1980 Montesa Cota 349 Trials Bike
When I first started my life on motorcycles I was one lucky kid, my step dad was into any form of riding and racing. We rode ‘hare and hounds’, ‘scrambles’, moto-cross (of which I was not good at…), enduro’s, we even tried trials riding once. Michael was actually pretty good at it, me on the other hand…not so much. I don’t remember exactly where we tried our hands at Trials, I think it was at Saddleback Cycle Park in Orange County California. It was right after we saw ‘On Any Sunday’, and something about watching the trials rider segment had both of us saying out loud “We gotta try that!”.
We were fortunate enough to have our friends at Steve’s Bultaco in Van Nuys California loan us a couple of Bultaco Sherpa T’s to go have some fun. I think they figured I couldn’t do as much damage to those as I did to the Pursang’s I got each year…they were wrong. Not really…I didn’t hurt the Sherpa.
Trials riding is a talent, that even back then was beyond most motorcyclists skill level. Trials requires forethought more than reaction because you’re riding a motorcycle slower than most people normally walk…including your grandmother and her walker. A trials bike will do things no other motorcycle will do and most riders aren’t capable of. If you think stunt riders are good, watch a modern Trials exhibition and you will see the true masters. I sort of wished I had pursued trials riding more…nah…I’ll watch those guys go slow up rock walls and down impossible stream beds over logs bigger around than a VW Bug…much more entertaining. Besides, I figured out in one day I wasn’t that good at it.
Always on the search for unique vintage motorcycles, I came upon a Montesa Cota Trials bike on ebay, it got me to do some research both on Montesa and Trials in general. The Montesa story is really good. Started in 1944 by Pedro Permanyer and Francis Bulto. The first bikes were based on the Motobecane machines from France. They were small bikes at the time, 50-65 cc, and later moved up to 125cc which they entered in the 1951 International Six Days Trials. At the direction of Sr. Bulto, Montesa also built a roadracer that won its class multiple times at the Isle of Man TT.
In 1958 Paco Bulto left Montesa and started Bultaco motorcycles. It was in 1967 that Montesa first started building Trials bikes and hired Malcolm Rathmell, later to become world champion aboard a Montesa to ride and develop the machines. There is more great Montesa history to be found at www.southwestmontesa.com.
The Montesa I found today is a 1980 Cota 349. It is a beautiful bike that would just perfect to ride in Vintage Trials meets, which are becoming quite popular thanks to organizations like AHRMA and Twin Shock Trials Association. This particular bike I found on ebay is ready to ride today and quite reasonably priced…so far. Having ridden a couple of Montesa’s in the past I can say this would be a wonderful bike to have for just plonking around the local hills and canyons or to do some serious old school trials riding. Another thing cool about Montesa’s is that quite a few very famous people rode them.
Click on the pic’s below for more pictures and info.