Introduction of a points system that rewards greater skill and cleaner lines (Closed for comments)

Comments about this discussion:


Currently:  Each section is worth one point, and the objective is to score points by successfully riding (“cleaning”) as many sections as possible within the specified time period.


Alteration: Each section is worth four XX points if completed with zero (0) pedal grabs. Each pedal grab in a section will deduct XX points from the total points until a minimum score of one XX point  is reached.

E.g. An expert line is worth 6 points, each pedal grab deducts 0.5 points. At 3 points (after 6 pedal grabs) the score is not deducted any further.

A medium line is worth 4 points, each pedal grab deducts 0.5. At 2 points (after 4 pedal grabs) the score is not deducted any further.

Note: These points are just examples, how many points for each section, depending on difficulty and how much is deducted for pedal grabs needs to be discussed.

Completing Expert and medium line perfectly gives 6 and 4 points respectively.


Note: These points are just examples, how many points for each section, depending on difficulty and how much is deducted for pedal grabs needs to be discussed EXTENSIVELY.


Currently: Riders may attempt any problem multiple times until they succeed or decide to abandon the section. However, it is not possible to earn additional points by cleaning a section more than once, and no points are awarded if the rider does not clean the entire section.

Alteration: Riders may attempt any problem multiple times until achieving a score they are content with or decide to abandon the section. A rider who has completed a section may re-attempt a section in an attempt to improve his score on that section (by reducing number of pedal grabs and clearing the line cleaner). The riders best score on the section will remain unless bettered. The riders best score will remain even if in subsequent attempts the rider performs worse than the previous best attempt. It is not possible to earn additional points by cleaning a section more than once, only the best result will count in the final results, and no points are awarded if the rider does not clean the entire section.


Result of Changes to competition due to these changes:

Riders who perform “cleaner” lines in trials competition will be rewarded. This will promote more precise techniques in trials by rewarding riders for going straight to tyre across obstacles. Riders may have completed same number of sections however one rider may have done so with less pedal grabs.

This will promote a level of strategy not currently seen in trials competitions. A rider may have to choose between redoing a section they completed with multiple pedal grabs, or going on to a new section. A rider will have to determine if taking a deduction is necessary for them to complete a section more quickly, or at all.

Positives of these changes:

Promote more precise riding while rewarding more technical riders. More interesting competition for spectators as it brings a multidimensional aspect to scoring which will make competitions harder to predict. Improve trials riding skill worldwide.

Greater interest for judges of sections due to greater range of performance on the section.

Negatives of these changes:

A rider may complete a lesser number of sections but in a cleaner manner than opponent. This could result in a rider who has completed less sections placing higher than someone who has completed more sections


This requires thought on how much a completed section is worth and how great the deductions are for pedal grabs.

Greater effort requirement for judges of sections.


May not be applicable in smaller competitions where one judge per section is not possible. May need to use old rulings of 1 mark per completed section for these smaller competitions.


So, who are you "infini..." that your username, would be nice to know who we discuss with ;)


(You can change that in "Account settings" tab at the top of the page


Honestly I think it would be better if we were all anonymous as how people perceive an idea should not be influenced by which person has made it. Just knowing who is suggesting an idea and who is support it encourages bias towards/away from ideas whether people like it or not. This is why blinded and double blinded studies exist in science.


Voting is anonymous. Anyhow let's get back on track.

Not that I dislike the idea, but there's always a problem in getting enough judges in trials, so getting enough competent judges. I can't imagine yet to establish something in trials unicycling.


Yes I think judging could be an issue. The judges would be required to know what a pedal grab is and be able to Count it. Better judges could be reserved for medium and expert lines as it may be better to not use this points system for easy lines?

Not sure. Just throwing out ideas.


Need to take time to carefully read and think; will get back to it!


I think with the way competitions are currently being done I think this is bad idea. I think this would open up a can of worms of human error. Finding decent judges for the competitions as is is hard enough already.

I understand how everyone feels about going to tire vs pedal. Obviously one takes more skill than the other. I don't think awarding higher point values for "to rubber" jumps will make competitions better.


