Author Topic: My First BSA - Guidance Required Please  (Read 2767 times)

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Crazy Mike

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My First BSA - Guidance Required Please
« on: 07 July, 2019, 18:25:48 »
New to the Forum and looking to acquire an 'old' British bike - but which one ?
I expect this question has been asked many times but I would really appreciate the input from you BSA aficionado's !
I've never owned a British bike but have owned and ridden many makes, big and small since the mid '70's.
I saw a C15 some years back at the Calne bike festival and thought this may be the make / model for me as a second bike to tinker with and occasionally ride. I have little experience in re-builds or renovations but I am fairly practical and self-service my current bike. My budget is £2.5k - £3.5k. I really like BSA as I understand parts are readily available ?( or are they …)
Is the C15 a sensible starter choice or do you guys have some other suggestions ?
Based in the Oxford area. Thanks for reading
Cheers !

chaz

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Re: My First BSA - Guidance Required Please
« Reply #1 on: 07 July, 2019, 20:53:03 »
hi welcome, can I say horses for courses...
if you are 10 stone can you lift a 650.... if you are 20 stone a bantam would struggle.
do you intend to ride or trailer to show?
do you want a full on nut and bolt resto, an oily rag job or concours?

as an idea, years ago at auction there was a very rusty D1 Bantam and a very tidy ride and show D17 Bantam.. one went for £500 the other £1500, the D1 was highest.
is matching engine and frame numbers and also original number of concern?

I recently picked up a 1969 A50 chop from America for £2000, could probably clean carb and new battery and ride. youngest son paid £1000 for a 1965 B40 and on stripping a lot of money has to go into the motor and the frame is suspect (damaged). As a part time bike shop I get the question a lot. a customer came in wanting his fathers Bultaco restored. motor gone, cost of parts ruled out the work. the recent WM20/B33 motored ex army bike just paid £300 for a new carb... still drips oil but as he only rides a few miles and shows he can live with it. he paid £4000 for the bike last year.
many parts are available new or some can be swapped, if you have the ability or know people parts can be made..

Crazy Mike

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Re: My First BSA - Guidance Required Please
« Reply #2 on: 07 July, 2019, 21:26:24 »
Thanks for the initial reply.
Ok. I would like a BSA bike in a sound, running condition which requires little serious work but may require minor mechanical / cosmetic rectifications as required. I do like to ride but I see the ownership of a older British bike as a 'Sunday morning' ride and something I can help preserve for the future. Possibly with the right machine, to display at local shows etc. My initial budget dictates my purchase but this is not totally inflexible. I would be equally suited to a Bantam as I would to a Goldstar but as I say, it's down to budget I'm afraid !
I'm looking for some guidance / advice on a decent 'Starter' BSA. The C15 caught my eye but I'm open to ideas.
So, there goes ! What do you think....


Crazy Mike

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Re: My First BSA - Guidance Required Please
« Reply #4 on: 08 July, 2019, 17:15:12 »
Thank Chaz. Much appreciate your time here.

Apologies for multi-questions but is there a BSA model or models that experienced British bike would recommend NOT to start with (within my budget) or are any particular models a more suitable choice for a British newbie biker ?
Also, what are opinions with matching frame engine numbers ? Does it actually matter or am I missing a point here.
I had a look at the 2 eBay links you gave and yes, these are the types of models / conditions that appeal, so we're on the right track !

If anyone else has any views I would be grateful. Thanks

Editor

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Re: My First BSA - Guidance Required Please
« Reply #5 on: 08 July, 2019, 17:51:27 »
I would suggest a B40, as the prices asked are within your budget and the engine/gearbox/frame etc. is virtually the same as the C15, but it has more oomph and due to larger wheels, sits higher off the ground (feels bigger). The unit singles are easy to work on and very good for the learning curve you are talking about, plus, the excellent series of books by Rupert Ratio (Dave Smith) will tell you all you need to know to do the work.
Chris


berniej

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Re: My First BSA - Guidance Required Please
« Reply #6 on: 08 July, 2019, 18:53:08 »
Hi Mike,

Matching numbers indicates that the bike and its engine are the same components that left the factory together.
Note that for most BSAs (pre-'69 I think?) the numbers are not the same - the frames and engines were built and numbered separately and then recorded in the various factory books before dispatch. Hence matching numbers just means original engine still in the frame as per the factory records.

