I know, but hold your nerve and this is where the good stuff is/was before the 'rona. What it is, spec and/or condition denotes price. It'll have the good gear but you don't skip the service items just cos you paid more - it's a trials bike, it's never turn key, always high maintainance and quite often highly strung til and even after you get them "well sorted". 

450-600 - this is where the proper stuff is, and, unless it's exceptional, I don't think this kinda money fits the brief. You'd be underskilled and overbiked IMO.

My gut tells me to look for (but in no way restricted to)

Monty 221 PR, 221Ti,

Onza pro series, so Blade 2010 (the white gold colourway) & Comp 2010 (the purple/grey colourway a certain Jack Carthy rode for a spell) Limey 2, Ice, Limey 320,

The 2010ish dark blue Onza Pro w/ 4bolt + disc mount, 2006 Onza T-pro (the anodised army green one),

Echo lite, team, team 09, SL

Zoo! python, pirahana

GU Typhhon, LE, ST, 2014

Czar 07

Adamant A3

Because colour

Neon bow

Speedrace Fans

Atomz Premier

Koxx Hydroxx

KO KM1

ZHI

Ozonys Curve

Yeah, eBay's your oyster...

Edited by CC12345678910
Typo
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9 hours ago, CC12345678910 said:

This question's abit like "how long's a piece of string??", particularly off that generic of information.

Nevertheless, if you were a mate and you'd come to me and said "I wanna do abit of that [trials] like what you do" and that mate had a background in bikes but like road or XC; like, rides bikes, but nowt where skill is primary over athleticism,

[what I'm getting at is that a die-in-the-blood-never-done-owt-else "cyclist"/road rider would and can smash me when I'm out for a road ride, because athletic AF and does "training" and goes for "training rides" & has watts for days but same person X would never leave tarmac and couldn't even hop a curb in an evasive - like wise light trail/trail centre/XC peeps are more skills orientated by nature but I could never think of them manualling rollers or riding wooden features or doing gap jumps and so forth - some might be able to endo turn and bunnyhop a bit and half do a trackstand clipped in]

and that 5ft 8 mate described their ambitions as you have, my intsticts as someone whose been around trials 15yrs ish would be to get them hooked up with a "cheap" Mod (that is, 20in wheel front and owt above par/a certain standard will have a 19in wheel in the rear with a trials specific large volume tyre in the rear and, frame in particular, 4bolt mounts for magura HS style rim brakes and/or a disc brake mount capable of a large disc brake).

The manoverablilty and ease of use, I 'spose, is the reason I grab the mod more often than not over my 24in Inspired these days. A good mod is just so easy to cock around on, I drop myself on it and no matter how long it's been or what I was riding last I can just click myself into where I left off, like I was just on a pause button.

In this hypothetical I would advise my mate that they want around 700gbp for bought new from shop (Echo, cough, from tartys, cough)

or as ebay/farcebuck mrktfceplm/gumtree etc is your oyster;

<100gbp can buy you a shitter to idley sesh the curb outside your house if you are willing to put the effort in bargain chasing and are not scared of the tools and hard graft/unf**king other peeps finest workmanship and learning the tough way about trials parts and standards.

100-300gbp - kinda same same, less of a shitter spec wise, could be a right shed and at the very least a money pit. I'm exprienced enough to be confident in this price range and would take an educated punt I wouldn't advise others to do. Do your research, know your shit, shop wisely, still be prepared for a frame up rebuild/service and maintainance items to be done for piece of mind. You could get a gem.

300 - 450 squid - proper money now I know, but hold your nerve and this is where the good stuff is/was before the 'rona. What it is, spec and/or condition denotes price. It'll have the good gear but you don't skip the service items just cos you paid more - it's a trials bike, it's never turn key, always high maintainance and quite often highly strung til and even after you get them "well sorted". 

450-600 - this is where the proper stuff is, and, unless it's exceptional, I don't think this kinda money fits the brief. You'd be underskilled and overbiked IMO.

My gut tells me to look for (but in no way restricted to)

Monty 221 PR, 221Ti,

Onza pro series, so Blade 2010 (the white gold colourway) & Comp 2010 (the purple/grey colourway a certain Jack Carthy rode for a spell) Limey 2, Ice, Limey 320,

The 2010ish dark blue Onza Pro w/ 4bolt + disc mount, 2006 Onza T-pro (the anodised army green one),

Echo lite, team, team 09, SL

Zoo! python, pirahana

GU Typhhon, LE, ST, 2014

Czar 07

Adamant A3

Because colour

Neon bow

Speedrace Fans

Atomz Premier

Koxx Hydroxx

KO KM1

ZHI

Ozonys Curve

Yeah, eBay's your oyster...

id like to agree with this. 

im not sure on the science, but theres DEFINITELY a trend of people starting on mods and then changing (or not!) later once theyve got the skills. mods are easier to learn on i think. im also guilty of this.

only thing i would say is going from riding big wheels to small will be quite a jump. people would suggest something like an inspired hex (street trials bike), which is a fantastic bike, but id say mods are better for learning the "trialsy" side of trials. pretty much everyone whos awesome on a street trials bike were also awesome on a normal trials bike to start with. 

also i think that 5"8 is a pretty spot on height for a mod.

