Orig­i­nal and un­re­stored

Montesa Cota 310 To be hon­est, this sec­tion in CDB was one we thought might last for three, maybe four is­sues be­fore the sub­ject mat­ter dried up. But no, it seems there are more un­touched dirt bikes out there than even we thought...

Classic Dirtbike - - Contents - Words and pics: Tim Brit­ton

Some­times a bike just man­ages to sur­vive in an un­touched state as events sur­round­ing the owner mean they don’t use it in anger – such is this 310 Cota.

Montesa man­aged to sur­vive the tur­moil which was the tri­als scene of the late Sev­en­ties and into the Eight­ies when Spain’s man­u­fac­tur­ing base was faced with a shrink­ing mar­ket and re­stric­tive em­ploy­ment con­di­tions which pre­vented staff re­duc­tion. The Barcelona-based com­pany coped with these un­set­tling times by en­cour­ag­ing a tie-up with Honda, a match which worked well for both com­pa­nies. Honda got ac­cess to Europe with a man­u­fac­tur­ing base and Montesa could de­velop their tri­als bike range to re­flect the chang­ing na­ture of the sport.

The com­pany re­ceived a wel­come PR gift when Toni Gor­got won the SSDT on his sec­ond at­tempt at the trial and the com­pany’s deal with Honda around the same time en­sured the new breed of Montesa tri­als bikes would see light of day. This ac­tiv­ity put Montesa back on the club rider’s ‘must have’ list.

How­ever, with the 330 and 335 be­ing re­ally in­terim and de­vel­op­ment mod­els, some­thing

more was needed and when the 310 was in­tro­duced it looked as if the tri­als world had pretty much got what it needed – a light, tech­ni­cally ad­vanced ma­chine which met all the needs of the world tri­als scene yet could be han­dled by the club­man.

This par­tic­u­lar Cota 310 be­longed to a friend of Husqvarna dealer Charles Pre­ston and Charles had the sad task of mov­ing it on af­ter his friend passed away. The Cota has done very lit­tle in its life and seems to be re­mark­ably stan­dard though there is some dis­pute on the colour scheme. Those that know Montesa say it’s a later scheme, while as far as can be de­ter­mined the plas­tics are pretty stan­dard. Could be one of those anom­alies that abound in our world but what­ever the rea­son the bike is in rea­son­able con­di­tion. Montesa had con­tin­ued the trend they started – their 348 model for in­stance was 310cc – and the 310 Cota air-cooled en­gine is ac­tu­ally 258cc. It’s a short stroke power unit which pro­duces quite a bit of pep for the hoppy boppy style of tri­als rid­ing which had come into play by 1990.

Be­ing short stroke the mo­tor is quite com­pact but still has room for six gears in­side the cases and a re­li­able elec­tronic ig­ni­tion sys­tem… younger rid­ers be thank­ful you’ve not had to deal with a dead con­denser…in the wet…in win­ter.

Montesa had adopted the mono-shock sus­pen­sion sys­tem some years ear­lier and for the 310 had a Mar­zoc­chi unit with their own link­age de­sign on the back. Mar­zoc­chi too pro­vided the USD – Up Side Down – forks for the front. It’s a mis­take to think USD was a pass­ing fad as they worked but the vul­ner­a­ble stan­chions needed pro­tect­ing from rocks as any dam­age to them would mean loss of damp­ing.

All in all the Montesa was a great pack­age and brought faith back to the com­pany name as well as pro­vid­ing club rid­ers with a com­pet­i­tive ma­chine. The down­side though was with all the fancy set­tings avail­able to tune sus­pen­sion it was pos­si­ble to make the bike un­ride­able if you weren’t care­ful. Few club rid­ers un­der­stood the in­tri­ca­cies of damp­ing and re­bound and oil grade well enough to make in­formed choices. )

No mis­take with the model name or num­ber is there.

Water­cool­ing was a way off yet but al­most there.

A good project for some­one.

Ro­bust clutch and six- speeds was the way for­ward.

Drum brakes were out by 1990, the mod­ern gen­er­a­tion wanted to stop.

Sus­pen­sion travel on monoshocks meant a re­mote re­sevoir for the gas.

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