Bultaco bets on electric

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New crossover moto-bike marks the return of iconic Spanish firm

Bultaco, the long-defunct historic Spanish brand best known for its iconic Sherpa trials and off-road bikes during the 60s and 70s, have relaunched, placing all their efforts into electric and hybrid bikes.

President and co-founder of the new-look Bultaco, Gerald Poellmann, announced the firm’s intentions with the launch of their Brinco electric motorcycle/mountain bike last week, while also hinting that we could see the Bultaco’s first electric motorcycle - the Rapitan - by the end of 2016.

Bultaco hopes the Rapitan Sport prototype, first unveiled alongside the standard Rapitan in 2014, will be available in dealers by the end of 2016. It’s estimated the Rapitan will cost around £10,000 when it goes on sale. To help with the development of their electric bikes, Bultaco have partnered several companies including established electric motorcycle gurus, MotoCzysz. Bultaco are also in the early stages of developing a scooter which uses hybrid technology.

Riding the Brinco

Bultaco call the Brinco a moto-bike, a halfway house between a motorcycle and bicycle, which is exactly what it is. But is it what anybody wants?

With a weight of 39kg it’s too heavy to pedal, even on the flat – you really need the 60Nm of torque from the three-phase 2kw AC motor to get anywhere, especially uphill. Using the electric motor results in fairly rapid acceleration, for a pushbike at least, but I found myself riding it like a motorbike – the pedals becoming instantly redundant. The power is delivered via a conventional throttle twistgrip, making it at least feel vaguely like a motorcycle.

The trouble with the Brinco is that it’s not a motorcycle or a bicycle; it’s a hybrid that nobody really asked for. I didn’t step off the Brinco at the end of the day really wanting one; instead I wanted a mountain bike. 

And at an estimated £3000 for the current non-road legal model, a mountain bike is a much cheaper option. Nonetheless, Bultaco say they’ve sold 150 of the 175 limited-edition batch, which are available through the company’s website. It has a top speed of 37mph and a range of around 34 miles.

The current model is not road legal, although Poellmann says one will be available in late 2015 for an estimated price of £3916.

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Liam Marsden

By Liam Marsden

Former MCN Web Producer