Trials bikes have torquey motors, high ground clearance, very light weight, are narrow and tough to withstand crashes against rocks on torturous low speed courses. Spanish manufacturers Bultaco, Montesa and OSSA had a long history in designing and building great trials bikes, hiring the top riders for development and competition work.

But in the early 1970s Japanese manufacturers started to take note of this form of international competition and began developing trials bikes to compete against European and British brands. In fact starting out on Japanese bikes is how the owner of this week’s Montesa, Dan Sturm, became an AMA trials champ. As to availability of trials bikes in eastern Iowa back in the 1970’s, “In general trials bikes were hard to find. It was hard to buy even a Bultaco in our area.” Eventually, after getting started on a Honda SL 125, Dan wound up buying a 1974 Suzuki RL250 and rode it with success; earned the #1 plate in the Expert Class, 1977. But with the Suzuki in the shop for a month with a broken frame, a local Montesa dealer offered the loan of a new 1974 Montesa Cota 247. “The Cota was very luggable, pulled smoothly, was tractable and more forgiving in the mud with its big flywheel. It would go through everything. The Suzuki was very nimble and smooth but less tractable, didn’t have the smooth power delivery, but had a sweet aluminum fuel tank.” Remembering his early life experiences Dan decided that even almost 50 years later he had to have a Cota 247 to ride. “I’m spending time getting it back in shape, haven’t competed on it, just ridden it around the yard to recall how it feels.”

A closer look at the Cota and you see the great ground clearance, the tight fork rake and a slim mid-section allowing the rider room and maneuverability from the standing position. A model that came into the Montesa line-up in 1968, the Cota was built until 1977. Trials has a very limited market, small sales levels. As Montesa was extremely successful in international motocross and trials competition, there is a strong following for their old motocross, enduro, trials and street bikes.

Graciously on Loan to the National Motorcycle Museum from Dan Sturm, currently it’s the only Montesa on display.


    • Engine: Two-Stroke Piston Port Single, Air-Cooled
    • Bore & Stroke: 72.5mm x 60mm
    • Displacement: 247.7 cc’s
    • Carburetion: AMAL 627, 27mm
    • Ignition: MotoPlat
    • Compression Ratio: 10:1
    • Horsepower: 20HP
    • Primary: Gear Driven
    • Transmission: 5-Speed
    • Clutch: Multi-Disk, Oil Bath
    • Frame: Double Loop/Steel Tubing
    • Suspension: Telescopic Fork/Twin Shocks/Swingarm
    • Brakes: Internal Expanding Drum/Drum
    • Wheels & Tires: 2.75 x 21/4.00 x 18 Trials
    • Wheelbase: 52 Inches
    • Weight: 210 Pounds
8 replies
  1. Mark
    Mark says:

    A bit of detail we got from one of our supporters, motorcycle lenders…..
    The Cota 247-T is actually a street legal version of this week’s featured bike, a “trail” version with lights, etc. The featured bike is a Cota 247.

  2. Pete Bentley
    Pete Bentley says:

    I still love the old photos of montesa’s bultaco and Ossa motorcycles.it was a time of nothing but simple things in bikes back then,and nothing like the world of bikes are today!!!!!

  3. Dane Gray
    Dane Gray says:

    Ive just recently purchased the exact same bike in immaculate condition with only 500 miles from new. Even that was relatively inexpensive, I think $5000 AUD – $3600 USD. You seriously need to get one, they are very pulley in any gear and an absolute pleasure too ride. Also they look and sound amazing. Thanks for the great article NMM!

  4. Wallace Woodruff
    Wallace Woodruff says:

    I had a 1974 247 Cota back in the Panama Canal Zone in 75 given to me by a good friend. Loved that bike. I could climb palm trees with that thing. I am constantly on the look out to purchase another one while I can still somewhat enjoy it. If anyone out there knows where I can get my hands on a 1970 – 74 please let me know. I am located in Lafayette La. now but will travel to get one.

  5. Mark
    Mark says:

    Currently have a 1974. In the process of rebuilding it. Got it from my father in law in used but good condition. Got it fired up once but the carb needs work as well as the throttle/cable. Waiting on parts. Can’t wait to ride it!

  6. Robbie
    Robbie says:

    I bid on a 247 on eBay ( I bid really low because I didn’t really want it) I collect bultaco’s and it was down by Houston. I was high bidder and drove 6 hours and picked it up. I think it’s about the most beautiful bike I’ve seen the bike was almost perfect. I love it

  7. sergio serafini
    sergio serafini says:

    i have a mark one 247 cotta made for the spanish market i think it is one of 44 made its bee been sitting in my mates garage for years he is now so wanting to to buy it of me what woud think best to do


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *