The title of this post refers to two things. Firstly, it’s about an aspiration. I want to be able to ride a trials motorcycle with precision. This means being able to tackle all sorts of complex, off-road obstacles from river beds to rocky outcrops and being ‘inch perfect’ in where I place my wheels, body, bike etc. It sounds easy, and really isn’t. I might consider myself a reasonable road bike rider, but trials is a whole new mental and physical game, and more of this later. The second reference is that the post title is actually the name of a world class trials dealership, which is set in the depths of Lancashire. I’ve just been there to spend some money and get inspired, and more of this later too.
3 weekends ago, I completed the 65km/50 mile route of The Yorkshire Mountain Bike Marathon (see link at bottom), and I did it in a reasonable time with only a little bit of the usual cycling fatigue at the end. Last weekend, I rode a two-day moto trial, which was specifically for pre-1965 bikes as well as later twinshock models like my trusty 1978 Bultaco, which is what I rode. At the end of the weekend, I was absolutely shattered, AND I managed to get lost on several occasions and miss a few special stages as well! So, how come it is so much more tiring riding a trials motorcycle than a mountain bike that doesn’t have an engine and which relies on me to pedal it? I think the answer is in the level (or lack…) of skill, and therefore energy efficiency, as well as using a whole new set of muscles. The more tired I became, the much less accurate I was in my riding, which essentially means I was anything but ‘inch perfect’! More practice required.
2 weeks ago, I went to a local, mid-week practice trial riding my old Bultaco, and I was fascinated by a new electric trials bike that was being ridden there. I spoke to the rider about her new electric machine and she talked me through the bike, its features, and what she liked about it. I was impressed. On one of the special stages in a woodland, there were several 2 stroke trials bikes, mine included, all filling the forest air with blue smoke as well as the obvious noise. I love the sound of all sorts of engines, but when I saw the woman ride off in such quiet, I was impressed. The bike looked like real fun to ride as well. She had bought the bike from the official importer and trials dealership that I mentioned in the first paragraph, Inch Perfect Trials (link at bottom).
My Bultaco is 44 years old this year and I love it, but it doesn’t have the capabilities of a modern bike. I dropped an email to the ‘contact us’ at Inch Perfect Trials to find out a bit more about this electric trials bike, the Electric Motion (EM) EPURE. I got a quick reply and the offer to get over to the shop and have a play on one, so I did. The location of this impressive trials business is in fabulous countryside and sitting high up at the head of a beautiful valley. This place isn’t just a bike shop either, it’s a whole riding experience. Not only do they have great facilities, showrooms, ranges of bikes and kit, top workshops (I like a good workshop), as well as places to ride for all capability levels, they are ultimately very inclusive and service focussed. It doesn’t appear to matter who you are, what your skill level or budget is, the team at Inch Perfect Trials seem to actively share their enthusiasm, energy and technical knowledge to help. It’s fun to go there, and it should be.
It’s about a two and a half hour drive for me and I arrived to be met by Nigel Scott, who welcomed me to the shop and then ushered me over to the bikes that I had driven over to look at. After a showroom run through, I was fully kitted up in their gear as I had only taken a helmet, naively thinking that I was only going to ride the bike around the car park. There are several skill courses that the team run for visitors and everything is provided from the full kit to the bike, and the facilities are great as well. Nigel talked me through the operation of the Electric Motion EPURE Race, and then went to get his EM bike to come out with me a short way so that he could show me the bike’s capabilities. I chose the RACE model, which is the middle bike in a range of 3 models. The RACE has 3 maps to choose from. The first map being just a twist and go, whilst the other two require the use of a clutch, just like a normal trials bike. It also had the optional regenerative brake system fitted. After a few short demonstrations, Nigel ‘released me for take off’ and left me to it to explore the trials park.
I set out to explore the river beds, woods, hills and a few technical sections. The weather was amazing and the smile that the EM bike gave me reached from one side of my helmet to the other. The bike can be both a cuddly kitten or a tiger depending on how it is ridden and which map is selected. I found that using the optional regenerative brake on slippery downhill sections meant that the rear brake wasn’t necessary, and it charges the battery too! After some playtime and me not quite being ‘inch perfect’, I met up with Nigel again and we rode back to base camp. Nigel asked me what I thought about the bike and long-story-short, I’ve bought one. Inch Perfect Trials are the official UK agents for EM bikes, which are French and are dripping in S3 components. Incidentally, I also got a full set of EM riding kit and Alpinestars boots as part of the current offer🤩.
We agreed that I would pick the bike up the following day, and as Nigel was away, another member of the sales team, Aran, closed the deal by making sure the bike went into my van safely, as well as answering all of my reflective questions that I had come up with overnight. Aran also gave me some good advice and tips about the bike, followed with a “any questions? Just call us”.
Additionally, I have also amassed some loyalty points with my EM EPURE RACE purchase, so I’ll be going back to spend them on some coaching time with a group of friends at one of the group sessions at IPT as well. Anyway, more about my exploits with the bike in future posts. Driving home with my shiny new EM bike in the van, it smelt only of new rubber tyres (one of my favourite smells) and not petrol as the Bultaco does through its fuel tank breather, so its much more pleasant. I hate the smell of petrol fumes in the van. What I found thought provoking, was the difference between my two trials bikes. They are 44 years apart in age, and indeed technology.
I didn’t buy the EM bike because it’s environmentally greener than a petrol bike, because someone has to make the electricity somewhere, and who knows with what fuel! The riding range is more than adequate, and better than the Bultaco for that matter. I also don’t need to make up and carry around Jerry cans of pre-mix either. I see the benefits being around quietness, although the electric motor will sing out when its put under big load, simplicity of maintenance and importantly, the overall performance and especially the torque of the engine is smilingly amazing. As a relative ‘not-inch-perfect-rider, the bike and its electric characteristics gives me confidence to tackle technical sections. I also really like the look of it as well. Everything just feels ‘quality’.
There’s a good reason why the very young kids who enter the trials world use electric bikes to start on, and that’s because they’re easy, encouraging and fun to ride, so I’m going to have some of that too! The Bultaco won’t be forgotten either as I play with my new electric bike, so there’ll be more adventures like the beach race (link below) that I did on it recently, and some more classic trial events as well.
I’ve already entered my first trial on the EM bike, which is in a week, so there’ll be some future posts about my progress towards being ‘electrically inch perfect’😉.
Link to Inch Perfect Trials https://inchperfecttrials.co.uk
Link to the Race The Waves beach race post https://diaryofamotorcyclingnobody.com/bultaco-on-the-beach-🏖/
Link to my post on The Yorkshire Mountainbike Marathon https://diaryofacyclingnobody.com/my-cycling-event-criteria-and-why-i-chose-to-do-the-2022-yorkshire-mountain-bike-marathon/
All photos by the Author