The Merlin marque was established by Ignacio Bulto (the fourth son of Bultaco founder Paso Bulto), and two partners in 1980 – after his father left Bultaco and the company was on its last legs.
Ignacio was a four-time winner of the Spanish Trials Championship and nine-time runner up in the Spanish motocross championships.
Initial production was of small trials bikes and childrens’ motorcycles fitted with Franco Morini motors. Production of larger bikes began in late 1982 with the DG3 trials model powered by Cagiva’s 350cc 2-stroke motor. In fact in Italy and the USA the bikes were sold as Cagivas.
Success was immediate with victory in the 1983 Belgian and ’84 and ’85 Spanish championships.
The DG3 used in in-house manufactured frame fitted with Sherpa T front forks. Cagiva’s motor featured a Nicasil coated cylinder (one of the first to do so), and was unchanged from its original form apart from lower gearing.
In 1986 a completely new mono-shock chassis was introduced, using the company’s F.I.U.S. system completely independent of the rear frame section – which was of flat alloy plate construction. Nagesti three-spoke alloy wheels (with Akront tubeless rims) were a distinctive feature.
Two large cylindrical exhaust reservoirs located under the front of the tank provided additional low end torque and more mass to help keep the front wheel planted. The bike’s weight was 87 kg.
Merlin was taken over by Gas Gas in December 1988.
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