29 photos of motorcycles in impossible places

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Up a wall, down a slide, on top of a stadium, underneath a boat; freestyle trials riders are taking motorcycles to hitherto impossible impossible places all in pursuit of one prize — a stunning image. Here’s 29 of the best ever taken.

Lead by riders like Dougie Lampkin (up top) and Julien Dupont (below), trials is braking out of remote venues and the upper echelons of cable TV to become a visually stunning representation of motorcycle fantasy. The sport is at once more visually compelling and more relevant to today’s world than the outmoded daredevils of generations past. It’s less about risk and more about spectacle.

It all started, for me at least, with this picture of Julien Dupont riding up a wall in his hometown of Lyon, France back in 2007. A fairly simple feat on a lightweight trials bike, but a stunning image nonetheless, largely thanks to a skate-style photo complete with a popped flash and gritty (for southern France at least) urban backdrop.

Skating is perhaps a good role model for freestyle trials as it attempts to legitimize a motorsport in the eyes of young people. Watch a skate video from the early ’80s and it’s all gawky kids rolling around a park in San Francisco, doing little kick flips and shit, shot on a shitty consumer video camera. That’s a good parallel to the above photo. Now, skating is an multi-billion dollar industry with the production values to match. Could freestyle trials achieve even a small part of that success and influence?

  • http://www.brammofan.com Brammofan

    Ummm…#16 must have a story behind it. Surely he didn’t just slam onto the roofs of cars stuck in traffic.

  • http://vtbmwmov.org Eben

    “trials is braking out of remote venues”

    I’m not sure if this is intentional or not. Could it be a pun? I know I’ve seen enough people interchanging break and brake that I often have to pause to reread what I’ve written myself, as nothing seems correct anymore. Really not trying to be a proofreading dick.

    • Your_Mom


    • dux [87 CBR600, 95 XR600R]

      Well, I am.

  • Mr.Paynter

    Just had a little fan-boy moment! No.4 is my home-town!

  • Scott-jay

    Trials a niche for electric?
    ‘Wow’ gallery.
    Surprised at wood & earth ramps in #28.

  • http://www.muthalovin.com the_doctor

    Trails is awesome, and if there was a trails video similar in fashion to Yeah Right! I would totally purchase it.

  • Bronson

    Thank you HFL for the new wallpaper!

    Damn, I gotta get me one of these bikes. I could so easily see some a practice spot in my tiny back yard — a couple logs, rock pile or two, a few railroad ties and a Jersey barrier or two.

  • http://www.postpixel.com.au mugget

    Why, sometimes I’ve believed in six motorcycles in impossible places before breakfast.

  • dirtridingBil

    Julien Dupont makes trials riding looks cool with the MX helmet and non-spandex riding pants & shirt.
    Who was the 1st to wear the gay tights uniforms anyway?