Marc Márquez and Toni Bou: two different ways of flying with a Honda

4 minutes

Just as there are no two riders with an identical style, nor are there two racing bikes that are exactly alike. If we’re speaking of bikes used in disciplines as different as MotoGP and Trial, the differences become even more pronounced.

Marc Márquez y Toni Bou levantando la moto
Marc Márquez and Toni Bou: two different ways of flying with a Honda

Different issues are considered when MotoGP and Trial bikes are designed



 The RC213V that Marc and Dani ride is 6.73 feet long and 3.64 feet high, while the Honda Montesa used by Toni, Fuji, and Jaime is 7.28 feet long and 3.72 feet high. As we can see, the MotoGP bike is somewhat smaller and more compact in terms of its dimensions. This is particularly noteworthy if we bear in mind the weight of the bikes: the MotoGP weighs 339.5 lb, while the Trial bike weighs 154.3 lb—practically half the weight of the MotoGP bike!

In addition to being heavier and more compact, the MotoGP bike has a lower ground clearance. There is a 4.5 inch distance between the asphalt and the MotoGP bike, whilst this margin is 13.1 inches for the Trial bike.


In MotoGP races, it is ultimately much more important to have a small, aerodynamic bike with a low centre of gravity and low ground clearance. In Trial races, aerodynamics is not as important and manoeuvrability becomes a higher priority. As such, different issues are considered when the bikes are designed and their dimensions determined.


Let’s start by looking at how the engines of these two bikes are fuelled. A MotoGP tank has a 5.8-gallon capacity, while that of a Trial bike has a capacity of merely 0.5 gallons! Needless to say, the fuel consumption of these two engines is very different. Both bikes also run on the best fuels that Repsol has developed for competitions.

The displacement of a MotoGP bike is of 1000cc and the bike has a 4-cylinder V engine. Trial bikes have literally one-fourth the displacement and a single-cylinder engine. Both engines have liquid cooling systems that afford them maximum performance during a race.


With these cutting-edge engines, MotoGP bikes can reach speeds of up to 218 mph, which far exceed those we see during Trial races.


As we know, MotoGP bikes are subjected to considerable forces and the power of their engines is impressive. This is why they have larger brake discs, typically made of carbon fibre or steel, in case of rain. The front wheel discs have a diameter of 320 or 340 mm, allowing for greater brake power and cooling.

Maintaining a balance between power and cooling is key, as these brakes must be kept at a minimum temperature to work correctly. Trial bikes have much smaller (185-mm) discs with different needs, as they are not subjected to such high speeds or constant and extreme forces.



The suspension needs of a MotoGP bike are different from those of a Trial bike. As Trial bikes leap and are subjected to powerful impacts on landing, their suspension paths must be longer. In these bikes, they are usually 175 mm long. In MotoGP races, the power of the bikes’ engines and brakes require very firm suspensions, but with shorter paths. Their most distinctive feature is the fork, which is inverted to achieve greater dynamic performance.


In terms of rear suspension, both bikes utilize the Pro Link progressive suspension system developed by Honda, but Trial bikes have different shock absorbers and longer suspension paths.


Lastly, if we consider the frames, we see that both bikes are made of the same material. Though the MotoGP and Trial bike frames are both made of aluminium, their design differs. Whilst the MotoGP bike has a wider double beam that is more resistant to the forces generated by the engine, the Trial bike frame employs a lighter double tube.


Though one is used at high speeds on asphalt courses and the other to pull off incredible leaps in off-road races, these two marvels of engineering have something in common: both Toni’s Honda Montesa and Marc’s MotoGP are the current World Champions.

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