B S A Gold Star Tipped To Rise Again?

Discussion in 'Motorcycle History & Top Bikes - Videos & Articles' started by GTR-Admin, Sep 15, 2017.

  1. BSA%20Rocket%20Gold%20Star%2062%2001.

    Mahindra and BSA
    In 2016, Mahindra & Mahindra acquired a controlling share in Classic Legends Private Limited (CLPL). Subsequently, in October 2016, Classic Legends acquired the rights and trademarks for the legendary British Motorcycle company BSA. Classic Legends paid just £3,399,600 (US$4,150,000) for the rights to resurrect one of the best known motorcycle brands in history, a company that was once the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world.

    Detailed plans for the marque are still unclear, but design of a range of 500cc to 750cc motorcycles is known to be underway in Italy and manufacturing facilities are being built in both France and India with a view to a brand launch in 2019. Mahindra has also confirmed that it has acquired the rights to the "Gold Star" brand, which was synonymous with BSA for many decades.

    Apparently, the spectacular sales growth of Royal Enfield, and the success of Triumph, has not gone unnoticed and there ara moves afoot to resurrect other famous motorcycle marques from years gone by!
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  2. So, if BSA were to be restored to production in the next couple of years, what motorcycles would they be most likely to produce?

    A brief BSA History
    The Birmingham Small Arms (BSA) Company commenced business in 1863. The the bicycle division starting in 1880 but it was not until 1905 that a small Minerva engine powered bicycle was released in 1905. With the rise of the motor cycle trade in 1902 the B.S.A. Company had marketed special fittings and frames suitable for use with low power petrol engines. Development in the design of BSA motorbicycle frames in 1905 was followed by the spring frame,introducing significant advances towards riding comfort. The spring frame was designed to suit inclined engines from 2 h.p. to a 4 h.p. Sets of motorbicycle fittings were also supplied for vertical engines up to 3 1⁄2 h.p. or inclined engines up to 2 3⁄4 h.p.

    Motor bicycles were added to bicycle products in 1910. The BSA 3½ hp was exhibited at the 1910 Olympia Show, London for the 1911 season. The entire BSA production sold out in 1911, 1912 and 1913

    BSA produced motorcycles including the popular S27 or Sloper Model which was available in 350cc, 500cc and 595cc over the ten years which it was produced.


    BSA Motorcycles in Warfare
    In addition to the large quantities of weapons needed Army, there was also strong demand for B.S.A. motorbikes, supplied in very large numbers to the British and Allied Governments. By World War 2, BSA had 67 factories producing guns and ammunitions. BSA supplied 126,000 M20 motorcycles to the armed forces from 1937.
    At that point, BSA was the largest producer of motorcycles in the world.


    (BSA M20 500cc (1939).)

    BSA continued it’s expansion, purchasing Triumph motorcycles in 1951. They then went on to acquire Ariel, Sunbeam and New Hudson. By 1965, competition from Japan (Honda, Yamaha & Suzuki) and from Europe (Jawa, CZ, Bultaco & Husqvarna) was shredding BSA’s market share. The BSA and Triumph range were no longer meeting the changing markets expectations. At the same time, failed projects such as the production of the Ariel 3 also harmed the company.


    (Ariel 3 at Bourton On The Water Motor Museum - Flickr - mick - Lumix.jpg:, CC BY 2.0, File:Ariel 3 cropped.JPG - Wikimedia Commons)

    To tackle competition head on, a new range of singles, twins and the new 3 cylinder Rocket 3 was launched in 1968/69. A company reorganisation in 1971 centred motorcycle production in the Triumph Meriden plant, whilst component and engine production was left in the BSA plant in Small Heath. Production upgradescontinued until 1972 but the flood of more reliable Japanese motorbikes had long since flooded the market.

    After the merger with Norton Villiers in 1972, a Norton B50 based on a 500cc unit-single engine but few were sold. The BSA single unit B50’s were improved by the CCM motorcycle company, so this basic BSA design continued until the late 1970s across Europe.

