Original and unrestored

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…

Words and pics: Tim Britton

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.

No mistake with the model name or number is there.
Drum brakes were out by 1990, the modern generation wanted to stop.

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.

A good project for someone.
Watercooling was a way off yet but almost there.
Suspension travel on monoshocks meant a remote resevoir for the gas.

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.

Robust clutch and six-speeds was the way forward.

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