BSA Spares to Help You Remodel Vintage BSA Motorbikes

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BSA Spares to Help You Remodel Vintage BSA Motorbikes

The classic virtues, look, and ride of a vintage BSA motorbike holds appeal for a wide number of consumers. As one of the dominant motorbikes of the 20th century, BSA motorbikes hold a firm place in not only the British imagination, but in the minds of motorbike enthusiasts around the world. Many people pursue the restoration and remodelling of classic BSA motorbikes, both as a hobby and as a way to create a unique motorbike for use in everyday life.

Of course, remodelling a vintage BSA motorbike involves sourcing unique BSA spares that might not be available through very many traditional vendors. Consumers who are looking for BSA spares to remodel their motorbikes may need help sourcing the model or series of their bike and should have an understanding of the types of parts that are used in BSA remodels. For many consumers, turning to the Internet to find these parts may be the only viable option. Fortunately, large marketplaces like eBay tend to offer a broad range of options.

History of the BSA Motorbike

The Birmingham Small Arms Company, originally founded in 1861 as an arms company, eventually became one of the largest and most pivotal U.K. manufacturers of the motorbike until the 1970s. After transitioning into bicycle manufacturing after a few precarious decades in the arms trade, BSA eventually motorised their bikes and created some of the first modern motorbikes. The first BSA model, the BSA 3 1.2 hp, premiered at the Olympia Show in London and sold out for the next three years. This started what would become one of the most iconic motorbike marques in the U.K.

BSA motorbikes were used as commuter machines by many people, thanks to their solid design and reliable performance. There was also an excess of spares available on the market at the time, and this made them easy motorbikes to repair. The majority of BSA motorbikes were either sidevalve or OHV engines and were often used in tandem with a sidecar. BSA motorbikes were also popular with delivery services throughout the U.K., and many fleets were outfitted with BSA motorbikes for use in telegram and postal delivery. Several models of BSA bikes were developed for high-demand performance and competitive use, as well.

BSA Motorbikes in Competition

After a slow entry into the world of racing, competition-level BSA motorbikes eventually dominated race culture by the early 1950s in the U.K. Initial success with small engine bikes racing over a short course in the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy races started off a long series of race successes. By 1952, BSA motorbikes were the most popular competition bike for TT races throughout the U.K. BSA motorbikes even experienced huge success in the States by winning the 200-mile Daytona Beach competition and sweeping all the top spots. In 1964 and 1965, BSA rider Jeff Smith also won the FIM 500 cc Motocross World Championship.

Popular BSA Spares

There is, of course, an endless array of BSA spares, given how many BSA motorbikes were made, but certain spares are more commonly used as part of a BSA remodel.

Chassis Sold as Spares

A popular option for sourcing BSA spares is for a consumer to purchase an entire chassis and break that down into spare parts. This also provides consumers with a sure fit for a particular BSA model, as they are purchasing the same model of motorbike.

Clutch & Kickstart Levers

Clutch and kickstart levers are also BSA spares that are commonly found in the marketplace and are needed by BSA remodelers. These levers perform an essential function and are a central part of the aesthetic of a motorbike.

Number Plate Mounts

The number plate mounts used on vintage BSA motorbikes are very distinct and are coveted by true BSA remodelers. Adding a correct number plate mount to a motorbike can add an essential level of authenticity.

Assorted Spares

Some BSA enthusiasts sometimes sell BSA spares in an assorted lot. These spares are typically culled from their own projects and can fit a number of different models. Assorted spares can provide some useful gems, but consumers should carefully assess an assorted lot before purchasing to make sure that they are getting something of value that they can incorporate into their projects.

All-in-One BSA Spare Sets

Some manufacturers have assembled all-in-one BSA spare sets that provide some of the essentials that BSA remodelers usually need to complete a remodel. These sets may include BSA petrol tanks, oil tanks, silencer filters, mudguards, and tool boxes.

Understanding BSA Spares

There are BSA spares available today that cover every aspect of the restoration and remodelling of these vintages bikes. The following chart gives consumers a frame of reference with which to approach each category of parts.

