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Pilot equipment for trials, the BA BA

Choosing your motorcycle trial equipment

Specific practice, specific equipment! Trial is a mechanical sport where precision and skill are key. The rider's equipment must therefore not hinder the trialist's movements. Excellent feeling and good protection, this is the delicate balance that manufacturers of trial helmets, clothing, gloves and boots must achieve with their products. Our advice for choosing the right one.

The trials helmet

It will not have escaped your notice that the trial helmet belongs to the jet family. Why no chin guard on the special trials helmet? To improve ventilation when moving in areas, i.e. at reduced speed, as well as for unobstructed peripheral visibility. The shell without chin guard of the jet helmet also plays a role the weight and therefore on what your cervical muscles endure on the outings. This practice also leads to lower risk of spillage, and the safety provided by a jet is sufficient in most cases.

Hebo trials helmet hanging on the handlebars of a motorcycle

Ventilation, weight, two important components of comfort

In terms of weight, a motorcycle trials helmet should not exceed 1000 grams. A weight of 900 grams and less remains even greater from a comfort perspective.

Also remember to monitor how the cap (or visor) of the motorcycle helmet is designed. This accessory limits glare and protects you from branches that you may sometimes encounter across your motorcycle. An adjustable visor allows for optimal adjustment and is often removable for replacement.
Do not confuse the visor and the screen found on certain models of trial helmets: integrated into the shell, the screen often appears smoked and protects against wind and insects on the connections. A very practical accessory.

Trial helmet with deployed smoked internal screen

The retractable internal screen, very practical on connections

Protection and comfort

The presence of ventilation in the helmet shell is a real plus for comfort, always because the trialist is traveling at low speed. They promote better air circulation inside the helmet and therefore contribute to cooling and the evaporation of perspiration. On this subject, the interior foams are often removable and washable for better long-term comfort; make sure this is the case for the helmet model you are interested in.

As with a cross helmet or a road motorcycle helmet, you will have to choose between helmets with an injected plastic or fiber shell. Advantage to the fiber for its greater resistance for equal weight, at the cost of a larger budget it is true. Carbon fiber remains reserved for the most high-end trial helmets.

The tightening of the trial motorcycle helmet is mainly entrusted to the micrometric buckle. Easy and quick to handle, the micrometric buckle is accepted in competition, unlike other off-road practices. Some helmets nevertheless opt for the double D buckle, which is lighter and extremely reliable.

Things that will make the difference:

  • Weight less than 900 grams
  • A fiber cap
  • Numerous air intakes for good ventilation
  • An adjustable and replaceable visor

Marks : Hebo , Kenny , o'neal, Airoh , Arai , Acerbis …

Three trials riders standing equipped head to toe and wearing Kenny outfits

The cut is close to the body for more freedom of movement

The trialist's outfit

Choosing the right outfit isn't just a question of looks! Your jersey and pants need to tick the right boxes to provide the comfort required in trials. For once, a cross outfit can do the trick: even if certain characteristics differ between the two types of equipment, you will not be on the street with a cross outfit on the handlebars of a trials motorcycle.
For good comfort, the trialist's outfit – pants, jersey – must combine good resistance and comfort.

Also think about sports thermal underwear adapted to the cold or on the contrary to the heat for even greater comfort.

Trial rider with lycra jersey and pants

Elastic textiles are popular for their comfort

The Jersey

Nothing like a good thick and elastic polyester to serve as a basis for making a trial jersey strong. Most are cut from this synthetic textile. The good elasticity ensures essential freedom of movement on the motorcycle. The presence of sublimated patterns and logos also contributes to their durability.
For a good fit, there are elastic ends, especially at the wrists. This will prevent the sleeves from rolling up unexpectedly.

Choose a cut that is fairly close to the body; too much width is more likely to hamper your movements. Upon receipt, check that you can still put your top on over your back protector or protective vest.

Perforated jerseys or jerseys with mesh textile inserts (large mesh) will promote ventilation. Not bad for limiting the inconvenience of perspiration, particularly on the back.

Things that will make the difference:

  • Strong and elastic textile construction
  • More durable sublimated designs
  • Ventilated areas

Marks : Kenny , Hebo

Zoom on two parts of motorcycle trial pants, waist and knees

Detail of the double-fastened belt and knee protection


On the latest generations of trial pants, elasticity rules! Lycra or elastic polyesters thus promote an ideal fit and greatly limit the discomfort of your movements.

