trials class system

is there a class system for trials unicycling? I propose setting up a standard system for grading the difficulty of a line in a similar way that climbers grade routes and rapids are classed. i am thinking a class 1-10 system where class one would be the equivelant of riding along a 2 foot wide path with drops of 30cm or less working up to class ten with round skinnies and 100cm hops.
does anybody think this is a good idea? anyone want to help write this system?


I don’t think this is a good idea because it is just based on hop height pretty much, nothing technical.

that was only to give a general outline of the idea. the actual system would be about the overall difficulty. I have ridden lines that didn’t get any higher than a foot, but were harder than anything i have ever tried.

I don’t want to presume, but it sounds like you maybe haven’t read the rules that already exist for Trials.

I think this is a great idea, though hard to set up.

If you go to ten and keep sub level rankings, like in climbing (a, b, c, d), eventually there will need to be 11, 12, 13, etc.

And trials is where?

I really don’t think you can quantify trials skill. It is hard enough to quantify freestyle or street skill, but at least those have easy to identify benchmarks of difficulty.

With trials, there are no definitive skills that quantify overall ability and can be easily compared and associated with overall skill level.

you can compare singular achievements, and basics, but trails is about putting skills to the test and learning on the go, not just accomplishing basic skills.

I think I am doing a poor job at trying to explain whats in my mind, so more simply:

You can’t conclusively define riders trials skill, based on individual achievements or even the sum of those achievements.

Trial levels… it sounds quite good. This is not rules for trials comps, but like the ten basic freestyle levels.

  1. Newbie
  • 10cm side hop
  • Static gap 2ft
  • Ride across a 4x8
  • Jump up and down stairs without correctional hops.


  • 35cm side hop
  • Static gap 3ft
  • Clean a “wedge” line.
  • Ride across a 2x4
  • Crank-grab 50cm
  • Jump across round smooth rocks no more that 1 ft high and 2.5ft apart
  1. Intermediate
  • 60cm side hop
  • Static gap 4.5ft
  • Ride across a 2x4 with an incline of 10 degrees
  • Ride across a the skinny end of a 2x4
  • 30cm side hop to 2x4 skinny and ride
  • Jump across 4 consecutive “rungs” of a ladder, 6" diameter and 2ft apart.
  • Pedal grab 80cm
  • Jump up an incline of 30 degrees
  • Still stand for 10 seconds
  • Jump across rocks, that are still flat-ish, no more than 18" high and 3.5ft apart
  1. Expert
  • 85cm side hop
  • Jump 70cm to 2x4 skinny and ride
  • Static gap 6ft
  • Ride across a rail 3" in diameter for 2 meters suspended 2ft high.
  • Jump across 4 consecutive post, 4" in diameter and 2ft apart
  • Jump across 4 consecutive “rungs” of a ladder, 6" diameter and 4ft apart
  • Pedal-grab to rail and jump over and across
  • Ride twisted skinnies 3" wide and 4ft high.
  • Jump up an incline of 45 degrees
  • Jump up a post 60cm high, 4" in diameter
  • Pedal-grab up a post 80cm high and 4" in diameter
  • Still stand for 20 seconds
  • Jump 70cm, without a pre-hop, from an irregular surface, to an irregular surface


  • 105cm side hop
  • Static gap 7ft
  • Gap from one rail road track to other and ride.
  • Pedal grab up a rail 1.5" and ride it.
  • Jump across two “rungs” of a ladder, 6" in diameter and 6ft apart
  • Jump across 4 consecutive posts, 2" in diameter and 2ft apart
  • Still stand for 40 seconds
  • Jump 90cm, without a pre-hop, from an irregular surface to an irregular surface
  • castrate all street riders who say that trials is just “leg strength”
  1. Godly
  • Have the name Ryan Atkins

Feel free to add or modify. This is just basic, so chime in if you think some parts aren’t fair.

haha, but you forgot Tom Pec, Joe Hodges and Mark Fabian.

Peter M

One of the big problems with having a level system in trials, like standard skills, is that the approach is so different. Standard skill levels are only really possible because the terrain is 100% predictable and is the same everywhere in the world (ie. flat).

Much closer to trials are the grading systems in climbing, where you grade the route difficulty, not the technique difficulty. With experience on different routes, climbers get a sense for what constitutes a certain grade and then they judge the difficulty of other routes based on how a certain grade feels to them. Climbing has a big advantage over trials in establishing such a grading system because routes are permanent features that get climbed enough times and described enough in guidebooks to establish a consensus grade.