In my opinion the whole point of a trials comp is to use your own developed skill to your advantage to overcome the obstacles. There are always going to be trials lines where a rider must pedal grab in order to complete a line. But when it comes to competitions I think that a rider who can go to rubber is already going to have an advantage over the one who must pedal grab.

But I think there is a better alternative: Attempt bonus.

Similar to Steven's idea, a rider will get a score based on their attempts of a trials line. With a maximum number of deductible points. For example: A line is worth 5 points if completed on a single attempt. A rider will lose 1 point for each attempt of trails line with a minimum possible point value of 1 point. Alternatively a rider could get a bonus point for completing a line in a single attempt.



As I take part in some competitons where bike trial and uni trial was done together I always get comments form the bike riders that they love our clean rules while I never heard form a Uni rider that he would prefer the bike trial rules with points and half points ...

It is already pain in the ass to get qualified judges, usually anone who can hold a pen is taken ;) So if this would be realy developed I see only a chance in finals for it while it will also change the obstacle building then. I love the simple system to give a point if you manage a obstacle and 0 if you don't do it. I would not go or beeing a judge if I had to decide about points. Actual trials is like races, it has no "soft" results like freestyle / Flat / Street ... ask those riders how difficult it is to come to a good system. Trial is about the technic to manage an obstacle and you can use the technic you prefer to do it. Some eat more energy, some less, some can jump higher, some found another way to get on top of an obstacle. The variety of technics and style make the competition great! The new system would force everybody to focus on most points instead of focusing on simply managing the obstacle.


I think it's very hard to compare different lines, especially because different riders have different strengths.


Phil's idea of a bonus point if a line is completed in a single attempt is worth exploring. Although I would somewhat argue that completing a line on the first try has it's own benefit of using less time. And anyone who completes all of the lines and still has extra time is basically guaranteed to make finals.


I agree with the core idea to try and make competitive trials riding as clean as possible - when talking about 'clean riding' people mostly refer to doing as minimum nr. of pedal grabs as possible. Phil actually has a very good point on skills ( "the whole point of a trials comp is to use your own developed skill to your advantage to overcome the obstacles" ), although I think most of the times doing something to tire is significantly harder than doing a pedal grab. Also, Phil is right about the fact that there will always be sections that forces riders to do a pedal grab - and it is totally good like this, as pedal grabbing truly pushes the limits of what's possible in trials unicycling.

BUT, when we are talking about a jump / problem that is possible to tire too, then pedal grabs may make jumps safer while in most cases also consuming less energy than doing it straight to tire - this, in my understanding means it is easier. I can agree with the idea that the extra effort could be rewarded.

The presented point system is very interesting - but as mentioned before would not work well during qualifications due to the needs of higher level of expertise / extra number of people when it comes to judges. As for finals, I believe it would raise the level of competitions if the details worked out well.

As about the idea of Attempt bonus. Patricia totally got the point about it: it is already rewarded naturally if a rider finishes a line first try by using less time.


So is it a possibility or just using the point system for finals?


  I don't know how big a deal the extra point is going to really be to the experts, but since we have so many age groups a bonus point for first attempt would probably help break up age group ties

experts still might finish the same amount of lines in preliminaries. And the bonus point in that scenario would still reward the "more skilled" rider.


If you go for extra points for sirst attempt, you have also to add rules about situations like broken unicycle - broken obstacle - disturbed rider by audience / other rider / Flash light... Will be pain in the ass again for all judges, often one judge has 2 or 3 Statiosn to observe. I realy see the good meaning in this idea but I serioulsy fear the difficulty in judging. Also I see no reasonto add style to trial. I love to see clean lines done perfectly smooth but in the end its all about managing an obstacle with the weapons a rider have. More attemps need more time and so they are an disadvantage already.



I think everyone agrees with the following statements: (please correct me if you think differently).

  • Currently, riders will prefer going to pedal before tire to be safer and use less energy.
  • For the vast majority of lines, pedal grabs require less skill than going to rubber.

If our scoring system is used to determine and evaluate skill, then the way we have our competitions organized currently is not completely fair or accurate. A rider who completes a line with pedal grabs will get the same points as a rider who doesn't. 

I don't have the answers. This is a hard rule to make fair, especially with with our current constraints of judges/builders. 

