Historic Motorcycle Brands
Bultaco was a Spanish manufacturer of two-stroke motorcycles from 1958 until 1983. In May 2014, the Bultaco brand was reintroduced on a range of electric bikes.
In 1957, ‘Paco’ Bultó was a director of the Montesa motorcycle company, when the company moved to larger facilities. The move disrupted production and was followed by a downturn in the Spanish economy.
As an economy measure, Montesa’s majority shareholder wanted to withdraw from racing, but Bultó, the driving force behind the racing program and the company’s technical expert, was vehemently opposed.
As result, Bultó left Montesa and the majority of Montesa’s racing department left shortly afterwards. The former staff persuaded him to form a new company, using primitive premises at an old farm owned by Bultó.
1959 Bultaco Tralla 101 125cc
In March 24, 1959, Bultaco held a press day and launched the on-road 125cc Bultaco Tralla 101 (the Spanish word for whip). Two months later, Bultaco entered race versions in the Spanish Grand Prix and took seven of the first 10 places.
1960s TSS race bikes
The name Bultaco is combination of Bultó and his nickname Paco, and was suggested by one of Bultaco’s premier racers, John Grace. The ‘thumbs up’ part of the Bultaco logo was the result of a sign to his pit crew by British motorcycle racer David Whitworth that Paco saw and was impressed by.
Spanish Motor GP rider, Sete Gibernau, was Taco’s grandson and wore this logo on the back of his crash helmet.
Although Bultaco made road and road-racing motorcycles, the new company had its greatest competition success and sales with off-road models: the Pursang for motocross, the Matador for enduros, the Sherpa T for observed trials competition and the Astro for short flat-track.
The pivotal Bultaco model was the Sherpa T trials bike, which revolutionised the sport in the 1960s. At that time trials riding was almost exclusively a British sport, using heavy four-stroke machines.
1971 Bultaco el Montadero 360 – National Motorcycle Museum
Irish trials ace Sammy Miller teamed with Bultó to produce a lightweight two-stroke machine which, overnight, rendered the heavy four-strokes obsolete. Miller won the gruelling Scottish Six Days Trial in 1965 and repeated the feat with wins in 1967 and 1968. He also claimed the European Trials Championship in 1968 and 1970.
The resulting publicity stimulated growth in the popularity of trials in Europe and later the USA, providing lucrative markets for Bultaco in the years to come.
Bultaco dominated the World Trials Championship in the 1970s, winning the title eight times and winning the Scottish Six Days Trial four times.
1976 Bultaco 250 Pursang Mk-1 – National Motorcycle Museum
Bultaco’s premier model in the USA, the Pursang, was a good-handling and powerful 250cc model that was competitive in virtually any type of speed-based off-road competition. The Pursang range was later expanded to 125cc, 360cc and 370cc models.
The Bultaco Astro was a very popular short-track racer in the United States and was used by many AMA Grand National riders, including Mike Kidd, Terry Poovey, Bubba Rush and hundreds of others. The Astro had a power-band perfectly suited for short-tracks and some half-miles as well.
Bultaco motorcycles were mainly powered by single-cylinder, air cooled, two-stroke engines, but there were also water-cooled models.
1972 Bultaco Metralla Mk2 – David
Bultaco engine and transmission components were universally interchangeable between models and engine capacities. An owner could replace the cylinder from a 175cc engine with a 200cc, 250cc, 350cc or 360cc capacity Bultaco cylinder. Because Bultaco produced its own cylinders, pistons, rings and cylinder heads, no aftermarket parts were required.
The idea behind this design was to allow aspiring racers to purchase competitive motorcycles without the need for expensive after-market modifications.
Although they continued to be built in Barcelona, Bultaco motorcycles were exported throughout the world and the largest market was the USA.
1974 Bultaco Pursang Mk 8 GP 250 – Peprovira
Due to industrial unrest and market pressures, Bultaco production closed in 1979. The factory reopened in 1980, but closed again in 1983.
In 1998, rights to the Bultaco name were purchased by Marc Tessier, who used it to help launch a range of purpose-built trials motorcycles. His new company, Sherco Moto SARL, derived its name from an amalgamation of Sherpa and Bultaco.
The new bikes were initially named Bultaco Shercos, but in 2000, they became ‘Sherco by Bultaco’ and in 2001 the Bultaco name was dropped altogether.
A new series of electric Bultacos was announced mid-2014 and began production in 2015.