12 essential Trials Rising tips to know before you play

It's hard to believe it's been five years since the last game, but we're back on the track with Trials Rising and ready to take on a whole new set of bike balancing, physics flouting, occasionally bone-breaking stunt races. There's plenty of new features this time around, including sponsors to unlock who award Contracts that switch up how you tackle each track. As with the rest of the Trials series, the action is easy to pick up - yet trying to master it can be totally rage-inducing. For that reason we've put together these essential Trials rising tips, to help you improve your motorcycle skills and get the most out of the game.

1. Learn how to use physics

The key to success in Trials Rising is mastering physics, and using it to your advantage to manoeuvre your bike around the tracks. Lean forwards when riding up steep slopes to stop yourself from tipping backwards, though you only really need to lean backwards while going downhill if you're doing slower precision moves. When you take off a jump, lean back then flick forwards to nudge yourself ahead if you need to leap a bit further. As you land, try to be as flat to the surface as possible, to get back into a stable position and minimise momentum loss from suspension compression.

2. Apply the brakes sparingly

Trials Rising is all about speed, and for most of the tracks your brakes really aren't needed. Keep your rear wheel in contact with the surfaces as much as possible, as this is where your acceleration and control will come from. Rather than constantly tapping the brakes, you're generally better off managing your speed by easing off the throttle and keeping your momentum going throughout the track in a smooth motion.

3. Slow down to speed up

Ok, so that may sound counterintuitive in a game that's all about racing, but bear with us and we'll explain. Some tracks feature huge jumps that can give you plenty of air time, but may result in you losing valuable seconds as you fall back to terra firma, or cause you to land in an awkward position for the next obstacle if you go too far. You can often achieve a better time on a track by easing off the gas or even dabbing the brakes to drop off the end of a big ramp, which will allow you to land quicker and hammer the throttle to get back up to speed.

4. How to perform the perfect flip

Some Contracts will require you to perform a certain number of backflips or frontflips, which are a couple of the most impressive but trickiest skills to pull off. To get started, either lean backwards or forwards just before you leave a ramp, then keep holding the lean in that direction to maintain the flip. The longer you hold it, the faster your rotation speed will get, so ease off accordingly to control your spin. In advance of your landing, push in the opposite direction to slow your rotation, then make fine adjustments by leaning forwards or backwards to nail the landing.

5. There is no 'best' bike

As you progress through Trials Rising you'll unlock different bikes, each of which has its own set of attributes regarding speed, weight, and maneuverability. The game will often recommend a particular bike to you for the track you're about to play, but it's worth considering if the course is based on speed or more technical tricks, and experimenting with the different options available to get a feel of which ride works best for you.

6. Complete the tutorials

Don't roll your eyes! Early in the game you'll be given the option to enrol in the University of Trials, where Professor FatShady will take you under his wing to learn new techniques and skills, or refresh your knowledge if you're a returning player. The lessons available are locked to progression levels, with the skills taught roughly matching up to the sorts of tracks you'll come up against at that level. Completing these tutorials will really benefit you when taking on some of the more challenging tracks, plus you get big XP rewards for each lesson you score well on - making them doubly worthwhile.

7. Learn from the best

If you're struggling to get a great time on a track, or even make it to the finish line, then don't stress as help is at hand. Go to the Leaderboards for the track, then scroll up the list or hit the prompt to jump to the top, select the player you want to learn from then choose Watch Replay. Not only will this show you their route through the track, but the diagram in the bottom left corner of the screen will show you their stick movements and when they were accelerating or braking, to explain exactly how they did what they did. Watch and learn, then play the track again to try and put those actions into practice.

8. Rack up XP from Medals and Contracts

Earning XP is key to progressing through Trials Rising and unlocking new customisation items for your character, and there are two main ways of getting it. The first is by earning Medals for beating the target times on each track, with more XP being granted the higher the Medal is, so it's definitely worth replaying tracks to improve your time. Another great source of XP is completing Contracts for sponsors, which will regularly pop up when you start a track. If there's more than one Contract available then you can move right and left to switch between them, so pick one then bear the goals in mind as you race. Don't stress about skipping a Contract or failing it once you've accepted, as either way the Contract will still be there for you next time you visit the track.

9. The Ubisoft Club has an additional Sponsor to unlock

If you've got some Units on your account then you should definitely pay the Ubisoft Club a visit from the Home menu, as there are exclusive rewards available to unlock. One of them is the legendary Ubisoft Sponsor, which you can purchase to get access to new Contracts. These Ubisoft Sponsor Contracts offer unique rewards to add to your customisation options, as well as the extra Trials Coins and XP you get for completing them.

10. You can sell duplicate or unwanted customisation items

Every time you level up, you'll receive a Gear Crate that you can open to receive free customisation items for your rider or bike. Not all of these will be to everyone's taste, and you can get duplicate items too, so if you end up with items that you're never going to use then the good news is that you can sell them for a profit. In your Garage, go to the appropriate section of the Rider Customisation or Bike Customisation menus, then select the item you want gone and choose Sell For… to receive the stated amount of Trials Coins. These can then be spent on unlocking other items or purchasing new Gear Crates.

11. Look for secrets and collectibles

Throwing the bike in reverse at the starting line obviously won't do you any good when trying to set a new best time or chase those coveted medals, but if you don't at least try to push your bike backwards, you'll miss out on tons of hilarious Easter eggs - and maybe even a secret or two. The track designers clearly had fun with these lesser-known parts of the track, as they'll often set up a booby trap to wipe your rider out, but sometimes you'll find the path to an elusive Squirrel collectible behind the spawn point, which give you precious Acorn rewards as you find more hidden across the tracks. You can also go exploring at any point when you're riding, by hitting Triangle/Y to deliberately bail out and launch yourself off your bike. When you're flying through the air you can use the lean controls to adjust your trajectory, and brake/accelerate will cause you to curl up/stretch out while holding Triangle/Y will allow you to grab on to obstacles which you can then swing off to travel further.

12. Take a break or change tracks

If things aren't going well, then the growing rage inside you as you rack up the fails is not going to be conducive to a getting a successful run. By all means keep practicing a section you're stuck on to try and work out the best technique, but if the red mist starts descending then either exit out and move on to a different track, or put the controller down and give yourself a little break, so you can return later with a fresh perspective on the challenge.

Looking for more tracks to race? Then check out the best Trials Rising custom tracks for our favourite Track Central picks.

Iain Wilson
Guides Editor

Iain originally joined Future in 2012 to write guides for CVG, PSM3, and Xbox World, before moving on to join GamesRadar in 2013 as Guides Editor. His words have also appeared in OPM, OXM, PC Gamer, GamesMaster, and SFX. He is better known to many as ‘Mr Trophy’, due to his slightly unhealthy obsession with amassing intangible PlayStation silverware, and he now has over 500 Platinum pots weighing down the shelves of his virtual award cabinet. He does not care for Xbox Achievements.