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Extracurricular: Trials Clinic

May 23, 2015


Chantal and I…stealing a lil kid’s bicycle?

Sometimes you just need to take a day off and get out of town. So, last Sunday me and some friends from NYC Vin Moto and The Miss-Fires loaded up the trucks and headed up to lovely, lush Connecticut and the Meridan Motorcycle Club….


me. ready to ride?

The destination? the New England Trials Clinic (NETA) Trails Cross training Clinic. These clinics are run entirely by volunteers and wholly for the love of the sport. Their theory? How could you NOT want to ride Trials after trying it out. so, the first time’s free kids!


Kim looking like a pro?

What is Trials? 

Moto Trials (formerly “Observed Trials”) is now the pinnacle of off-road riding, as the riders tackle the most severe terrain capable of being conquered by any two wheeled machine. When someone looks at the obstacles before the riding starts, a frequent comment is a simple “No way!” A big plus for the spectators is that they can watch from just a few feet away as the riders attempt seemingly impossible obstacles. Trials competitions consist of “sections” that are physically defined by marker tape. These sections contain challenging features, both natural and artificial. They may include stream-beds, boulders, logs, and slopes. Tape markers identify different skill class levels for competition; the better the competitor, the more severe the obstacles will be in the corresponding class. A trail loop connects the sections for the event. A typical event will have 8 to 12 sections and the competitor must ride the loop and complete the sections three to five times. Riders cannot practice the sections but may inspect each section just before being judged (or observed) on their ride. Then, one at a time, the riders will enter a section on their motorcycle, as an observer scores the rider’s performance. Like golf, where the least amount of strokes on the course wins, trials are won by the person who touches their foot to the ground the least amount of times over the course of the event. The rider with the lowest score wins. The score goes to a maximum of 5 points for that section if they fail to reach the end gate in time or crash. Riding a section “clean” without footing is the ultimate goal of all riders (score of 0).

The Bikes
Trials motorcycles are very specialized. Years of development have produced a very lightweight (i.e. ~150lbs), very slender, extremely well balanced machine with a powerful 2 or 4 stroke engine. The bikes have high ground clearance, minimal fuel capacity and no seat, creating a highly maneuverable motorcycle capable of overcoming nearly any obstacle.

There are many local clubs around the US that host events locally, with some putting on as many as 15 events per year. A listing of NETA’s clubs and events is provided under the “Events Tab” on our website. The United States National Series, governed for the AMA by the North American Trials Council (NATC), hosts the best riders of various classes in America, and consists of 6 to 12 events held in various parts of the country. There are a few select riders in the USA that have the skill to compete at the World Championship level and these riders compete for a spot on the American Trial des Nations Team. The Trial des Nations is held in various countries in the fall of each year, and is a nation vs. nation team competition.

Summing it up
While Trials can be a very challenging and dramatic sport, events by NETA’s local clubs have competition classes for riders of “all” abilities, from beginners on up. Of all the motorcycle sports, it is probably the most
“family-friendly”, and kids can enjoy healthy competition alongside their Moms and Dads and share in an activity that they love. Additionally, trials is easy on the environment. Because of the nature of the bikes and the competitions, environmental damage is minimal, and some clubs have riding areas that have been used for decades with little evidence of any damage to the environment. Trials is also viewed a safer alternative to other forms of motorcycle competition due the lightness of the bikes and the very low speeds (i.e. 1 to 4mph) involved when traversing sections. For this reason alone we continually see veteran enduro and motorcross riders switching to trials competition, and why we commonly to see riders as young as 6 and as old as 70 competing. Lastly, Trials riding also serves as a great cross-training tool for all types of riding such as enduro, endurocross, and motocross. This evidenced by the successfulness of our nation’s top endurocross, and motocross riders (Jeff Aaron, Cody Webb, David Knight, and Taddy Blazusiak) all of which are top trials riders.



Charles, Neta President

Though i’m sure they regretted ever inviting us first the first five minutes of the dingbat Miss-Fires girls trying to figure out how to mount a Trials bike with no seats…Charles and the staff were incredibly patient, and knowledgeable.
20150517_100832Graduation photo

By the end of the clinic…just a few hours later (though it felt like days we were so hot, worn out and beat up), every single one of us could not only balance on the pegs, but manage the slow speed turns, wheelies and rock climbs. Pretty F’in cool for some city slicker motor bike riders!image2

Kim, counting points

After the clinic, and a bag lunch provided by Neta. Yea, they’re that awesome…They put us to work helping judge that days Trials competition. One of the reasons I got into Motorcycles so heavily and that they are now my life, is the community of it. Events like these are only possibly with volunteer support and we were more than happy to help out.


how it should look.

