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70s Bultaco, Montesa or Ossa?

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9 hours ago, trialsrfun said:

The Yamaha TY twin shock bikes are a Japanese take on the OSSA MAR

Yes. But which one is better and why?

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By far the Bultaco has been easiest to get parts for. My 199 has been both ultra reliable and fantastic to ride.

A fe years back I had a cota 349 and loved it. 

My ossa is a 303 and while not as fun, the cool factor is off the charts.

its one of the last 1000 made in around 1983. At next weekends meet I may ride it on the easy line just to try it out. 

 

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I've had all the bikes mentioned, also in the early years when they were new. The Yamaha was easily the best, and that is said begrudgingly, because I loved the Spanish bikes. They seemed to me to be more pure than the damn cheeky Japanese upstart - for no apparent reason whatsoever. The Yamaha moved the game on, and was new as opposed to being a further development of older technology that was coming out of Spain.

However, you said Spanish, so no to the Yam, despite it being the best equipped as a pure machine for tacking stuff. It would get you over more than any of the 3 Spanish bikes you mentioned given the same rider, easily. Of the 3 you're choosing from, Bultaco by some margin. Montesa and Ossa are great, but Ossa spares are getting harder to find and are also older than the last Bultacos. Montesa, you can get good and bad ones, but again, some spares can be an issue. Bultaco spares are plentiful, the bikes are lovely and easy to trick up from standard.

I'm not entirely convinced that any of the 3 bikes would make you a better rider, but I am convinced that what you can do on one, you can do on any of the others, so go with the least running/sourcing headaches? Bultaco all day long.

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21 hours ago, feetupfun said:

Yes. But which one is better and why?

Couldn't resist commenting on this David. I've had and been riding TY Yams since 1987. Had loads of different bikes,but only ridden one Ossa - It was Mick's own highly modded bike. It felt right and very familiar straight away,apart from running without a tickover which took a bit of getting used to.

For the average owner I think the Yam has it , simply because they are so right to start with and are so easy to look after and repair.(Very rare to need repairs unless a farmer has had hold of it for years rounding cattle up with it.)

Edited by jon v8
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I had a 1976 Bultaco 191 but couldn't get used to the right hand gearchange. I now have a 1981 Montesa 349 and don't find myself changing down when I want the rear brake ?

Bought both from the twinshock shop in Sidmouth so you may be local?

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Which ever bike you decide to go with here are a few things to consider.

1 If the bike has a fibre glass tank then it will most likely be suffering from the dreaded Ethanol poisoning. 

2 If the fuel tank is plastic then Ethanol can affect the plastic by making it soft and other lovely side effects.

Ethanol proof tanks are to be found but they cost! 

3 Early Bultacos if ridden hard i.e. lots of jumping and hitting bumps really hard such as sudo scrambling can cause the frame to bend. Check down near the swing arm as the frame can crack where the side tubes meet the main down tube. Look for signs of repair.

4 The Bultaco frame tubes under the engine can get distorted and push up against the timing and clutch cases causing them to wear and leak.

5 Spares are available for all the main Spanish makes. Do some research on the internet to compare prices. 

6 Such things as crankshaft main bearings, seals and gearbox bearings run at about the same cost be it a Montesa, Bultaco or Ossa. Con-rods and big ends are £100+ then you have the fitting to bear in mind.

7 Some Montesas had an alloy tank under a fibre glass shelter. Some Ossas had an alloy tank. Alloy tanks on Bultaco trials are rare, Sammy Miller did produce an alloy tank and seat unit but the majority of these usually split at the rear of the tank next to the seat panels. 

There are some really good machines out there you just have to find the right one. I have had 3 Bultacos a 1972 L regd 325, a 1980 350 and a1972 250. The engines are very straight forward to work on and very few special tools are needed, I managed to make mine. 

The Yamaha TY 250 is not the best at steering in the tight naggery stuff hence the John Shirt Majesty kits which altered pretty much everything and made the TY perform well. Engines are not the easiest to work on and the cases are magnesium as are the brake back plates so look for corrosion as this can render the component scrap.

Ossas are finicky and the gearbox has to be shimmed correctly. Probably the best bike in a tight spot and very stable if in good order.

Montesas are well thought out machines with grease nipples in abundance, they are relatively tough and usually very reliable if correctly maintained.

