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History of BSA

BSA imageThe Birmingham Small Arms (BSA) company produced a lot more than just motorcycles. Planes, taxiís, guns and much more. Of course motorcycles was a huge part of the companies activities and by 1950ís they were producing more than 75.000 bikes.

BSA started all the way back in 1863 and the bikes division started in 1880. The engine powered bicycle was launched in 1905 with a small Minerva engine attached to it.

BSA had a good reputation for reliable bikes and the success grew with the introduction of the S27 (also known as the sloper model). It was produced for 10 years and was available in a 350cc, 500cc and later a 595cc engine. Through out its production little was change to itís original popular design.

During the second world war BSA was hit badly by German forces and bomb attacks made production difficult however BSA kept producing huge amounts of bikes and guns. After the Second World War BSA was the largest manufacturer of motorcycles world wide.

In 1937 Walter Handley raced a BSA empire star over 100mph (160 k/h) around a curved race track. This achievement earned him a gold star which was later adapted by BSA and the next model was name gold star. The Gold Star became a very popular roadster and racing bike. It remained in production up until 1963.

The end of the 1950ís saw the introduction of the A7 (500cc) and later the A10 (650cc). Many different types of A models were produced with great names like Super Flash or Road Rocket. The A models were very simple in look and nothing very extravagant but their reliability, oil tightness and price was a major reason for them staying popular. The A models became a trademark design of BSA. In 1962 they were replaced by the A50 (500cc) and the A65 (650cc).

BSA produced a 750cc Rocket Three Triple which was developed and produced during difficult financial times. Due to great losses in the company BSA was bought by the Norton Villiers Triumph company. The last bikes left the factory in 1973.

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