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Inch Perfect Trials Review

We spent a day at Inch Perfect channelling our inner Tony Bou. It turns out it’s a little trickier than he makes it look!

TRIALS RIDING (not to be confused with trail riding) has always fascinated me, ever since I saw Dougie Lampkin winning his first indoor world championship in 1997 – I was hooked.

Sadly, living in a concrete jungle and miles from the trial riding motherland of the north of England, the chances to try my hand at this dark art have been slim on the ground. So when I got invited to Inch Perfect Trials by The Bike Insurer I jumped at the chance, hopeful the 25k road-miles I ride a year would help in some way.

Inch Perfect Trials video review

Who are Inch Perfect Trials?

Inch Perfect was set up by Matt Alpe, a former top 10 British Youth Trials Champion and mutiple North West Centre Expert Champion. It started with a trials motorcycle display team he set up to try and bring the sport to more people at shows and events across the country.

Things have moved on since 2010 with the team now performing at British Super Bikes, Otley Show, Wilton House Classic and Supercar Show, Southport Flower Show and the International Dirtbike Show, to name just a few.

On the back of this success, the demand for a trials centre that offered training for children, novices, adults and expert riders became such that they opened their bespoke facility in Whitewell Lancashire.

What to expect

The first thing that hits you when you arrive at the centre is the stunning location it is set in. Wide open rolling hills are open for riders to roam on if they are less experienced. While the more advanced can head over the peatbogs to ride along streams and tight, technical wooded sections. I’ve seen the Six Days Trial on the TV and some of the sections we rode looked just like those they tackle in the race.

After a quick pep talk and short safety briefing in the showroom, you’ll be led upto the kit room to get changed and dump your clothes and bags in the lockers provided. After that, you’ll head out to collect your bikes and roll down the farm path towards the fields.

Sorting the levels

As a mixed group, it was important to get an idea of what sort of levels we were all at with our off-road riding, and a couple of fairly simple circuits were all the instructors needed to gauge the level and spilt us into two teams.

What are the basics of trials riding?

With the groups split we went off to find some fairly simple loops riding up and in of an irrigation ditch. Sounds easy, but with flags marking your entry and exit point into and along the obstacle – I found it a lot harder than it looked.

Lucky for me, Henry out guide (in the red trials kit doing jumps in the video above) was on hand to offer some words of wisdom about my riding. The biggest problem I had was not moving my head around to the next gate quick enough, forcing me to take a wider line than I should.

“You need to flick your head round to the next gate as soon as you get through this one – don’t wait!” was the advice delivered with a typically matter of fact northern twang. “Don’t look at what you’re riding through, look at where you’re riding too, the bike will follow”. It’s easier said than done, but once you have the confidence to ignore the five-inch-deep rut you are riding in and concentrate solely on what comes after it, the riding does get easier.

Hill riding

After about half an hour of riding the ditch, we head off up the hill that runs behind Inch Perfect HQ to practice some steep climbs and descents – and when I say steep, I mean it. I struggled to walk up the slope we were riding on when I was trying to capture some of the video footage.

As with the ditch riding the slopes are all about focusing on the top and not getting distracted by the bit of ground you have already ridden over. The next thing to get right was the throttle; too much on the hill and it’ll wheelie, too little and the bike will bog down.

“We need to start revving the bike at the bottom of the climb, building enough speed to be able to shut the throttle half way up” came Henry’s advice as hi rode around the hillside like he was a mountain goat. “If you get enough speed at the bottom you should have the momentum to get you to the top on a closed throttle”. And it works! I think most of our group felt slightly nervous watching Henry riding up and down the slopes we’d be tackling but taking his advice into account made it seem effortless, with the torque of the 300cc Honda motor helping to pull you up even the steepest of climbs.

How to ride up a stream

After tackling the wide expanse of the hillside in the morning, the afternoon's location felt like a whole different challenge as a tight and technical course along a fast-flowing watercourse was set out. With slippery tree roots and moss-covered rocks lining the stream, our fine control of the brakes, throttle and clutch were now put to the test.

The same basic principles from the morning still applied, but now we had the slippery surface and confined space to compete with – to say the stream was a much greater challenge than the morning was an understatement.

The initial ride down the stream wasn’t the problem, it was riding up the steep and slippery bank, around a tree and back down into and across the stream and up the other bank that posed the biggest problem for me. After about six attempts I finally managed to complete the obstacle with just the lightest dab of my foot when exiting the final gate. It sounds silly to say as this wasn’t a competition and no prizes were on offer but, the sense of satisfaction I got form completing this challenge gave me a massive sense of achievement. Even if the pro riders could complete it blindfolded and with one arm tied behind their backs!

Inch Perfect Trials verdict

As days on a motorcycle go, the six hours I spent riding around the Ribble Valley with the team from Inch Perfect is up there as one of the best yet. The scenery is stunning, the bikes are impeccably prepared and never missed a beat and the trainers are some of the friendliest and most approachable people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. If you haven’t ridden a trials bike and have always wanted too – Inch Perfect should be top of your list.

What else do Inch Perfect offer?

If it’s to do with trials, they offer it! From clothing to spares, riding kit to bike services and sales, it’s a one-stop-shop for the motorcycle trials enthusiast.

Experiences

Beginner days

£150 per person with bike hire or £85 per person with their own trials bike. Maximum of 18 people per day – 6 people 9.30am-2.30pm and 12 people 10.30am-3.30pm.

Intermediate days

£150 per person with bike hire or £85 per person with their own trials bike. Maximum of 18 people per day – 6 people 9.30am-2.30pm and 12 people 10.30am-3.30pm.

Advanced days

£150 per person with bike hire or £85 per person with their own trials bike. Maximum of 18 people per day – 6 people 9.30am-2.30pm and 12 people 10.30am-3.30pm.

Private training

For club level trials riders and above:

  • 1:1: £210 with own bike or £260 with bike hire
  • 2:1: £150 per person with own bike or £200 per person with bike hire
  • 3:1: £115 per person with own bike or £165 per person with bike hire
  • 4:1: £105 per person with own bike or £140 per person with bike hire

Private events

Inch Perfect also offers a host of options for corporate events, team building exercises, stag and hen parties, and even kids parties for youngsters aged seven and upwards.

For more information head to one of the links below:

Web: www.inchperfecttrials.co.uk

Facebook: www.facebook.com/IPTrials

Massive thanks for Vast Visibility and Inch Perfect for having us along.

 

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