In mid-1973 motorcycle magazines previewed a radical, lightweight OSSA motocross racer; the powerful and durable Stiletto engine in an ultra-light chassis. The OSSA Phantom was the first sub-200 pound production 250 motocrosser. It weighed at least 15 pounds less than the Honda Elsinore that was selling like gangbusters. John De Soto, Barry Higgins and Dick Mann were among the factory Ossa riders from 1971-1974.
Ossa went all out. With handsome blue and orange body work on the chrome-moly frame, early models had an aluminum swing-arm. Sourced components were top quality; Betor forks and shocks, Akront flangeless rims, Pirelli knobbies, Bing carburetor and Motoplat CDI ignition. Fasteners were top quality, even used nylon locknuts. Keeping weight low on the bike, the underslung thin wall expansion chamber completed this very serious motocrosser.
But world wide distribution of good performing, less expensive Japanese motorcycles and a crippling strike in 1977 weakened the Ossa company. Ossa merged with Bultaco, but by 1982, the factory closed down. Still the heritage of Spanish makers Bultaco, Montessa and certainly OSSA lives on.
This fine original condition Ossa is one of over 20 off-road competition bikes and riding apparel donated by Tina and Kevin McGill. Donation of the collection was the impetus for DIRT RIDING USA, a large 2017 special exhibition about Trials, Enduro and Motocross competition. Now with well over 500 motorcycles on display, most of the dirt bikes from this exhibition remain on display in the off-road riding display area of the National Motorcycle Museum.
- Engine: Two-stroke, Piston Port
- Bore & Stroke: 72mm x 60mm
- Carburetor: 36mm Bing
- Compression Ratio: 12.5:1
- Ignition: Motoplat CDI
- Displacement: 244cc’s
- Primary: Gear Driven
- Transmission: 5-Speed
- Starting: Left Side, Kick Only
- Chassis: Chrome Moly, Double Down Tube
- Suspension: Betor Fork & Shocks, Alloy Swing-arm
- Brakes: SLS Drum, Front & Rear
- Wheels/Tires (stock): 3.00 x 21 / 4.00 x 18
- Horsepower: 33HP
- Wheelbase: 55 Inches
- Weight: 198 Pounds
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What ever happened to the ground breaking ingenious IRZ carburetors that sported a double needle design that eliminated flat spots in power loads high and low. The pointless electronic ignition was new back in those days and the 12.5 compression and second spark plug hole to add opshenol second plug or the compression release brake that let me go deeper into corners at higher speed before using brakes beating any rider in left or righthand sweepers in flat track or motocross on my 21 HP OSSA PIONEER (which was voted motorcycle of the year by all motorcycle publications for TWO YEARS IN A ROW in 1972 and 1973). If that wasn’t impressive enough, I think it was Popular Science and Scientific American declared ” Motorcycle Science” was voted “Science of the Decade” in that era. Look that up to fact check. I have not read your publication yet, but I would like to. I look forward to hearing more OSSA, BULTACO & MONTESSA facts and stories but don’t have a computer anymore, only a cheap Obama phone that usually can’t even reach the internet but I somehow found you enthusiast’s somehow. Happy 4th of July.Peace and Love for all things OSSA. . .even Yankee 500 simultaneously firing twin!!