Obviously, you know all about trial biking! A discipline which puts even the most intrepid of mountain goats in the shade. Well X-Trial is even worse! Even Spiderman would struggle getting over these obstacles… With Moto Journal, we have already looked at the subtleties of this discipline based on balance. The art of not putting your foot down, the technique for climbing up walls, and all of that on a motorbike… without a seat! The sport is about getting over obstacles, it has nothing to do with speed. What is the maximum speed ? That’s not important. We use the first 3 gears in the zones. A zone is a course marked out with arrows and tape, which you need to get through without getting penalties. You get penalties by putting your foot down, stalling or falling off. How much does your Sherco bike cost, what does it weigh, and what is its bhp? With the racing parts, it costs between €10,000 and €12,000. It weighs 71kg, and the FIM rules say we can’t go below 70kg. There are lots of carbon fibre parts, like the air box, the headlight mount, and there are also titanium parts. What’s special about trial biking is having lots of torque at low revs. You need the engine to really pack a punch, to give you a boost to jump the 1, 2 or 3-metre steps. The key part is the clutch, and we set the engine up around that. Some riders like more torque at low revs, others like it at higher revs. You need a very precise bike. It’s like you’re riding with flat tyres. The amount of air in the tyres is very important, because it provides some secondary suspension. Since I’m a bit heavy at 80kg, I ride at 325g, as you can see, the tyre is doing a lot of work, which really helps us out. Today, we’re going to bring you up close and personal with the stars of X-Trial des Nations, in Pau. So why “X”? Oh, don’t worry, it’s nothing indecent, it’s just what they call indoor trial biking. And “X-Trial des Nations” because it’s a team competition, with junior and expert categories, where riders represent their countries. The top 5 countries battle it out on a crazily tough course, featuring the best riders in the world, including stars like the Spaniard, Toni Bou He doesn’t look that special, this little guy in jeans and a T-shirt riding around the car park. At 30, Tony Bou has won the world trial biking championship a mere 21 times – a record! His bike is an absolute gem, honed by the HRC, a factory Honda-Montesa with a 4-stroke engine, upgraded with carbon fibre and titanium. This beauty weighs scarcely 70kg, and is estimated at nearly €200,000 Toni Bou is like the Marc Marquez of trial biking : same nationality, same make of bike, same sponsor. So what’s the difference? The track at the Zénith centre in Pau offers its fair share of entertainment, with 5 different zones, and plenty of climbing walls! Wood, stone, metal and concrete, enough obstacles to ensure that you’ll spend more of your time on your back than on your bike! And you shouldn’t forget the job of the assistant, who plays the role of minder, trainer, back-stop and timer all in one… and also needs to be a good catch! Vision, agility, concentration. Trial biking is a real precision sport. A lesson in flexibility, grip and balance. It’s the art of challenging the laws of gravity, even if, from time to time, they get the better of you… Unsurprisingly, Spain won again with the pairing of Toni Bou and Jaime Busto. An 11th victory in a row from under the noses of the Brits, with our little Frenchies in 3rd Alexandre Ferrer and Benoit Bincaz on their French bikes Sherco and Scorpa a real French success story !