bullfrog Posted June 18, 2020 Report Share Posted June 18, 2020 I have perused this complete thread, which is quite interesting! I can provide a bit of "first hand" information - and I do have a question or two. Here goes. I am the owner/builder of one of those "Bullfrogs" and worked at Hodaka/PABATCO from 1971 to 1978. PABATCO was once the importer of Cotton Motorcycles (before my time there), but never had a business connection with Saracen. During the "light weight is good" boom of trials design in the 1970's - some of us at PABATCO were enamoured of the idea. I actually purchased a Saracen trialer within weeks of being hired on at PABATCO (I was young and impulsive!). Leon Wilbanks and Curt Alexander teamed up to build the grand-daddy Bullfrog in a Saracen (single down-tube) frame with a highly modified engine - 175cc top end on a Hodaka 125cc bottom end with extra clutch and mag side flywheel weighting and special trials ratio transmission obtained from the factory in Japan. Once the grand-daddy Bullfrog was completed, several of us at PABATCO just HAD to have one too! As mentioned in the thread, Curt Alexander built a frame jig and 6 frames were constructed. These 6 frames were not a company project - they were the result of employee "after hours passion". Now, back to the thread and comments/questions about the Hodaka Challenger/Sprite. I certainly can't debate the genesis of the Challenger project - it may have started with input from an oil exploration company - but I am certain that Terry Faust of Gemini (Canadian Hodaka Importer) saw the sales potential of an effective small bore trials machine in Canada. Further, the machine was advertised and sold into the dirt bike market . . . and Challenger/Sprites were in attendance at trials events of the era. (There seems to have been a "jump to a conclusion" that since an oi company started the project, none of the machines were sold at retail. To my knowledge, that conclusion is simply not correct.) And a question, the thread alludes to a shipment of Dalesman/Hodaka trials bikes having been shipped to Canada (or the US?) . . . and no payment made for the machines. Can anyone provide additional information on this specific topic? Who was the importer? Number of machines? I am unaware of any engines having been shipped to England for installation in Dalesman frames for a production run of bikes. I'm also curious as to how the engine which we KNOW went into a Dalesman trials prototype machine (photos in publications of the era) got to England (none of us at PABATCO knew how it got there at the time). Keep the rubber side down :-) Ed 1 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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