The riders competing ranged in age from 8 to 80 and as with all moto sports, everyone is patient and supportive. Truly incredible to have been part of it, learn a new skill and challenge myself to be a better rider, risk taker and face my fears. God damn those rocks are scary when you’re staring them down from the pegs of a Gas Gas!

* Huge thank you to Hometown Jersey, UglyBROS USA, Bell Powersports, and Motorcycle Warehouse for your continued support!

Corinna Mantlo

Via Meccanica Custom Upholstery

IG @miss1932 #viameccanica

Triumph Thruxton

May 23, 2015

11048664_10152847402914608_4026580383721024446_nthe finished seat

Slight foam shaping at seat back for a more angled rise, then black leather and raised ribs that follow that line for this modern Triumph Thruxton. The ‘cafe’ back features a subtle racer stripe.


The finished seat

The racer stripe and it’s black on black stitching worked into the custom leather cover was designed to be the exact width of the stripe on the red plastic seat cowl. The Devil’s in the details.

Corinna Mantlo

Via Meccanica Custom Upholstery

IG @miss1932 #viameccanica

Tim Harney Motorcycles Custom Ducati 748

April 27, 2015


the finished seat at the Handbuilt Motorcycle Show

Brown leather, and all over raised diamonds stitched in black thread for a killer custom by Tim Harney Motorcycles.

10464073_10152910815134608_1237740292396452146_nthe finished seat

Nice slick design that fit right in on the finished bike. So thrilled to be part of this custom build!

Corinna Mantlo

Via Meccanica Custom Upholstery

IG @miss1932 #viameccanica

Honda GL650

April 24, 2015


The finished seat

The passenger seat needed a ton of love. See below…


the seat before

After much tape removal and foam clean up, and some research to match the original pattern, I was able to make a new cover in vinyl and raised topstitching that closely matched the original.


the finished seat

Back on the bike the new passenger seat perfectly compliments and almost perfectly matches the existing and original rider seat that it now rests up against.

Corinna Mantlo

Via Meccanica Custom Upholstery

IG @miss1932 #viameccanica

Barbour Custom McQueen Triumph

April 22, 2015


The finished seat at the NY International Motorcycle last December

Barbour, Ducati Triumph NY, and my good friend and fellow Miss-Fire, Head tech mechanic Kerry Sano teamed up to built this custom Triumph Scrambler, inspired by Steve McQueen and the Great Escape bike. It needed a seat to compliment it and hwat else than for Barbour to pay homage to the International jacket that McQueen made famous.


the finished solo seat and handlebar pad

Using their fabric and hardware, I created two seats, one solo seat with a built in side pocket (above), and one to carry a passenger with a belt strap feature (below). I also made a matching quilted handlebar wrap for the new dirtbike style bars.

1503353_10152661113739608_4655889036008055361_nthe finished Two-Up seat

Both seats were finished and set with Barbour waterproofing wax and sent off to Barbour Soho to grace the window. The bike also travelled to The International Motorcycle Show this past December. Thrilled to have been part of the project!

Corinna Mantlo

Via Meccanica Custom Upholstery

IG @miss1932 #viameccanica


April 21, 2015


the finished seat

Flat profile foam, as thin as possible while still being comfortable on a seta pan with a very high hump underneath for the fender.


the above picture shows the seat before (above) and after (below).

Corinna Mantlo

Via Meccanica Custom Upholstery

IG @miss1932 #viameccanica

Handbuilt Motorcycle Show

April 13, 2015


What a wonderful weekend at Handbuilt Motorcycle Show put on by the good folks at Revival Cycles. I was so impressed with the show and had an absolute blast! Also very honored to have had three of my seats included in the show.


VDB Moto Harley Scrambler custom

11148756_10152916525869608_1497613273279943613_nKeino Cycles Widow Jane Vincent Custom


Tim Harney Motorcycles custom Ducati 748

I love my job and am thrilled every day to be able to help put a finishing touch on custom builds by such talented artists. Can’t wait ’til next year Revival!

Corinna Mantlo

Via Meccanica Custom Upholstery

IG @miss1932 #viameccanica


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