Trials of Life: 1974 Bultaco Sherpa T 350

There is nothing more cozy than sitting in your living room in a comfy chair by the fire on a cold winter’s evening.  Except maybe sitting on a vintage trials bike in your living room next to the fire on a cold winter’s evening.  And since it’s a trials bike maybe you can ride it around the room and over the couch as well.  Find this Bultaco Sherpa T 350 Model 151 for sale in Santa Cruz, CA for $4,000 via craigslist.

In other Taco Tuesday posts we’ve gone over the Spanish company’s origins and history, so rather than repeat it, I will leave it to you to search out those articles if you haven’t been following along at home.  But if you remember, Bultaco’s claim to fame was its observed trial bikes and specifically the Sherpa.  This Sherpa, the Sherpa T model 151, was designed to dominate the non-long distance observed trial.  It’s all about low speed, throttle and brake control and balance.  The model 151 Sherpa T was powered by ether a 250 or 350 cc two stroke single.  This is a 350 cc model equipped with an Amal carb and making about 17 hp.

The 151 was the last of the “slim line” Bultaco trials bikes featuring a slim fiberglass tank and integrated seat.  The fiberglass tank is prone to leak after a few years and some say the corn liquor in modern fuels causes that to accelerate.  Since you ride a trials bike standing up, the seat is pretty much just for looks.

An observed trial consists of a course of natural or constructed obstacles that the rider must navigate without placing their feet down.  Penalty points are awarded for each touch of the foot and the rider with the least amount of points over the trial is the winner.  Bikes of this era are known as twin shock trials bikes, eligible for vintage classes of trials bikes with dual rear shocks.  The brand new stuff in the trial scene today are all mono rear shocks.

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Gianni is Daily Turismo’s Pacific Northwest correspondent.  His dabs always result in a fiasco.