Frame & Chassis Parts

Petrol Tanks

Mudguards

Frames

Handlebars

Number Plates

Light Housings

Seats

Stands

Shocks

Tool Boxes

Engine Parts

Belt Drive Kits

Chains

Cylinder Barrels and Liners

Engine Units

Oil Filters

Oil Pumps

Pistons

Sprockets

Sump Guards

Sump Filters

Gearbox & Clutch Parts

Clutch Drums

Gearbox Shafts or Clusters

Gear Levels

Sprockets

Wheels & Brakes

Inner Tubes

Wheel Rims

Brake Drums and Sprockets

When searching for a part, it is important that a consumer confirms the part number and that the part matches the model type of the motorbike. Proactive communication with an informed seller is essential to this process. Consumers can also search for catalogues and guides for BSA spares that can further illuminate the process.

Guides to BSA Spares

There are several guides on the market that provide a complete breakdown of specific BSA models. These guides describe each individual part that goes into a certain BSA model and provides a visual diagram of the motorbike's assembly. These replacement part catalogues can address a single motorbike or several motorbikes within a specific series. They can be found through various book vendors, including online vendors like eBay.

BSA service sheets are also useful when remodelling a vintage BSA motorbike. These service sheets give consumers an 'exploded' view of a bike or section of a bike. This allows them to envision how each part fits into the whole. Service sheets provide point-by-point repair recommendations and are often sold by model number, although some sheets may address several different models in a single series.

Replicas vs. N.O.S. vs. Original Spares

Consumers should be aware of the fact that there are many replica spares on the market. When searching for spares to remodel a vintage BSA motorbike, individuals should keep in mind that they may need to source replica parts if an original spare is scarce. There is also another subset of spare parts known as N.O.S. parts. These 'new old stock' parts are legacy parts that have not been used but were discontinued at some point in the past.

Series and Models of BSA Motorbikes

When shopping for spares to remodel a vintage BSA motorbike, it is crucial that a consumer knows the model of bike involved and its place within a particular BSA series. The following charts note many of the motorbike models within each series, along with descriptions of the series and models.

V-Twin series motorbikes were released between 1919 and 1936. These early bikes were often used by the British military and were popular commuter vehicles when paired with sidecars.

V-Twin Models

Engine Type

Release Year

Additional Details

Model E

771 cc

1919

Side-valve V twin

G30-G35

985 cc

1930

Side-valve

G14

985 cc

1936

Side-valve

J34, J35, J12

499 cc

1934

Overhead valve

Y13

748 cc

1936

Overhead valve

BSA motorbikes from the B Series were single cylinder bikes with engines that ranged from 250 cc to 500 cc. The B Series included the famous W 33-8 BSA Blue Star model, commonly known as the 'sea beezer'.

B Series Models

Engine Type

Release  Year

Additional Details

B33-1 - B35-1, B1

249 cc

1933 - 1936

Side-valve

B33-2 - B35-2, B2

249 cc

1933 - 1936

Overhead valve

B33-3 - B35-3, B3 Blue Star

249 cc

1933 - 1936

Overhead valve

R33-4 - R35-4, R4

349 cc

1933 - 1936

Overhead valve

R33-5 - R35-5, R5 Blue Star

349 cc

1933

Overhead valve

W32-6, W33-6, W34-7, W35-6, W6

499 cc

1932

Side-valve

W32-7, W33-7, W34-8, W35-7

499 cc

1932

Overhead valve

W33-8, W34-9, W35-8 Blue Star

499 cc

1933

Overhead valve

W33-9, W34-10, W35-9

499 cc

1933

Overhead valve

B20

249 cc

1937

Side-valve

B21

249 cc

1937

Overhead valve

B22 Empire Star

249 cc

1937

Overhead valve

B23

348 cc

1937

Side-valve

B24 - B32

348 cc

1937-1959

Overhead valve

B33

499 cc

1947 - 1960

Overhead valve

B34

499 cc

1947 - 1957

Overhead valve

The M Series of BSA motorbikes was widely used by the armed forces in Britain before and after World War II. These motorbikes often came in sidecar combinations. One of the most well-received bikes from this series was the Empire Star, a sports upgrade to the Blue Star, which was created to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of King George V.

