“Carefully designed and engineered to carry you almost anywhere — to explore mysterious woods with a good dog running beside you, to conquer the vastness of a the hot desert and red sand, to be king of the mountains and fields, to gallop over high sand dunes, to leave your big tracks in the snows of wintertime.” The El Burro Sand n Sno bike incorporated no suspension, instead relying on gigantic 12-inch-wide, low pressure tires to cushion impacts and create a wide footprint over soft terrain. Manufactured for only a couple years in the early ‘70s, the El Burro was meant to be an ultra-simplified, ultra-rugged distillation of dirt bike fundamentals that you could fold up and put in your trunk.
Two main versions were created by Worth Industrial Processing Company in Lexington, Michigan — a 5bhp with a torque converter automatic transmission an an 8bhp with a centrifugal clutch. Both were powered by simple four-stroke, pull cord start Briggs Stratton engines and the 8bhp model could reach a top speed of 24mph. The handlebars folded back over the take, creating a small, rectangular package that measured just 65 inches long, 32 inches wide and 30 inches tall. The 5bhp model weighed only 140lbs. The official brochure claimed El Burro was easy to transport, “in your station wagon or camper.”
The USP of El Burro is easy to discern; the huge tires inflated to just 1.2-2psi would allow it to easily traverse soft or tricky terrain at very low speeds. Sand and deep snow were a cinch, owners report that riding through up to a foot of soft snow was no problem. That extremely low PSI and complete lack of suspension should have made landing jumps like the one seen above a little tricky, we’d imagine riding one was a little like operating a powered moon bounce hopping ball.
In 1970 Mini Bike Guide magazine gave the 5bhp, torque converter El Burro a “horrible” rating, prompting the release of the 8bhp, but the bike never appears to have caught on, possibly because of its inconveniently large size when compared to other mini bikes, which would have made it difficult to transport and store.