Custom Cool- BMW R75/5 & Bultaco Pursang | Bike Tests | Used Bikes
Maybe it’s got something to do with us Homo Sapiens’ in-built curiosity. Or maybe it’s more to do with exploring the unknown, Edmund Hillary style.
Maybe it’s got something to do with us Homo Sapiens’ in-built curiosity. Or maybe it’s more to do with exploring the unknown, Edmund Hillary style. But it seems that whenever you get a bunch of guys sitting around a table, hanging out in a workshop or sharing a beer with a group of custom bike fanatics, one question is guaranteed to come up every single time. “What if…?”
What if we jammed a Triumph engine in a Norton frame? What if we stuck some Gixxer forks on an old CB Honda? Or what if, stick with me here, we turned a Hyosung into a race bike? OK, so clearly some ideas aren’t as good as others. But some of those ‘others’ have gone on to become legendary innovations while the vast majority of this garage genius never sees the light of day.
But when Craig Marleau of Kick Start Garage in Northern California had such a moment, he not only built his “what if” idea, The Taco Truck, he completed it in record time, pulled off a creation the likes of which has never been seen before and he won an award at the prestigious One Moto Show.
Craig’s light bulb thought was a simple one. “What if you could jump on your vintage motorcycle and ride to a vintage MX race to take part? Trouble is, you would need to race someone else’s bike… so why not ride to the track and bring your race bike, too?” he asked.
What are they Based on?
By the mid 1960s, the motorcycle market was being revolutionised by a new kind of customer who wanted a bike for fun and recreation – something that is clearly demonstrated in both these bikes.
For 1970, BMW launched three new models – the top shelf choice being the 750cc R75/5. It could reach 177 km/h – well over ‘the ton’ – due to its 37kw and 58 Nm of German torques. This era also saw the new “toaster” tank with chrome side panels – though reports from the time said its toast left a lot to be desired.
Around the same time Bultaco had become a successful brand in America, but their fortunes skyrocketed when American Jim Pomeroy shocked everyone by winning the 1973 Spanish 250 GP. The victory created much excitement in America, where motocross was undergoing quite the boom. By 1974, the 360cc Pursang was nearly identical to Pomeroy’s 250, with around 39 horsepowers at 7000 rpm.
What have they got?
The ‘71 BMW R75/5 was stripped back to the bare frame, relieved of all the bits and pieces it didn’t need and the rear subframe was also removed. Wanting there to be room for two, Craig built a new sub-frame to accommodate the extra bums and its new hauling duties.
The rebuilt carbs provide the fuelling, while the job of letting the punters know The Taco Truck has arrived is handled by a rorty set of pipes finishing up with some shorty mufflers. The fully adjustable Fox Podium remote reservoir shocks mean that the suspension can be perfectly tuned for riding with or without the ‘Taco.
Enter a ‘73 Bultaco Pursang that belonged to a friend. Despite the time factor, Craig didn’t do things by halves. The bike was torn down for a thorough restoration, which started with the frame being powder coated in a ‘brushed aluminium’ finish.
“The red and yellow paint with classic white VMX fenders was then laid down. We also included a KSG logo where the Bultaco item had once been,” says Craig.
1. Smart engineering means quick, secure loading of the ‘Taco.
2. The sidecar features a sprung axle and has its own off-road rubber.
3. Trailer queen? More like king of the trails…
What was tricky?
As always, we asked Craig to uncover those repressed memories that not even his shrink could discover. “The real difficulty, as with most show bikes, was the short amount of time we had to build the thing. Just six weeks in total for both to make it to The One Moto show in Portland, Oregon on time.”
“Then we realised that the BMW clearly needed to be able to handle the weight of the other bike without killing us or itself. It also had to be a decent ride when it wasn’t loaded up. Thanks to our new rear frame and the superb Podium shocks, it’s now unfazed in pretty much any situation. We always wanted to avoid a gimmicky build that didn’t actually work. We also wanted a sidecar that could be used for hauling other things and not just a dirt bike.”
With the job completed in time for The One Moto Show and a trophy to take home as well, it seems like the sky’s the limit for the shop.
“We are busy building the Kick Start Garage brand and are about to launch our online store. It will feature brands we use daily and will showcase the swag and hard parts that we make. We’ll also continue building the café racers, scramblers and trackers,” says Craig.
“We are full of fresh ideas and are busy finishing up our next builds that include two different Honda CX500s, and a couple of CB750s.” Four bikes at once? Now that’s bold.