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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I live in a region of the United States where you just can't touch a Trials bike for under $800. Basically, there are none for sale locally, and it's going to cost a lot of money to buy one and have it shipped here. I already have a few good bikes and can't justify, right now, dropping that kind of cash just to play around with a new sport.

I keep hearing that BMX and trials-bike geometry is vastly different, so I decided to overlay a small assortment of 20" trials bikes with a 20" Specialized BMX bike, and this is what I came up with.

Screen Shot 2018-07-15 at 6.25.40 PM.png


The silver bike is a Specialized P20 BMX, which I saw for sale locally, quite cheap. The other 3 bikes are some randomly-chosen 20" trials bikes (two are street trials, and one is "pure".)

Observations: The wheelbase is obviously right in range. The head tube angle is a bit steeper, and the fork is steeper too, but if you factor in the offset of the dropout, it's actually slacker than it looks. The saddle is higher and a little farther forward, but it might be able to be set lower and farther back with a different seatpost. The crank position is right in the middle. The downtube is the lowest of the bunch, and the top tube is flatter but not outrageously different. The main difference I see is the stem and handlebars, which are vastly different, and obviously there's only a rear brake.

So my question is this: What's wrong with fitting a high-rise Trials stem and handlebar and front brake (with extremely grippy brake pads) to a BMX bike? Is this really that vastly different? Is it not closer to the geometry of a modern Trials bike than buying, say, a 90's mountain bike with 24" wheels?

Is weight the main difference? I'm trying to figure out why people recommend buying an old mountain bike but not retrofitting a mid-grade BMX bike, which appears to be much closer to the finished product. Thoughts?
 

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Awesome. The reason people suggest retrofitting an old bike is because of the possibility of one being on craigslist or ebay for like $117. Another reason might be nostalgia. Having spent some time on a norco "team trials" I see some of them were Ok. I've also heard something along the lines of starting where they started to have the roots of trials... or some such rubbish.
From my observation there is no setback to buying a modern bike except the $, and if you want to ride trials a "pure" trials bike will accomplish this the most directly. NOT saying you will bust a 1.1meter sidehop in the first month(s), or maybe even a couple years. "Street" trials bikes are super fun with mixed capabilities, but weight and geo just don't quite give you the abilities of a "pure" bike.
Price. If you are talking about any other bicycle Genre trials is about as inexpensive as they come, with my echo comp bike cost some fraction of my mountain bikes... about the same as a high end wheel set. The downside being that being a small sport their aren't many used bikes to be had.
As far as a crossover between trials and BMX street trials is it, I've had some reasonable success riding a vert pipe with my Arcade (a "street" trials bike), and I've seen amazing vert tricks by a guy on a Czar street trials bike. Also see Flipp (such as
) and his bikes are "Alias".
And unless you are a small guy you should consider a 26" bike, they are really just big wheeled mod bikes and with a small weight penalty they are more forgiving and the longer wheelbase makes it easier to roll up and down things (All competition trials up into sport class where a hop may be necessary).
And maybe you think but I want disc brakes. Really for all they are a bit of work rim brakes work great AND Most Importantly you never hit the rotor from slipping a tire or missing a sidehop. maybe this is why even the mod bikes at world level have rim brakes on the front again?
so this for a good price and pretty quick to arrive too
Screenshot_20180715-194020_Samsung%20Internet.jpeg

unless you are quite short then
Screenshot_20180715-194223_Samsung%20Internet.jpeg

and if you're going to push the street bike just get a 24, your best least expensive currently available option would be something like this and might as well go for the hope brakes you'll wish you had later
Screenshot_20180715-194535_Samsung%20Internet.jpeg
.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the reply, but you're killin' me! My cheapest option (the Pure MK6) is almost $1,000USD delivered, and the Flow Plus with Hope brakes is more like $1,600USD. I'm not saying it's "worth it", but what if I hate the sport?

I'm looking for an alternative to these expensive trials-specific bikes because there are almost none for sale in the States and I *don't* want to spend $1,000+ on one.

