1962 BSA A50 Royal Star — Classic British Motorcycles — Motorcycle Classics

28 Май 2015 | Author: | Комментарии к записи 1962 BSA A50 Royal Star — Classic British Motorcycles — Motorcycle Classics отключены
BSA A 50 Royal Star
BSA A 50 Royal Star

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1962 BSA A50 Royal

Claimed power: 28.5hp @

Top speed: 90mph (est.)

499cc OHV air-cooled parallel

Weight (dry): 385lb

Price then: $775

Price now:  $4,000-$6,000

In the 1950s BSA was in a bit of a pickle. The Brits, convinced their motorcycles the world leaders, believed improvements would keep in the lead until the cows home. Pushrod vertical around for a quarter of a century would be the king of the hill for the future.

Yet motorcycles were hyped as ever bigger and especially in the U.S. And while BSA had of competition success to crow with wins at Daytona and Island, to name just a it was losing ground to higher more modern twins Triumph and Norton. Power was yet many of BSA’s conservative types thought surely were still sensible who would appreciate the reliable, to start, half-liter plodder.

for commuting, maybe a trip to the perhaps some low-speed on the week’s end. What to do? In the they tried to satisfy and this led to the development of the BSA A50 Royal

New beginnings

The big news from BSA in 1962, with the arrival of new engines, available in the 500cc BSA A50 or the 650cc BSA A65. In England were known as Star whereas in the U.S. they called Royal Star. that, since we Americans had a bloody revolutionary war to get rid of the monarchy, and now we captivated by anything that of royalty.

This had all begun a few before, when the BSA suits realized that something had to be to upgrade BSA’s famous twin engines. These had around since 1947, the 500cc A7 Star Twin was followed by the 650cc A10 in 1950. The A7 rather benign in the Fifties, one version of the A10 was hotted up to become the Super Rocket in the U.S. for the Triumph Bonneville.

BSA had an understandable relationship with Triumph. were owned by the same but their badges kept very much apart. In the

Triumph consistently outsold which the Small Heath did not appreciate.

Early in 1960, the at BSA’s RD center got the word to the twins into a unit as Triumph had already done its own 350/500 twins. There was especially radical in this, it would require all new tooling, as a new and new frame would be required. One of problems, and it was endemic to the entire motorcycle industry, was getting its to actually invest in new designs; was proving exceedingly difficult, and had to scrimp where they

Fraternal twins

To this except for the cylinders and heads, the A50 and A65 almost identical. The under-square 500 had a bore of 65.5mm and a … of while the slightly over-square 650 had a bore of 75mm, with 74mm …. Conventional twin technology dictated a one-piece crankshaft, pistons together and firing alternately, the secured by bearings at each with no support in the middle.

This was standard practice, and had to factor in the inevitable flexing of the The left end of the shaft, the primary side, sat in a ball bearing, a replacement for the roller bearing on the old The less-stressed right end, the side, used a plain as had been used on the A7/10; on the new this was increased in size, the to cope with what the hoped would be more

These bearings turned out to be the noire of these bikes. The if irresponsibly thrashed, could causing unpleasant noises and The plain bearing, from side the dry-sump lubricating worked, would, if it became too fail to pass along an supply of pressurized oil to the big ends, not a good thing.

These were not consistent, however, and afflicted the 650. They certainly not as dramatic on the modestly A50, which originally in with a 7.5:1 compression developing 28.5 horsepower at according to the factory, as against the claimed 38 horsepower at a slightly 5,800rpm. Upgrades for 1965 a roller bearing on the drive as it had been on the pre-unit engines, an improved bronze bushing on the end.

This pretty fixed the problems.

BSA used a camshaft placed behind the cylinders, run by gears off the timing end of the Four lightweight pushrods up into the aluminum-alloy head, the pillars holding the rocker were part of the casting, excellent rigidity and reducing the to check the valve clearance. A nice aspect of the engine was the single valve cover, removed, provided excellent to all four tappet adjustments.

A Triumph had four individual and the valve gap was always difficult to

Another decided benefit of the new construction was a reduction in oil leaks. Oil were internalized, making for a cleaner-running engine. Yet the Brits persisted in splitting the crankcases instead of horizontally like the an approach that was far more to leaving spots on a clean garage floor.

