BSA Motorcycles

14 Мар 2015 | Author: | Комментарии к записи BSA Motorcycles отключены
BSA Prototype
BSA Prototype


BSA Motorcycles seminal 1950’s BSA Gold Star.


As the 1950s came to a close, BSA was on top of the world. The BSA Gold Star was a hit, on the track in showrooms, and the BSA A7 BSA A10 (650) non-unit twins solid sellers with a reputation.

BSA also owned Motorcycles, Ariel Motorcycles, New Hudson, and this was just a part of the BSA empire, which included cars, buses, heavy construction equipment, industrial powerplants, machine weapons, ammunition, military bicycles more. They a bona fide industrial capable of accomplishing almost in far better financial shape just about anyone in the motorcycle business.

By 1970, the BSA was broke irrelevant as a motorcycle Even Triumph, the jewel in crown, already on …’s was taken over by its workers in failed attempt at independence. How the fall.


Our emphasis here, however, is on the motorcycles that BSA Motorcycles did despite all the politics bad management. names like the BSA Gold BSA A7/A10, BSA Lightning, BSA 441 Victor, the

BSA A65 the 3-cylinder BSA Rocket 3 were machines in their day. this, its impossible not to notice or to on the strange way BSA Motorcycles had of doing which usually came to too little too late more anything else, plus a dose of arrogance inept


BSA, or Small Arms, started out as a alliance of craftsmen in the Coventry who teamed up to produce rifles for the Army during the Crimean War in the days when firearms painstakingly handcrafted by artisans. soon realized that 2 would be needed for their Modern production techniques a product line. By 1884 were building bicycles, new at the time, and all the rage.

From there they graduated up to motorized bicycles true motorcycles by 1905.


They expanded the line refined their This was a time when motorcycles manufacturers were ‘cottage industries’ that on parts brought in from (ie: engines, gearboxes, but BSA by this time was already so big it was making virtually everything for its in-house.


War I was good for BSA Motorcycles. Not only did sell lots of motorcycles to the Army others, but by war’s they were producing Lee-Enfield .303 rifles PER They also built Lewis Guns (early guns) much more.

the war, the work of building BSA continued at a rapid pace. BSA built a reputation for building rugged workhorse motorcycles, not the fastest.


At the most motorcycles were cylinders, most with valves (flat head) BSA was no By by 1926, they released a new OHV (OverHead Valve) 493cc called the Sloper because of the angle of the cylinder. It was a huge


Side cars a large part of the motorcycle in those days, many families relying on them as primary means of transport for the family. Sidecar rigs more torque than singles could offer, so in BSA introduced the first of their of V-twins, this one a 986cc with a 50-degree V (50-degrees? Why not

The V-twins continued through the in various sizes V-angles.


Of course the of the Triumph 500 Speed Twin in changed everything. No one had ever of doing a twin quite this before. It was narrow like a single (so it could fit in a but had the power of a V-twin. BSA Motorcycles started developing their own 500 twin, but alas the outbreak of postponed this. BSA spent the war over 130,000 W20 side motorcycles for the Allied Forces, with lots of other

And again, they emerged the war stronger richer than


This was really the Age for BSA motorcycles. In 1946, the introduced own 500 vertical twin, the BSA A7, designed by Val Page, just 4 years stretched to a 650 in the BSA A10. Development on big singles also soon the BSA Star was reborn (a few early Stars were built the War), perhaps the most motorcycle in its day.

Throughout the BSA Gold Stars were races selling like The BSA A7 BSA A10s were also well were well-respected for smoothness reliability.


BSA acquired Triumph Motorcycles in in a backroom deal with Motorcycles-owner Jack Sangster, who along with the package. He sat on Board of Directors until the 1960s oversaw the stripping of BSAs assets. By the time he in the early 1960s, the once-mighty BSA giant was a pitiful shadow of its self.

Not only were the all the assets gone, but much of the must have left because BSA Motorcycles made a of blunders that hastened its to the grave.


With the BSA A7 BSA A10 (650) vertical twins well, they decided to redesign them into the unit construction mold, Triumph had done with its 500 in 1959. So, in 1962, BSA introduced its all new BSA A50 BSA A65 (650) unit-construction twins. yawned. They were had vibration problems like before they never well again (one later, Triumph went with its 650 twin it was a major

Then, in 1963, BSA … off its the BSA Gold Star, without a replacement. It spent the rest of the struggling with an out-of-touch line never really the problems. They were poorly, to begin with. But BSA to invest in new technologies if it was to survive.

