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The 30-Year Road to Producing a World Champion
Relax to the Max!
Jake's World
Posting on Ihatove Website - Dancho and Mitsuo Back Home Safe & Sound
Nobukazu Ohtsuki
More Challenges for Takumi Narita
An Interview with Yasuo Manzawa - founder of the Ihatove Trial
Which Bike? A Beginner's Perspective by David Atwool
Oceania Championship - Tauranga 5 April 2007
Kiwirider - March 2007
Simon Wearmouth visits NonStop Adventure
The Nelson Mail- October 2006
The Nelson Mail - 23rd October 2006
Kiwi Rider - October 2006
Dirt Rider Downunder - September 2006
2006 Idemistsu Ihatove Trial - Japan
60th Anniversary Kaikoura 3-Day 2006
The Leader - June 2006
DirtRider DownUnder -Jan 2006
KiwiRider -Jan 2006
The Nelson Mail - 28th November 2005
The Nelson Mail - 18th November 2005
The Leader - 9th June 2005

Trials Torque Articles

Which Bike? A Beginner's Perspective by David Atwool

Dave taming the TLM
Dave taming the TLM

Although I have ridden motorcycles for almost 30 years, I first got on a trials bike just a couple of months ago. As a raw novice, I made some surprising discoveries.

TLMs are fun for any age
TLMs are fun for any age

The lightness and maneuverability of all the late-model Gas Gas, Scorpa & Montesa 250s was astounding, and their technology is enough to make any motorcycle enthusiast drool.

Two's company
Two's company

But like true thoroughbreds, they are not tolerant of inexperienced riders. I found the brakes and clutch twitchy, and the steeply-raked forks made me think I was going to bite the dirt on every sharp downhill turn.

Going uphill, all that lovely horsepower caused problems too. It's hard to say which was more alarming: losing traction and coming to a standstill with the rear wheel spinning, or suddenly gaining traction and seeing the handlebars coming up to meet me as the front wheel lifted off the ground.

By contrast the Honda TLM 220 felt heavy and lumbering the first time I jumped on it. However after a couple of solid days riding the TLM, I'm beginning to see it in a different light.

The longer rake on the forks makes it much more stable, especially over slippery stream-bed rocks. The power is far more manageable and the brakes more forgiving. Since I feel comfortable on it, I find myself attempting things I was too scared to try on the more high-tech bikes - and succeeding. Having a seat also makes the TLM feel more like the trail bikes I am used to.

There is always a tendency in any sport to think that the
latest and most expensive equipment will make you better, but at this stage I think a late model bike would only hinder my progress in learning the basics.

There's always the option of working up to more powerful and high-tech models later on. But in the meantime I'll stick with the TLM, which provides a solid platform for the beginner.

At least until I can get my hands on one of those slick new Scorpa 125s that are making waves in Japan...

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