Cycle News - Archive Issues - 1970's

Cycle News 1971 05 11

Cycle News is a weekly magazine that covers all aspects of motorcycling including Supercross, Motocross and MotoGP as well as new motorcycles

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\'-------'------A Thrill'fo Ride, But to Get Maximum Performance, You Need Steel ''Hueoos'' - M, ..".. ... '" "- Bultaco's El Montadero By Don Woods and Tim Carter DIXIE CYCLE NEWS Dig. We like surprises and all that and we really like to rattle our readers now and then with some mind-blowing revelations and breath-taking exposes. But we're also realistic and know that no one will be left spell-bound and stuttering when we say something so obvious that it needn't be said at all. Motorcyclists just will not go into spasms, fits, fevers, hysterics, contortions, distortions, nutatlOns, transformations or transcendental'states of ecstasy at th~ disclosure that small displacement bikes have been the benefactors of the burgeoning enduro-oriented market in recent years. Any enduro veteran of the past few seasons has witnessed the ,near phenomenal popularity increase of the Q-125cc machines as all types of woods, riders from the serious professional out to ga'rner points and trophies to the "Clark Kent" college student who puts away the books and duct-tapes his jeans to his boots for a Sunday afternoon bash in the boonies, have been attracted by the smaller bikes. The magnetic appeal of the mighty mites is understandable when one considers the de-' mands placed on the rider and his mount in enduro competition and the fact that the lightest bike is by far the best - given, of course, that there is sufficient torque to negotiate the tight spots and enough top-end to make up lost minutes when the opportunity presents itself. But these "facts" leave considerable room for variables and chief among the variables is the individual rider's skill and physical condition. While an increasing number of enduro riders have turned to the smaller machines fOT the most satisfactory combination of ability and power; there are still manufacturers producing machines with the Paul Bunyans in mind - the guys who figure their stamina and style make the weight disadvantage insignificant compared to the tremendous gain in muscle-power afforded by the larger displacement bikes. At ,251 pounds dry, Bultaco's 360cc El Montadero is not really all that heavy, but with a 56-inch wheelbase it definitely has that big bike feel. The first time we tried it through tight woods trails, we figured you would have to throw it around like smaller bikes, but this is not true. The way you ride an El Montadero is not with body english, but with the throttle_ Years of improvement and sophistication of the bike's basic design has evolved a motorcycle that surprises you in a lot of ways. One thing that will really get to you right away is the ease of starting. Pull the kick-starter back past top-center and ~ash, hot or c.old the engine comes to life the [LIst kiCk, every time. The machine is lower to the ground than any bike we've riden lately and this is probably ope reason for its excellent handling. Thinking that the lowness of the bike might cause problems, we were careful over logs in the early part of the test, but the underside of the bike is clean with a full skid-plate, so all you have' to do to go over those high obstacles is pour on the power. Once the shift lever was hit by a rock and it put the machine into neutral. but, a minor adjustment of the lever will solve this problem. When you hit an open trail or go across a muddy creek-bed, you appreciate the big engine. There is no time when this engine is completely off the power-band. In any gear, at any throttle opening the engine pulls. When you get some rPm's built up, you can feel it come on the power-band and it's an exhilarating feeling, but you can be going much faster than you want to before you know it. In fact, the speed of this beautifully fmished "trail" machine is nothing short of astounding. With the manufacturer's conservative horse-power rating of 32.6 at 6000 rpm and the stock gearing, the bike is capable of moving faster than any sane rider would ever want to go. It'll do an honest 90 miles an hournow, smoke that over before you attempt to gas her going down one of those power lines. With a change of tires the El Montedero could function as well on the road as it does in the woods. It isn't the least bit hesitant to jump right up to Five-way adjustable Betor shocks and a cam-type chain adjuster kept the busineIs end straight and true and on the pound. .. > ~ ~ w Z W ...J o >o freeway speeds, but the Pirelli knobbies just don't put enough rubber on the ground to foster feelings of confidence when you're ripping along at 60 to 70 mph. The stability of the machine proved itself once when both wheels were locked up at 75 mph on wet pavement in an attempt to avoid a jam of four-wheelers just over the crest of a hill. Although we wouldn't want to re- peat the test to see whether the reltponse is similar in every situation, the Bul slid wobble-free and the shaken rider lived to tell the tale. Brakes have long been a thorn in the side of Bultaco engineers, but the '71 El Montedero binders (single leading shoe, front and rear) left no room for complaint as they were always up to the (Please turn to pg. 24) The spring-loaded chain tensiooer effectively keeps the S/84nch chain taut by taking up the slack occurring due to stretching.

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