For good resistance, various sturdy fabric inserts will limit wear on strategic areas of the pants. Most trials pants have areas lined with aramid or Kevlar abrasion and heat resistant on the inside of the knees. This area indeed plays a big role in controlling the motorcycle. At the same time, it must hold up during repeated contact with the hot engine.

For a good fit at the waist, in addition to the usual zip, the trouser belt is often equipped with a very solid ratchet tightening.

Things that will make the difference:

  • Aramid or Kevlar inserts
  • The presence of integrated anti-shock protections at the knee level
  • Multiple adjustments at the waist

Marks : Hebo , Kenny

Trial biker seen from behind wearing a vest with visible flexible back

Worn under the jersey, the vest does not hinder your movements

The protective vest, now obligatory

In trials too, safety reinforcements are becoming more and more common in motorcycle equipment, and that's a good thing. For this practice where balance plays a central role, reinforcements must be as imperceptible as possible. The shells are generally made of very soft foam for maximum comfort. The majority of cross and enduro stone guards and vests are not suitable because they will hinder your movements. Choose models with flexible reinforcements.

From a regulatory perspective, only the backbone is obligatory in trials competition. However, it must comply with theeN 1621-2 approval. Two levels of protection are offered; prefer level 2, more protective than level 1.
The ideal remains to complete the safety at the front of the torso with chest protection. EN 1621-3. A lot of protective vests both hulls are on board.
Knee and elbow pads EN 1621-1 are also becoming more and more common in areas.

Choose a vest made of mesh fabric or highly breathable textile for better comfort. Models with zip closures are much easier to put on and especially to take off than t-shirt style tops.

Things that will make the difference:

  • The presence of flexible reinforcements
  • The level of protection of the reinforcements
  • The good breathability of the vest
  • A zip closure for putting on

Marks : Hebo , Kenny , Scott

Trial motorcycle gloves

The palm of the gloves is thin for a better touch

Gloves suitable for trials

Guiding principle for gloves dedicated to trials : they must ensure excellent feel of the motorcycle controls! Choose a model without rigid protections likely to cause discomfort. Likewise, the palm must be as thin as possible, without lining, while ensuring good resistance. Clarino type materials meet these specifications well.

Good point also for glove models with silicone on the index and middle fingers, constantly in contact with the levers. THE grip that they keep offers you very good responsiveness: it will not slide against the controls.

Finally, the Velcro wrist tightening is a good point in terms of ergonomics. Both quick to use and precise in its tightening, it is probably the best formula for trials.

Also an advantage of gloves that dry quickly, more pleasant to wear all day!

Things that will make the difference:

  • The thin palm in soft and sturdy material
  • Silicone prints at your fingertips
  • Velcro fastening on the wrist
  • Quick-drying gloves

Marks : Kenny , Shot , Hebo , Fox , o'neal, Alpinestars …

Trial rider in action wearing Alpinestars trials boots

The flat sole ensures ideal positioning on motorcycle footrests

Trial motorcycle boots

Using cross boots for trials? Why not. Nevertheless the “real” trials boots are designed and developed for this specific off-road practice. Indeed, in trials, you are standing on the motorcycle's footrests 100% of the time.

Relative to cross boots, boots developed for trials therefore have greater flexibility. They thus guarantee greater freedom of movement, essential for positioning yourself easily and at the right time. We therefore frequently find leather and bellows in their design.

Let us add that the sole, although notched, turns out to be flat. In other words, it does not have a separate heel. This configuration allows more precise positioning on the footrests, essential for finding the best balance on the motorcycle depending on the situation. It is also very grippy and has no protective iron at the toe for better grip on the bike and the terrain.

Alpinestars leather trials boots

The leather construction contributes to flexibility (after break-in)

In terms of comfort, some high-end boots include a rain-proof membrane, which will keep your feet dry in rainy conditions or on greasy terrain. Conversely, the presence of ventilation will be appreciated when it is hot.

Finally, consider the durability of the design. Replaceable parts such as tightening buckles, the addition of rigid reinforcements, and manufacturing with resistant materials will, for example, weigh in the balance. The practice of motorcycle trials does not spare the equipment!

Things that will make the difference:

  • Motorcycle boots made of leather
  • The presence of plastic reinforcements
  • Use of replaceable parts
  • Boots equipped with a waterproof membrane or ventilation

Marks : Gaerne , Hebo , Sidi , Alpinestars , Forma , Kenny …


See our trials equipment

Photo of Gerrit Schwerzel

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Editor and tester for Motoblouz , I am an unconditional fan of roads with bends. For me, the motorcycle is a means of escape as well as a means of transport.

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