Learning Motorcycle Trials Isn’t So Hard. Yet.

Motorcyclist’s editor starts with the basics on the Oset 24.0 Racing

Talented riders make trials look easy. It isn't. Trials riding requires focus, strength, and, of course, balance. It also requires a very useful set of skills. So while the first set of essentials might come eventually, we're focusing our time on the Oset on the latter; on acquiring skills that will help us no matter what we're riding.

That means starting from scratch. Which means this video is going to be a little slow. Sorry! But it’s all good stuff, and we’ll get to the riding soon. Here, we’ll talk about setup, and we’ll talk about stance.

The sportbikes I'm accustomed to run tire pressures in the 30s. Trials bikes are a totally different ball game. A quick call to the Oset folks confirmed what Dirt Rider editor and resident trials expert Andrew Oldar and I expected: The Oset's going to work best in LA's back alleys at a pressure around 8–10 psi.

With the tires squared away, we’ll make sure the handlebar, brake levers, and the brakes themselves are adjusted comfortably, and working as expected. All things worth checking on every ride, regardless of the machine you’re on.

With no gear selector or clutch to account for, the Oset has its rear brake positioned on the left side of the handlebar. It’s new, and takes a little getting accustomed to, but inarguably more accurate and easier to modulate than a toe brake.

While the Oset 24.0 Racing has adjustable suspension, we’re going to leave it untouched while we get to know the bike. And, for today at least, we’re doing the same with the three power controls. With those little knobs turned to the max, the Oset is a feisty little thing, happy to snap off a big ol’ wheelie and put you on your unsuspecting keister.

Electric motors are able to deliver (almost) 100 percent of their torque from (almost) zero rpm. The result can feel a little maniacal. There's little to tell you a machine like the Oset is running and ready to go. In this case, it's a few little LEDs on the right handlebar. YouTube is awash in videos of electric bike riders being caught out while not minding their machines, and it's easy to see why the Oset's magnetic deadman switch is a sensible addition. Don't get us wrong, it's righteous fun, having all that torque on tap, but for our purposes today, we're leaving the power dialed down.

That leaves us to make sure the thing’s charged. It’s as easy as that. Other than lubing the chain every now and then, electric bikes are wildly maintenance-friendly.

The basic riding position is easy on a trials bike—there’s no seat, so it’s hard to screw up. Get yourself roughly over the center of the bike, lift your head, square your shoulders, push out your elbows a bit, and you’re there. But as you’ll see in our next video, actually putting the bike to use and acquiring those important skills quickly gets more challenging.