A trials rider an’ a log
LIFE IS FULL of obstacles. Some of them are logs. As a youngster, I learned to overcome those obstacles riding on the pegs of a trials bike—a seatless, lightweight machine designed to climb over rocks, logs, and every imaginable obstacle. Now that I test dirt bikes for a living, I use many of the techniques I learned in trials daily. One of the most useful is the double blip.
The maneuver breaks down into three components: getting the front wheel on the obstacle, the initial throttle blip, and the second blip to clear the skid plate and ride over the obstacle. Begin by sizing up the log and deciding what gear to be in, then how much throttle it will take to get over it—all of which is learned by experience.
Take the approximate height of the obstacle you’re trying to climb. That’s about the distance from the obstacle that you need to initiate your wheelie. It’s not a hard-and-fast rule, and it doesn’t apply to anything over 3 feet tall, but it’s a good place to start. With the wheel in the air, I generally aim about two-thirds of the way up the object.
As I wheelie into the obstacle, I pull in the clutch slightly so that I can then release, or “pop” it, once the forks become fully compressed. The combination of the forks rebounding and the pop of the clutch results in the bike becoming more vertical and drives it forward at the same time. This helps clear the skid plate and pushes the rear wheel into the obstacle. Then I transfer my weight back with my knees slightly bent and my arms straight.
Once the rear wheel has cleared the obstacle or is on top of it, I can pull in the clutch and may hit the rear brake to bring the front end down. I can choose to land on my front or rear wheel, or have both land at the same time, depending on what I plan to do next.
Like anything else, practice makes perfect. Start on a small obstacle in an open area and give yourself plenty of space. The technique is easier to learn on a smaller motorcycle, such as an offroad or trials bike. Once you have the technique down, it’s easy to apply it to bigger obstacles and larger machines.