Edited by Herbertlemon102

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12 hours ago, CC12345678910 said:

This question's abit like "how long's a piece of string??", particularly off that generic of information.

Nevertheless, if you were a mate and you'd come to me and said "I wanna do abit of that [trials] like what you do" and that mate had a background in bikes but like road or XC; like, rides bikes, but nowt where skill is primary over athleticism,

[what I'm getting at is that a die-in-the-blood-never-done-owt-else "cyclist"/road rider would and can smash me when I'm out for a road ride, because athletic AF and does "training" and goes for "training rides" & has watts for days but same person X would never leave tarmac and couldn't even hop a curb in an evasive - like wise light trail/trail centre/XC peeps are more skills orientated by nature but I could never think of them manualling rollers or riding wooden features or doing gap jumps and so forth - some might be able to endo turn and bunnyhop a bit and half do a trackstand clipped in]

and that 5ft 8 mate described their ambitions as you have, my intsticts as someone whose been around trials 15yrs ish would be to get them hooked up with a "cheap" Mod (that is, 20in wheel front and owt above par/a certain standard will have a 19in wheel in the rear with a trials specific large volume tyre in the rear and, frame in particular, 4bolt mounts for magura HS style rim brakes and/or a disc brake mount capable of a large disc brake).

The manoverablilty and ease of use, I 'spose, is the reason I grab the mod more often than not over my 24in Inspired these days. A good mod is just so easy to cock around on, I drop myself on it and no matter how long it's been or what I was riding last I can just click myself into where I left off, like I was just on a pause button.

In this hypothetical I would advise my mate that they want around 700gbp for bought new from shop (Echo, cough, from tartys, cough)

or as ebay/farcebuck mrktfceplm/gumtree etc is your oyster;

<100gbp can buy you a shitter to idley sesh the curb outside your house if you are willing to put the effort in bargain chasing and are not scared of the tools and hard graft/unf**king other peeps finest workmanship and learning the tough way about trials parts and standards.

100-300gbp - kinda same same, less of a shitter spec wise, could be a right shed and at the very least a money pit. I'm exprienced enough to be confident in this price range and would take an educated punt I wouldn't advise others to do. Do your research, know your shit, shop wisely, still be prepared for a frame up rebuild/service and maintainance items to be done for piece of mind. You could get a gem.

300 - 450 squid - proper money now I know, but hold your nerve and this is where the good stuff is/was before the 'rona. What it is, spec and/or condition denotes price. It'll have the good gear but you don't skip the service items just cos you paid more - it's a trials bike, it's never turn key, always high maintainance and quite often highly strung til and even after you get them "well sorted". 

450-600 - this is where the proper stuff is, and, unless it's exceptional, I don't think this kinda money fits the brief. You'd be underskilled and overbiked IMO.

My gut tells me to look for (but in no way restricted to)

Monty 221 PR, 221Ti,

Onza pro series, so Blade 2010 (the white gold colourway) & Comp 2010 (the purple/grey colourway a certain Jack Carthy rode for a spell) Limey 2, Ice, Limey 320,

The 2010ish dark blue Onza Pro w/ 4bolt + disc mount, 2006 Onza T-pro (the anodised army green one),

Echo lite, team, team 09, SL

Zoo! python, pirahana

GU Typhhon, LE, ST, 2014

Czar 07

Adamant A3

Because colour

Neon bow

Speedrace Fans

Atomz Premier

Koxx Hydroxx

KO KM1

ZHI

Ozonys Curve

Yeah, eBay's your oyster...

That's great info, thanks for the time and effort, must have taken you a while. It has encouraged me to go the "mod" route and I don't mind put repair/maintenance time in.

Thanks again.

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I spent years racing XC MTB and went straight in with a MOD and got on with it really well - I think if you've done a bit of street stuff on a 26" bike or similar the MODS do feel odd but I found it was so different from what I'd ridden before it was like starting from a clean slate and I adjusted quite quickly. All the advice above rings true, MODs are definitely easier to throw about and it's liberating being able to quickly get to grips with back wheel hops which MODs make much easier

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to throw a spanner in the works I don't agree with the Mod as a first bike route UNLESS you're young or used to smaller bikes (BMX etc). 

If you've come from MTB or Moto then a 20" bike will feel straaaaaange! 

I think a small 26" hardtail or a street trials bike (24 or 26 inch) will be easier to get used to and swap between. The 20" mod might be a little easier on the rear wheel but at the sacrifice of familiarity...so you'll be able to back hop it easier but anything else might just feel too strange and despite a bigger bike being slighty more work, the fact it's closer to what you're used to means it might be easier to pick it up and get riding without needing to get used to a completely different feeling.

