The Colin Dommett.


One of the instigators of the Otter Breed...



Photo Courtesy Somerton Classic trials club.

Colin in 2005 riding the Faber Otter with modified subframe,

later this conversion was to be named the "Bariel" by Howard Fawkes at Faber...



The caption in the article photo of Colin sat on his New acquisition BOK228C reads,

"Colin Dommett on his "Otter"...

Not actually True!

This is The Scott Ellis bike BOK228C with the frame that Scott and his father  built, and before the frame from BOK228C was used has a pattern for a new frame jig to be built to make the Now Famous Harry Foster "Otters".

Frame jig...



This copy above is taken from the article in the

"Classic Motorcycling Legends" magazine.

            The article was written by Phil Ives,  

" The  Tale of the "Otter".

Too be found on its own page on this site.


Photo Credit Trials Central.

      Colin riding his modified  Faber "Otter" framed BSA trials bike, now known as the "Bariel", in the Faber line up,  that Howard at Faber Frames will make for you if asked.

In the Pre 65 Two Day Scottish trial.

                                      This is the famous "Pipeline" section.



This is what Colin told me how the replica frames made by Harry Foster were to be named "Otter".



Well I have certainly got the Story of how the name “Otter” came to be placed onto the new replica frames, of the then Colin Dommett owned BOK228C, from the man himself.


This is the story he told me.

The year was 1978-79, and Colin was now riding sidecar trials, on a Suzuki with Mick Whitlock built frame, and then later a Bultaco. 

Now the sidecars at this time were being built by first class engineer Harry Foster, and I might add that Colin put Harry's workmanship into the top bracket of skill where engineering was concerned.

Ally Clift who had started  rebuilding The ex Scott Ellis bike( BOK228C) for Colin, asked him, while Harry was building Colin a chair,(Sidecar) if they could borrow the frame from BOK228C, to copy and make a small batch of five or so replica frames, which Colin agreed too, and Harry agreed to build them.

 When the first frame was built, Harry wanted to put one of his “RHF” stickers or small plaque onto the frame, but it didn’t quite seem the right name with punch to label the frame with.


So Colin suggested that has "Alfington", was where Harry’s workshop was located, and near to the "River “Otter”, perhaps Harry should label all of his products with the name An Otter Product"...




Headstock Badges Courtesy Carol Foster.


Ally Clift, Colin, and Carol and Harry Foster, thought that it was a good idea, and so the “Otter” Frame was born, and has still remained with this name for this type of frame until today.


 Later in the year 2000, one of the "Foster "Otter" frames that Colin Dommett now owned was used by Howard Fawkes, from HGV Engineering ...Faber-Frames, to take a jig from.

And all of the Faber Otter Mk 1&2  frames made by Faber up until the start of the Mk 3, have probably been made on this

 Jig, taken from the Harry Foster Otter Frame...


Photo Courtesy Jack Knoops?


 Scott Dommett, on, his altered Faber framed "Otter" in the Pre 65 Scottish.

This is now what Howard has named the "Bariel" and is available as a one off, when Howard has the time to build the frame.

And these are built individually without the frame jig on a freehand basis so each one is slightly different...


Photo Faber Frames.

This is a good shot of the Dommett bike in the pictures above.

Now this bike resembles an Ariel more than the "Bariels" that Howard now makes, in that the seat tubes are straighter and follow the line of the top tube...


Photo Faber Frames.

You can see that the seat tubes are planted on further back than the Dommett bike, and it has the engine under tubes. Like the Faber MK3.


So if you convert your "Otter" frame into the silhouette of an "Ariel" frame, you can ride it in that Scottish two day trial...


Or you can now in 2019 ride a Harry Foster or Faber BSA Or Triumph "Otter" if you can get an entry for the trial.




Now some interesting history about  the Bike BOK228C. that Colin told me.


In the late summer – early autumn 1965, while Colin was working at CoTTon's in Gloucester.

 Scott Ellis came over from Studley one Saturday afternoon with his new BSA bike he had built,with a very different to normal frame, for a trials practice session with Colin on some suitable ground they knew, and used.

During the practise session Scott managed to break off one of the footrests, of the new bike.

 CoTTon’s factory where Colin was working at the time, was the nearest place they could go to repair the damage, so they went off to the factory to, re-weld the broken footrest and brake peddle bracket.


 Then off back to the ground and continuing their practice session,

Scott was riding sections on the new bike like a Champion.

Colin made the comment to Scott, on the way he was riding the new BSA trials bike, he said  that if he kept riding the bike like he had that afternoon, he would win the Experts ( 1965 British Experts Trial)

without a problem.

 And that is just what Scott did a short while afterwards in November .




Colin remembered that bike for a long time after that trial, but it had slipped his grasp, and been sold on by Scott, and the trials bike BOK228C had moved to various other riders around the country in the proceeding  years .

 But Colin had set his heart on owning the bike if it came up for sale one day, if it came to light, and when it did he quickly bought it.


The bike had done the rounds after Scott sold it and had lived in Wales and other parts of the country before being for sale in Surrey, where Colin bought it out of a collection of bikes the owner was selling, including the ex works BSA B40 BOP as ridden by Tony Davis,Dave Rolands, Jeff Smith, and Jim Sandiford.


 And yes Colin still has the bike, BOK228C the last works BSA C15 ridden by Scott Ellis.

And he tells me, it is never going to leave the Dommett family.

 But he is going to restore it one day and is planning now to get the frame re-plated...

Don’t leave it to long Colin, we would love to see the bike restored to its former glory. More than ever now in 2020...


 And joining us at ,a "BSA Otter Club" meet when we can organise one.

And Wiscombe in 2021....

Must ring Colin...


If Colin can find some photos of the bike  I will post them here.




Photo Courtesy "Otterman"

Colin riding his "Sigma" BSA Bantam, in the 2015. Manx two day Classic trial.




More later and an update to how Colin is getting on with the restoration of the

Ex works... Scott Ellis BSA C15.


Now don't forget that we are now going to build a new batch of these Original Foster "Otter" frames for BSA and Triumph Unit engines.

And I like Colin, I hope to finish my replica of the Scott bike.


More later, When I speak to Colin, December 2017.


Now 2021 and I must make that phone call...

For an update on the bike...