Trials Torque Articles
Which Bike? A Beginner's Perspective by David Atwool
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.
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.
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
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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