Drakies box

Bultaco sounds like a stomping animal, Montesa a caress and then a whiplash but Ossa sounds like a breeze through the trees.

OK, I'm a little biased with my best years on them in the mid 1970s but I truly relied on them to get me through and out of some pretty extreme for the day riding terrain. If we are honest, we are really just playing around with our old iron now and bathing them in the glow of nostalgia; but in their heyday we used them and took them seriously.

With the Ossas Ross and I garnered from a collector who was supposedly restoring them (read: masking tape on the spokes while he sprayed the hubs, crud and all) we got a range of models and our aim is to do a few up to mint condition and keep, some to restore to riding condition and sell and one to replicate the mods I did to mine to make it useable today. I want a bike that I can trust to get me into and out of any stupid situation I throw it.

What this means is that I'm putting my BMW G450X on the backburner and seriously going to be using my Club Permit Rego'd 1977 Ossa 250 Super Pioneer as my everyday riding tool.

Now time is the enemy here: I'm not getting younger and going back to your favourite ride of the 70s is akin to dating your old love from that time and realising she really was ugly and your passion was just in your pants. Time also is a harsh reminder that we haven't gotten any younger or faster and I need to use what's left when I can. But in the cold harsh light of today I realise I'll never be able to use what the BMW can do as my skill set has never moved beyond the 70s. (Thanks to Dave Hammond and Steve Walker for getting on the BMW and doing things with it I would never be able to!) Time is also being chewed up with Blackwood house/workshop rebuilding and the need to balance the financial books and get a few Ossas up for sale. If it wasn't for bricklayer mate Kristen forcing me out for a ride when he's over and reminding me that the move to Blackwood was all about the bush being just 100m away; I'd still be muddling along consumed with the job at MA and the bike/house fix.

I really want to spend some time getting my ‘mojo' back with an Ossa. The 350 Super Pioneer you've seen me on was to be for sale but having owned it once (before I sold it to Juz and then he to the collector; I'm the second and fifth owner) and realising it was a rare and special bike (Juz claimed it was a great trailbike) I negotiated with Ross to keep it. Thank the lord for a sympathetic business partner with a similar obsession.

As soon as I got it started the exhaust note took me back and riding it around Blackwood it just felt like home. With a few little tweaks and some setup it was off to the bush tracks that had just been cleared of fallen trees and as the dozer had left the dirt loose and the corners bermed slightly it gave a ride so fine I knew I had made a decision.

However, the 350 will be an infrequent ride as I want to get a 250 as my everyday user. The frame has been up to GMC for bracket reinforcement and has been powdercoated. However, that's as far as it's gotten lately. With the HBBB over and just paperwork and receipts to reconcile I'm free to get bikes/house work underway.

I really do want to get to the stage where I can rely on this bike to rollup on ride with the locals on their modern bikes and show them that really, technology has just refined the basic concept and not revolutionised it. I will need to re learn how to rebuild the engine, what its limits are, how to make the suspension the best I can and so on. Getting back with your first love requires a clear head, firm goals and a lot of hard work. Let's hope it's worth it.

Cheers, D.