Steel Horses

Steel Horses

None of the brands that were Six Days regulars missed the rendezvous at Alp. The bikes were carefully
prepared down to the last detail and the goal never varied: reliability. In total, thirty-five brands were present
at La Cerdanya, and their machines formed a multi-coloured, spectacular parc fermé, in readiness for the
great battle awaiting them.

All the makers, both large and small, had worked hard over the year to achieve the much needed reliability for a Six Days event. It was no use enhancing a motorbike with the latest technical developments if it broke down in the end. Use of water cooling in the bikes competing in La Cerdanya was already widespread. It had been used in cross bikes since the early 1980s, shortly followed by enduro motorcycles, with the exception of brands like Montesa, MZ and Simson, which still used air-cooling systems.

The same applied to the monoshock in the rear suspension, where all but the aforementioned brands were using it (although Carlos Mas’s Montesa prototype had a PRS system). Disc brakes were installed in front wheels everywhere, with the odd rare exception, and were beginning to be used on rear wheels too. KTM was using them in its 1986 models (used by our riders in the Junior World Trophy), although they created issues for several competitors, such as Jordi Arcarons, who was forced to drop out.

Of the European brands, Husqvarna and KTM were preferred by over half of the riders. The representatives of what was Eastern Europe –MZ, Simson and Jawa– tried to update their machines by incorporating the latest technical breakthroughs they themselves had developed at their factories. Even so, MZ stuck faithfully to air cooling and Simson kept its two shock absorbers in the rear suspension. There was also room for private teams, such as BKS working on a Husqvarna base, Sanglas on a Yamaha YZ cross motorbike, the Jawa- Ogwar and the Puch prepared by the Italian Frigerio team.

The attractive design of the Italian machines, represented by Aprilia, Gilera and Kram-it, really stood out. The Accossato and TM demonstrated very efficient performance in the hands of their official riders, especially Muraglia’s Accossato and Pegurri’s TM. The Japanese brands were based on motocross bikes that had been suitably adapted to enduro, like Lalay’s Honda CR 250. Our Spanish brands were represented by Montesa, with Mas in 500 cc and Sotelo in 250 cc; Rieju with Rubio, Figueras and Fillat as their riders in 80 cc; and the Puch of Vila and López, also in 80 cc and developed in Gijón, whose starting point was the chassis of a Suzuki RM 80.