Learn how to ride trials and street trials with TrashZen: this will also improve your general MTB riding skills.
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Locking a trackstand

Variations on the trackstand to make the most of the terrain and secure your balance.

Locking the front wheel against an obstacle

trials riding tutorials Abel Mustieles locked into a trackstand.

You can lock your bike with three contact points, two with the tyres on the ground, and one more higher up on the front tire against the obstacle. In this position, you can maintain a trackstand even out of balance.
This is a very stable position and very useful to relax a bit and look around. Move your body around and see how much stability this technique gives you.
The key to lock completely the bike into that trackstand is to secure three solid points of contact, so any irregularities in a zone can do the trick.

trials riding tutorials Hannes Herrmann locked into a trackstand.

For example, you can lodge the front wheel into a pot-hole with the bars turned (that will stop it rolling neat) and just lock the brakes. With a bit of practise, this also works if you face completely the obstacle, pushing against it to lock the bike vertically (using the friction of the front tyre). Then you still need to tune a bit your balance sideways and find a position that is perfectly aligned vertically with the bike.

Click on any photo and use the scroll-wheel to animate the move.

Locking the front wheel against an obstacle

trials riding tutorials
1° Ride towards the obstacle at an angle of about 45 degrees or less, with your lazy foot on the side of the obstacle.

trials riding tutorials
2° As you approach, turn the bars to face the obstacle with the front wheel and touch it with the front tyre.

trials riding tutorials
3° Lock the brakes, you can now rest the front wheel against the obstacle and lean the bike on the same side to maintain pressure and gain full support.

trials riding tutorials
4° When you want to leave the locked position, simply turn the front wheel away from its contact point on the obstacle and ride away.

Biketrial video Watch this move in slow-motion Biketrial video

Compression trackstand

trials riding tutorials Just balancing right

trials riding tutorials A compression trackstand
wedged between two rocks.

By applying more pressure onto the front pedal, you'll secure more friction from the front tyre and more grip onto any obstacle.
With a bit of practise, you can lock a trackstand even facing completely the obstacle, pushing the front tyre against it to lock the bike vertically, generating more friction while holding the handlebars straight.

This variant of the trackstand is useful if you need to maintain your balance with each wheel resting against different sloppy obstacles. The pressure and grip come naturally as the bike rests in compression between the two obstacles. You can increase the front tyre friction by leaning a bit more over the front wheel.

Fight for your balance

trials riding tutorials Stretch your leg for counter-balance.

trials riding tutorials If you are too much off balance,
extend a leg to have more effect

While riding a zone, you won't always find your favourite trackstand position (actually, the whole trials riding game is about riding along awkward tracks and not loosing balance). If the usual corrections of bar turn and weight shifting over the top tube don't work anymore (because of an awkward position of the bike), you'll be loosing balance for real.

In some situations you may not be able to turn the handlebar at all, and you must rely on finding the correct body position (shifting your weight around). If you fall on the side you were leaning off the bike, then tuck over the top tube as much as you can to stop the move, and come back to a more natural position when you are in balance again.

If you are loosing balance on the same side as you turned the handlebar, then extend your leg on the outside for a better counter-balance effect. Don't give up too quickly. If that's not enough... then... tough luck...

You should do your best to bail out as safely as you can. On any plain track, you can use correction hops and move your wheels around until you find the best grip or position for balance. Riding along a narrow path forces you to keep both wheels aligned.

Following narrow lines

trials riding tutorials Focus on the front wheel, lean forward

trials riding tutorials Ryan Leech, the master of balance
(photo by Derek Vanderkooy)

When following narrow lines such as rails or beams, you can't rely so much on turning the bars for balance adjustments. Your main option is to adjust your weight over the bike, in line with the beam you are riding on. Same if you bridge the bike over a gap, with each wheel positioned on narrow spots.

Avoid large weight-shiftings that are more likely to throw you off balance. Use your knees to fine tune your weight distribution. If you need more effect, extend one leg. Keep your center of gravity over the line and you'll be fine. Try to focus on the front wheel and the next 2 meters in front of you, the rear wheel will follow.

With the front wheel up against an obstacle.

trials riding tutorials Try to balance between two rocks.

Try to balance with the front wheel lifted onto some kerb. To maintain balance in that position, you'll have to lean much more over the stem and put more pressure vertically on the front wheel (to stop it from moving sideways). Once you found your balance, keep your cool and plan your next move (that the Zen part of trials).

Rolling backwards
This little trick always makes people assume that there is no freewheel on the bike you ride, and that the chain can drive the rear wheel both ways like on a fixed gear bike.

It is purely visual. But rolling backwards is very useful to reposition yourself quickly on a slick surface, away from the obstacle onto which you were resting the front wheel for example. This is a direct variation of the trackstand as it could be learnt in a mild slope.

This is much less demanding than hopping around. Try this in a slope first, from a trackstand position, unlocking the brakes and progressively releasing pressure from your front foot. The bike forces its way backwards down the slope, turning the cranks backwards too.

Riding slowly backwards, try to maintain the bike straight and balance sideways. Adjust your balance by turning the bars on the side you fall. Ride backwards in a smooth snake pattern if that helps, every turn is an opportunity to adjust your balance.

Click on any photo and use the scroll-wheel to animate the move.

Rolling backwards

trials riding tutorials
1° With the brakes locked, lean forward over the bars to prepare for a quick and firm pushup. Then straighten the front wheel and push back on the bar.

trials riding tutorials
2° Unlock the brakes and soften your feet on the pedals, backpedal in tune to let the cranks turn. Ride slowly backwards and try to maintain the bike straight.

trials riding tutorials
3° Ride backwards in a smooth snake pattern if that helps, every turn is an opportunity to adjust your balance.

trials riding tutorials
4° Use your hips and lean on one side or the other of the top tube to balance as you roll back.

Biketrial video Watch this move in slow-motion Biketrial video

Follow the cranks
Just try to follow the cranks' movement in a back-pedalling motion, let the cranks drive your feet and use the brakes if you think this is going too fast. Once you manage to pedal backwards down a slope, try this on a flat surface.

Going backwards with a push-up
Find a comfortable trackstand position on a flat surface and apply both brakes to secure a good grip. Lean forward over the bars to prepare for a quick push up, then straighten the front wheel and push back on the bars with the brakes still locked so that you can thrust yourself backwards.

trials riding tutorials
Follow some lines

trials riding tutorials
Kenny balancing on wood logs with a compression trackstand

trials riding tutorials
Use counter-balance if need be.

serious connection