text text
text
text
text
text
text
text
text
text
text
text
text
Cotton Cobra 250 1965


The Cotton marque was actually founded in 1918 by Frank Willoughby Cotton as a sporting street motorcycle with a unique for its time triangulated steel tube frame. It wasn't until 1961 that Cotton which had gone through several ownership changes entered the scrambles market. At that time the 250 Cougar Scrambler was introduced and a works racing team was formed with riders Bryan “Badger” Goss and John Draper.

Though the Cottons were similar in many ways to the Greeves and DOT motorcycle that were also manufactured in England with proprietary components, several features quickly distinguished the Cougar Scrambler. For one, the Villiers engines were set back and down in the frame and used the lightest tubing available. Match this with the very beefy Armstrong leading-link front forks and you had a very different, if not ugly motorcycle.

The theory of keeping the main weight distribution over the rear wheel and the center of gravity low, worked well in practice, though riding a Cotton was an acquired taste. These were low ground clearance wheely machines which needed to be ridden solely on the rear wheel.

The American models came with a 19” front wheel and an 18” rear wheel with the Metal Profile hubs used by most of the English manufactures. The power plant was standard issue Villiers Starmaker engine with claimed horsepower output of 26 at 6000 rpm's and a 4-speed gearbox. Rear shocks were by Girling, fenders were chromed steel, and the standard fuel tank was a 2 _ gal steel tank though a 1 _ gal fiberglass was available for motocross.

Any hopes of real motocross racing success came in 1964 when BSA factory rider Arthur Lampkin switched over to the Cotton brand for a few races. Unfortunately he wasn't impressed and returned to BSA to finish his career. Cotton sales never took off in America and the company closed down in 1980.


Images are property of The Early Years of Motocross Museum, ®2006