Spanish Flash Back
I once rode a Montesa. Well two actually, a 360 H6 Enduro and then a VE 250 MX bike - converted for enduro use.
I never wanted a Montesa. I was actually after a Bultaco Frontera but they were rare as chicken lips in NZ with only a few being imported I think by Ginger Molloy. The Bultacos were a beautiful bike but alas at the time (late 70s early 80) they were pretty much unobtanium. And then Bultaco folded so it all became somewhat of a moot point anyway.
So buying a Montesa was a second best choice – something a bit different. And after all Frank White was successfully campaigning VE and VF 414 in the NZ MX series and if I remember rightly Tony Cooksley was riding a 250 and also doing very well..
But I was an enduro guy so naturally first up I brought a second hand H6 360 Enduro. An interesting bike in many many ways. Let me count them:
A centre stand – good for working on the bike.
A six speed box – really really good
A quick release front sprocket – somewhat weird
A quick release seat – even weirder as there was no need to remove the seat to get to the air filter.
No primary kick – not good
No reed valve – not good
A badly jetted Bing (Bung) carby – not good when combined with no reed valve and primary kick start
A speedo which ran off the back wheel via a 2m long cable – truly strange
Absurdly forward mounted shocks – which even faded when you pushed the bike out the garage
Now that I look at the list above, I’m not sure why ever liked the bike. On balance what we had here was a bike that topped out in six gear which could almost reach 100 mph if you could get it jetted right andwithout the engine loading up. That was in the hope of course that none of the quick release stuff actually released, the shocks didn’t fade after the first hundred metres and that the long speedo cable driven by the rear wheel didn’t disintegrate. But to be fair what really brought out the potential of the bike though was getting Morley Shirriffs to swap out the Bung carby ( pretty much a brick with a hole in it) for a 36mm Mikuni – totally a different bike.
Forearmed with that knowledge I sold the H6 after a year and bought a brand spanking new VE 250. It was de-rigour in the early 80s to convert MX bikes into Enduro bikes because – well in hindsight I’m not sure why but it seemed like the fast guys were all doing it. So on went some lights, a speedo kit, a quieter muffler, the Bing was dumped for Flat Slide EI carb and rego was got, then onto the Enduro circuit we went. I had a love hate relationship with this bike. Loved it because twice a managed two silver medals on it (my only silver medals I might add), once at the Akatawaras and again at Waiterere. It was also very fast on the road and earned me a few speeding tickets! Very cool. But it was a beast to ride and would punish you severely anytime you lost focus, slowed down or got tired. The picture above was me at the Pahiatua Enduro in 82– the bike was just about to dump me! Yip I lost focus, slowed down and was tired!
I should of kept that bike but I fell on hard times and like anything Spanish parts became increasing difficult to source and were hyper expensive. By 1983 a Mahle piston kit was costing an eye watering $200. Yikes. So regrettably the bike was parted out and evaporated and I bought a DT 175………………………..
Which has got me thinking – it would be kind of cool to find an old H6 or VE/VF and start another project bike. Im trying to resist the urge but hey…………………………………fate will decide.
Coming up – Huntly Round Six
I haven’t ridden Huntly but based on the feedback of last year it was a cool track. And Richard and Ted have advised that a similar course will be plotted this year – so again you expect rolling and expansive terrain. Not to be missed. Online entries are now opened for those of you haven’t entered the series so get on with it.
OK keep it safe out there!