There are motorcycles that have a “High Giggle Factor”, the Yamaha RD 350 comes to mind, and then there are Vintage motorcycles that have a very high “Cool factor”, 1969 Sand Cast engine Honda CB750, the Harley Davidson XLCR (Ok, that is my own cool, wish I had one ‘cool factor’ bike) and then there are those that combine both and the Bultaco Metralla is just that.
The Metralla is the motorbike that knows what you want to do before you do.It’s like the headlight is your own eyes that can see farther than you. This is a bike that the lightest pressure on the bars sets the bike on the path you want to go…perfectly. The Metralla does have a bit of a peaky powerband but nothing like the Pursang motocrosser. It does take a bit of time to get used to how quick handling it is, if you’re used to hustling modern 1000cc super bikes through the canyons, this little bike will blow your mind. Carrying speed through the corner versus point and shoot…BIG FUN!!
The Metralla was very successful as a racing machine as well having won the 1967 Isle of Man TT 250 Production class. The little 250 put out around 27HP, not bad for a 250 (considering a Honda 350 only put out 22), the Japanese two strokes of the time were more powerful but didn’t have the handling of the little Spainiard.
I found a beautiful Metralla on ebay this morning. This is not one of the “Fly, Buy and Ride Home” bikes, well it could be if you’re of the very adventurous type, but really ship it home and have a blast riding it on your local canyon roads and embarrass all your friends on modern super bikes. This is a really nice bike and a load of fun. Double check the brakes and the clutch then go out and have the time of your life…on 250cc.
Click on the pics below for more pictures and info.
So here I am again going on about my love hate relationship with Bultaco motorcycles. I love Bultaco’s despite the fact that I was left stranded in the desert a few times, I had to rebuild the top end more often than I changed my underwear…wait a minute…my El Bandido caused quite a few underwear changes!But I digress.
My motorcycling street life started on a Bultaco Matador. A 250cc street legal dirt bike. I also started my racing life on that same bike. A Bultaco of the time was not what you would consider overly reliable in the deserts of California, in the mountains of Spain in Trials competions…oh yeah. In Roadracing…again, very successful. My only thought that was Bultaco’s didn’t like sand…me neither.
A bit of Bultaco’s road history, top five finishes in the Spanish Grand Prix, the Dutch TT, the Isle of Mann and in 1960 set the Speed record in France for 12hrs in both the 175 and 250cc class and then the 24 hour record in 175, 250 and 350 classes!!!
In 1973 Jim Pomeroy won AMA National races on a Bultaco Pursang (which is the bike I raced in the Barstow to Vegas race…well, not Jim’s bike just my own Pursang). The great Angel Nieto, who won 13 Roadracing World Championships in just about every class rode a Bultaco. And, MotoGP racer Sete Gibernau is the Grandson of Señor Bulto!
One of my dream bikes is the Bultaco Metralla. The dealer that helped support me during my dirt bike racing years always had a Metralla in the showroom (sold a number of them too), every now and then there would be a Mercurio. The Metralla was a bit racier but the Mercurio (being 50cc smaller) was just about as fast! In the tight canyons where I live, that 175 could easily embarrass much bigger bikes. And the “Giggle Factor” compared to “Pucker Factor”…the Bultaco wins every time!!
I found a perfect Bultaco Mercurio on ebay this morning seems to need nothing except a new owner that will ride it. Click on the pics below for more pictures and info. And more than anything…have fun riding this great little motorbike!!!
I spent years riding Bultaco motorcycles and loved every one of them. Well, in truth I loved a few of them, ok, not that many of them. But, there is something about Bultaco’s that makes everyone who has owned one, love them. It’s weird.
I don’t know what it is that makes me love these motorcycles, but I do. I have been stranded in the desert more times than I care to remember by a Bultaco. I have been pitched over the handlebars, high-sided into a cactus bush, and been stuck axle deep in mud all on a Bultaco. Notice, I didn’t say because of a Bultaco. Most of my misfortune has been due to rider error, but still, there were plenty of times the bike was the culprit. And yet, Bultaco holds a special place in my heart.
