BSA A65. A nice machine, a bad start

Dear Classic Lover

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I had a Triumph T150, a member of the TOCN, was dating the smartest and prettiest girl I had ever seen. And I bought a beautiful BSA A65 with a crack in the buddy seat cover. I paid 1.800 guilders for that. At Muts in Soest I bought a ZGAN buddy for 40 guilder. Where did the BSA go? I got rid of it after the battery overcooked after the voltage regulator went crazy. The boiled-off battery acid had done ugly things with the chrome of a muffler.

The BSA 'unit' blocks, like the other British unit blocks, were largely a matter of evolution. The approach with a separate block and a separate gearbox actually dates from the time that motorcycle manufacturers bought their engines and gearboxes from third parties. And that time was over, certainly when Lucas - the inventors of darkness - stopped producing magnet ignitions.

The 'power egg'

The new block was called 'the power egg' at BSA because of its smooth lines and the shape of the crankcase lids. The 'power egg'. The newcomer clearly leaked less oil than his predecessors made up of loose containers. But in the competition with Triumph BSA technicians had not put enough development time into the project. The blocks were shaking seriously. There were serious lubrication problems with the crankshaft. Due to pointless wear, that important part closed off its own oil supply. That resulted in details such as broken crankshafts, crooked connecting rods and ruined carters. Already during the production time other companies provided solutions for that problem. BSA itself suffered from strikes and mismanagement 1.0. In the meantime, every A65 will be rid of its teething problems. Moreover, the parts provision for BSAs is exemplary (and not expensive).

Not for highway use

But if such an A65 went well. Then it was a wonderfully driving, beautiful machine. And a modified A65 was reliable enough as long as it was allowed to dance on secondary roads. There were no highways in his native country at the time. In America, where strict speed limits prevailed and the BSA was to be a success, top speed was less important than the sprinting capacities after the traffic light went green. BSA A65 did not like to make long journeys at 'high' constant speeds. Rides on unlimited 'Autobahnen' were not his thing.

The latest generation of BSA A65s were the 'oil in frame' types

They shared everything except the tank badges and the block with the Bonnevilles. The British motorcycle industry was actually dead by then, but did not realize it yet. Mismanagement had reached unique heights. The BSA block, for example, did not fit into the new bicycle part before the rocker body was disassembled - and after the decapitated block had been mounted - was mounted again. In the meantime, the production machines were worn out and the motivation in the factory had fallen far below zero. And fewer and fewer people wanted to run the risk of buying a British motorcycle.

The Japanese, of whom the British management had carelessly concluded that they could only make 50 cc motorcycles, had completely taken over power in motorland.

In the meantime, almost all British brands have been reborn one or more times. Because there were investors who thought that a name from the past was a guarantee for the future. Only John Bloor did well. Because the Hinkcley Triumphs are again toppers that are worthy of the old reputation of the brand.

Our fashion model - and top restored BSA A65 - we found at Gallery Aaldering, where beautiful classic motorcycles are actually not 'the trade' but just a piece of Nick Aaldering's passion.

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Give a reaction
  1. Indian is of course not English, and in my experience they were not destroyed by bad bikes, but were destroyed or more by Harley

  2. The sad thing is that the British do not want to admit that they have killed their own motorcycle industry at the time.
    Triumph is fortunately again a respectable brand, now the rest.
    Also the proof that an old sounding name does not automatically guarantee success.
    I am curious how Norton, Indian, Brough Sup and you name the other resurrecters will fare.

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