Here's my beloved 1972 Bultaco Alpina M85 (250cc). I bought it new in NJ from Sleger-Forbes in Hanover. Now mostly forgotten, Malcom Forbes of the eponymous magazine partnered with a local bike shop proprietor and created one of the first super dealerships. They were the only Bultaco dealer in the northern half of the state.

For the next several years I used it to trail ride, ran enduros and a couple of trials as well. It came into the house each winter for preparation for the next year. It got repainted black one time, the lights came off, and the fragile alloy fenders were replaced with plastic. Briton Sammy Miller was the trials king back then on Bultacos. I wrote him and sourced a bunch of his bespoke parts: exhaust, levers, fork brace, and best of all, a Mikuni carburetor.

Eventually I parked the Alpina and it sat in my basement for a dozen years. When I moved to FL, I gave it to my best friend for his kid to use as a yard bike. Five or six years later, the son now grown and riding street bikes, I got it back. It was pretty depressing seeing what it looked like but I set about resurrecting it. Having taken it apart a few times years before, it all felt amazingly familiar to work on. The rebuild was for me, not for show, so I did the frame black instead of silver and put a yellow tank on it. I also left all the mods in place except for reinstalling the original lights and fenders.

The following year the Alpina was up and running, I took it to Daytona during the AHRMA races and had a ball profiling around the infield. I rode it a bit, showed it off at a show or two, then parked it in the museum room at the house. Other than replacing the tank with a correctly painted one it has remained there as the Queen of the Garage. It will never leave my possession again.

July 2017 Update: The yard bike kid grew up, moved to Colorado after college and continues to ride. Originally I planned to leave my beloved Alpina to him as he loved it nearly as much as I. It was in my will. Then I realized I wanted to be around when he got it back, to share in his joy. So now it's in Colorado, in his living room.


The day it returned in 1996. Pretty dismal.     Motor ready to reinstall. Going together and looking pretty good.


Daytona Speedway, Bike Week 1997. Terrible photo, only one taken that day. Riding Into History, St. Augustine, FL, 2000, before repainting the tank.

The Alpina, New Jersey, Summer 1973.