Jotagas JT300 has arrived.. and been ridden!

heath JTG jotagas jt300
... me and the JT300. Full image gallery from the day HERE
Many thanks to Steve @ jotagasuk.com  for the ride and demo.

 

.. Steve Saunders, the UK distributor of Jotagas, took delivery of a couple of the JT300's just in the nick of time to get them to the Telford classic show for the public to see in the flesh over here for the first time. 2 days after the show a lucky few dealers and myself got to sling a leg over the machine and see what it was really like. I had watched all of the Pol Tarres videos that have been popping up online to give me tips ... !
 The venue for the ride will be familier to all those either in the West Country or who attended the BVM test day in November last year. Something I am sure you will remember is the mud, and how it just seems to stick to everything and polish off to leave an almost gripless surface. Just to add a bit of excitement it had also snowed over the weekend and then frozen!! This was going to be a test that I doubt it would have had so far back in Spain.

We will start... at the start! Pol Tarres is about 9 foot 7, so the bike looked small in the vidoes. Well let me tell you, it's bloody small even when 5 foot 11 me stands near it. The dry weight is 64kg's so with a couple of litres of fuel and oil in the legs and gearbox i reckon 68kg's tops. It is very low slung at the seat area and the thin swooping head brace on the frame makes it look even lower. Because of the flat frame/tank area it does look a little wide when you stand on it and look down but like the Ossa it is an optical trick... this bike is seriously small.
The frame is Aluminium and very well finished, and of course the bit that all will have noticed is the side mounted rear shock. Because of this position you get masses of room in front of the rear tyre, even the Cotswold stone/clay/mud and snow couldn't get any where near bunging this up. In fact I would say you would need to pick up a hefty branch, rock or something similar to cause any blockage problems on the JTG. (see bottom image)  Steve had fitted some small spacers on the front mudguard stay which prevented any issues at that end as well...

The side shock and linkage obviously brings concerns about whether it will intefere with your boot or leg whilst riding. I ride with my ankle close to the frame, no idea why just something I have always done, and didn't get any feeling of getting caught in the shock. The only issue I had was with the lower shock mounting bolt. My boots are a bit worn and have a ridge in them just at the point of the bolt head, and I felt it catch under the bolt a few times. A dome head allen key bolt thingy would completely cure that. The rear silencer and it's guard protrude enough that whilst moving your weight around on drops, climbs etc it keeps you well away from the shock and spring. And talking of the rear suspension... blimey! It tracks so well and climbs over anything without trying to ping you up in the air. I was watching Steve and Dan from Amped ride the rocks and tree stumps and the rear just stuck to the ground and pushed the bike over, if you want to pop it off the ground you can just flex your legs but for the ordinary rider like me it just rode over everything with no drama....

jt300 JTG jotagas
steve saunders jotagas uk

... so the ride was superb, great feedback but no tendancy to try and make a trick rider out of you. On to the engine, and I was a bit concerned that the 300 may not have been the best bike to let everyone just get on and try. How wrong I was, it was powerful, yes, but as smooth as anything. I have only ridden a trials bike 5 times in the last year, and two of those have been on 30 year old or more machines, but at no time did I ever feel it was taking me away. No doubt if you grab a handful in the wrong situation it would fly but there was no sense that i was on a bike too powerful for me. Steve did show us that it has more than enough for the biggest of sections but it doesn't seem to want to kill you from the off!


I did mention the finish on the frame but it is worth mentioning the overall engineering, it is very good with some neat little touches. They have changed the very noticable rear brake pedal from the one seen at the launch in November, and it sits out of the way and works very well. The engine outer side casings are not plastic as used by almost all other marques but alloy, the front brake pipe has a neat little clamp/guide on the front forks, the beautiful forged swing arm, lovely S3 cylinder head and the fuel tank vent pipe that isn't part of the fuel cap.
The bike come fitted with a good smattering of S3 parts including the Hardrock footrests which, as we found out on the day, allows the mud to drop straight thru... that was my pet hate of the Beta's, the cupped standard footrests that trapped mud.

From my couple of rides I can say that the bike tracks well, steers very well (the turning circle was very tight without pushing the wheel out) and the riding position was spot on for me with no adjustments needed. The new Formula front brake was good and the bendy lever thingys seem like a very good idea. And to answer many peoples question about what did it feel like comared to other bikes... it seems to have the best of the Beta rolled together with the best of the GasGas. Great modern engine with the Beta type ride quality. It has loads of power but it is delivered smoothly and the bike seems to grip on stuff that I can never find grip on...! Actually, nearly forgot, I saw something possibly never seen before... Steve Saunders looped the bike! On the big, steep and muddy climb he blasted up at the end It got so much grip he stepped off the back and managed to save it from the trees... just!

So as you can see I loved it, but the proof of the pudding is when you try one. Steve is presently introducing his dealer network to the bike and sending feedback directly back to Jordi Tarres at the factory. Shortly the dealers will have a limited supply of the bikes themselves so check out your local JTG stockist and have a try yourself and make your own mind up.

Many thanks to Steve Saunders (jotagasuk) for the invite and to the Dan & John from Amped for indulging my flash gun!!

JTG jotagas mud clearence
... loads of mud clearence, and from this angle you can see the gap under the airbox to another mud drop point.