    In 1972 bankruptcy was inevitable and the BSA motorcycle businesses were absorbed into the Manganese Bronze company, Norton-Villiers, becoming Norton-Villiers-Triumph. The express intention was production and sales of Norton & Triumph motorcycles. BSA shareholders confirmed the merger, and although the BSA name was omitted from the new company's name, 4 BSA motorcycles continued production until 1973:
    • Gold Star 500 (B50)
    • 650 Thunderbolt
    • 650 Lightning
    • 750 Rocket Three
    Both Norton and BSA factories were closed around 1973, and Triumph folded 4 years later.

    Post War BSA Motorcycle Motorcycles
    This is not an exhaustive list of every model or its variant - just a "rough guide" for quick reference. For more details, see:

    A series Twins (four-stroke, parallel twin)

    A7 - 1947-62
    A7 Shooting Star = 1949-54


    (By Thruxton - Own work, CC BY 3.0, File:BSA A7 1949.JPG - Wikimedia Commons)

    A10 Golden Flash - 1950-62
    A10 Super Flash - 1953-54
    A10 Road Rocket - 1954-57
    A10 Super Rocket - 1958-63
    A10 Rocket Gold Star 1962-63

    (By Swainys-Boy - Own work - Own Motorcycle, CC BY-SA 4.0, File:Late BSA A10.jpg - Wikimedia Commons)

    A50 - 1960 - 1970
    A50R Royal Star - 1966-70
    A50C Cyclone 1964-65
    A50W Wasp 1966-68


    (By Mfhutchins at English Wikipedia - Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons by Common Good using CommonsHelper., Public Domain, File:1969 BSA A50.jpg - Wikimedia Commons)


    A65 Star Twin - 1962-70
    A65L Lightning - 1964-72
    A65R Rocket - 1964-72
    A65T Thunderbolt - 1964-72
    A65H Hornet - 1966-67
    A65S Spitfire - 196468
    A65F Firebird Scrambler - 1968-72


    (By Ken from London, England - BSA A65 Unit Twin, CC BY 2.0, File:BSA A65 650 twin.jpg - Wikimedia Commons)

    A70L Lightning 750 (production racing bike)

    Triple Cylinder: the BSA Rocket 3 and the Triumph Trident were joint products and share a majority of engine components and cycle parts. The BSA has “slanted” engine cases, plus a BSA frame and fittings.
    A75R Rocket3 750 - 1969-72
    A75RV Rocket3 750 – 5 speed - 1972
    A75V Rocket3 750 – 5 speed


    (By TR001 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, File:BSA Rocket 3 motorcycle.JPG - Wikimedia Commons)

    C Series Four-stroke unit singles - Unit Construction
    C11/C11G: 12 hp (9 kW) – 70 mph (110 km/h) – 85mpg – weight 250 lb (113 kg).

    The C11 used a C10 motor fitted with OHV top end. The frame on the C11 was almost unchanged until 1951 when BSA fitted a plunger rear end making only a little improvement to the quality of the ride. Early gearboxes were weak and were known to explode. The C11G was available as a 3 speed with rigid frame or 4 speed with the plunger frame version. Both models had better front brakes than earlier models. This model was a popular all round commuter motorcycle, and many can still be seen around today.


