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How much easier are moves on a trials bike as opposed to a MTB?

John S

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So as a lockdown skill I decided to learn rear wheel hops on my hardtail MTB (on one 456 so 26" wheels.)

I'm starting to get okay at this but find it very tiring to keep up for any length of time. I'm also starting to try to turn but finding this quite hard, it feels like I'm really having to move the rear wheel around rather than just rotate so wondering if this is due to the geometry.

Anyway, main question, would I find this sort of thing a lot easier on a proper trials bike or is it going to be nearly this hard whatever bike I have? Basically wondering whether I should get something cheapish on ebay.

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The geo and components on a Trials bike are all designed to make these moves a lot easier. Modern MTB and Trials have drifted apart massively in design, back in the 90’s there was a bit of similarity but now MTB is really hard for Trials moves due to low BB’s, super long frames and slack head angles.

Balance and basic skills are all things you can learn on any bike so keep it up but if you’re looking to start Trials properly  maybe look at a 26” stock Trials bike that will feel familiar but facilitate your learning much better than the on-one.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey John, congrats on learning rear wheel hops during lockdown! 

Rear wheel hops (or any kind of static technique that involves lots of inertia) will be at least twice as hard as a trials bike, due to geometry mainly but also due to all the extra weight from suspension, gears, extra tubing for the seatpost, it all adds up.

You'll find a trials bike will be much more playful, especially with a longer stem/handlebar combo as that gives better control of the bike when on one wheel whether that be rear wheel hops, or front wheel hops if you learn them!


I'm a bit biased as I love trials bikes, so would say definitely pick one up to at least try it out. Don't go too cheap as it may put you off, I'd say £200-£300 would be a good budget for a decent second hand trials bike.


Good luck! 

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Thanks everyone.

I had been thinking that the inspired flow look very nice, but I suppose it might be better to find second hand even if more trials orientated?

Another question - when trying to rotate on the rear wheel I'm finding it easier to turn anti clockwise than clockwise. Pedal wise my left foot is farther from me. Is this normal and if so are there any hints to help? 

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Hello John. I'm learning too and I've found do what feels comfortable for you. I ride left foot forward and feel more comfortable turning to the left but also practice turning both ways. There's no laws stating which way to turn depending on what's your strongest foot.

Both should be practiced so you're comfortable in all directions.

I went for the Fourplay pro as my first bike, better brakes and drive train but go with what you can afford.


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