A "crosser," or motocross bike, is a pretty highly tuned, maintenance hungry, two wheeled money pit. A bit more of a discussion revealed Aidan was just after something to do some mild trail riding and use off road. A crosser would be a bit much for this, being better suited to, well, motocross tracks. I suggested a few light trail bikes as well as a trials bike. For those of you who don't know, a trials bike is a light weight, low geared machine that you see skilled riders battering up waterfalls and over other big obstacles. You can get an older bike in OK condition for about the £1000 mark.
A few weeks and a fair bit of research later, Aidan had himself a 2002 Sherco 290. The beauty of trials is you don't need a huge space to ride the bike. So we found a few spots to rip about before I got us permission to ride a wee bit of private land. The downside to Aidan's new purchase was me getting bombarded with "Whenur ye gettin a trials bike? Whenur ye gettin a trials bike? Whenur ye gettin a trials bike? Whenur ye gettin a trials bike? Whenur ye gettin a trials bike? Whenur ye gettin a trials bike? Whenur ye gettin a trials bike? Whenur ye gettin a trials bike?"
Riding someone else's bike means you're always holding back a bit. I was a bit reluctant to tackle the challenges we were setting ourselves with the same enthusiasm as Aidan. It's one thing to crash your own bike, but it would be pretty bad to fuck someone's new toy up, even if they did say it didn't matter.
The badgering to get a trials bike grew as did the obstacles. I was up at Tim's campsite in Strontian where we got speaking about trials riding. Tim had a 1998 Beta Techno 250 which he hadn't ridden for well over a year. Some haggling was done, a price was agreed on and we had ourselves a trials bike. When I say "we" I mean Faithir and I. I had convinced my dad that trials riding would be great fun, agreeing to buy the bike off him when he wanted rid off it, which would hopefully coincide with the finished restoration and sale of my KDX200. We were setting off on the Norway/Russia trip (coming soon) so I arranged to head back up to Tim's with the van to collect the Beta when we were home.
Fast forwards a couple of months. Faithir's thinking about selling the trials bike to fund another project. I've got a Yamaha FZR250 that needs restored. Another quick conversation and I'd swapped my Japanese classic for the Beta. Time to start climbing that steep learning curve.
Trials riding can be a ying and yang of frustration and reward. When you get it right it's amazing, but the slightest hesitation, unconfident approach or physical fatigue and you'll find yourself on your arse. Aidan had been getting plenty practice and had been to a few trials events so I'm definitely on a catch up. I'm still getting the basics together, but its starting to come together. My main problem seems to be not attacking something fast enough, but as I said, its getting there.
The bike's needing a few tweeks here and there too. I found that the clutch master cylinder seal was gubbed recently. I'd driven up into the hills with the bike in the van so I figured I may as well head out for a bit. All was going well until I made an arse of a wee step. My fingers stopped the clutch disengaging because the fluid was low. I flapped about for a few meters before binning the bike. I landed on top of the Beta. While I was assessing my injuries (none) I found I was lying on the hot exhaust. "OOOYAA BASTARD!!!" (burnt leg)
As I said, it's a steep learning curve.