I have ridden Matador’s, Pursang’s, Astro’s, Lobito’s, Shepa’s and Metralla’s but never a Campera. I wonder why? The Campera, as I look at it now, almost seems a perfect bike for it’s time. The Campera used essentially a Trials bike motor (lot’s of low end torque and smooth power delivery) stuck into an Enduro chassis (good road going capabilities). A proper ‘Dual Sport’. The Campera is a simple motorcycle with classic European Enduro styling, and it is Moto Giro legal for those of you that would like to ride that event…I want to. The 175cc motor is a very low stress little powerplant and if you don’t abuse it should just go and go.
I found a Campera on ebay this morning that needs a good home. It is a runner but it certainly needs some love. Other than cosmetics some simple going through the mechanicals and you would have a fun bike to ride just about anywhere. Is it worth doing a full ‘show room’ restoration? No. Is it worth painting the tank and doing some other cosmetic work? Yes. Is it worth the asking price? Probably. If you like Bultaco and want a unique model from the Spanish company, give this little Campera a look.
Click on the pics below for more info and pictures.
It’s no secret that I have a soft spot in my heart for Bultaco motorcycles…it really should be a soft spot in my head. I raced Bultaco’s for years and for the most part, loved every minute.
Well, there was this one time riding a ‘family’ enduro with the SRA when my Bultaco and I parted company and a woman, riding a Honda Trail 90, that was about my grandmothers age, found me lying in a cactus plant asked me if I needed help. After about twenty minutes of pulling cactus spines out of me, she rode off happy as a clam and I couldn’t get my Matador to start. Good thing I got it going before another Grandma came by and could get it started for me….
After going to the ‘dark side…Honda’ I had a lust for a Bultaco Metralla. I had been riding the 250’s from Spain for a while now, Matador, Pursang and Astro, but the Metralla was what I needed…until I saw the Streaker.
While gathering parts for a Yamaha 250 I was working on, I went across the street to say hello to my old friends at Steve’s Bultaco. I have to put this in here because it’s too great not to. I raced Bultaco’s in the desert and in enduro’s for Steve’s Bultaco in Van Nuys California for a number of years, what I didn’t know was their real company name…you’re gonna love this, ready…’Team Maybe Manana, dba Steve’s Bultaco’.
In the front window of the shop was this beautiful black and gold little repli-racer. The frame was different from anything I had seen before, it had these beautiful gold cast wheels and looked like a jewel with a motor. The Streaker.
The Streaker was a 207lb, 10 HP motorcycle that could get you up to 75mph and carry you through most 30mph corners at that speed. It is a truly gorgeous motorbike. Everything about the Streaker said “You want me, I know you do, I may be small but I can do things your Honda’s, Yamaha’s and Triumphs can’t….you will love me”. Sadly, at that time in life there was no way I could buy a new motorcycle, but I have carried that vision of the Streaker in my heart for decades.
I found one!!! On ebay this morning I came across a Streaker in really quite good condition. Yes it show’s it’s age but, like Sophia Loren, wears it well. The bike is completely original, has only 712 miles on it and the original tires ( I don’t care if the owner says they look fine, replace them…). The owner has also given a lot of information about the bike and Bultaco in general, it’s a good read, better than that it’s a good bike and I hope will go for a reasonable price. It does need a little love but not much and in the end will be well worth the money.
For more of the story, pictures and info, click on the pics below. Maybe you can outbid me? Probably not.
Super fun and super fast. I raced Bultaco’s for years…in the dirt, but I always wanted a Metralla. The Metralla is the Bultaco street rocket. The Metralla is a fantastic little bike. The Bultaco wasn’t as fast as the Suzuki T20 (X6 Hustler here in the states) but could leave the Suzook in a cloud of blue two stroke smoke on any twisty road any time.
The Metralla is light, quick and a very simple motorcycle. One cylinder, one carburetor, enclosed chain drive and a ton of fun to ride. I was lucky enough to have friends at my local Bultaco dealer that let me spend a few days with a Metralla. It was the owners bike (he was on vacation) and I was threatened with every horror you can imagine if I did any damage to the little rocket. Despite all the threats, I prodded the kick starter and disappeared with a wave and a promise that I would return in a few days. I was in love with the bike before I got home, which was only a couple of miles away.
