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Why ISN'T trials bigger?

6058 Views 70 Replies 41 Participants Last post by  trialspro
This was kinda being talked about in the post (about population) but I thought I would bring it up as a new question. I have thought of lots of reasons why trials isn't bigger but the only thing I can think works is price combined with tought learning curve and apeal to yonger people. I just talked to a kid yesterday who used to skateboard and he said that if he knew about trials he for sure would have done it over skateboarding. So how come its not more popular? How come more people aren't hearing about it like other sports that started off small?
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Because the learning curve is pretty steep. What go me into it was the fact that maybe i could do what i saw the pros doing someday. But before you can do that, you have to learn the basics and thats what throws most people off.
It can't JUST be the steep learning curve. Skateboarding is impossible at first and is much much bigger, so is flatland bmx.
Maybe its the LACK of riders. When I started there WASN'T any riders in my area. Or it could BE the cost.
I don't think its cost alone. Look how huge mountain biking is. I think it must be the combination of trials. And all sports started tinny (skateboarding).
The most common thing I think that keeps people out of trials is a lack of self confidence and self belief. Oftentimes what I hear as comments from other cyclists is "I can't do that" or "My balance isn't good enough". There seems to be a pervasive myth in the cycling community that trials riders have some kind of special natural ability that allows them to perform "incredible" feats of balance and control.

"I can't do that" - Only if you believe you can't. I hear this from cyclists who are a lot more physically fit and have builds better suited to trials than I. These people seem to have some kind of belief that a person is born good at trials, and especially among more mature riders, they feel they are incapable of learning.

"My balance isn't good enough" - Your balance isn't good enough because you don't ride trials in the first place. If you spent any time actually PRACTICING balance, then maybe you would have good balance. I'm the kind of guy who can fall over and faceplant just trying to stand up on both my feet on solid ground, yet on a bike, i can trackstand forever. Why? Because I continually and endlessly practice balance on the bike.

These are the most common things I hear that keep other cyclists out of trials. Us trials riders are often viewed as something mythical, like we are somehow different and have something that others lack. Maybe we are different, maybe we do have something that others lack, maybe this thing is simply belief in self.

Also, speaking of trials population and popularity, it seems other countries have a lo larger trials scene than the US, a disproportionately larger scene, and that most of the top riders are not US riders. I mean, I could count the top US trials riders without even taking off my shoes. I think it has more to do with American culture. Imagine if the majority of the population believed they coul succeed at such things. They'd spend a whole lot less time sitting on their fat asses is front of the TV being programmed by mass media, and therefore a lot less time being good consumers, and more time out doing something like trials riding. Ever notice that any mention of trials or any other non-mainstream sport on US media isn't in much of a positive light? It's always in the context of 'look at the crazy guy hopping on rocks" or "watch this idiot faceplant, ouch!". Such things are presented as novelties and are not given the validity it deserves. Not once have I ever seen any trials televised which give the public any idea on what we REALLY do, which is practice a LOT.

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I agree with most of the things you said but skateboarding seems the exact same way to me. It looks and at first feels impossible. Its dangerous. It's lots of times illegal or messes up property and yet its HUGE compared to trials. Maybe its because trials doesn't have the speed aspect other sports have. I don't get an adrenaline rush in trials like I did while mountain biking. I still don't understand.
adrenaline rush? i get it when i'm up somewhere high on skinny crap and scared shitless :bigthumb:
hell_boy said:
cause it looks stupid
I thought of that too but lots of people like watching and are really impressed etc.
Beginners(pre backhop,lurching,upin and such) look stupid. Perhaps that's what set's people off.
But my money is on the publicity. No one knows of it! Everybody knew about skateboarding because they were tearing up the streets and getting busted by the cops. Sure. Trials riders are some times busted and we are certainly ripping up the streets. But that's old news.
Skateboarders were showed on National tv as the juvenal delinquents they were looked upon. They represented and angry youth culture and all the little angry rebels followed along.

The scene is ofcourse quite different today. With street sports being seen by most people as ok(if not legal).
LACK OF EXPOSURE. Thats the main deal, then coupled with todays instant gratification mind set and we are fucked. I don't think I've ever met ANYONE who knew what trials was outside of the mountain bike community, and I've met a few people.
AndrewT said:
LACK OF EXPOSURE. Thats the main deal, then coupled with todays instant gratification mind set and we are fucked. I don't think I've ever met ANYONE who knew what trials was outside of the mountain bike community, and I've met a few people.
This is what I truely believe. If I hadn't been mountain biking I don't think I would have ever heard of trials. I do think trials could grow (not saying whether I think that's good or not) but right now its not.
agreed on that exposure bit

as for skating... top of the line trials bike=2000... top of the line skateboard=60 cost has to be a huge part of it. when most young kids want a bike they want some 300 dollar base model trek to go to school on they dont want some rediculously impracticle monty alp or something. i just dont see most kids getting into trials because of the cost factor. the kids that do get into it really young likely have a mtn biking parent that is really supportive.

the exposure though does have a ton to do with it. some kid's parents tell their kid he will be able to get a bike for his birthday... kid sees bmx every single day between fox sports and espn... kid has no clue what trials is... kids picks bmx bike with out ever knowing what else is out there. trials will always be a small niche sport.
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I have met lots of people outside of biking that knew what trials was. Especially in Colorado. In hickville USA(North Carolina) there is no chance in hell anyone knows what it is though.
tis much the same down here in australia too, its really shi**y becuase all of my friends at school ask what i have been doing when they call my home and i say riding but none know what it is and when people hear i ride a bike without a seat they all jump to g*y conclusions and it gives me the Sh*#s

we should make some markating campagine for trials and stick it on www.yahoo.com and www.google.com for the world to see !

