Spring has sprung

Well Spring is here in Shropshire and we’ve had some stunning rides out recently in fantastic weather. Here’s a few pics of customers out enjoying the unseasonal sunshine.

 Jonathan Ian and Richard from N.Wales up on the Kerry Ridgeway

Ian group

Bright sunshine , beautiful scenery and dry, deserted trails. Life doesn’t get much better. This could be a scene from the Great Escape.

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Howie, Ken, David and Darrel. Some of my chums from the Shropshire and Powys Advanced Rider Group who came out for an AdventureRide day.

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Perfect conditions on Offa’s Dyke

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One of the challenges  running a trail riding service is getting the bikes cleaned , serviced and turned around  in between ride outs. The Pampera’s are tough, reliable bikes but there is always something which needs doing and I’ve found the only way to look after them properly is to hose them off and then get them up on the bench , remove the wheels and chain and go through everything from front to back checking fork seals , wheel bearings , suspension bushes, light bulbs etc etc. I set the bikes up in the same way as if I’m entering it in a long distance trial and this means the throttle has to snap shut cleanly when released, grips need to be lock-wired on and the clutch and brake have to be easily operated with one finger. The bikes must tickover evenly and have a very clean response especially at low throttle openings. To keep them in this condition requires a fairly intense maintenance programme and it’s one of the reasons I bought the Ossa – I wanted something low maintenance, new and reliable so I could concentrate on keeping the hire fleet up to snuff. Paradoxically the Ossa requires more pampering than the Pamperas and is taking up rather more time than anticipated to keep it in tip top nick. Read on…

Pamps queueing up for a makeover between hires, Ossa bringing up the rear

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Bits have been falling off the Ossa with embarrassing regularity, first things to start flapping loose were the side panels, easily rectified. Then there was seat mentioned in the previous post. The latest component to part company with the bike has been the rear mudguard;

Ossa mudguard

Now I know the sawn-off Bobber look is all the rage, but on an off- road bike all it does is give the rider a wet backside. Fortunately I was wearing a rucksack and was able to take the wreckage home with me . Apparently the Ossa two year warranty doesn’t cover plastics and so I’m going to have to buy a replacement. Looking at the damage, the mudguard has sheared across its three mounting points and I suspect the combined weight of the indicators , number plate and tail light perched at the end of a shallow convex cantilever structure  have created the failure. I anticpate the replacement will do exactly the same and therefore I intend to reinforce it before I fit it. It’s all a bit galling on what is effectively a new machine .

Taking any kind of emotion out of the equation I feel what Ossa have done is taken a very soundly designed trials bike and tacked on some stuff to make it road legal and suitable for longer distances . It’s this peripheral stuff which seems to be letting the side down – a clever design let down by poor execution. Take the side stand for instance. A decent side stand is a must on a trail  bike where the rider may have to open half a dozen gates during a typical day out. The Ossa side stand is beautifully-made forged item, more than strong enough to support a 74kg bike. The trouble is the the side stand is attached to the swing arm via some pressed in threaded inserts and these are already  working loose suggesting  an imminent failure is on the cards. Like I said , poor execution.

Despite this I still enjoy riding the bike and as the engine beds in and loosens up it’s performance  impresses more and more. It’s flexibility and ability to climb steep gradients in high gears is truly astounding . When I’ve sorted these niggles out I’m sure it will settle down into a good bike.  Meanwhile at least it continues to provide some light entertainment for customers following behind wondering what’s going to drop off next.

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