In the earlier drafts of the unitrials rules, (prior to about 2003), course setters were supposed to rate the difficulty of obstacles and establish point ratings, where harder lines received more points. We did away with this because it was hard to do consistently around the world. Now every trials line in a competition is worth one point- much easier to administrate.

However, one outcome of that was a difficulty rating system called the U-System, which was inspired by the V-System for rating bouldering problems in climbing. You can see it here on page 16:

The idea was to have an open-ended rating system with examples of different obstacles at each level. The idea is not to “accomplish” U1, or U5, etc. in the same way as standard skills, by doing all the example obstacles at a certain level. The point is that the rider uses the examples to get a personal sense for how hard a U3 level problem, say, feels to them. Then, when they are out riding something else (including obstacles you couldn’t possibly describe or include in a skill level), they can rate it’s difficulty based on their sense of the U system ratings.

This system sort of died because unlike climbing most trials lines are obscure and rarely done exactly the same way by many riders, and none to date are described in guidebooks.

But it would be a good way to communicate about trials difficulty in different places in the world, and to track the improvement of the sport over time. The advantage is that unlike competitions, where you can only look back and say that a certain person won, with a rating system you could look back and see the actual skills progression. For example in 2002 there were only maybe 2 or 3 riders in the world who could do U8 lines, whereas today there are dozens of riders who can do that.


If I remember correctly, is was Atkins you owned all you Europeans. Go Canada!

yep, atkins all the way, but for a class system, i dont really see a need for it unless your in a competition and in that case they already have a system for that dont they?

I read your U system many times, and based it on my competition. All side hops do not exceed 36", while there are nuts doing 44". Perhaps you need a new U level?

While your rules do apply in trials comps, they aren’t like the 10 freestyle levels. A 36" hop is fairly common nowadays, but few can do skinnies really well. I think that it’s time to change things in the U system, or make a new 5 or 10 level system

i agree, i can hit 32" almost every single time but ican only still stand for about 8 seconds…and my skinnys suck…i think that trials now since we have all these people nailing these huge hops should start getting more techincal and so should the rules…

I don’t think there should be any rules.

For competitions, I like the points system. But I say let us trials riders be more concerned with self accomplishment than ranking.

The U rules are out of date. Like KH said, the level has grown substantially in the last few years. Maybe do some minor changes here and there and add a level?
It doesn’t effect me whatsoever since I’m not very good yet, but it’s nice to get involved. It’s also nice to know where you are in the trials scale, what areas need improving etc.

Hops versus skinnies is one of the hardest things to get right in a rating system. It’s true that the riding standard for hops has gotten way higher while small technical riding has lagged. I think that’s partly why Ryan dominated at the last UNICON- there are a lot of big moves riders but way fewer at the top level for technical trials.

In climbing there’s a similar conundrum between rating gymnastic overhanging routes with bigger holds, and low angle technical balancy routes. They both get the same rating system, but way more climbers can get up 5.13 overhanging routes compared to 5.13 routes that are less than vertical.

Ultimately I think it comes down to establishing a consensus on what constitutes the perfectly balanced trials rider in terms of skills- the standard for a rating system.

Is a rider who can hop 40" but can’t gap to a 2" round beam and ride along it a balanced rider in terms of skills? I would probably say they are not.

For comps I think that course setters focusing on technical rather than big moves might help a lot in terms of evening this out over time.

It would be great if someone could go through the U-system spreadsheet and give me some detailed feedback in terms of where you think it could be improved. We now need more examples at the U8 level and also to define U9.


Page 65. 2006 Rulebook. But Kris Holm’s version is more up to date, though I think it’s not 100% the same as what the IUF will be coming out with in the 2008 rulebook. We usually go with his suggestions for Trials stuff (he basically wrote it all).

Does that mean you don’t think there should be competitions? You can’t have a competition without rules. You can’t even play hide-and-seek. How high are you going to count? Players need to know…

But listen to Kris, he’s probably thought more about this than anyone else.

I know, I was at FLUCK…
But still, the riders I mentioned are allso realy good.

Peter M

I think it would be a really good idea to have a trials skills class system. I would support and promote it.


i like the idea of a trials course rating system. but i dont like it if its a 0 to 10 system. it should rather be a 0 to infinite system. the first would mean that there is a maximum of difficulty in a trials course.
if there is a 40" object in a course, you could give it 1 point for each inch you gotta jump up. and one point for each inch you gap. so if you jump 29" and gap… lets say 31" in a line, that line would be a 60 points line. and if you dont make it over the gap you’ll fall 500 feet :D. that should give some more points, because