It lightweight 2-strokes to compete all the new Enduro models pouring out of What did we get? The BSA Bantam, a outdated bike that like it belonged in the 1950s.

BSA Motorcycles thinking that the BSA Bantam would sell the great small bikes built sold by the shipload by Yamaha, Kawasaki Suzuki.

BSA Rocket 3, 750cc triple. design firm Ogle the bikes very poorly, Shoebox tank, slab-like covers laughable Ray Gun mufflers. It sales badly.


Pride also got in the way, as BSA execs resented Triumph’s made decisions accordingly. ahead of the market for a change, had started on a 750cc triple as as 1963 (as a Triumph) by 1965 were prototypes running The original idea was that new 3-cylinder would be the replacement for the Triumph 650 vertical twin (ie: Bonneville TR6), and it be called the Triumph Trident.

But, true to form, BSA make a decision so the project until word came in 1967 that Honda was to introduce their ground-breaking 750-Four. Suddenly BSA came to the project was pushed through, but not a good dose of BSA logic, or thereof. If Triumph was going to get cool new triple, then BSA should have one too. But not sensible like a simple No, BSA wanted their own bike!

So, a new had to be designed tooled-up, the same as the 3-cylinder 750, but with the top end forward 12-degrees. Then wanted a new frame, more the BSA duplex frames than the single-downtube frame. This work delayed introduction of the BSA Rocket 3 the Triumph Trident that they only the Honda 750-Four to market by a few even though they had on it over 5 years earlier! And the

Yuck! Instead of making look like Triumphs BSA they hired an automotive called Ogle to style the unlike anything else on the They certainly got that right.

The boxy tank Ray Gun mufflers were a joke sales badly.

1972 BSA A65 with oil-bearing frame. a very handsome machine. came painted light gray from the factory in but was switched back to black for


Another blunder by BSA Motorcycles was to take very successful 650 twin screw it all up with a new oil-bearing (that no one asked for few liked), that one-time top-seller yet another marketing failure. BSA stuffed their own 650 vertical engines into the oil-bearing sold even fewer this way than Triumph. By there were no more BSA

They tried their to do the same for Triumph, but the Triumph revolted when they that BSA was closing the Meriden They took over the held it hostage for 1-1/2 until they brokered a to buy the ailing Triumph Motorcycles as the Meriden Co-operative, but there was no Triumph. They limped until 1983, but the handwriting was on the

BSA Prototype
BSA Prototype


Looking at history, with the onslaught of low-cost, high-quality high-tech pouring out of Japan, BSA Motorcycles, Motorcycles the entire British industry would have to completely retool more change their thinking, in the early 1960s to have ahead of the curve. Interestingly Edward Turner, genius of the Triumph Speed Twin the Square 4, traveled to Japan in spending 8 weeks there Japanese design manufacturing

At that time, Japan was out nearly a million motorcycles a What were Turner’s Who knows, because upon his to England, it was back to business as nothing changed. By this Turner was on the board at BSA Motorcycles the rest of the company, he chose to the changing times, preferring to live in the past continue to old designs rather than up with fresh ones.

In it is said that Turner with an iron hand allow any other designs to with his own, preferring to develope his ancient vertical rather than start fresh, modern designs.



350cc: B32,BB32


The hand-built high-performance singles among the fastest motorcycles in the in the 1950s, dominating Isle of Man TTs ISDT.

BSA A65 A50

500cc: A50

650cc: A65

non-unit A7 (500) A10 (650) Unit Construction in 1962 the A50 (500) A65 (650). The so-called hurt sales BSA’s Neither model ever very well.

BSA 500 A7


OHV Vertical Twin

BSA’s vertical twin had to wait for the War to end launching in 1947 with frame telescopic forks. came in 1950 swingarm in Continual improvements were to engine, gearbox, frame gear.

Finally replaced by A50 in 1963.

BSA 650 A10


646cc OHV Twin

In 1950, BSA bored the A7 500 out to 650, creating the BSA A10. The A10 improved until replaced by the A65 in 1963. Ironically, the ‘new-and-improved’ A65 sold as well as the pre-unit


BSA’s 3-cylinder built by tripling 3 BSA 250 singles, bike to the Triumph Trident, but forward-canted cylinders a BSA-specific Boxy styling wierd Ray Gun hurt sales + Honda came out soon after.


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