Spanish Delight: The 1965 Bultaco Metralla

If Goldilocks rode bikes, she would approve of the Bultaco Metralla: the balance of handling, power and braking is just right.

| September/October 2015

1965 Bultaco Metralla
Claimed power: 20hp @ 7,000rpm
Engine: 196cc air-cooled 2-stroke single, 64.5mm x 60mm bore and stroke, 10:1 compression ratio
Weight: 218lb (99kg)
Fuel capacity: 3.7gal (14ltr)
Price then/now: $685/$4,000-$10,000

The tasty Texas Bultaco featured here isn’t served with salsa and chips — it comes with one cylinder, two wheels and a boatload of grins.

The United States was Bultaco’s largest market in the 1960s, but beyond the offroad world of trials and motocross, the Spanish company was not well-known and never attained more than cult status here. That’s a pity, because as the lovely Metralla on these pages proves, Bultaco also made exceptional street bikes.

Bultaco’s beginnings

Francisco Xavier Bultó, popularly known as Paco Bultó, cofounded the Montesa motorcycle company in 1944 and helped develop the company’s 125cc race bikes that were so successful in the 1950s. The Spanish economy hit a slump in 1958, adding to the financial strain Montesa was already experiencing following its recent move to new, larger premises.

The company chose to cut costs by withdrawing from racing, also eliminating its competitions department, as Moto Guzzi, Gilera and Mondial had already done. As a board member, Bultó strongly disagreed with this decision — he believed racing “improved the breed” and boosted sales. The company would not be swayed, so Bultó resigned and made plans to pursue his other business interests, which included textiles and a company making pistons and piston rings.

Shortly thereafter, a group of Bultó’s former colleagues invited him to dinner. At the meal, the 16 Montesa employees gathered together echoed Bultó’s strong feelings about the racing program. They were poised to leave Montesa, and encouraged Bultó to establish a new company to build sporting motorcycles. Bultó agreed, and in June 1958 he formed Compañía Española de Motores SA (CEMOTO) at his family’s country home on the outskirts of Barcelona.

9/9/2015 6:46:45 PM

What a great article( and great photos too) My first foray into European motorcycles in 1966 was a Bultaco 175 Mecurio..and my next bike was a 200 Metralla! This article brings back fond memories. Yet another great edition of MC Classics.

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