Whatever Happened To... Ossa?

The Spanish roar back with new 250i and 300i Enduros

By Karel Kramer | Photography by Ossa

It turns out Ossa never really died. The once-proud Spanish brand just went into hibernation after closing the factory doors in 1982, and waited for somebody with enough cash to awaken it. In 2009, Ossa unveiled its first new model in 29 years. The TR280i was no blast from the past: Even in the anything-goes world of trials-bike design, this was a breath of fresh air. Its two-stroke engine showcased a one-piece crankcase carrying a removable transmission and topped with a reversed cylinder arrangement: intake up front and exhaust exiting to the rear into a serpentine expansion chamber. Fuel and air combine in a modern Kokusan direct-injection EFI setup that aims one injector into the reclining liquid-cooled cylinder and another directly into that crankcase.

Just two years later, Ossa is showing a pair of new models based on that same pioneering powerplant. Introduced at the 2011 Milan Show last November, the exotic 250i and 300i enduros wrap more off-road exotica in their steel-tube perimeter frames than you’d expect from a brand that’s been asleep for nearly three decades. Both engines are based on the 272cc TR280i, but are massaged to suit the higher speeds and longer distances of serious cross-country work. Pre-mixed fuel—no oil-injection yet—rides in a sculpted plastic tank where a normal bike’s cylinder would sit. The first production bikes are scheduled to roll out of Ossa’s Girona works, 65 miles northeast of Barcelona, in June of 2013. Given the growing popularity of Endurocross and extreme enduro events, the company’s timing looks just about perfect.