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New bike time


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After having a nice chat with SWMBO i managed to convince her that me buying a new ( old ) trials bike would be a good idea. I currently ride my 1936 trial Panther in my local clubs pre 57 series. But I fancy spreading my wheels a bit and doing some modern ( but still easy) trials. Plus I have just applied to join shilton club and it would be a good idea to have a newer bike to dick about on. So I'm looking at around 2010 bikes ( still cheap and there seem to be plenty about). So my question is Which to avoid. I don't intend and probably will never be able to ride up the side of buildings and do stuff like bunny hopping. Its more just for a nice bike to ride at my leisure and do very basic trials. I'm quite taken with a cota 4rt as i Like the 4 strokes. Are they a nice easy to ride bike. Or should I go for a Gas Gas or something like that? Is there any advantage to a 2 stroke over a 4 stroke ( obviusly weight and compactness ). is one easier to ride than the other?

I'm a total newb to modern bikes.

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Well I’m pretty gobsmacked that a couple of days after your post you’ve not been swamped with strong opinions in all directions 🤔. So, here goes with a few basic observations of mine to give you some outline of the ‘old’ modern bikes. You’re obviously familiar with bikes in general looking at your bike list, so the usual applies to find what looks like a well maintained & not abused one. With regard to each brand, well they’re all going to be good enough for you to ‘dick about on’ and do some easy trials, you really won’t need anything other than a 250 although loads of people say a beta evo 200 is the perfect beginner bike. 2010 is a fairly good start point year wise, Gas Gas & Beta both brought out new chassis in 09 with pretty much same engines as previous models, and current bikes are still tweaked versions of the same with a few changes each year (some worth it & some probably not so). GG just carried on with the ‘txt pro’ name while beta called their new one the ‘evo’ after using ‘rev’ as model name for years. They both did various capacities and ‘racing’ or ‘replica’ versions with higher spec parts or state of tune etc. Worth noting that betas are odd in the sense that they all have left side kickstart if that’s any problem to you, but they also produced a four stroke in 250 or 300cc in virtually the same chassis, which seem well regarded. Sherco are a bit different in that they brought out a model around 2011 or 12 I think which had a rear mounted fuel tank. It looked like it had silencers both sides until you looked more closely, but it necessitated a pump to lift fuel up to the carb, and I understand this system was a troublesome feature for many owners, and sherco reverted back to the more conventional setup after just a couple of years. Montesa of course have been producing trials bikes under Honda for years, firstly the 315r two stroke before the introduction of the 4rt four stroke. Both have legendary Honda build quality, a few say the 4rt is on the heavy side but I think you might be used to that ! Then there is scorpa, I think a lower volume manufacturer but still decent bikes. You might just come across a modern Ossa with very radical backwards facing barrel & fuel injection, but although these seemed pretty good at the time, they fell by the wayside & I believe some spares might be a bit tricky. Same goes for jotagas (JG), and there’s also TRS which are great bikes but much newer than you’re probably looking at.
I think a big factor for bikes that age is spares availability, GG beta & sherco seem to be well supported but some bits are hard to find or expensive (particularly plastics) so find what your local dealer supports best. There’s plenty of breakers though, and the aftermarket companies all do general items like levers, gaskets etc. They can all be tweaked for performance with fast or slow throttle tubes, varying base gaskets, etc etc. It’s down to personal preference obviously on the basic 2 Stroke/4 stroke debate, some find 4t hard to get along with. Best is to see if you can cadge a ride on a few different bikes to get a feel for how they are. I’m sure they’ll all ride a lot easier than an old panther though 😂. I had a few GG up to 2005, and currently an 09 evo, both have good points & bad but on the whole I wouldn’t say one is better than the other in build quality, (many will say otherwise) but I can only speak as I find.  Hope that helps you a bit & doesn’t cause too much backlash among those with more specialised brand knowledge or experience. I’m sure I’ll have missed something relevant but hopefully others can fill you in with more information.

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