    C12 - 1956–58 - 249 cc OHV - C11G engine fitted with an alternator

    C15 250cc 1958-65
    C15 Star
    C15P Star Police
    C15T Trials
    C15S Scrambler
    C15SS80 Sports Star 80
    C15 Sportsman


    (By Mick from England - BSA C15 250cc 1960, CC BY 2.0, File:BSA C15 250cc 1960 - Flickr - mick - Lumix(1).jpg - Wikimedia Commons)

    So, there are some iconic BSA models for Mahindra to pick from, and one wonders which of those will make production in modern form...
  3. Fond memories of my C11G, found in the back of a hay barn at a Somerset farm, I was doing some holiday work, about 14 years old as I remember, that was me not the bike. Did a deal with the cowhand to swap the bike for my labours, Not too many radar cameras or interested policemen in rural Somerset in the early 60's, so fairly free to roam around without bothering about the legalities. Progressed to a C12 and then a C15 over the next few years, mainly because cheaper to find almost abandoned bikes, than to head to the town to get new parts ,needed to keep a bike gong. Oil leaks and difficulty starting in wet weather were a constant feature. Sadly to say, I went the way of the Japanese for reliability, once I needed a bike for transport rather than teenage fun.
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  4. John, I also owed a C11 - bought it off an old chap where I worked when I was 17 yrs old - so about 1971. It was a challenge keeping it running, and long trips were fraught with the need for constant attention. It was not long before the first Suzuki trial bikes appeared in a local bike shop, and I traded the BSA in on a Suzuki TS185cc Sierra which served me well for several years.
  5. Is this How the First Next-Gen BSA Bike will look like in 2019?
    Italian motorcycle designer Oberdan Bezzi has released renderings of two upcoming BSA bikes that are expected to make their debut in the year 2019.


    The first bike is apparently based on the 1968 BSA Victor, inspired by a Scrambler design philosophy and gets dual purpose tyres to take on variable terrain with ease. The motorcycle has dual disc brakes and Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS). The suspension has inverted front forks and a rear gas-charged mono shock absorber.


    The designer has also released the rendering of an even more "off-road" version of the motorcycle, above.

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  6. The Last one Looks Fantastic! Very Similar to My Desert Sled!
  7. Your top photo is a Rocket Gold Star twin. Included in the last range of the A10 pre-unit bikes, 1962 - 63.

    The "Gold Star" name comes from Wal Handley's achievement of lapping the Brooklands circuit at an average speed of 100mph, in 1937, on an Empire Star, for which he was awarded a Brooklands Gold Star.

    But the real Goldie was the single, produced from 1938 to 1963. The best of which was the DBD34 500cc, 40HP single, produced from 1956 to 1963. These were umcompromising production racing bikes and dominated the circuits when they came out.
    With a massive Amal GP carburettor, which had no float bowl, you had to blip the throttle when stopped to keep it running. With the RRT2 gearbox, it was also very high geared, so you had to slip the clutch on take off, but it could do 60mph in 1st gear and had a top speed of 110mph. Almost unrideable in towns, but highly collectible now.


    Lots of more regular BSAs still being ridden all over the world.
    Half a dozen gathered at the 2015 LICME Rally in Chiang Saen.

    My M33 is currently undergoing a full restoration. This is a 1952 plunger suspension 500cc single, with magneto ignition and 23 HP. A real thumper.

    out and about in CS.

    Also being slowly worked on is my 1965 C15. 250cc and a measly 15 HP... A much lighter bike, perhaps for when I'm old.........
    2015-08-19 10.23.12.
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  8. "My M33 is currently undergoing a full restoration."

    Wow, that's a truly glorious looking machine! :)

    I'm sure that there are many people who are envious not just of your passion, and the motorcycles that you ride, but also your mechanical abilities in restoration and maintenance! A lot of older riders would probably enjoy a trip down memory lane on a vintage bike, but I for one must cheerfully admit that I'm just not skilled enough to restore and maintain one! So on that basis alone, you are a legend... :cool:

    That said, I'd very much like to own and ride a retro / vintage motorcycle. I like the classic look but modern manufacture with enhanced reliability is a prerequisite due to my mechanical ineptitude! (and eyesight) My mechanical knowledge extends to appreciating that BSF and/or Whitworth spanners, nuts and bolts are probably as common as rocking horse droppings across Asia, so even getting the right tools for an old bike would be a challenge!
  9. Well, the DBD34s are certainly gorgeous machines, I doubt you mean the M33....
    But that bike should look much better when finished in the proper colour, ie. black, with just colour on the tank.
    The bike is currently fully stripped, with half the parts painted and most of the engine parts ready for re-assembly. It may be another year or two before it's rolling again though, long term project.

