bike reviews of the trials bikes in 2005

including a look at the new 4strokes


Motorbiketrials.com have over 30 years combined trials riding experience. At MBT our dedication to the pursuit of off-road motorcycle trials riding can be best described as "dedicated", we take great pride in our sport's future and its past history.

All of the bikes listed below have either been owned or been ridden extensively by motorbiketrials.com. Reviews, scoring and faults are based on MBT's first hand knowledge/ownership of the bikes listed. Please note that we at MBT have expressed our opinions relating to this bike review and each bike has been reviewed with our own expressed opinion.

If your bike is one of the machines listed below, but you yourself have not had a mechanical free ownership then MBT would like to here from you. We may pubish on this website any information relavant to a single machine if there is a multiple issue reported.

Montesa 250

Sherco 290

Scorpa 250

Gas Gas 280

Beta 270

  1. Montesa 250: This Spanish built bike has changed little from it's early conception in 1996, it was a major leap forward in technological advancement and shook the world of trials way back then. The bike uses a Honda Hrc 250 engine similar in conception to that of a CR250 Crosser. It has a smooth and unremarkable power delivery compared to some of its competitors, although when revved can do spectacular things. MBT find this bike heavy and cumbersome to ride. The bike is really showing its age and is in need of a complete design overhaul, the best model being, in our opinion, the 1998/9 machine.

    It does have its faults and these are:
    Naff batch of carburettors fitted to the early models
    Poor gearing
    Dragging and very weak clutch
    Air box cover that lets water in to easily

    MBT believe that this bike may have been the contributing factor that cost Dougie Lampkin MBE the World Indoor Trials championship. Gas Gas or Beta would have been a better option for Dougie.

    Quality 10  
    Reliabiltiy 10  
    Suspension 6  
    Price 5  
    Total 56 

    MBT ownership of this machine.

  2. Sherco 290: Sherco's are generally reliable 'if you get a good one that is'. The words uninspiring and dull best describe this Spanish bike. It's not intuitive nor a milestone in development, the bike will never stand out in the crowd in its present form and needs a designer from Ducati to shed a sparkle of excitment on it's exterior, unlike that of the recent Scorpas. It is the second lightest bike in the field with the equal biggest displacement (270cc in factory form for 2.9), it feels neutral to ride and has a progressive power delivery. If there ever was a trials bike that could deserve the name of dull, this is it. The Sherco 290 is arguably up there with the best of them but it looks like its been constructed using components from the spare parts bin at Gas Gas.

    It does have its faults and these are:
    Gearbox's jamming in gear
    Big end bearings spinning in the engine cases
    . Has been known not to go into first gear after a while

    MBT acknowledges that Graham Jarvis made the right move moving from the lack-luster then old model Scorpa to the new Sherco. The bike will please many trials rider but not MBT.

    Chassis 6
  3. Performance 8
  4. Styling 5
  5. Appeal 5
  6. Build Quality 5
  7. Reliabiltiy 7
  8. Build Quality 6
  9. Suspension 6
  10. Price 7
  11. Total 55

    MBT ridden extensively.

  12. Scorpa 250: The French built bike that encompasses the briliant bulletproof Yamaha engine. Its performance has been described as a barge, it has no top ranking riders competing on it for world-class honours and perhaps it shouldn't be in this review.But thats just all CRAP!!!However, we at MBT would disagree strongly and think that this bike is the best machine that money can buy. The UK spec model does not have the lightweight flywheel like the EU machines(for dry conditions only)but it does have some of its own unique features exclusive to the UK bike. we think that the Scorpa package with it's excellent suspension, good turning circle and fantastic power delivery offer a novice rider up to an expert a very enjoyable and competive bike to ride. The build and design are also breath taking and MBT would recommend this machine as the best bike in this review.

    The bike also has a neat seat and tank kit (opt extra) that will please most riders over 45 and those that do long distance trials.

    Chassis 9
  13. Performance 9
  14. Styling 9
  15. Appeal 9
  16. Build Quality 10
  17. Reliabiltiy 10
  18. Suspension 8
  19. Price 6
  20. Total 70

    MBT ownership of this machine.

  21. Gas Gas 280 pro: Gas Gas have been producing bikes for many years, they produce solid and intuitive designs that have progressed them to a level of being able to diversify into the Motor Cross and Super Moto markets. If you were to draw a comparsion between the 280pro's performance and the Montesa's it would be best described as "the Montesa would be Bruce Willis and the Gas Gas would be Bruce Lee" I happen to have owned one of these machines and found it more frightening to ride than my 130bhp ZX9R Ninja. This bike demands respect from who ever rides it!

    It does have its faults and these are:
    The horn is fitted under the headstock, this causes major damage to the front mudguard when you first apply the front brake.
    The exhaust muffler makes contact with the rear tyre and replacement of this item is very expensive.
    The air box leaks, seeming like it has been but together by a Blue Peter presenter (hopefully Katy Hill!!).
    The kick start snaps
    The engines cases crack under extensive provocation

    MBT believe that if Dougie Lampkin was to switch to this machine he would dominate the trials scene for at least another three years.

    Chassis 8
  22. Performance 10
  23. Styling 9
  24. Appeal 10
  25. Build Quality 3
  26. Reliabiltiy 5
  27. Suspension 7
  28. Price 9
  29. Total 61

    MBT ownership of this machine.

  30. Beta 250/70: This Italian built bike brings together all of the good points of some of the others but never quite hits the top slot. However, it plays a very close second fiddle to the build quality of the Scorpa and the performance of the Gas Gas. The bike is an excellent Indoor and Outdoor bike and like the Gas Gas is orginal in design unlike the Sherco. The Beta again demands respect from all who ride it .

    It does have its faults and these are:
    electrical problems

  1. MBT ownership of this machine.

The new breed: 4strokes are they gonna work??

Most peoples predictions for last years appearance in Sept 2004 of the new Honda/Montesa has been, to put it mildly ''a big blow-out''. Montesa held back the first batch probably due to teething problems which personally I think will take a few years to remedy. Dougies and Fuji's bikes have been tweaked and stretched to the max (nearer 400cc) in the first few months just to stay as close as possible to the 2stroke competition, since Honda decided to throw all its eggs in one basket and go out the full monty 4stroke route, and supposedly fully scrapped the 2stroke. Rumours are there is a totally completed new 2stroke model on the books so maybe Honda are not that confident that the 4stroke will workout in the very dominated 2stroke sport. we can only wait and see the outcome and if Mr God grabs back his world crown.

Sherco have made their model the 4t, which was meant to be coming out last November but so far, has just seen the light of day in a trials dealer. This model does look the better bike of the two, with a totally new engine, bigger cc 320 instead of the 250 of the Honda, and all that has been squeezed into the old frame of the tried and tested 2stroke model. We will have to wait and see what happens with the Sherco, should be a good bike...looking at Mays 05 tmx 5 shercos entered the scotish, and none finished..all broke down!! dont look good does it!!

Honda/Montesa HRC 250

10 Performance 7 Styling 10 Appeal 7 Build Quality 10 Reliabiltiy unknown Suspension	
8 Price 4 Total 56 


Sherco 4t: untested