Value added are things to look for, electronic ignition, replacement carb correctly set up, fancy suspension although it may not suit you, your weight etc being a factor. Modified footrests, ok for some but the purists hate them.

Hope this info is helpful and that you get a cracking bike that you can enjoy?? 

 

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On 9/11/2019 at 8:44 PM, section swept said:

Which ever bike you decide to go with here are a few things to consider.

1 If the bike has a fibre glass tank then it will most likely be suffering from the dreaded Ethanol poisoning. 

2 If the fuel tank is plastic then Ethanol can affect the plastic by making it soft and other lovely side effects.

Ethanol proof tanks are to be found but they cost! 

3 Early Bultacos if ridden hard i.e. lots of jumping and hitting bumps really hard such as sudo scrambling can cause the frame to bend. Check down near the swing arm as the frame can crack where the side tubes meet the main down tube. Look for signs of repair.

4 The Bultaco frame tubes under the engine can get distorted and push up against the timing and clutch cases causing them to wear and leak.

5 Spares are available for all the main Spanish makes. Do some research on the internet to compare prices. 

6 Such things as crankshaft main bearings, seals and gearbox bearings run at about the same cost be it a Montesa, Bultaco or Ossa. Con-rods and big ends are £100+ then you have the fitting to bear in mind.

7 Some Montesas had an alloy tank under a fibre glass shelter. Some Ossas had an alloy tank. Alloy tanks on Bultaco trials are rare, Sammy Miller did produce an alloy tank and seat unit but the majority of these usually split at the rear of the tank next to the seat panels. 

There are some really good machines out there you just have to find the right one. I have had 3 Bultacos a 1972 L regd 325, a 1980 350 and a1972 250. The engines are very straight forward to work on and very few special tools are needed, I managed to make mine. 

The Yamaha TY 250 is not the best at steering in the tight naggery stuff hence the John Shirt Majesty kits which altered pretty much everything and made the TY perform well. Engines are not the easiest to work on and the cases are magnesium as are the brake back plates so look for corrosion as this can render the component scrap.

Ossas are finicky and the gearbox has to be shimmed correctly. Probably the best bike in a tight spot and very stable if in good order.

Montesas are well thought out machines with grease nipples in abundance, they are relatively tough and usually very reliable if correctly maintained.

Value added are things to look for, electronic ignition, replacement carb correctly set up, fancy suspension although it may not suit you, your weight etc being a factor. Modified footrests, ok for some but the purists hate them.

Hope this info is helpful and that you get a cracking bike that you can enjoy?? I k

 

I wouldn t ague with any of that well thought out reply except..... I think the original yamaha steers beautifully, mine has modded footrests thats all, and its a joy to ride. I dont get this hang up with majesty's yes they are nice, I had a late godden framed 320, all bells and whistles.. but for the man on the street.. a well maintained, subtly modded original , well running ..perhaps electronic ignition ( mine hasn"t )TY is a super bike.. This was about spanish bikes.. but ignore the yamaha at your peril. 

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Section Swept, as with Metisse I agree with most of what you said apart from some of the Yamaha comments. The main thing being the way they steer, they are very good  - one thing that the Majesty frames did not alter was the steering angle,even today many riders try to improve them by using leading axle forks from the mono's - most go back to the originals. Mick did know what he was doing,and Yamaha were sensible enough to listen.

Also its only the outer clutch and magneto covers that are magnesium, the main crankcases are aluminium alloy that welds beautifully. The outer cases can usually be repaired nicely with JB weld or similar. I can't understand why you think they are difficult to work on... You want to try an AJS.Matchless motor if you think Yams are bad.

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On 9/13/2019 at 8:21 PM, jon v8 said:

Section Swept, as with Metisse I agree with most of what you said apart from some of the Yamaha comments. The main thing being the way they steer, they are very good  - one thing that the Majesty frames did not alter was the steering angle,even today many riders try to improve them by using leading axle forks from the mono's - most go back to the originals. Mick did know what he was doing,and Yamaha were sensible enough to listen.

Also its only the outer clutch and magneto covers that are magnesium, the main crankcases are aluminium alloy that welds beautifully. The outer cases can usually be repaired nicely with JB weld or similar. I can't understand why you think they are difficult to work on... You want to try an AJS.Matchless motor if you think Yams are bad.

