Ossa Explorer vs Ossa Trials


Past President DSBC 2004 -2018
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I was lucky enough to have a discussion about Trials bikes with Ted B. The talk came around to what some call a hybrid bike or Long Day bike. I did notice the Explorer comes with a headlight and turn signals, maybe its a dual sport bike? At 164 lbs it sure would be a pleasure to pick up, if it ever fell over with the 32.25 inch seat height

So what is it a Trials Bike or a Dirt Bike?

Ossa Explorer 280 2013 street price 6999 cdn

OSSA Trials 280


Maybe smaller images will help see both at the same time



I think the Beta trials bike with the optional removable long range seat/tank is the best of both worlds but if the Ossa Explorer was ever street legal in Canada that would be the ultimate back country explorer. European's get all these cool street legal bikes but transport canada keeps them out of our hands in the name of what, safety?


Active member
Its a trials bike with a seat. I has trials gearing, trials suspension and it was used for the SSDT. Not street legal in Canada so forget about dual sport.

There are lots of trials bikes that you can put a seat on: Beta, Montessa, Scorpa (or was it Sherco? - maybe both). They would all be the same thing as the explorer.

I had a beta with a seat for a couple of years. Could go anywhere with it - slowly. My buddies laughed at me on the logging roads. I laughed at them on the single track - all a trade off.

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Both Ossa bikes are virtually identical from what I can find. Gearing will be super low, but that is where that bike shines. Lots of money for a play bike though.


Active member
I got to ride a 2012 OSSA Explorer today. I am very pleased. Unlike "trials bike with a seat" it actually is comfortable. Very smooth clutch, lots of nice power. Handles just like a trials bike on the technical stuff. Got it up into 5th gear on a back road, I did not notice a monster jump in the gearing. Unlike my posting above, the explorer is a bit more refined than just a trials bike with a seat. More comfortable for sitting and a pretty good gearbox for both trials and trail.


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FWIW - there are a few OSSA Explorer owners on the OSSAforum.com - if you want to know all about these bikes from actuals owners.


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The Ossa although very innovative, still suffers from some teeting problems. The FI and starting issues still not 100 percent, as well the transmissions do not last. Perhaps if the factory in Spain survives financial trouble (all of Spain) they will get it sorted.


New member
I have a 2014 OSSA Explorer.
The bike is the same as the trials bike, but added subframe with seat and 'regular' rear fender, another fuel tank (in addition to the stock trials one- tied together) and a bit firmer suspension.
plus full lighting, turn sig, horn, brake lamp switches etc.

The gearing is the same, very close low 1-3, a bit of a jump to 4th. Much larger jump to 5th and 6th. It will easily do 50+ on the roads. I have not really had an issue for how I use it, but depending on the speed you ride and type of trails it may or may not be an issue.
the gearbox is a cassette type, and can be changed with the engine in the bike in a very short time.
Perhaps they will come out with a little more even gear set int he future? Like I say, not an issue for me yet.

I plated it in Washington state easily (just an inspection) all I had to add was some stick on reflectors. Even the tyres are road legal. BTW I don't like them as much as the Michelin X11- but I fitted a Tubliss to the rear and now run 3 psi. They are not bad then. I will install the Michelin later.

like mentioned the seat is actually quite usable- but the bike doesn't really like being ridden sitting down. I only use it for giant ruts where I can't keep my feet on the pegs and when I get out of shape.

i found I am using a bit different riding style- keep super light grip on the bars, keep weight balanced well and let it have its head on the rough stuff. I am using more and more. 'Trials' techniques (well, trying to) and the bike responds wonderfully. I'm learning better weight transfer and timing. Just a bit of loads the front and then moving weight back with a touch of throttle and the front end will come right up to clear obsticles.

As you may be able to tell, I'm loving the bike!
I have a KTM 300 XCW set up for the tight woods and really liked it. But I havnt even Started it since getting the OSSA.
If you like blasting through the woods, using loads of power, fast trails or fire roads- the OSSA isn't for you.
But if you really like the super tight mountain trails, the most nasty stuff you can find- some times no trail at all---then the bike is wonderful!

They made really good updates to the 2014 bikes, but the older bikes are great machines also.

I've heard of people on BC plating them, but I have no idea how they did it. The new law in Washington makes it pretty easy.

I'm just over in Port Angeles- anyone interested in checking it out, I'm happy to show it.

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Active member
I have had an explorer for about a month - 10 hours on it. I use it for trials competition, and the wifey will use it for our logging roads excursion in the summertime. Since the bike is really the same as the TR280 trials bike with a subframe and seat, it works very well for novice or intermediate trials competition. If I ever make it past that I will probably by a dedicated trials bike.

