NEOTT - How to determine what class you should ride

Here is an easy test to help determine which trials class you should ride. Simply select the class that best describes how you would respond to the following question:

How do you use the clutch and how do you feel while riding trials?

Rookie: What's a clutch?  I really don't know what I'm doing but it seems like fun.

Novice: I pull the clutch in to start the bike and let it out to go fast.  My clutch is that twisted piece of metal loosely hanging off the left handlebar that is pointing almost straight down.  I'm just having fun.

Amateur: In a section I might pull the clutch in to prevent the bike from stalling. Once or twice a year I have to use the clutch to nervously shift into second gear for a big hill climb that the [email protected]#$%^&  trials master put in the middle of the section and I usually end up taking a wrong-side dab when I do that.  Honestly, most times I'm scared.

Senior Amateur: I use the clutch to control my speed and smoothly ride near full lock turns.  I am older but I can still ride as smooth as ever and can turn better than most afternoon riders.  Dude, I'm groovy man. 

Intermediate: I have to constantly re-position the clutch lever and perch as it gets tweaked hourly due to severe ground contact.   I break unbreakable levers.  After many months of experience and practice I am able to combine the use
of the throttle and the clutch to build some momentum in the flywheel prior to riding larger obstacles and use that momentum to start to get to the top of them.  Mostly, I'm frustrated and oftentimes I consider taking up golf.

Senior Expert: Clutches are for kids. I'm "oversprung" and ride bikes with the most torque I can find.  Life has caught up with me and the older I get the better I was.  

Expert: I can slip the clutch 10 percent, 20 percent, 30 percent or more combined with 1/2 - 3/4 throttle to get over, around or through obstacles, I can pop it to clear small gaps.  I can jump the rear tire to the top of decent sized obstacles.  I think I'm cool therefore I am.  

Master: The clutch is my throttle and I use it to make the bike do what I want it to do, when I want it to do it. I can slip it or pop it, zap it or splat it. I can do it all no problem. I'm a rock star.   

Pro: My clutch and my bike exist solely for me to abuse them.  My sponsor will buy me new stuff when I wreck it and my mechanic will polish it to make it look good.  I'll slip, pop and jump over insanely large obstacles and maybe scream at myself if I come up even just a little bit short.  I'll have a 100+ point ride on Saturday and wear it as a badge of honor only to come back on Sunday to try again.  My bikes may get broken but my spirit never dies, I am a warrior.

World: Clutch in I can hold the throttle wide open, seemingly forever revving the bike to the moon, with the bike in 3rd gear and whilst smiling for my adoring fans, I'll pop the clutch and fly the bike up an 8 foot vertical wall with no run or kicker. Quickly at the top,  I'll stop and wave to my screaming fans, take a sip of my sponsor's beverage and then ride a wheelie
in a circle wearing a happy face because I'm getting paid a Sprinter Van load of money to ride motorcycles.  I am a trials God.

Author: Mike Cramsey
Published May 2012 - Trials and Enduro News (thanks Shan!)