Powering out

evolved from the previous ignition with generator for to a 60-watt alternator on the drive end of the and two coils with two set of points. All the were produced by Joseph of course, including the 13-amp, battery. The points, hidden a small plate in the right were actually very

The system worked quite and there was even a …-battery for the key, enabling a start a spark straight from the

A great advantage of the unit design was being able to run a primary chain in an oil bath the crankshaft to the transmission mainshaft, the need for chain adjustment. of the possibility of misalignment, earlier engines used a single which was prone to stretching. was a tedious task, done by the gearbox and moving it backwards, the final chain to be adjusted, as

On the A50, all it required was raising a slipper plate tensioned the bottom of the triplex; job done. the five-plate clutch had rubber to absorb untoward shocks, in prolonging the life of a chain.

BSA A 50 Royal Star

The went down for first, up for third, fourth — the opposite of BSA twins. The Brits felt newness could easily be by a competent rider. There occasional complaints about the new being a bit notchy, but these to go away. Final drive was by chain, with lubrication from the primary case.

A for the chain was an option in England, but came as standard in the U.S. the A50.

Holding it together

All required a new frame, and welded, double cradles were the The A50/65 used a design to the previous A7/10, with a backbone and a massive steering Wheelbase was 54 inches, quite and two inches shorter than the A7/10.

The engine was solidly in, and while vibration could be a with some of the high-strung 650 on the A50 this concern was negligible.

A of hydraulically damped Girling with three preload took care of bumps out Up front, the BSA forks had compression but could bounce off the top on the rebound if the was exceptionally rough — like railroad tracks at speed. lock was a full 45 degrees on side, making for a useful radius of 14 feet.

Wheels 18-inchers, a 3.25-inch tire on the 3.5-inch on the rear. The A50 had 7-inch brakes with full-width at both ends. Some was made about the front; the A65 had an 8-incher, and reviewers could not why BSA opted for the smaller unit on the as they both weighed the same.

There was only five difference when put on the scale, the A50 in at 385 pounds dry (about 35 pounds than its A7 predecessor), and the A65 at 390 pounds, and both could cruise at a high rate of speed. The said it had to do with cost and was a economy.

Not cool enough?

By standards, the tinware on the BSA A50 was downright even if the bike was being as a touring motorcycle. A fully fender might be efficient in the but it sure didn’t look at the AW drive-in on Saturday night. And there was that headlight very Fifties.

We Yanks stand-alone headlights and stand-alone preferably chromed.

The three-gallon gas with chromed panels was and the long flat saddle the standard of the day, but those panels were a bit much. As in too large. The left one covered the the right the rubber-mounted oil tank and kit.

Unfortunately, they forward beyond normal covering the single one-inch Monobloc carb and air cleaner, to the that an extension had to be put on to enable the to “tickle” the carburetor when The Brits seemed to like the the colonials did not.

In 1964 an version of the A50 — sans lights — The BSA Cyclone Competition had twin compression ratio raised to and a claimed output of 38 horses. The year the BSA Cyclone Road, lights, optional rearset as well as abbreviated fenders and panels, was on the market, but sales dismal.

Why buy a hot-rod 500 when a 650 Lightning was a few dollars more? Both disappeared at the end of 1965, to be replaced by the A50 Wasp, available in offroad or on trim. That combative was deleted in late 1968, due to lack of buyers.

For 1966 the BSA A50, promoted as a “sports motorcycle, got a cleaner look, sportier fenders, separate (chromed) and speedometer, and diminished panels. And 12-volt electrics. And much-desired eight 8-inch brake on a 19-inch wheel.

In the forks got two-way damping, and the year the Monobloc carb was by a 26mm Concentric.

But the constant made little difference, as the people who would appreciate were in the realm of British The real challenge was coming thousands of miles away, the Japanese producing seriously machinery, like rip-snorting triples and overhead cam inline British bike-makers, trying to do with engine technology the 1930s, were teetering on the of bankruptcy and hard decisions being made.

One was to reduce the of BSA models, and 1970 was the last for the A50. Royalty got the executioner’s axe a few later, and for BSA it was all over. MC


BSA A 50 Royal Star
BSA A 50 Royal Star
BSA A 50 Royal Star
BSA A 50 Royal Star
BSA A 50 Royal Star


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