I started on an 18" XC bike when I was 13 and I really believe having a bike that was a bit more work to ride taught me a LOT on body positioning and techniques.

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5 hours ago, Ali C said:

to throw a spanner in the works I don't agree with the Mod as a first bike route UNLESS you're young or used to smaller bikes (BMX etc). 

If you've come from MTB or Moto then a 20" bike will feel straaaaaange! 

I think a small 26" hardtail or a street trials bike (24 or 26 inch) will be easier to get used to and swap between. The 20" mod might be a little easier on the rear wheel but at the sacrifice of familiarity...so you'll be able to back hop it easier but anything else might just feel too strange and despite a bigger bike being slighty more work, the fact it's closer to what you're used to means it might be easier to pick it up and get riding without needing to get used to a completely different feeling.

I started on an 18" XC bike when I was 13 and I really believe having a bike that was a bit more work to ride taught me a LOT on body positioning and techniques.

This.

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Mr lemon is in the same head space as me Re. height/size of person vs bike.

You are of course not wrong messrs Clarkson, Travis, but there is an arguement (and it was the train of thought I had going through my head @ the time of typing ^^^) that the lack of familiarity promotes the 'clean slate' expirience/headspace/mindset quoted above.

Also. I did have the very basics in mind when I said mod, can the person confiding in me [my mate in the hypothetical above] even pop the front wheel off the floor? Chances are a tarmac based rider has probs never tried.

Endo? Stoppie?

Well in a drops, slicks, lycra, veet n bic razor mindset either/both of those occouring are a very bad day in the office (I recall the way Peter Sagan's sponsor laden derivative of road bike party was such a fap fest to the leg shaving crowd (road.cc cough) - he rode over a stationary Skoda estate w/slopey ramps F+R ffs...) Watch any of GCN's youtube for a time and i feel you'll get the kinda feel i'm talking about bleed through. [Gravel bikes are best vs mtb because I'm fat, 40+, shit on a bike unless the metric is watts or KOM's smashed on zwift and don't want to learn owt new because reasons and neither do you, the viewer, is a video narrative that sticks in the mind]

Even just wheelieing up a tight 3set o'steps would be easier to learn on a mod, is my thought process. Ditto the flatland stuff/exercise drills you teach kids or absolute beginners, like seahorses (endo-two wheel-pull on bars-back to two wheel-endo-rinse n repeat), then seahorse throrugh 180 then 360deg and rockwalks and riding up pallete steps and endo turns & so on and so forth are just easier for a noob to grasp on a mod IMO.

Purposefully compartmentalising each bike, and therefore dicipline, is a device that I've come to use alot in recent years - even just something as simiple as to come towards the road end out of my estate and make a concious thought "right you're on drops n slicks so that means you're clipped in, and in with 3 bolt cleats, and they're dead tight so unclip now while you're still rolling so you can't fall over/forget, panic, topple over and stack it" rather than the same road end on a different bike would be a sit-down-trackstand-scout-for-traffic-before-doing-a-lifesaver moment.

It could also mean I'm on my '76 Carlton Corsa w/toeclips...

I also rode/ride mototrial in spits and sparts and can't stand BMX FWIW, so at least on my part there is no small wheel 20in influence over than sparadic spells of Mod ownership. BMX's only USP for me is pegs and even that gets boring for me after ten mins... The fact that that I usually had to prize my mod or stock or 4play away from my BMXer mates that'd swap with me for a few mins playtime to me always said wonders about how good bmx is, but hey ho. They themselves then found MTB and pretty much shelved bmx to at least priority the third...

Edited by CC12345678910

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everyones different, everyone comes from different backgrounds. i did a bit of mountain biking, and then got a mod. then moved to 26".

there was a piece of advice i found from a pro bmxer which really resonated with me. because everyone IS different, and everyone will give you a different opinion, none of which are incorrect, just find what your favourite rider did/does and do that, if you're struggling to decide. the rest will appear in time. 

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I have to say I lean towards Ali and Ben on this. When I was 14ish starting I was firstly about 5 foot 3 but also found it far easier to play about on 26” wheels especially natural - it was far easier to roll over things and the bike more stable. I switched between mods and stocks over the first few years and always found the stock easier to handle as it was less nervous. I think also the difference now a days is when people dive into trials on a trials bike they start out in really extreme geometry to what they are used to which if you are not used to is more of a hinderance than a help in my eyes. I actually think potentially starting with a non trials bike  or older less extreme bike would be better for getting used to things - I certainly think my Planet X Jack flash turned trials rig helped me at the start than if I was jump into something with a high bb and stretched out position designed to be on the back wheel. At the beginning it’s easier to focus on the basics of riding on something you are a bit more comfortable with and once you have got some bits down move into something trialsy. That was really badly written and a bit of a ramble!!

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