It's an indicator of originality and so does have an impact on value - however when I buy a bike I use it to gauge the likely history of the bike. If the numbers match it's unlikely to be a 'bitsa' collection of parts from various bikes built up and offered for sale.

If you don't have strong views on unit versus pre-unit construction then I'd agree that the B40 is a good choice (partly because I'm building one myself at the moment and also the link that Chaz sent shows a bike that looks rather good to me and is only just up the road!!)

If you wanted an older, pre-unit bike then the B31 (350cc single OHV) is an option. If you want a real chuffer then consider an M21 (600cc single sidevalve). I bought one on a whim a few years back (well, the constituent parts of one) and love it so much I did it all over again and put a sidecar on the second one.

Also of course, a bike doesn't have to be for life so when you get yours you can always join your local branch and get to know some of the other marques available for comparison.

Cheers,
Bernie



'49 M21/B31 hybrid
'56 M21 combination
Bantam D7
C15 project
B40 Super Star
A50CC project

Bess

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Re: My First BSA - Guidance Required Please
« Reply #7 on: 08 July, 2019, 20:53:19 »
Hi Mike,
             This may help:

https://sumpmagazine.com/classicmotorcycleguides.htm

Best wishes...

Crazy Mike

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Re: My First BSA - Guidance Required Please
« Reply #8 on: 08 July, 2019, 21:06:42 »
Hi All

Great input and advice. Thanks. Appreciate the latest link.
Ok, so it looks like I have more possible choices than the C15 I started with !
One thing's for sure, It's a BSA for me. I notice the bikes on the 2 links that Chaz directed me to have now sold. Perhaps the B40 was too much of a temptation for berniej…..   ?
I'm looking at "carandclassic.co.uk" and eBay in my search but are there other sites that are worth looking at ?
I guess you guys might know. Keep it coming !

Thanks again

berniej

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Re: My First BSA - Guidance Required Please
« Reply #9 on: 08 July, 2019, 22:03:06 »
Not guilty! It looked nice but one is enough for me....

Don't forget the ads in The Star mag if you're a BSAOC member - many there are sold by BSA enthusiasts at reasonable prices.

Cheers,
Bernie
'49 M21/B31 hybrid
'56 M21 combination
Bantam D7
C15 project
B40 Super Star
A50CC project

Phil C

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Re: My First BSA - Guidance Required Please
« Reply #10 on: 08 July, 2019, 22:37:07 »
Hi Crazy Mike, In case you're interested, I've just put an ad in the next issue of Old Bike Mart. I'm selling my B40.  It's a 1965 B40F (side points model.)  See photo attached.   I think a very fair price: £2,600.  Let me know if you're interested.   Phil.

chaz

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Re: My First BSA - Guidance Required Please
« Reply #11 on: 09 July, 2019, 00:14:29 »
Phil, nice bike, my youngest is 'doing one same year' nice to see, no dizzy either.
Remember, from my and others experience in the past..... By the time you get your copy of the 'star' the advertised bike or spares have usually gone  :'(

Crazy Mike

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Re: My First BSA - Guidance Required Please
« Reply #12 on: 09 July, 2019, 23:54:32 »
Thank you everyone for all your input.
My search starts …..
PhilC - The B40 looks great but I need to look around first.
If anyone else wants to add their own views then please do. I'm also now considering waiting and saving a bit more to increase my budget to nearer £5k as someone has said to look at the twins.
Any views or recommendations here ?
By the way Chaz, what do you mean by "no dizzy" ? (Must be BSA lingo ! )

chaz

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Re: My First BSA - Guidance Required Please
« Reply #13 on: 10 July, 2019, 00:11:17 »
Mike, dizzy = distributor. Points are under the chrome side cover on crankcase, distributor models have it coming out near carburettor.
If looking for a project, eBay freddythefatfrog in Worcestershire, my A50 and boys B40 came from there.
« Last Edit: 10 July, 2019, 00:16:20 by chaz »

Crazy Mike

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Re: My First BSA - Guidance Required Please
« Reply #14 on: 13 July, 2019, 12:33:50 »
Well, what started as my thoughts of acquiring a C15 have now been 'upgraded' after looking more closely at the BSA bikes of the '60's.
Unfortunately, as it is, my budget has also been 'upgraded' to around £5k as I am now looking at the A65 Thunderbolt which looks a great bike.
Does anyone have any general views, good or bad, about the A65 range?
The following link is a Thunderbolt for sale. What do you think ? Are electrics a problem ?
https://www.carandclassic.co.uk/car/C1130543

Much appreciated !