The Spanish Bultaco El Bandido first appeared in 1967 as 350cc model and in 1968 the bore was increased from 83.2mm to 85mm which gave it 362cc and 43.5hp. Therein lays the problem! Weighing in at 251lbs, some 20 pounds heavier than the 250 Pursang and with almost 10 more horsepower, very few riders were capable of taming the Bandit!
Spanish metal was often blamed for the poor reliability of the Spanish brands – Bultaco, Ossa, and Montesa and the problem was only accentuated with the big bore El Bandido. The machine also used a Femsatronic electric ignition that would prove to be unreliable.
As with the 250cc Pursang models, the Bandido was available in both motocross and scrambles models. In America, far more scrambles models would be sold as the longish wheelbase (55.9”), 31 degree head angle, and ample power was better suited to smoother scrambles tracks.
Though they are largely ignored by AHRMA racers they have become a very desirable collector bike. Because there were relatively few sold in America, nice original machines command a high price. Let’s not forgot how beautiful the El Bandido is when restored to like new condition.
El Bandido has to be considered on of the most iconic of all the Spanish era racers, bold and brutal. Also unique to the Bandido was the twin down tube frame and center port exhaust, the only Bultaco to ever have this feature. These things are pretty rare these days. But I do have this original brochure.