M Series Models

Engine Type

Release Year

Additional Details

M33-10, M34-12, M35-10, M10

596 cc

1933

Side-valve

M33-11, M34-13, M35-11

596 cc

1933

Overhead valve

M19 Deluxe

349 cc

1937

Overhead valve

M22

496 cc

1937

Overhead valve

M23 Silver Star/Empire Star

496 cc

1937

Overhead valve

M24 Gold Star

496 cc

1938

Overhead valve

M20

496 cc

1937

Side-valve

Sold in high-volume to British Army

M21

591 cc

1937

Side-valve

Used by British Automobile Society

M33

499 cc

1947

B33 overhead valve

M series plunger frame

The 250 cc single-cylinder models of the C-series featured the introduction of a more modern chassis with a more comfortable design and seat. The C12 was one of the most popular in this series and could reach speeds of more than 100 km/hr.

C Series Models

Engine Type

Release Year

Additional Details

C10

250 cc

1938

Side-valve

C11

250 cc

1939

Overhead valve

Dynamo electrics

C11G

250 cc

1939

Overhead valve

Alternator in lieu of dynamo

C12

250 cc

1940

Overhead valve

Swinging arm suspension

C10L

250 cc

1953

Side-valve

C12

250 cc

1956

Overhead valve

The Bantam Series from BSA featured single cylinder, two-stroke motorcycles. The two-stroke engine design made for a more efficient and higher powered bike.

Bantam Models

Engine Type

Release Year

Additional Details

D1 Bantam

125 cc

1948

Rigid frames in early models

Plunger suspension in later models

D3 Bantam Major

150 cc

1954

All-welded swinging arm frame

D5 Bantam Super

175 cc

1958

Swinging arm frame similar to D5

D7 Bantam Super

175 cc

1959

Swinging-arm frame with separate rear subframe bolted on

D10 Silver Bantam, Bantam Supreme, Bantam Sports, and Bushman

175 cc

1966

Four-ratio gearbox on some models

D14/4 Bantam Supreme, Bantam Sports, and Bushman

175 cc

1968

Four-ratio gearbox

D175 Bantam Sports and Bushman

175 cc

1969

Featured C15 front forks and centre spark plug

This is not a comprehensive list of all the BSA motorbikes, but it provides consumers with a frame of reference for some of the most popular models. Consumers can use this list to confirm their own motorbike's series or even its model number to ensure they find the right spares for their remodelling projects.

Shopping for BSA Spares on eBay

As an aggregator of multiple vendors, the online retailer eBay offers consumers a wide catalogue of searchable options for finding BSA spares and guides. When you first visit the site, you can easily find the search bar on any page. Enter a term related to the part you want, and then click the search button to pull up a list of items that relates to your keyword phrase. As you look through this list, take some time to click on the individual listings that seem especially relevant to your needs and read the full item descriptions.

Evaluating Sellers on eBay

It can be helpful if you take some time, as well, to evaluate any sellers that have items that interest you. If you click on a seller's highlighted name from a listing page, you can review the vendor's past listings and even see feedback that has been submitted by other customers. This can give you an idea of a seller's range of experience and whether or not that seller can provide you with the right type of quality part that you require.

Conclusion

Remodelling and riding a vintage BSA motorbike is a process that brings a good deal of joy and entertainment to motorbike enthusiasts. These classic motorbikes defined much of the motorbike culture in the U.K. in the 20th century, and they still make an iconic statement to this day. When searching for the right parts to remodel a vintage motorbike from the BSA marque, consumers may first want to research and understand how the BSA spares market works and get an overview of the types of spares that are available today.

With this information in hand, consumers hoping to remodel a BSA motorcycle can then leverage some of the better retail options for finding spares or BSA guides and service sheets. As an aggregator of numerous vendors all over the world, eBay or other online retailers may have more to offer than traditional parts vendors. By simply doing their due diligence in terms of research and review and then using the most effective retailers to source parts, BSA enthusiasts can quickly and readily find the essential spares they need to get a vintage BSA motorbike up and running and in great condition.

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