Five days later I delivered the Metralla back to Steve’s Bultaco, washed, waxed and no worse for wear.I did disconnect the speedo while playing with the bike and Steve will never notice the tires are shot??? I had so much fun on that motorcycle. I really believe that my time on that Metralla is what inspired my love of small bore street motorcycles.
I found a really trick Bultaco roadracer on ebay this morning based on a Metralla. I say based on because Metralla’s are 250cc’s and this bike is a 360? The 360 came in the El Bandido and the Frontera, not the Metralla. So, did the owner shoe-in a 360? Cool. The bike is a great vintage roadracer (and could actually hold its own against many modern lightweight bikes) and with some work, could be brought back to the street and would be a canyon rocket with a giggle factor beyond darn near anything you could ride. The motor was tuned by Kevin Murray, former WSMC 125cc Gran Prix champion, having spent many race weekends on the track with Kevin, he is a great tuner and knows how to make any two stroke fly. So, if you’re looking for a very fast and unique vintage roadrace bike…click on the pics below. You won’t be disappointed.
‘The most civilized motorcycle of all time’…I have heard the ‘CB350 Four’ called that more than once and, for good reason. Honda had already created the first ‘Superbike’ with the CB750, then followed that up with the CB500/Four for the masses, but something was missing? Like what? Small displacement Honda motorcycles were selling great all over the world, the CB350 Twin was the biggest selling motorbike in the US. What else does the Goliath of the motorcycle industry need??? Honda loves technology, and they love showing off their prowess at it. “And now ladies and gentlemen, straight from the racetracks of the world, we bring you…”
In the mid 1970’s everything in the motorcycle world was changing as fast as most of us changed our Bultaco Cemoto T-shirts. European manufacturers were being left behind as fast as the Japanese could make bait…I mean sushi. Yamaha, Kawasaki and Suzuki were making bullet fast, lightweight, and high giggle factor to ride motorcycles. Meanwhile, Big Red was building and selling motorcycles that everyone could love as soon as they sat on it.
The CB350 Four was originally designed to be a 250CC bike but, was deemed to be too small for the US market, Honda’s biggest at the time. So…punch it up a bit and at the same time keep it rider friendly. TA,DA…enter the CB350 Four. What a sweetheart of a motorcycle. Small and lightweight, easy to look at (as in traditional styling), powerful enough that somebody moving up from a CB350 twin wouldn’t be intimidated, it was fun to ride and, at the same time feel like you could sit at the grownups table with the rest of your riding friends at Thanksgiving.
The baby ‘Four’ was built for only three years ’72-74, dismal sales killed the 350 but spawned the 400 Four which is a true cult bike. Why wasn’t the 350 a cult bike? It’s simple, at that time, nobody wanted a plain vanilla motorcycle which is exactly what the 350 four was. Honda wanted to keep the ‘you meet the friendliest people on a Honda’ campaign going, but everyone else wanted to go fast and to heck with being friendly. Since then, little by little…inch by inch…the little 350-4 is gaining on the CB400.
The CB350 Four was not designed and built to compete with the Yamaha RD350, the Kawasaki S1, or the Suzuki GT380. The CB350 Four was silky smooth all the way to its 10,000 RPM redline, reliable as your Grandmother’s Big Ben alarm clock, easy to maintain and……..boring as all get out. Honda succeeded in every aspect of the 350/4 except in the sales department. In 1975 Honda brought out the CB400F to replace the 350. It too, was a dud on the showroom floor, sort of. There is something about American riders. If a motorcycle isn’t a true kick in the pants either horsepower or sound wise…why bother?!
That said, I think the CB350 Four is really one of the best small motorcycle EVER built. Really. It is small enough to be an around town bike, it’s big enough to go across the country on, your wife / daughter / son / mom could ride it and be happy on. Then lastly, and….here it comes, yet again…you could make it a really cool Cafe Racer out of it.