In a lot of respects, this bike is the same as my beta 4T (above), but there are a few small things that may it a better bike for single track riding:
- 6 speed (4 low trials gears, then 5 and 6 there is a jump to road gears)
- an actual comfortable seat (my wife did not like the beta, but likes this)
- bit more cockpit room

I am not sure to whom Mark is referring, but none of the explorers in BC are licensed. Explorers have not been submitted for DOT homologation (Bob Billiyard tried, but was too expensive) and ICBC will not license or insure them. If you find an ICBC inspection agency that will pass it and insure it, let me know. The days are long gone of approving non-DOT certified bikes. However, Alberta does license them.

This bike is very much a specialty bike. Its not a full on competitive trials bike, nor can it compete with the KTM woods type bikes. However, for novice/int trials competition, its fine. And it does make a fun trail bike, as long as the trails are technical and/or you are riding with other trials riders. Once you get on a logging road an enduro will tromp it. If you want a more technical enduro type bike, wait for the freeride 2T.

I bought mine from Alberta. It was sitting on the showroom floor collecting dust for almost two years. I can understand why. Alberta does not have the technical trails BC west coast does. Alberta is fast stuff. The explorer wouldn't shine so much in Alberta - unless way up in the rockies, where the other trail riders take their trials bikes. But then those guys just by trials bikes and slap on a butt rest.

The 2012/2013 (same bike) had a number of issues, that are all corrected by warranty upgrade
- sixth gear is soft
- shifter drum upgrade for better neutral
- shifter assembly upgrade for better reliability
- map upgrade for easier starting

And a few things (for extra purchase) just to make it a better bike:
- easy remove air filter (old style was a total PIA)
- swap back brake pedal for trials pedal

There are a few new 2012 explorers kicking around. One out in Ontario (http://www.ontariotrialsrider.com/#!page2/cjg9) and a couple in Cranbrook - talk to John Mackinnon - the OSSA Canada distributor. There is also a used one for sale in Campbell River (from DSBC Triple Nickel) - I hear a rumour that it will end up at Kenco soon.


New member
I did my first ever trials on the explorer. I don't know anything about trials and have little trials type skills- but the bike worked wonderfully. It was snowy and some ice, so the smooth power made it very easy to control traction (usually). The seat didn't get in the way for me, but I rode novice class (obviously, since I've never even been to one as a spectator).
won my class!

I have about 50 hours one it, it is great!
I recently installed some twisted engineering flex bars! they really help when trying to keep up with the enduro bikes on rough trails.

Here are a couple of pics
I've ditched the stock mirrors and installed dual star ones




Active member
Nice! A couple of us did the Les Blow trials competition last weekend on our explorers too. It worked out just fine for the novice stuff, although the seat does get in the way for lock-to-lock turns when the bike is heavily tilted.

Stay tuned, because I just order the TR280i plastics and will be converting my explorer to a full trials bike for my trials competition work. Then I'll slap back on the seat for my wifey when we get on the logging roads. I should have the parts in a couple of weeks.


New member
Let me know how long it takes to convert. Isn't the easy start in a different place on the trials?

how much was the plastic?

If I ever really start doing much in the way of trials I will consider doing the swap- so far I just picked my foot up if I needed- but I don't do the turns correctly anyway too much of the time. I do lean the bike in- but on off-camber or when I get messed up I will some times revert to my old ways I've been doing for 46 years...


Active member
There are a few things that are in different places (the capacitor for one thing). I'll deal with them as I bump into them. Cost for the plastics and decals was near $500 (ouch!). I must have been in an expansive mood (either that or drinking...)
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New member
Not cheap! Of course the decals are the most expensive part on a lot of these bikes.

i can get a full set of plastics for my KTM for something like $120 (I have them in a bag)- could have been less- front fenders for $18...(discount of course, acerbis)


New member
I was looking for something else and saw this thread, so thought I'd give a bit of an update.

I'm around 155 hours.
bike is still great! Runs really well, only real issue was my fault.
i did reset the TPS at about 100 hours.
i have Twisted Engineering flex bars, Clake 2 LHRB/clutch, X-11 with Tubliss.

here are observations

1. I run a hotter plug, works much better.
2. Run A mud flap over the spark arrester (aftermarket). Mud will clog it otherwise.
3. Keep an eye on the fitting in the top of the main fuel tank cap. It can leak.
4. Fuel cap is still crap.
5. Clake 2 is fantastic!
6. Fit the trials brake pedal stock is horrible.
7. 100:1 Motorex has worked great.
8. Zip tie the one corner of the side covers, they won't fall off and it works fine.
9. Clean/lube rear suspension fairly often in the mud.
10. Keep an eye on the kick start screws.
11. Michelin x-11 Tubless with the Tubliss system works fantastic.
12. Check and replace AAA rechargeable battery in EasyStart


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