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Motak Sherpa 280

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The piston is Gas GAS 74mm and the kickstart is cut, welded to the Bultaco spline and re plated.

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So at Yesterday's Congleton twinshock trial I had the chance to try some Sherpas, The Motak 280, A Vazquez 250 and a Vazquez 325. This is by no means a review as I only had a few minutes on each and unfortunately wasn't able to try them on any of the sections used in the trial - which would have been an interesting comparison also against my own standard 1975 Ossa 310 that I rode in the trial. I was interested in the 325 in particular to see how it compared to my own 340 which has some Vazquez mods.

The 280 Motak - Very pleasant bike to ride. It pulls well right off the pilot jet and the engine responds a little more strongly than the standard 250. Not snappy at all, it's very smooth and predictable off the pilot jet and consequently riding without the clutch down to nothing isn't a problem. But open the throttle and the engine picks up revs immediately, but without pulling your arms off. it's strong but it won't run off with you. I wasn't able to give the top end full beans as it had just been fitted with a new carb for the trial and it felt like the main jet was too big and over fueling the top end. Subsequent investigation found that the carb has been supplied with a main that is too big. With the right jet fitted it should rev very nicely, based upon the bottom end performance. A very nice engine.

The clutch action was good, light and with no snatch or judder. It disengaged every time, no drag, no slip, no drama, with one finger operation when it was needed.

The suspension worked well, the front was soft, but not overly so, didn't top out, neither did it bottom off some reasonable drop offs. The rear Falcons worked well. Older Bultacos, even with a decent pair of shocks fitted can still feel dead at the back. These last 198/9 a and b models give good feel from the back with decent shocks and this one was no exception. I'd liked to have tried it over a continuous series of rocks for a better impression, but on the terrain I tried it on, there were no issues.

The footrests are lowered and the top yoke has been modified. Fat bars are fitted with a 7" rise and the riding position is good (I'm 6' 3" and the owner possibly a bit more, hence the high bars)

The steering is not altered, other than longer shocks to quicken it a little. However, the bike steered as though it had been modified and felt a bit more precise than the usual slow Bultaco feel, as with my standard 340 (same frame as this bike) Whether this is due to the combination of the footrests being lowered but only moved very slightly rearwards (as much as makes no difference) and the top yoke mod which put the rider a little more over the front, it's hard to say and is subjective, but it steered very well. No washing out, it held into the ground on full lock turns and felt quicker than standard. Even the riding stance gave the impression it has been pulled in a bit - but it hasn't. We couldn't work out why it feels like that but it's a bonus...

Brakes using soft linings within relined hubs worked very well, bearing in mind also that this was after the trial and the bike had been through water a good few times.

In summary then, I thought the Motak was a very nice bike, easy to manage, giving the rider confidence, thanks to a smooth but strong engine and nicely set up suspension and brakes. A credit to the owner/builder

The Vazquez 250. Very similar in feel to the Motak in terms of chassis, handling and suspension. This one has had the steering pulled back a little but it felt very similar to the Motak, which hasn't. Confusing... Chassis mods are the usual Vazquez with lowered footrests etc.

The noticeable difference between the two was the engine. This bike has been ported whereas the Motak hasn't. This bike is softer off the pilot jet than the Motak and doesn't pick up as quickly or strongly - this doesn't mean it's flat, far from it. It's just not as strong off pilot, but more than adequate, However, once the it starts coming off the pilot, the revs really pick up quickly and it surges to a high revving top end - a result of the porting work no doubt and similar in character to my own 340 Vazquez.

In summary, another nice bike, again, easy to ride, everything works as it should and it gives the rider confidence.

The Vazquez 325. Identical to the 250 in terms of chassis mods etc.

I was interested to see how this engine compared to my own 340 motor. When I first got that back from having the work done, it was lightning quick off the throttle, thanks to a bit of porting and lightening of the flywheels. It had a modern feel to it as with the reduced flywheel weight, it built revs very quickly and couldn't easily be ridden at low revs without the clutch, having a tendency to stall.

