A chance to test two items at the same time .. !

The time had come to see what the knee was like .. for those that may not know I dislocated my knee again, second time in 2 years, at a recent practice ride out with Chris Wrigley and friends. At the time I thought it may be the end of my riding days as it wasn't a serious crash but a slide back down a bank that did it, I couldn't see that I would be happy to ride again if that is all it took.
But 8 weeks later and things looked far better than I thought they would, I started playing golf again a few weeks ago and was actually wearing a knee support (like i should have done last time!) and had also gone back to work just after Christmas so it was now time for a nice easy ride to test the knee joint.

jotagas 250

 

Upon mentioning to Steve Saunders that I fancied a little play on a bike but that my SWM was out of action due to undergoing rear wheel mod's he offered the use of his 2013 Jotagas 250 for the day at the Cheltenham Home Guard MCC trial. Bit too good of an offer to turn down really!!  

... Steve was up at the Sheffield arena event the evening before this trial so I made sure he was definitely still up for bringing the bike along before traveling up the M5 and into deepest Gloucestershire. The sun was out and it looked a lovely day down our way in Somerset, but half way up the hill towards the Air Balloon pub near Cheltenham the world disappeared under a layer of mist, and that was the last time I saw more than 50 metres ahead of me until I came back down the same hill on the way home!!
I had never been to this venue before, near a village called Chedworth deep in the Cotswolds, but what a nice civilised place for a trial.. it had a large farm shop and a full on cafe, a tad better than the average club trial burger van. Steve handed over the bike and I jumped straight on and away to the first section with no time for adjustments or warm-up ride. It wasn't until I was 2 laps into the trial that it occurred to me that the bike is usually ridden by Steve's daughter Izzy and I am twice her size and weight yet the suspension hadn't bottomed out all day.. it was very progressive and rode over everything incredibly smoothly. I have mentioned in the past after quick rides on the 280 and 300 model how well they seem to grip and although not a mud bath there were enough slippery parts in the sections to confirm those thoughts, slippery rock, roots or just mud banks were no problem.

On the first lap I was very concerned about my knee, this was the first time since the accident on a bike of any kind.. not even a little play on my driveway at home. And sure enough in the first section I got a little off line on the final climb and panicked when I thought it was going to drop to the left side, I had a quick dab with my left (bad) leg and got out of the ends cards with my heart racing!! 6 sections later I did the same thing again but realised that there had been no pain or even the feeling of extra pressure on the knee so I gave myself a bit of a talking to whilst riding across the field to the next section, told myself to stop being a pansy, and then just got on with having fun and riding the sections. It turned out that was the only points I lost all day, I cleaned the last two laps of 12 sections and even managed a bit of rear wheel hopping in the sections whilst keeping the bike moving (this club run on no-stop rules).

Everything works just fine on the bike as you would expect, the brakes are as good as all the new bikes and the clutch was very good and didn't suffer from the slightly abrupt operation that I have experienced on other bikes of the similar design. Thankfully they have moved on from the Formula master cylinders of last year which appeared to be a bit random at times. The side mounted rear shock although close to your leg isn't noticeable at all when riding, even the lower mount bolt that I could feel last year through my boot has been chamfered off. The bike is of course incredibly light weight, just a flex of the legs allows you to hop or climb over stuff really easy .. even I could look smooth on this thing!! It started without fail first kick every time and never loaded up or hiccupped when I wanted power out of the climbs .. talking of power the 250 is ideal for 99% of riders and the ignition curve selector switch actually makes a difference!.. a perfect bike on the day.

This bike has a few extras fitted from the SXS shop, CSP provide the lovely cnc alloy gear lever and foot brake ends, and the lovely fuel cap and master cylinder covers. Jitsie carb adjuster screws and oil filler cap were also fitted as was a lovely colour matched S3 rear sprocket along with their footrests ... anything I would change? I would have the 300 model just because I always do! And i would move the kill switch to the centre of the bars.. just a personal thing.

After I washed the bike off, thought I had better take it home and do that as this would be the 4th time I have been loaned a bike by Steve and I have never washed any of them, I took a few images... gallery can be seen at photobucket jotagas 250  page. Many thanks to Steve Saunders and Izzy for the loan of the bike, there may be a chance you don't get it back!! :-)
Also a big thanks to the Cheltenham Home Guard MC for the event, great sections for type of riders there and they all coped with a large turn-out. Mike Yiend  was taking images and will no doubt pop them on his gallery page soon.

jotagas 250