When people hear the name “Bultaco,” they typically respond, “What’s that?” unless they’re familiar with Steve McQueen, Peter Fonda, and other bigshot hollywood icons from the past couple of decades.
This is because neither the Bultaco brand nor the Pursang line have etched their names into the halls of legends, but the unsung heroes at Bultaco nonetheless created a world-class classic with the Pursang.
Leading the World in Diversity
Bultaco first began designing the Pursang in 1964 under the name MK1. The explicit purpose behind the production of this motorcycle was to race and to win. Despite the relatively short length of total production (17 years), Bultaco produced 13 different versions of the Pursang.
Bultaco averaged a new design for the Pursang almost every single year. While each version had somewhat different characteristics, they all utilized a similar engine design despite the various alterations made for each MK number.
The common engine design took the shape of a two-stroke, air-cooled engine, although the rest of the schematics changed from model to model. The only displacement option for the original MK1, for instance, was a 250cc engine; whereas, the MK15 enjoyed three different possible sizes: 125cc, 250cc, and the much larger 420cc.
Each model in between MK1 and MK15 had varying size possibilities, subtly different weight classes, and minor changes to the frames, which for the most part were simple cage frames supported by telescoping front and traditional rear shock suspensions.
Timeline of Versions with Changes
Bultaco created over thirteen different versions of the MK series under the Pursang name between 1964 and 1981. These models were named MK1 though MK12, skipping 13 and 14, and concluded the line with the MK15. However, none would become quite as famous as the MK4.
- MK4 (1969-1971)
Weighing in at only about 220 pounds, the Pursang MK4 was an incredibly lightweight vehicle capable of hitting high speeds while maintaining incredible agility and control.
The design of this model differed from others primarily via the use of a 244.29cc engine equipped with AMAL carburetors and a combined combustion-electric-generated 12:1 compression ratio.
News Regarding the MK4
Although the MK4 was exceedingly popular in Spain and western Europe, it never became a household name in the United States. This lends itself to explain the reason why there hasn’t been much news in this part of the world pertaining to the long-out-of-production MK series.
However, just because it wasn’t a household name doesn’t mean that it wasn’t ridden by a household name. Bultaco Pursang MK 4 doesn’t get the English coverage that it deserves as a powerful racing vehicle today, but at least it got plenty of coverage when Peter Fonda used it as his choice of motorcycle in the 1969 hit film Easy Rider.
It’s likely going to be hard to find a social group for Bultaco motorcycles in English, but luckily enough, Facebook has a great new automatic translation system capable of translating from Catalan or Spanish into English at the click of a button. Try out this relatively small group.
The Bultaco Pursang MK4 – an Unsung Classic
If the world were just a little more connected and there were fewer language barriers, Bultaco’s Pursang MK4 might have still lived at the height that it did in the racing circuits of the 1970s.
Speculation aside, all we can say for sure is that the speed and clarity of riding one of these Spanish superbikes still shocks suspensions and owners alike.