This 325 was very similar when delivered from what I was told and was calmed down a bit to suit our more slippery conditions than the dry rocks of Spain. The motor was soft off the pilot jet and, could be ridden without the clutch without drama. It responded quickly enough off pilot without being snappy but the additional torque over the 250 was evident. But once you are off pilot, the revs build quickly, as with the 250 but much stronger - it pulls like hell. Nice. Very similar to my 340.

All three bikes were very nice to ride, all three had very smooth and predictable power delivery and had well set up motors, chassis and suspension. Of the two 250 bikes, I liked the initial power delivery of the Motak 280 as it was a little stronger and with the right main jet fitted I've no doubt would rev out very well too. The Vazquez would probably hit higher revs due to its porting, but the Motak wouldn't be far off it, but with a slightly better bottom end

I'll take one of each please....

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The 3 bikes Woody tried on Sunday were also in Telford show.

The 280 Motak Sherpa:

The 250 Vazquez Racing:

The 325 Vazquez Racing:

Just missing a 340 full power, all together with a Puma could do a nice test article in any magazine...

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Can't believe they did away with the seat.

Had the old Bultaco out on Sunday and being able to sit between sections was the highlight of my day.

Though I would gladly swap my old 340 for either of these two beauties surely a half decent stock bike is more than capable at any TS trial?

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Whilst I appreciate the skill and knowledge going into these bikes, am I the only one reading about these bikes with what can be best described as dread. I hate what has happened in the pre 65 scene with exotic specials costing thousands. Are we starting to see twinshock infected with this same cancer? I so hope not.

Stuart

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Whilst I appreciate the skill and knowledge going into these bikes, am I the only one reading about these bikes with what can be best described as dread. I hate what has happened in the pre 65 scene with exotic specials costing thousands. Are we starting to see twinshock infected with this same cancer? I so hope not.

Stuart

I agree with the above.

In average hands are they significantly better than the standard (when properly set up) product ??

Regards

Sparks

Edited by sparks2

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Can't believe they did away with the seat.

Had the old Bultaco out on Sunday and being able to sit between sections was the highlight of my day.

Though I would gladly swap my old 340 for either of these two beauties surely a half decent stock bike is more than capable at any TS trial?

yes i can not see any advantage of no seat, my ossa is as like an office chair but i once sat on a 500 ht ariel now that was comfy!

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I agree with the above.

In average hands are they significantly better than the standard (when properly set up) product ??

Regards

Sparks

I don't think you can compare the Vazquez bikes with what is happening in Pre65. Pre65 bikes in their standard form are pretty agricultural and the modernisation turns them into something that is more competitive than your average Bultaco / Ossa / Montesa etc. They bear no resemblance to the original and have few of the original parts.

These Spanish bikes are pretty well built to the spec that the factory gave to their supported riders as opposed to the bikes sold to customers. Blue-printed engines, properly built and set up, various stages of porting if required. Exhausts cut open and properly repacked, sometimes with a modified rear box to remove the baffles. Carburation set up perfectly, same with brakes, clutch. The chassis mods are just altered steering, if wanted, something that was done by some riders back in the day, and lowered footrests. The cosmetics, like a seat pad instead of a seat are just cosmetic.

They are still all Bultaco. They look and sound like a Bultaco. It's just that everything works as it should, they feel new, tight, because they are very well built and set up. If someone had the knowledge to do the work and the skill/means to do porting, tuning the engine to how you want it, it's nothing an owner couldn't do themselves. A works spec bike if you like. The cost comes from the labour involved and the cost of new parts which are getting ever more expensive.

Are they better than a 'normal' Sherpa. Yes, because of the above, but as I said, an owner could turn his normal Sherpa into one of these if he had the knowledge to do so. It's not like Pre65 where you'd have to engineer new yokes, hubs etc etc. All the parts are Bultaco, with the exception of the GasGas piston in the 280. But you could argue that has Bultaco origins....

Would it make any difference to an average rider in an average club trial on a well set up standard bike? Only in the way that it would probably give the rider more confidence through knowing that the bike will behave predictably and how they expect it too. But that's what these Spanish bikes are. Very well set up standard bikes. No specially made or expensive trick parts

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