I found this really neat Euro spec CB3450 Four on ebay today, it doesn’t need much to get it totally road worthy. Back in 1992 the owner gave it a nice restoration, including some new OEM pipes that, are starting to rust out a bit on the bottom…not all that difficult to repair though, and won’t be too noticeable. There is some minor corrosion on the motor and frame but that has to be expected with a motorcycle of this vintage. This is a neat little bike that can offer the new owner a lot of fun in a lot of ways. The CB350/4 is a real jewel of a motorcycle and here is one that you can get without paying ‘cult bike’ prices. Click on the pics for more pictures and info.
I love Cafe Racer’s and the people that build them. This guy built this T200 for his wife, but I’ll bet he rides it more than she does. Why do I think that??…because small fast bikes are just way too much fun to ride.
I can see it now…husband secretly builds special motorcycle for his wife’s birthday, he spends big time AND big money on this very special birthday present. He’s thinking how good the ‘Husband of the Year’ trophy is going to look in the bedroom . He had the frame braced (for her safety), had the engine gone through by Scott Clough Racing (so hubby knew the bike wouldn’t die somewhere on the road and leave the little woman stranded), lightened it up by drilling holes all over the place (wifey is a petite little gal and the lighter you can make the bike the easier it is for her to ride…oh, and those holes look cool too…), throw on a Bultaco tank and seat for a very high cool factor then lastly add a few parts from a Hayabusa, an RC51 Honda, some body work and you have an almost perfect Cafe Racer.
The day arrives. Hubby walks the birthday girl out to the garage to see his wonderful gift to her. Up goes the garage door and jaws drop. Her’s because she was expecting a new car, you know, like in those TV commercials…his, because he’s still amazed at his work. Wife, “Wow honey, I love it!!?? I can hardly wait to ride it”. Husband, “you know what, I need to do one more jetting check on it, let me take it out quickly and make sure everything is perfect for you”.
Six hours and a couple of tanks of gas later the jetting check is done. So is birthday dinner. Now the bike is up for sale.
Ok, that was a fun little story and probably not even remotely close to the real story why the motorcycle is on the selling block. But here’s the deal, this is a very cool motorcycle built really well and somebody is going to have a great time on it. Price is almost reasonable considering how much work has gone into it. Click on the pics for more info and probably the real story….
Side note here, Scott Clough is one the great two stoke tuners anywhere. Between his own racing history and those that he has built for, a Scott Clough motor is as good as you can get.
Sometimes, some people go a bit overboard with their restorations and I think this may be one of them. This bike is almost too pretty to ride. On the other hand…the Matador was a bike built to get dirty. Take all this guys work then cover it with dirt, sand, mud, bugs and you will have a proper enduro bike. A Matador is a motorcycle that you ride anywhere in the world then come home and tell all the great stories of adventures on your Bultaco.
A Bultaco motorcycle, any Bultaco, draws attention no matter where you go. Vintage motocross with a Pursang (especially the early square fendered models), a Sunday ride on a Metralla, pretending you’re Sammy Miller on a trials course riding a Sherpa, a desert race on an El Bandido (actually a really crappy desert racer…good on a fire road, lousy in the sand washes) or an enduro on your Matador, everybody love’s Bultaco’s. If you’re one of the lucky ones that got a black and gold Streaker, you have a black and ‘gold mine’ in your garage.
As I have written before, I started a forty year racing life on a ’66 Matador so I have a soft spot in my heart for this motorcycle. I found this one on ebay today and I started thinking about my old Matador. My Bultaco started life pretty much like this one but by time I got it, a few things had been changed. It was still street legal; stock exhaust , head and tail lights, speedo…but replacement front fender, levers, handlebars and a bit scuffed up (my step dad wasn’t all that good of an off-road rider…however,he did get better?).
Like I said before, some restorations are a bit much. I like this Matador but I have a few questions. The cylinder head is the first one…not stock, and if you look at it, it doesn’t even look functional? Second, the air filter is way incorrect, I’m not sure about the pieces of sheet metal zip tied to the frame, and where is the tool box that is original on the right side of the frame? The engine is over polished and…wait, I need to stop here. The Matador is a great bike and this owner has done some really good work. If you’re looking for a great vintage trail/enduro bike that will be fun to ride and an attention getter, this could find a happy home in your garage and on your favorite trail. Click on the pics for more info.