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Is the future green?

Posted by desflurane on January 23, 2012

I’m a little slow on the uptake, but back in November a former giant of the offroad world announced a bike that should rock the foundations of motorcycle manufacturers around the globe. Ossa, the Spanish company that was big stuff back in the sixties and seventies has developed an enduro bike that is as tech-advanced as it is gorgeous.

The Enduro 300i (or 250i if you so desire) is their amazing product. Slated to begin production in 2013, it features electric start AND a dual fuel injection system – meaning that there are two injectors spraying premix into the engine. One injector squirts into the crank case to keep the main bearings lubed, the other is a true direct injection unit, adding its charge DIRECT-ly into the combustion chamber (presumably after the exhaust port closes, allowing all the precisely metered fuel to be trapped and subsequently burned). While this may not be the emissions holy grail that direct injection might eventually offer for two-stroke engines (since some of the raw fuel injected into the crank case by the non-direct injector will inevitably be lost through the exhaust pipe with each stroke, prior to closure of the exhaust port) it is surely a big step in the right direction. According to Ossa, this dual injector set-up will offer great tuneablility of the fuel delivery curve. That seems to make sense – two opportunities for adjustment in the system (can perhaps be read “two opportunities for parts failure” also).

An exhaust port control valve is included as well. This unit is electronically controlled by the ECU and is -presumably- also tuneable by the rider. Instead of switching out colored springs, just alter the tuning curve. I would expect that the whole performance of the bike could be adjusted fairly easily and hopefully controlled on the fly by way of a handlebar switch similar to the ignition map switches in current use. Though the Ossa version could allow changes to the exhaust valve timing, the ignition map and perhaps the fuel injection mapping as well. Want a low-revving, traction grabbing torque master or a fire-breathing, wheel-spinning speedster? The change could be as simple as the flick of a switch!

Innovations on the bike go beyond the slick-looking reverse-tilted motor and advanced fuel-delivery system (very similar to the powerplant appearing in their revolutionary 280ti trials bike). The backward orientation of the intake and exhaust allowed Ossa designers to route the expansion chamber into a curly-cue beneath the seat, completely contained within the bike’s subframe.

Say goodbye to crushing your pricey exhaust pipe every time you plunge into a field of boulders! It looks like it would take a very unusual crash to damage the exhaust on Ossa’s prototype. Surely the ultra-sexy, hand-made look that the show bike’s pipe sports will not make it into the production version, but keeping the plumbing dent-free should be easier than ever.

If I understand correctly, the airbox and gas tank are integrated to some degree, allowing the fuel to be carried in a lower position compared to the “traditional” tank configuration (equals lower center of gravity).

The engine case is a single casting with parts being inserted from either side and hidden behind covers. The transmission is said to be a cassette design, allowing simple gear-ratio swaps to be performed. Don’t love the ratios appearing in the stock six-speed setup? Pop it out and poke in some different gears that are more to your liking. This should make the bike very tuneable to a given rider’s style – low gears for the technical woods wizards or taller gears for the more desert-oriented types.

Suspension is provided by Ohlins front and rear. The shock is connected to the swingarm by a linkage of some kind, though its nature is difficult to discern. One article mentioned rods and arms being employed – I can’t see them…

As an added bonus, all this innovative goodness is said to weigh in below 100 Kilos! Amazing!

Overall the prototype looks fantastic! Ossa is planning to put together twenty bikes in early 2013 – for the press to try out and perhaps a few pro riders to start making appearances on (I assume). Then a production run of 2,000 more bikes will be ready for distribution by June of 2013. I’m really hoping to see one of these babies when I get to Romania about that time!

I’m sure bikes will show up in the US somewhat later. When I get back from Romaniacs I will seriously consider snapping up a shamrock bike if KTM hasn’t come forth with their own direct injected 2t. Of course there are other considerations beyond the obvious coolness of this bike. Questions regarding overall durability of all this new “stuff” as well as the availability of spare parts when some of it eventually breaks will need to be answered before cash gets plunked down. But this bike will certainly make a big splash when it launches early next year. I for one, will be watching very closely!


2 Responses to “Is the future green?”

  1. Simon said

    “The shock is connected to the swingarm by a linkage of some kind, though its nature is difficult to discern. One article mentioned rods and arms being employed – I can’t see them…”

    Look again at the forth photo and you will see the brilliant way that the swing-arm is connected to the linkage. This may give more travel and traceability as the suspension can flow more whilst still being structurally solid.

  2. desflurane said

    Well, the machined aluminum arm is obvious, but unless it moves in ways not apparent to me (which must be the case), I don’t see that it would do much of anything. Just looking at the points where it connects to the swingarm and frame, it appears to be static in relation to the swingarm. This must not be true – or what would be the point… I am perfectly willing to believe that this arrangement comprises some great new linkage system that will revolutionize the industry – I’m just saying that from these pictures I don’t see how it works…

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