Back to square one?

It’s been a busy week at Adventure Ride. It started off well and I had the pleasure of sharing the trails with some great people but I’m sat here typing this instead of driving down to Cornwall to take part in the Land’s End Trial.

Church stretton

One of my customers enjoying the view from the Burway after a long day in the saddle

I’d done a lot of work getting the Ossa ready for the Land’s End sorting out the various issues and broken bits in preparation for entering the 350 mile event. I should mention at this stage that I’ve received absolutely no support from Ossa UK who appear to have disowned the bike [more of this later]. Having done all the prep and fitted auxiliary lighting and an illuminated road book holder I felt all was well and took it for a quick test ride to bed- in a fresh chain. It developed a misfire , refused to idle and cut out on descents which, due to the compression, would lock the rear wheel on loose surfaces. A plug change resolved the problem briefly but it soon returned suggesting something more serious was amiss. On a modern bike with EFI and engine management there’s not much you can do in a home workshop to trace or fix a fault of this nature. I must confess to having reached the limit of patience with the bike and  thoughts of nursing it through the night on a long distance trial finally sapped all my enthusiasm and I threw it in the van and dropped it off at the local Ossa dealer.  Ian at  Trials and Tribulations [who , it should be pointed out, is in no way responsible for any of the ongoing issues with the bike, which came direct from Ossa UK]  is going to try and sort it today but I have a feeling it won’t be fixed in time for the trial and I’ve resigned myself to a DNS.

Strange to tell but in all the years of doing the Land’s End , Exeter and Edinburgh trials on a variety of 30 year old bikes I’ve had a modicum of success and only had two mechanical failures . Since converting to modern bikes last year I’ve failed to complete the past three events. I’d hoped the acquisition of a new Explorer was going to end the run of unreliability but instead it seems to be contributing to it!

My motorcycling buddies have been observing the Ossa shenanigans with morbid fascination and I think were surprised when I said I was going to enter it in the Land’s End. I can already hear a resounding “told you so…”

But where do we go from here? I really like the bike and want to stick with it and as far as I can see , all the issues can be fixed. The problem is , I’m not getting any help or feedback from the importer to the extent where there seems little point in emailing them anymore. When I collected the bike, Ossa UK made it clear the warranty only covered parts, however, in the official documentation [which came with the bike from Ossa in Spain] it clearly states the warranty is for parts and labour. I’ve also been  told the warranty doesn’t cover plastics [mudguards, side panels etc] but again this seems at odds with what Ossa Spain say . The warranty states cosmetic deterioration is excluded – understandably given the nature of the bike –  but nowhere does it state a failure of a plastic part is not covered by the guarantee.

Next week I’m going to contact Ossa in Spain and hopefully we’ll be able to move forward with a clearly defined plan, in the meantime I’ll be interested to see what the diagnostics tell us at Ian’s shop.


Out and about last week, note the Touratech road book holder mounted on the ‘bars, essential kit for long distance trials




5 thoughts on “Back to square one?

  1. sorry to hear all the trouble you are reporting with the ossa,you will probably remember i booked a day with you and two friends particularly to ride the intention was to purchase a new bike from ossa [nigel birkett] as soon as one was available.i like you was smitten with the concept. i am also dissapointed with the service i have encounterd with them [ quoted end of march] and so far not even a phone call . so coupled with your tribulations and their lack of interest they have lost a sale.Not a satisfactory outcome for me because i really liked the bike. might have to go down the 4rt route with a long ride seat. or just not bother.

    • Well it seems to be one-all in the ‘shall I, shant I ‘ stakes, so any-body else with an ossa explorer with a story to tell. Come -on they must have sold more than 2

  2. Wow how different do we see things!!!
    I have had an OSSA explorer for a over a year now. I do LDT’s, local trials & MCC trials.
    OK so here are my experiences:
    • The support I get from OSSA UK is second to none. Over the years I have bought 6 bikes off Birkett Motorsport. Scorpa TRide’s, SY 125 Scorpa’s & an OSSA Explorer. Never had an issue with support or spares, not that my OSSA has needed them.
    • I took off the indicators. I suppose old fashioned arm signals do me.
    • I have fitted an LED light & illuminated road book from the indicator T block, no issue.
    • I always use R plugs as I had a “no start” issue on my bike when I used a non resistor plug.
    • Yes the mudguard has weak fixings, but I resolved that with a 3mm polycarbonate strip under the mudguard held on by 2 cable ties on the sub-frame. Now I carry a spare litre of fuel on the mudguard no issue!
    • I have never had an issue with the side-stand & in fact moved the spring to the front lug cutting off the rear lug so it does not self retract. If you always use plumbers tape on the bolts & you will not have an issue.
    • Mud entering the sub-frame tray was easily resolved with a piece of one inch thick foam. Now I do carry cereal bars in under-seat tray.
    OK I suppose you could say I do not use my bike as hard, but local trials & LDT’s would suggest that I do give it a good work out, particularly as I am no expert & have been known on more than one occasion to have the OSSA flying without me!
    Yes I fettle my bikes, maintain them, see an issue & work it out, always using the motto of simple solutions for simple problems.
    So in all I am very happy with the support I get & the product I have bought.

  3. Hello Lionel,
    Many thanks for your comment , it’s always useful to have an alternative view on things and I’m pleased you’ve been getting good service from Nigel and the Explorer. Sadly my experience has not been as positive, in fact I’ve tried writing to the factory who have also ignored my emails . What’s even more disturbing is I’ve called the factory on a couple of occasions and the phone has simply rung and rung without anybody answering it! None of this is currently boosting my confidence in Ossa or its products.

    • Bob
      Just returned from another LDT where there where 2 Explorers taking part.
      Neither missed a beat & both finished the trial…
      My points score was not winning & offs the order of the day.
      Mud galore, slime a plenty and grip the privilege of the talented few.
      So will be preparing my Explorer for my next weeks LDT with no anticipation of a DNS or even worse a DNF.

      On the subject of “factory support”, I wonder what response one would get from Yamaha, Honda or KTM factory, short shrift me thinks…
      My logic says if the mudguard is an issue & you bash it about half as much as me, then its my riding that causing damage. Yes I’ve strengthened it, but that’s because I abuse it & for all the contracts in the world I could not justify a warranty claim…
      So onwards & upwards & the next time I fly through the air with the greatest of ease landing on my rear mudguard I will ask Birkett if it comes under warranty, but I suspect “no” might be the polite response, but I know it will be said with a smile!!!

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