Looking for trials BICYCLE info

I know it’s not unicycle related, but I know that some of you guys are very knowledgeable and might be able to help.
I imagine some of you might be into trials bicycles along with your unicycles. I’m planning on buying a trials bicycle and I have zero experience with them. I just wanted to know are there certain brands that are considered junk? What parts are the most important to have a good quality and are worth spending more for. Is there a certain brand of parts like the bottom bracket, cranks etc there are considered the top of the line and worth having? I’ve been on the observed trials forum (OTN) and they were not a lot of help. Any info on trials bikes that I can get will help, thanks

I spent a few years on an Echo brand mod trials bike(20"front, 19"rear) and really liked it. I chose the 20" mod because I was into mostly urban trials with very large drops so the smaller stronger wheels were very important to me. The standard 26" does give a little more room for error and would allow you to go slightly farther which is nice when you have to hunt for objects to session. Echo is a great brand of trials bike and I would recommend something with a disc brake in the front and a magura style brake in the rear to prevent bashing your rear rotor on stuff. There’s a few other brand like Zoo, inspired, Monty, but I’ve only every ridden Echo.

Here is a great bike at a great price from a reliable shop:


As of now I plan on buying a mod. I will probably only be riding in my yard on rocks and some man made stuff. I was thinking the mod due to wheel size being similar to my trials uni ( just started uni trials) and thinking the smaller wheels will be more durable than a 24 or 26. Problem I have is I find used and new bikes from $500- $3500 and I’m not sure what would be important and pay extra money for now as opposed to upgrading later. I read the specs on these bikes but don’t know what is better on one compared to another. I was also considering a 24 just to help with rolling over stuff with the bigger wheel.

Some of the questions I have are which brakes are better? You kind of answered about smashing the rotor on the back brakes. So I’m thinking disc up front rim on the back. Are most mod frames similar in size unless it’s a kids bike just a little different geometry? Same question for 24’s?

I would rather buy used to get more bike for my money, but lacking knowledge of what to look for may force me to buy new.

Thanks for the reply.

I’m not a bike trials freak, but I can try and answer anyway…

I have a 26" Zoo that I am happy with: disc in front and magura in back on a wide rear rim with cutouts.

Not sure what’s state-of-the-art now, but when I was riding more about 8-10 yeas ago there were some designs with a rear disc (or double-disc), but the tried and true is still the magura in the back. The issue is that the brake and mount takes huge forces in both directions as opposed to only one-sided braking on a normal bike so the main force pushing into the mount. On the trials hopping on rear wheel pulls against the bolts.

I think almost all of the frames are pretty decent (Zoo, Echo, Monty, etc.). Sure, the pros break them all but doing like 4m drops to flat or pedal kicks onto the top of a phone booth, i.e. HUGE stuff.

Of course, there’s the size decision between mod and 26, but I think it’s really more style. Both are good.

The one thing that is really important and worth the money: the REAR HUB. This is the part that really takes the most abuse and where a normal mtb hub really suffers. As I remember most desirable is a Chris King ($$$), but the Hope also makes a quality hub (after breaking the hub on a used trials I had bought I replaced with Hope and it hasn’t broken). I think there’s one other quality hub but I’m blanking on the name right now (the yellow/red one - oh, DT Swiss). Oh, there is also the option with the freewheel on the crank which I understand is stronger and cheaper, but I never liked the idea of the chain and rear hub running in freewheel mode, but I have no experience here. (I think this is more frequent on mods but not sure. Some company, maybe Echo?, was pushing this option, mainly b/c it’s way cheaper - I think a replacement “freewheel” can be switched out and costs like $20 so you break one bearing and then put in another no problem – not like a broken rear hub which you throw away and need another $200+)

And of course the rim/tire in the back is important and can be very expensive. I think this is more of an issue in 26, where a strong wide but not too heavy rim/tire is desired and hard to find not too expensive. I think the Try-All tires are like the standard “best” but some others are good too.

Not sure what the market’s like now, but in general your best deal will be finding a used bike with a good frame for maybe $400-600 or so and then planning on upgrading a few parts for another few hundred. I forget but I think I bought my Zoo for like $400, the rear hub was trashed and broke soon and I put in a new rear wheel with Hope + wide rim + wide tire (something around $350), a new disc brake in the front. Soonafter I broke a crank doing a pedal kick (that was scary) and replaced those with something stronger. but under $1000 should be totally doable concerning strength/function unless you’re also a tuning freak and/or someone who wants the whole thing color-coordinated or wants bling-bling, etc.

Tarty Bikes had a bunch of videos with serious information and comparisons.

Echo in deed is nice, but not always the greatest quality. You can compare it to Mad4One where weight reduction is more important than truly useful (reliable) parts, and where colors do the marketing.
I would prefer products of the brand of many-times worldchampion Ot Pi and his dad: Monty Bikes (from Spain).
For north America that’s: http://www.montycanada.com/

The rear hub issue is solved with the front freewheel setup(bmx style freewheel attached to the right crank arm), this is a very reliable system. If it were my money I’d stay very far away from anything used unless it obviously hasn’t been ridden much. In bike trials it doesn’t take to many hard drops to damage a steer tube or crack a chainstay

Thanks that’s good advice. Does the steering tube usually oval out or crack? While I’m doing my research I’ve read of a few guys saying their head tubes ovaled out. Im guessing,to check if it is ovaled out I would try and move the headset side to side and look for cracks and new welds?