Seriously, right now on American Ebay there are three trials bikes-- an Inspired Flow 24" for auction with a day left, a used Echo 24" Mark IV for $720 shipped, and an antique-looking Monty 219 X-Hydra for $535 shipped.

I actually just saw another one, a used Echo 24" for over $900 shipped.
 

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The BMX bike will never feel like a trials bike or even a street trials bike. You can mess around on it and have fun, but you won't be riding trials. You'll need a pretty specific BMX frame to even get close and those will typically be BMX race frames which are harder to find dirt cheap. It MUST be V brake capable at the minimum and really should have front brakes too. For the money, you'd be better off getting an old 26" mountain bike that has a very sloppy top tube and go from there. You've probably seen Road Bike Party so you know it can be done on any bike, but you'll need A+ brakes and strong wheels. Definitely get a brake booster, at least rear. The BMX project would be fun, but it won't be free so if trials is your goal, you should put your money in the right direction. Good luck!
 

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Maybe you will hate it. The basics can be accomplished on any bike, and then you will know if it'd be worth buying a trials specific bike.
And sorry to beat on price but you can't even get a used suspension bike for that $1K....
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for your input, everyone. I decided against trying to build a counterfeit trials bike. Instead I bought (on clearance) a $300 small-frame disc-brake dirt jumper to get myself started. The frame (and wheels) are substantially smaller than my current 29+ mountain bike. I'll take it on some local trails and the pumptrack. I plan to learn to wheelie, manual, and hop like a bunny. If, after a year, I feel like I'm really progressing and still want to try Trials, I'll probably plunk down the cash for the genuine article.

I appreciate the perspective you've all offered.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Here you go! Barely got it built-- rode it a few blocks from my office to the car, still dialing in the brakes. I'll have to wait for the weekend to actually put a few miles on it. So far, I think it's a hell of a bike, especially for the money (Originally priced at $799, I got it shipped for $308).

The bike is called a Swobo Mutineer. Swobo is a brand from Ft. Collins, Colorado, that traditionally sold wool cycling clothing and other accessories. IIRC they launched a bike brand a few years ago, which failed. Then they regrouped and launched another one, which apparently also went under. This was one of the last models they made. It's kind of a mountain bike and kind of a dirt-jumper with 650b wheels and mech discs. The frame is aluminum and the fork is unitized steel. The few owners I was able to find on the forums claim that it's a legit mountain bike that will shred singletrack. I'm hoping it'll make me a better mountain biker.

I'm not a tall guy, and I usually ride a 16-17" mountain bike. This is Small sized 14", which is perfect because I wanted something that was more like a big BMX than a full-sized MTB.

It's actually bigger than I expected-- looks to be about the same size overall as my wife's Specialized Ruze Comp, which is a Women's Small.

It weighs in at 26 lbs by my bathroom scale, which is impressively light, considering how beefy all of the components are. Here are the photos!





 

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Here you go! Barely got it built-- rode it a few blocks from my office to the car, still dialing in the brakes. I'll have to wait for the weekend to actually put a few miles on it. So far, I think it's a hell of a bike, especially for the money (Originally priced at $799, I got it shipped for $308).

The bike is called a Swobo Mutineer. Swobo is a brand from Ft. Collins, Colorado, that traditionally sold wool cycling clothing and other accessories. IIRC they launched a bike brand a few years ago, which failed. Then they regrouped and launched another one, which apparently also went under. This was one of the last models they made. It's kind of a mountain bike and kind of a dirt-jumper with 650b wheels and mech discs. The frame is aluminum and the fork is unitized steel. The few owners I was able to find on the forums claim that it's a legit mountain bike that will shred singletrack. I'm hoping it'll make me a better mountain biker.

I'm not a tall guy, and I usually ride a 16-17" mountain bike. This is Small sized 14", which is perfect because I wanted something that was more like a big BMX than a full-sized MTB.

It's actually bigger than I expected-- looks to be about the same size overall as my wife's Specialized Ruze Comp, which is a Women's Small.

It weighs in at 26 lbs by my bathroom scale, which is impressively light, considering how beefy all of the components are. Here are the photos!





Nice bike, but I should have worn shades. Little bright...
 
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