The TY engine is more difficult than say a Bultaco if you are new to engine work. Otherwise with care they can be sometimes less problematical. I don't think I mentioned crank cases, sorry if I confused anyone I was referring to the outer cases. 

I still have the AJS factory supplied gudgeon pin circlip pliers that came with bikes tool kit, they’re dinky but so useful. They are a permanent guest in my top tool box drawer?

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I used to sell brand new Yamahas, road, trial and enduro. John Shirt was not too far away from my shop so naturally I sold some of his kits and other items too. The difference between a factory standard TY and a Majesty were chalk and cheese. The TY’s were better made than some of the Spanish offerings and my personal favourite is/was the TY 250 E. I thought the mark one version was too bulky looking more like a scrambler with a low front mudguard, my opinion. I got to ride John’s development Majesty 320 which had a YZ80 front hub and other bits for testing. This was at a test day that I organised at a local quarry, many people were offered the chance to try standard TY125, 175 and 250 machines. A few were offered a try on a Majesty 175, 250 and some tried Johns bike including me as I already said. The standard TY was slow to turn whereas the Majesty was much quicker and more predictable....yes Mr. Andrews certainly knows his stuff and he and John produced excellent results. Yamaha were struggling to sell the TY range and did pretty much anything to shift stock. The Importers at the time, Mitsui, Oakcroft Road, Chessington. would lend you a demo bike without much difficulty at all. I borrowed a TY 125 for a charity weekend event, we rigged the throttle so it couldn’t be revved high. Set up an easy obstacle route ( the event was in a riverside park) and used straw bales to prevent running into any people. We charged a nominal 50p for two laps. The guys working on a nearby fun fair, also part if the event queued up and paid their 50p except some thought they could overcome the restricted throttle...it held! So what with those guys and the public that waited patiently for their go the 125 was running virtually continually for Saturday and most of Sunday. The TY 125 was great bike running faultlessly, using a tiny amount of oil ( we kept it standard so it retained the oil injection) and my partsman only went for fuel a few times. So I feel justified when I say the TY steers slow when compared to some of the other machines on sale at the time. Just fitting longer rear damper units at the rear would quicken the steering a modicum. There is somewhere on the web a whole story on modding the TY frame and steering head angle to quicken the steering. Lets not forget that the TY range was aimed at the larger USA market, so it was in Yamahas best interest to produce a bike that had reasonably stable steering and not too twitchy as they realised that many TY’s would be used on the trails rather than trials.?  

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I dont think Yamaha had any trouble selling the Ty 125 / 175 in the the late seventies every school boy and many adults campaigned them to great sucess, wasn t it the 250 that struggled in terms of sales, hence Majesty hooved them up cheap, and rest is history.  Didnt the Majesty's come out to try and compete against the emerging Fantic invasion, so they were not really like for like against the mid to late seventies Spanish bikes.   I think we need to step back a little the quirks and mods that make bikes better and the level of rider that can actually benefit from all these.  Is a novice \ intermediate rider really going to notice a slightly quicker steering riding his level of section, I still maintain a good rider on a good TY 175 / 250 could compete in classic trials at a very good level.  The debate has moved to tempt the poster on this subject to look at the Yamaha of the time, as a comparable or even better alternative.

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5 hours ago, metisse said:

I dont think Yamaha had any trouble selling the Ty 125 / 175 in the the late seventies every school boy and many adults campaigned them to great sucess, wasn t it the 250 that struggled in terms of sales, hence Majesty hooved them up cheap, and rest is history.  Didnt the Majesty's come out to try and compete against the emerging Fantic invasion, so they were not really like for like against the mid to late seventies Spanish bikes.   I think we need to step back a little the quirks and mods that make bikes better and the level of rider that can actually benefit from all these.  Is a novice \ intermediate rider really going to notice a slightly quicker steering riding his level of section, I still maintain a good rider on a good TY 175 / 250 could compete in classic trials at a very good level.  The debate has moved to tempt the poster on this subject to look at the Yamaha of the time, as a comparable or even better alternative.

