Originally Posted by Bigbird
I'm wanting to give trials a try and have a line on a 2001 Montesa 315R. Guy is asking $2000 for it. Haven't seen it yet or know the history. Is it a good "beginners" bike? And, assuming the bike's in nice shape and doesn't need anything major, is the price a fair one? What are the strong points of the model? How about weak points and things to keep an eye out for? I'm completely new to trials so any tips on this will help.
I bought a '99 Montesa nearly a decade ago to replace my '95 Beta Techno. I paid $2500 for a nice clean bike only ridden occasionally by a Novice in our club or his wife. I fit it with a larger-than-stock sprocket (44 I think, without going out to the garage) and a spark arrestor/silencer I got second-hand from another club member along with a box of junk from His Montesa expert days. So far the only problem I have had with the bike is the cushion for the float bowl jet needle. The jet would hang on the old rubber and starve the bike for fuel. I replaced the jet but occasionally have the problem still which I attribute to ethanol gas. If I forget to turn off the fuel before a long down-time period, say weeks or more, I have to drop the float bowl and clean the float and pilot jets to get the bike running again.
I chose the Montesa because it fit me better than the Betas I rode. The rear brake pedal position on the Techno was better suited to someone wearing a size 10 boot or bigger, which compromised my learning curve on big downs and proper turning technique. I never had any ignition problems with the Techno but I did have to replace the voltage regulator (provides juice to the fan) with one I found at Radio Shack and I battled chronically loose footpeg mounts. The Techno also suffered from sticky clutch syndrome regardless of the oil I chose, a problem the Montesa has to a much lesser degree especially if you can get the exotic ELF oil HRC calls out.
I shied away from the Gassers when I replaced the Beta because I'd seen too many among our club members with quality control problems, especially gearbox issues. The Shercos at that time seemed good but all the used ones were coming from our upper class riders who had hammered them. The Montesa featured Japanese build quality which is reassuring for a bike that gets as little maintenance as I give it. Nothing turns as well as a Beta, in my limited experience, but you have to have big enough feet for it.
Again, this is my experience and YMMV.