Never thought I would see the day when I felt a frission of excitement over a 250cc motocycle unless it was a two stroke. My 250 Ossa Trials bike I bought from the late Jimmy Morton down in Ayrshire after seeing the beautiful green machine on his stand in the MacLellan Galleries just off Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow the last time the Scottish Motorcycle Show was held there filled me with anticipation – only to disappoint. Out on the hills it wouldn’t pull the skin off a rice pudding – at least not until I met Keith Horsman at the annual Scottish Six Days Trial in Fort William.
He reckoned what it needed for some extra puff was a reed valve up it’s chuff so at the end of the trial my green Ossa was loaded onto his pickup along with the royalty of the trials word – European/World Champion Martin Lampkin and his works 325 Bultaco (or had he moved to SWM by then – it was a long time ago) and Rob Shepherd with his rare 310cc? fourstroke Works Honda for the trip back to Chris’s Yorkshire workshop. When I went down to collect my rejuvenated Ossa a couple of weeks later – I found myself travelling in the oldest – creakingest lift I’d ever encountered – the workshop was on the top floor of an defunct cotton or was it a woollen mill – both man and machine travelled in this contraption. The oily smell wafting past my nostrils from my keyboard as nostalgia kicks in certainly isn’t two stroke oil – it’s definitely sheep based – and it’s the oil from the wool that steeped into the floors back when the mill was doing the job it was built for.
Back in Scotlandwith my bike I soon found that Kieth knew his stuff when it came to twostrokes and reed valves – boy did she have some grunt! The Loch Lomond and Aberfeldy Two Day Trials were my favourites – tough 70 and 80 mile days with countless observed sections over and around the Loch Lomondside Mountains and the Schiehallion – Kinloch Rannoch – Aberfeldy testers were made for her – even if I struggled. Yup – the revitalised ‘works’ Ossa soon showed up the inadequacies of the rider – such is life.
So where are we going with this? To Honda and their promised CRF250 Rally bike – copied from their brilliant Dakar 450 version. The tiddler might just be what I need to feel comfortable on the greasy forestry and hill tracks here in the wet west of Scotland —
At a reputed 150 odd kgs she should weigh in about 50-60kgs lighter than my current mount – the Yamaha XT660Z Tenere.
Yes – I do fall off the Tall Ten more often than I used to when the going get’s tough and I’m beginning to feel the strain when I have to hoik the 200 plus kgs of big brute shiny side up again.
Not surpising really – I will be 75 on Tues 21st and I can’t think of a better birthday present than this presumably docile lightweight —
OK – the decals are aimed at a younger crowd – but nothing that a blast of matt black from a Halfords spray can won’t fix if the standard finish proves to frighten the local wildlife —
The first thing I did with the Tall Ten when I bought her new nine years ago was to stick a pannier either side – strap my camping gear across the back and head for the Balkans – but I can’t see that perch on the Honda being good for 400 mile days.
Might just have to ‘lower my aspirations’ as the surgeon declared when he told me that hill-walking would be out of the question after he fitted the promised new knee joint – ‘walking around your local supermarket would be a more realistic target’ according to him. Needless to say I cancelled the proposed op and I’m still ‘hirpling’ on with the pins god gave me – still struggling to walk up a modest hill – but still able to stand on the pegs for as long as it takes – it’s sitting that hurts.
What’s not to like about this lil beaut? Check out that swingarm fer instance – proper alloy job – looks to be a sensible longer length too –
No doubt to accommodate that proper-sized 18ins rear wheel needed for proper off-road tyres.
As Guy Martin would say – especially now that he has signed with Honda to race at the IoM TT this year – ‘that looks like a ‘proper’ bike —
C’mon Mr Honda – we can’t ride photos – time you had them in the dealers in the flesh:-)