BSA motorcycles have existed since 1919. However, the original BSA, known as Birmingham Small Arms Company Limited no longer exists. These days, the BSA motorcycle brand is owned by Mahindra and Mahindra. In this article, we take an up-to-date look at the history of BSA motorcycles.
Jack of All Trades
Founded in 1861, BSA, or Birmingham Small Arms Company Limited, made non-powersport items, such as bicycles, cars, and machine tools. Using this mechanical know-how, BSA expanded into motor bicycles in 1910.
Then, in 1919, the motorcycle manufacturer developed a 770cc side valve motorbike. This revolutionary motorcycle featured a 50 degree v-twin engine and the following features.
- Interchangeable valves
- Mechanical and emergency hand pump
- Chain drive
- Seven plate clutch
- Gear box of 3 speed
Asking price for the new BSA motorcycle was about $169 not including inflation.
Fierce Global Competition
Over the next thirty years, BSA steadily expanded into other industries. The success of these endeavours made the company owners confident enough to establish a subsidiary exclusively for motorbikes, known as BSA Motorcycles Ltd.
Although this business decision seemed promising, by the early 1970s, the motorcycle market was flooded with a wide range of motorbikes thanks to global competition. Between this, and poor management, the original BSA ended up filing bankruptcy in 1973.
Five years later, the brand was bought by an organization known as BSA Company.
Best BSA Motorcycle Model
Those that know a bit about BSA motorcycles will likely mention the Gold Star series. In case you are not familiar, this motorcycle line was developed by the first BSA. The 500cc and 350cc motorbikes the motorcycle manufacturer produced were considered to be among the fastest powersport vehicles made in the 1950s.
To honor this heritage, the name of the model was carried on by BSA Company via the Gold SR motorcycle in the late 90s. Unfortunately, the device did not sell as well as anticipated and production of the motorbike ceased.
Undeterred, BSA made a few more attempts to evolve the brand over the next few decades. When these eco-friendly advancements and technological features did not boost sales as expected, BSA Company sold the brand to Mahindra and Mahindra in 2016.
When Will BSA Motorbikes Be Available?
After purchasing BSA Company for roughly $4.4 million, only the following updates have been made as of date.
- OBerdan Bezzi, Italian motorcycle designer, released sketches of possible BSA models
- Anand Mahindra, Mahindra and Mahindra co-owner, tweeted a decades old ad featuring Santa Claus riding a BSA motorcycle
- Mahindra added to the 2017 holiday tweet “We’re sorry you’ve missed out on your favourite ride for all these years, Santa…We’re working on getting it back for you…A shiny new one, but with all the character of your old steed…”
As you can tell, Mahindra and Mahindra definitely seemed to take interest in bringing BSA motorcycles back into production. Nevertheless, the lack of additional information does suggest motorcycle fans may be waiting a while to see this historic brand make a comeback.
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