id first like to say, for some odd reason, ive met lots of people who knew of trials that didnt ride bikes, countless times ive been riding, and have had some one go "isnt that the sport where you hop on rocks" and im just like sure, and from talking to these people, they've either said its on like espn 4 at 3 in the morning, or seen hans rey, which ive still yet to see (tv), but apparently its getting shown at some time. the best one was where andy and i were on our way to a comp and were stuck in traffic in no where arkansas that wasnt budging the slightest bit, so we bust the bikes out and start riding on the side of the highway on some guard railing, and this guy yells at us to come see him, well, we roll up to his car, and hes like, "thats trials isnt it!" and im like, yea, howd you know, and he went "i saw you guys do a demo in memphis, tn at the great outdoors festival" so its nice to know people remember us from these shows. id also like to add, the reason the US hasnt the best riders in the world is because more people ride bikes overseas. like americans are all about driving even if its down the block. well overseas, there a larger number of bicycle riders, so if you have more people riding bikes, the greater number your chances of finding a fellow whos a real natural at trials. its common sense really. aight, in out, later-
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Yeah, Chris, in america a bike is what you ride when your car is broke and you gotta go more than 1/2 block but less than 2 blocks. Us americans are lazy speciaists. If there a PhD in lazy we'd be a country of scholars, well, maybe not, cause it would actually take getting off the couch to go get the PhD.

But yeah, I've run across people that recognize trials quite often. Mostly, the people who recognize trials are motocrossers who know about mototrials and biketrials as a trianing aid for moto, or xc geeks who think trialsers are gods cause we can balance without falling over.

The most amazing thing that ever happened was a non-rider seeing my bike and recognizing it as a trials bike without me riding.

But yeah, exposure and also attitude towards someone doing something different. I remeber when i was a kid of maybe 13 or 14 i asked my LBS for info on trials and trials bikes. At that point i have only heard of it and saw a few small vid clips on TV of ppl hopping around. I asked my LBS for "those bikes with the bashguard" and they said "oh, trials, you don't want one, they break easy, and they're crap, blah blah, blah, so i kinda forgot about trials and got another BMX.

Thing is, after i got my BMX i started unknowingly doing trials on it, stuff like sidehopping, back and front hopping, lots of rocking and pivoting, and stuff like that, and had i had a trials bike, i prolly would be a trials veteran now with 14 years of experience.

I've been thinking about all kinds of ways to give trials publicity and public visibility. If anyone wants to do something with this, let me know, i'll help and contribute. If i had the money, i'd buy 1/2 dozen trials bikes, a trailer with a portable trials course, and print a bunch of information to hand out and travel all over setting up whereever i can and doin demos inviting ppl to try trials in an introduction seminar type environment.

I'n currently writing a book for complete beginners through intermediate riders dealing with all aspects (aside from comps) of trials riding. I also hope one day to begin a technical riding school, where riders of all kinds can come and learn basic trials techniques and technical bikehandling skills to apply to mtb and BMX, and also for trials riders to come and train in an environment where the focus is on fun and progression, not winning comps.

I think that's part of the problem, is that because there is a lack of comps, many people think trials bikes are essentially useless. Trials needs to acquire a public image that what we do is not to win comps, but to have fun.

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i think trials isn't bigger because 1-nobody knows about it
2-it takes to much effort to learn. way too many kids these days just sit on the arses doing nothing all day. even if they see a trialser and say, "hey that's cool, mom can i get one of those" and they actually do get a trials, they'll probably use it once or twice, then give up waiting for talent to come to them magically. if people just actually stuck with trials, or realized that their regular mtn. bike will work for starters, a lot more people would be into it. unfortunately i dought that americans will become more physically active in the future so in the meantime, we can just try to keep making videos and hope that more and more kids stumble upon them and keep the thought of trials in their small arse brains until the day where the ability to move out of their lazy boy chair's comes to them
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For trials to be bigger with who? As far as rider participation growth, you have to ask yourself what kind of vibe surrounds trials riding, assuming you can even define a vibe for it. Skateboarding nearly died during the late 60's and then made a big comeback with the introduction of pool and ramp riding. Rock music was connected to it inasmuch as the stars were young and saw themselves as hip. The vibe was born.
Shit man, some things are just meant to explode into mass popularity and some are not. Freeriding is basically brand new, and yet I bet more young guys think of freeriding as cool than think trials is. Trials might as well be the 'CHESS OF BICYCLING' ...and being called the 'chess' of anything is not exactly the grand key to winning popularity contests.
Whats the moto of the Marine Corp?: the few, the proud. Its a distinction that I believe will never escape trials riders. Semper Fi.

NOTE: nobody much knew about surfing until the Beach Boys made some hip songs about surfing and the beach/girl culture surrounding it. Suddenly the young in the US knew what surfing was and thought it was bitchen to do. Hell, it probably IS bitchen to do! Skateboarders have a history and a culture surrounding what they do. Tony Alva is cooler than Roland Green. If trials was to ever become really popular in the US it wound need a forum other than the traditional comps. The sport would need an enema. In chess (sorry for that analogy again) they have 'Lightening Chess' tournaments and supposedly they are more exciting than watching a regular chess match for 6 hours. Trials has things like the RedBull Bike Battle, and thats a step in the right direction. Other than that I think urban warfare type riding makes trials seem attractive to youngsters that see it.
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