Sacramento Pacific International Trials Society is dedicated to the
motorsport of observed trials.
What is observed motorcycle trials?
Motorcycle trials, also known as observed trials, is a non-speed event
on specialized motorcycles. The sport is most popular in the United
Kingdom and Spain, though there are participants around the globe.
Modern trials motorcycles are distinctive in that they have evolved to
become extremely lightweight, lack seating (they are designed to be
ridden standing up) and have suspension travel that is short, relative
to a motocross or enduro motorcycle.
Motorcycle trials is often utilized by competitors in other motorcycle
sports (such as motocross or road racers) as a way to cross-train,
as trials requires fine throttle, balance, and machine control.
The event is split into sections where a competitor rides through an
obstacle course while attempting to avoid touching the ground with the
feet. The obstacles in the course may be of natural or constructed elements.
In all sections, regardless of content, the designated route is carefully
contrived to test the skill of the rider. In many local observed trials events,
the sections are divided into separate courses to accommodate the different
skill level of riders, who compete in skill-rated classes.
In every section, the competitor is scored by an observer (hence the sport’s
name) who counts how many times the competitor touches the ground with
the foot (or any other part of the body). Each time a competitor touches the
ground with a foot (commonly called “dabs”), the penalty is one point.
The possible scores in each section consist of 0, 1, 2, 3, or 5. If a competitor
makes their way through the section without touching the ground with a foot,
they earn a score of 0 (which is called “cleaning the section”). If they touch
the ground once, they receive a score of 1. If they touch down twice, they
receive a score of 2. If they touch the ground three or more times, they earn
a score of 3—as long as they complete the section without stalling the motor,
dismounting, going out of bounds, or going backward. If the competitor fails
to complete the section a score of 5 is earned. The winner is the competitor
with the fewest points at the end of the event. Some events are also timed
with penalty points assessed to late riders.
Major current manufacturers of trials bikes are Gas Gas, Beta, Sherco,
Montesa Honda, Scorpa, TRS and Vertigo.