    I believe classic bikes can be reliable, once built correctly with good parts. The problem is always that when you get a bike, it's usually been messed with by people who don't know what they are doing, don't care, or don't have the money to do it properly. Then there are parts that are just worn out. So, it takes many many years to get to a truly satisfactory condition. But they do take a lot of maintenance as well.

    I never trained as a mechanic, but had reasonable mechanical aptitude. Soon after I bought my '59 Thunderbird, I worked with a guy who had just done a 3 year restoration on a fifties Triumph. After seeing some photos, I was suitably impressed and thought.... "I reckon I can do that.." That's how it started.... I had Classic Bike on subscription for years, then just learned as I went along. It's actually much easier now, with lots of info on the internet and Ebay for parts and tools. Like any hobby, it takes a lot of time, but I find it very satisfying.

    Spanners; Yes, you are quite right, but I have one set of T Williams Superslim Whitworth spanners, still made until recently in England.
    A 1/4" WW spanner is also 5/15" BSF and has an AF measurement of 17/32"....... confusing stuff...!
  10. Hi Ian

    Whatever this bike below is in terms of model/year, it looks amazing... :)

  11. For sockets, there are manufacturers who make them to fit SAE and Metric fasteners with the same socket. This extends to Whitworth too. They grip the nut or bolt head between the corners, so will work on rounded-off fasteners also. Snap On calls them Flank Drive ... other manufacturers use a different name. Used a 1/2"drive deep impact set for years - even with a 3/4" impact gun. Never broke one
  12. I have some of those sockets from Cromwell Tools in BKK. Clever design but I never use them though. 1/2" drive is a bit heavy duty for many bike applications though, except those few where high torque is needed. Sockets are OK, but personally, I prefer well fitting open ended or ring spanners, when you can use them, to get a more inline turning force and easier to use with one hand. Plus Loctite on every fastener... hahaha.

    The bike is a 1952 BSA M33. It is an OHV 500cc single, made to replace the pre-war design M20 & M21 side valve engined bikes. Basically, a B33 engine in an M20 frame. There are lots of these M33s still being ridden in Burma and many have been brought back into Thailand. I would guess BSA sent them to Burma under a government contract for military or govt service use. Fun to ride, low geared and quite torquey but only a max speed of about 50mph, flat out. Good for hauling a sidecar. Horrible colour on this one though, that's the main reason it is being restored.
    It's a long stroke single and the effective gearing of the kickstart means they are not easy to start, same as the older Royal Enfields. It has a manual valve lifter for starting and Lucas Magdyno with manual timing lever on the handlebar. I put a modern electronic regulator on it with a 12V output but the EL3 dynamo is only 60w output. The modern regulator is hidden inside an original brass cover Lucas mechanical regulator.
  13. I recently finished a nut and bolt resto on a 65 B40...ex Aussie Army bike here in Malaysia. In excess of 400 hours reqd to complete. It had been "Malaysianed" with extensively which caused a good degree of grief ( just as the 53 51/3 BMW I did last year from Indonesia did). Often this causes the most issues, and expense....a new Amal 376 doesnt come cheap, nor does a Bing Monoblock when carbs have been replaced by shitty chinese crap...dont get me started on wiring!
  14. A B40 would be a nice thumper with a bit of power.
    Well, at least wiring is easy and cheap...
  15. Ian, you would have loved riding the 51/3. Just super fun to ride and with some pretty decent power, such a well engineered bike.
  16. The Beemers are well engineered but not really my cup of tea. A mate has a rigid '47 5T, now thats a nice bike to ride, of the same era. Also has reasonable power, is light and flickable.

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