Trials is one of the most exciting and spectacular UCI cycling disciplines. Unlike other types of cycling disciplines, Trials is a sport where the main factors are the stability and the control of the bike in extreme situations where speed also plays an important role.
The discipline started in the 1970’s in Europe and grew as an off-shoot of the motorised version of the sport. After several years, it became clear that Trials had more in common with cycling than motorcycling. Thus, since 1985, Trials has been fully integrated discipline at the International Cycling Union and has rapidly developed as a cycling sport.
Whether it takes place in the forest or in the city, the sport is practiced around the world by children as young as 5 years old through to adults over 40 years of age. Nowadays it is generally accepted and recognized that the skills, control and experience gained in the Trials discipline are fundamental to developing the skill sets required by other cycling disciplines and that of motorcycling too.
The objective of this sport is to get over obstacles grouped into sections, without setting foot on the ground or any part of the bicycle (only the wheels) touching the ground as this incurs penalties. After negotiating a series of sections, the rider who has the fewest penalty points is declared the winner.
The most common wheel sizes used in the Trials discipline are 18, 20, 24 and 26 inches.
The following categories are officially recognised by the UCI:
- Class 20” (wheel size between 18” to 23”)
- Class 26” (wheel size between 24” to 26”)
- Class Open (free choice of wheel size, between 18” and 26”)
The major UCI Trials events in the World
The first UCI Trials World Championships took place in 1986. Fourteen years later, in 2000, the UCI Trials World Cup made its debut. The most World Champions titles have been won by riders from Belgium, France, Germany, Spain and Switzerland.
The UCI Trials World Youth Games is the most important international event for boys and girls under 16 years old, the first edition of which took place in 2000.
Other Trials specialities
The last few years have seen a revival of the Trials discipline, with strong influences from freestyle and urban Trials. A new trend is developing in the cities.
As its name indicates, this variant of trials takes place on the street using features found in an urban environment. A more fluid variation, it encompasses the same skills as competitive Trials competitions: very precise control of the bike, jumps and balancing on very narrow obstacles.
Riders use props such as walls, railings, or any object which they can get on and off of with their bike in order to carry out a sequence of figures and stunts.
A two-rider race against time. On a short (about 10 – 15m long) and symmetric track full of obstacles, two riders take the start, the first to prevail over all the obstacles is declared the winner.
High jump contest
Riders must attempt to jump over a bar placed at a measured height with their bicycles, and this without knocking off the bar. Speed is not used during the attempt. Top riders manage to jump over a bar placed at 1.40m.