Au Naturel: 1978 Bultaco Streaker

Rare as hen’s teeth, fewer than 100 Bultaco Streakers were brought to the U.S. over its three-year production.


| November/December 2017



1978 Bultaco Streaker

Bill Myers' 1978 Bultaco Streaker.

Photo by Jeff Barger

1978 Bultaco Streaker
Claimed power: 13.3hp @ 9,000rpm
Top speed: 72mph (claimed)
Engine: 119cc air-cooled 2-stroke single, 54.2mm x 51.5mm bore and stroke, 12:1 compression ratio
Weight(dry): 187lb (85kg)
Fuel capacity/MPG: 2.3gal (10.5ltr)

This is the story about Bultaco’s Streaker, a model that hit the showroom floor in 1977, and the only bike from that Spanish brand to sport cast aluminum wheels. 

Before we talk about the Streaker, though, let’s cut to the chase: When somebody mentions the word streaker in casual conversation, the first thing that many people envision is a classic 1970s scene starring a naked runner streaking in public, his or her oh-so-vital anatomical attributes dangling precipitously in the breeze. Perhaps a clip of Will Ferrell, jogging au naturel in the movie Old School, pops playfully into your mind. If you’re to proceed with this particular classic motorcycle feature article, you need to erase those mental pictures right now. So close your eyes, take a deep cleansing breath and let your mind wander freely to a happier place where you inwardly reflect on soothing, pleasant thoughts about vintage motorcycles. There are no streakers and no naked, overweight, middle-aged Will Ferrell to clutter your mind.

With that we present Bill Myers’ 1978 Bultaco Streaker. It’s one of about 750 examples that Bultaco built from 1977 to 1979, before the factory experienced a full shutdown of operations. That crisis lasted through the following year when the factory doors in Barcelona, Spain, reopened for another three-year run before the government put the company on life support again, where it lingered a few more painful years before mercifully shutting down for good in early 1987. Recently, the iconic Bultaco name was resurrected and it’s now found on, of all things, electric-powered bicycles — a far cry from the magical motorcycles, all powered by blue-smoking 2-stroke single-cylinder engines of varying displacements that commanded a worldwide presence from the Iberian Peninsula starting in 1959. 

From Montesa to Bultaco

The Bultaco story has its origins in May 1958, when the Montesa motorcycle company (itself founded in 1944), like many industrial entities in Spain, suffered from a recession that plagued the nation at that time. In a classic knee-jerk reaction, Montesa management, which essentially consisted of the company’s founder Pedro Permanyer, elected to forego its successful racing activities while the company, and the country, recuperated from declining economic times. Less money spent at the race track translated into more cash left in the corporate coffers for other matters such as meeting payroll, underwriting inventory and paying the mortgage.

On the other side of the executive’s conference table at Montesa HQ sat the distinguished and dashing figure of Francisco Bulto, who commonly went by the nickname Paco. Paco also headed Montesa’s racing program that was responsible for some notable international race wins. He and Señor Permanyer must have peered long and hard at each other before the race team manager finally blinked, deciding it might be a good time to vacate his office and quit his job. It helped, too, that several other key members of Montesa’s racing program had urged Señor Bulto to leave the firm to join them in the start-up of a new motorcycle company, which they did in an empty barn owned by Paco himself. Thus was born Bultaco, a company name that has its origins from Paco Bulto’s surname and nickname — Bult-Aco. Bultaco, and it has no connection whatsoever with that most delicious of Mexican dishes, the famous and irresistible taco.

william.silver
11/23/2017 9:09:06 AM

I raced in the 125 production class in AFM and CMC back in the 1970s (1974 Production champion on a CB125S1) and remember someone bringing one out once to race. It seemed quick down the straights, but I think the rider was a novice and my Honda was able to outrun it by the end of the race. In 1977 I had brought a CB125T in from the UK and that bike was capable of 80+mph right out of the box at the races. Once at Ontario, I caught a draft from a 175cc bike and saw it hit 88 mph at 13k rpms with no ill effects. I thought that the Streaker would have gone off and hidden from us all in the class, but it was a one and done race, apparently for the owner. Pretty bike and looked like a winner back then.


alan86
11/23/2017 8:47:20 AM

I too have a Streaker, mine being an original survivor. Like Bill it took a long time to find one. According to most reports, only 28 examples were imported to the US. Some have said they all went to California, but I have no verification of that. I've been in contact with Bill and a couple of other owners. So far I have found only a half dozen examples still around. They are certainly unique little bikes, owing a great deal of their design to the GP bikes raced by Angel Nieto. I have a bit more info at my hooby site www.MotoEuro.org.


alan86
11/23/2017 8:45:33 AM

I too have a Streaker, mine being an original survivor. Like Bill it took a long time to find one. According to most reports, only 28 examples were imported to the US. Some have said they all went to California, but I have no verification of that. I've been in contact with Bill and a couple of other owners. So far I have found only a half dozen examples still around. They are certainly unique little bikes, owing a great deal of their design to the GP bikes raced by ANgel Nieto. I have a bit more info at my hooby site www.MotoEuro.org.


adsinger
11/23/2017 8:45:31 AM

I too have a Streaker, mine being an original survivor. Like Bill it took a long time to find one. According to most reports, only 28 examples were imported to the US. Some have said they all went to California, but I have no verification of that. I've been in contact with Bill and a couple of other owners. So far I have found only a half dozen examples still around. They are certainly unique little bikes, owing a great deal of their design to the GP bikes raced by ANgel Nieto. I have a bit more info at my hooby site www.MotoEuro.org.


abarth1202
11/23/2017 8:36:17 AM

I've owned a Streaker since buying it new back in the late 70s. I love the black/gold paint scheme and the Campy lookalike rims. I heard a long time ago that the frame was designed by a French aircraft mfg. It's all original, 500 mi., but has also suffered the indignity of bad ignition timing which no one ever had an answer for. I think I went through 3 pistons as a result. I believe the Penton boys out in Lorain OH have a solution to the electronic ignition issue. The bike has never been titled and is still on the original certificate of origin from Bultaco intl., Virginia Beach, VA. I have a complete parts manual, gasket set and service manual. The brakes were always a bit dodgy. I finally pulled them apart having to use a Yamaha front brake MC to force the pistons out of the calipers. I've never been able to get anything on the mfg., Remco, but they share the same size piston as a 32mm Brembo. Other then the dust seals, the Brembo pistons and caliper seals fit right in. The 2 masters cylinders were easily disassembled, inspected and rebuilt- no problems there. The discs are aluminum coated with plasma? They appear to be true. Having been stored inside its entire life, the rest of the bike is in excellent condition. The chrome on the exhaust pipe is in great shape and only the wrinkle finish on the front MC need a bit of touch up. Because of the piston problem I replaced the original carburetor (I think either a Bing or Amal) with a more user friendly Mikuni for which I have a lot of parts for plus racing experience with Yamaha RDs and TZs. The throttle got replaced with a Magura item. The tank and body parts are all in great shape with minor scratches. The fiberglas tank never suffered the indignity of ethanol fuel. It still has the original Michelin tires which probably should be replaced. I'd been in touch with Hugh's Bultaco in the past and am pleased to hear they took part in the above restoration. Maybe I'll give the a call. Regards, Mac Morgan Hockessin DE






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