There is a great big void when it comes to rider ability and ‘any’ machine they care to ride. I agree with you entirely, ‘a good rider on a ( should we be saying standard  here?) TY 175 or TY 250 could compete in classic trials at a very good level’....and I’m sure they do. Certainly Mr. Shirt and Co hovered up the remaining stock, if I remember correctly the 250 came one per crate but the 175 and 125’ came in two per crate. But they did not  hoover up that many! Yamaha were more concerned with the many hundreds that were languishing unsold and un ordered by the dealer network in the US, plus other parts of the world. Another issue that was troubling potential buyers was that some felt the power delivery for the 250 was too abrupt, a rumour or otherwise distraction put about by some to steer customers in another direction! The other concern was the TY was more heavy than some of the other options. My own thoughts on the TY were considered on my experience of dismantling brand new TY’s, then building them back up again using Majesty frame kits. The ground clearance was a bit low, The lighting system, wiring harness and switch gear were too road orientated i.e. some of it straight off the DT range. The handlebars were flimsy and weak at each bend...most people would throw the OE one away and fit aluminium. The exhaust was a bit heavy and restrictive, entirely understandable considering street use noise rules etc. So lots of extras needed if you were going to be seriously trialing, where as the Fantic was a different ball game, lighter and better steering, less threatening engine, all the right bits on the bike from the start. There were quite a few Fantics being campaigned by riders that either got a brilliant discount or free even to use, that was a marketing strategy that put Fantic in the buying publics eye, not sitting around in a case in a warehouse waiting to be bought. 

Whatever stpauls buys I’m sure they will enjoy their ride. Cumulatively we have provided more than enough information and history enabling a decent machine to be purchased. ? 

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On 9/19/2019 at 2:51 AM, section swept said:

I used to sell brand new Yamahas, road, trial and enduro. John Shirt was not too far away from my shop so naturally I sold some of his kits and other items too. The difference between a factory standard TY and a Majesty were chalk and cheese. The TY’s were better made than some of the Spanish offerings and my personal favourite is/was the TY 250 E. I thought the mark one version was too bulky looking more like a scrambler with a low front mudguard, my opinion. I got to ride John’s development Majesty 320 which had a YZ80 front hub and other bits for testing. This was at a test day that I organised at a local quarry, many people were offered the chance to try standard TY125, 175 and 250 machines. A few were offered a try on a Majesty 175, 250 and some tried Johns bike including me as I already said. The standard TY was slow to turn whereas the Majesty was much quicker and more predictable....yes Mr. Andrews certainly knows his stuff and he and John produced excellent results. Yamaha were struggling to sell the TY range and did pretty much anything to shift stock. The Importers at the time, Mitsui, Oakcroft Road, Chessington. would lend you a demo bike without much difficulty at all. I borrowed a TY 125 for a charity weekend event, we rigged the throttle so it couldn’t be revved high. Set up an easy obstacle route ( the event was in a riverside park) and used straw bales to prevent running into any people. We charged a nominal 50p for two laps. The guys working on a nearby fun fair, also part if the event queued up and paid their 50p except some thought they could overcome the restricted throttle...it held! So what with those guys and the public that waited patiently for their go the 125 was running virtually continually for Saturday and most of Sunday. The TY 125 was great bike running faultlessly, using a tiny amount of oil ( we kept it standard so it retained the oil injection) and my partsman only went for fuel a few times. So I feel justified when I say the TY steers slow when compared to some of the other machines on sale at the time. Just fitting longer rear damper units at the rear would quicken the steering a modicum. There is somewhere on the web a whole story on modding the TY frame and steering head angle to quicken the steering. Lets not forget that the TY range was aimed at the larger USA market, so it was in Yamahas best interest to produce a bike that had reasonably stable steering and not too twitchy as they realised that many TY’s would be used on the trails rather thantrials.?  

The 250c I ride occasionally had the steering head angle modified around 99 to the same angle as the Beta of the same year by the New Zealand Beta importer's son, we stood both bikes side by side last year which confirmed what we suspected. Even with the newly lengthened swingarm this bike steers really well, as a bonus ground clearance is slightly increased without going to the extent of lifting the motor in the frame like Majesty did

Weight is more of a problem on the more common A models than the later bikes with their steel tanks & bulbous aluminium clutch & ignition covers, I haven't looked for the claimed weight difference between an A & C or later bike but the aluminium tank & narrower magnesium sidecovers I would think there would have to be 2kg saved

Like everything not every bike suits everyone, what works for me could be totally wrong for you. Once you've decided on how important parts supply is to you it's best to try as many of the remaining options as possible, it's no good buying a bike that is easy to get parts for if you don't get on with it

 

Edited by tony27
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