GALLERY: Go Behind The Scenes On Our Bultaco Metralla 250 Film Shoot
Gilles Escuyer is something of a Bultaco enthusiast. The name of the Barcelona-based motorcycle manufacturer was revived a few years ago with an eye toward electric power, but as Gilles and his friends prove, the old two-stroke models won’t soon be forgotten. The model featured in today’s film is one of Gilles’ favorites from his collection—a 1967 Metralla 250 Mk2—and it was among the fastest bikes of its time in addition to being the first Spanish machine to compete at the famed Isle of Man TT. In other words, it’s a historically significant motorcycle, and though it’s been carefully restored, it still gets its bouts of exercise in the French countryside near the city of Reims.
“Bultaco gives off an aura that most motorcycle brands don’t have. Something that goes beyond just quality and beauty. A sort of ‘way of life’,” Gilles says, surrounded by frames, tanks, race suits, posters, and a big stash of other gear with “Bultaco” printed or painted on. Though these small-capacity two-stroke single-cylinder motorcycles are down on power compared to what’s used to compete with today, Gilles and his friends still find great joy in entering competitions, pitting vintage Bultacos against modern fare from Japan and having a blast in the process.
We consider bikes like these collectible now, and somewhere along the way we decided to call them vintage instead of just old, but when Gilles started to pick through the old inventories of bikes shops and dealers hardly anyone was regarding the bikes and parts that were often buried in the back of the garage. Gilles remembers that they were often laughed at. Nobody enjoys having their interests mocked, but Gilles didn’t mind, as they were eager to give him what he’d came for, often going as far as to sweeten the deal—a “Here, take this one too” reaction to anyone looking for old Bultaco parts. At least in France, they were pioneers, giving attention to a brand that had long seen its glory days in competition and consumer sales.
Through the process of finding and restoring these old bikes one at at time, collecting and cataloging the memorabilia, bringing them to competitions, and displaying a round enthusiasm for the brand’s history in general, Gilles and his fellow Bultaco faithfuls have helped the name become ever more prominent in vintage motorcycle circles over the last few decades.
Once Gilles and his friends got involved with Bultacos at trial bike events in the beginning of the 1990s, they started to notice over time that they weren’t the only ones hooked on the Spanish moto manufacturer. At each event they’d find that more and more Bultacos had been exhumed from storage and brought back from states of disrepair to compete once again. As Gilles says, they are still a joy to race with, even against modern competition.