Our solution needs to be:

  • Fair to riders who rely on pedal grabs and not overly dock points
  • Fair to riders who excel and are able to go to rubber
  • Easy to judge with little/no training.
  • Easy to understand and score.

Possible solution:

  • Judge counts number of pedal grabs during line with fingers outstretched to signal rider and others of pedal grabs used (as well as to keep judge mindful of counting).
  • As soon as the pedal is no longer contacting the object, the rider can either go to rubber, or go to a subsequent pedal grab (counted as a new pedal grab) 
  • Judge writes down the total number of pedal grabs on score card.
  • Rider can retry line for a cleaner attempt if desired.
  • Total PG are tallied up at end of score card, 0.2 point deduction for each PG from total score.

I think this way, trials riders who use pedal grabs could still do very well in competition, but a similar level rider who gets the same lines to rubber will be rewarded for it. Also, it give incentive for rider to not "chunk" their way through lines they could float through.






Can we get some more comments by trials riders here? Otherwise the discussion needs to be closed.


Daniel Cormeau (Voting Member) - Calgary, Alberta, Canada 
Márk Fábián (Voting Member) - Budapest, Hungary 

These 2 are the only Trial riders in the committee have already participated in the discussion.


We already have enough disciplines with weak judging. Prevent Trial from that pain. I did trials by myself several years ago and I like the simple and clear Idea behind it: manage an obstacle / trial line without dismounting.I was not good in it but that don't matter. It feels great if you manage a line, independent from how stylish it was.

The new point system we already invent is good to award higher skills but to start judging style in trial? no way!


I think i'd like to see how the 1, 3, 7 point system goes before making a deduction for pedal grabs. Lets change only so much at once. Counting pedal grabs by judges is an added complexity but I am confident that a judge could be taught how to judge in 30 seconds or less: A Judge has to COUNT pedal grabs, keep pedal count tally outstretched with hand/fingers to signal rider and crowd. When rider completes line, write down number of pedal grabs on score card. I think it's still follows the beautiful simplicity of judging that all trials riders love.

The way we currently have trials judged equates pedal grabs to going to rubber. That means that there is no incentive to go to rubber in our rules. Elite riders are going to pedal to go up 4 pallets. Elite trials riders practice and pride themselves on what they can accomplish by going to rubber. In trials, the ultimate vision of skill for completing an obstacle is to go to rubber. Pedal grabs has little to do with style but with skill. Trials is the manipulation of the unicycle with precise movements (hat off to Mark F) to overcome obstacles. For the vast majority, pedal grabbing takes away the precision that makes elite trials amazing to watch. Moto Trials, UCI bike trials, they all have a point deduction system for dabbing as well as pedal grabs/bash guards. If the whole point of having a world competition to find a champion, then our rules should be used to help determine who the most skilled trials rider is by rewarding riders who are able to do lines to rubber.



At this point, how much to deduct from the score is something trials riders need to come to an agreement, and we should talk about it at next unicon with lots of riders. Especially with the new point system (1,3,7) if it passes. 


Well the new 1,3,7 point system just passed. So we can start thinking about no pedal grab system already :)

Maybe something that could be reserved only for expert finals at first... which would be totally not fair because the same rules wouldn't apply to qualification... but it's somewhere to start! I'm saying that because it's easy to get less than 10 qualified judges that can count pedal grabs during finals as opposed to 80 judges for qualif!


For sure we have more and better skilled judges in Finals but finals should not follow different rules. To forbid Pedal grabs in general was discussed several times but I think it will prevent many riders from trial. We have excelent jumpers like Mark but we havbe also very good riders which use a great pedal grab technic to reach the target. It seems to stick also together with the physical size as you usually don't see very small riders doing very high jumps while they still can be great in pedal grabs. 

I stay at my opinion, this rule lead trial away from its roots! I know Motor and bike trials and I always hate their judging system where you get some points if you dab on the obstacle and later you see maybe a podium where no rider was able to manage the obstacle, just with more or less dabbings ;)

Lets see how the new point system work and don't invent a next thing. Riders will start to go crazy about calculating then. A medium line on rubber count maybe more then a pro line with pedal grab...  The finals usually always provide a clear champion as it should be.

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