WANT TO KNOW MORE? The specialists, the clubs, the websites
Engines spares, parts manufacture, steel flywheels, engine rebuilds, NEB clutch assemblies for belt and chain, upgrades and Gold Star related engineering solutions. Dave also builds complete, as new, Gold Star engines.
Len Haggis Classic Motorcycles 01293 424447 www.goldstarbsa.com
Over 20 years experience as a Gold Star specialist. New and used parts, restorations, full and part rebuilds.
Goldie specialist for 40 years. Phil manufactures parts and upgrades including a Suzuki-based clutch conversion and even an electric start conversion.
james duke: a classic virgin.
When asked to help out with this feature I must admit I was apprehensive as, these BSAs were the first true classics I'd ridden. What if I made a mistake and hit the gear lever instead of the brake, or even dropped one of them? Of course none of my fears were realised and I thoroughly enjoyed my introduction to the world of classics.
First up was the VMCC's 350. I climbed aboard fresh from a modern Bullet, useful for a comparison, and I was immediately struck by the performance, being as good if not better than the Enfield. Impressive considering the BSA gives away 150cc and 40 odd years. I had subconsciously written off the Junior, having low expectations of an elderly 350 single. I was pleasantly surprised.
Approaching the first set of tight bends, the dip-ons seemed extremely narrow and I had little idea of the chassis' capability but within seconds we were through, the bike having handled perfectly. My worries disappeared.
I was then allocated the 650cc RGS and immediately felt at home. The controls were surprisingly light and the twin cylinder engine sewing machine smooth. Performance-wise the Rocket was remarkable, seriously challenging my classic preconceptions.
I soon found myself really hustling the 650 along. In fact my exuberance eventually proved a little too much for the Rocket's clutch which began to slip badly. It reminded me of a modern Thruxton Bonneville but I had forgotten the lever, operable with just two fingers, was not connected to a modern clutch. (The bike had done few miles since it's restoration and the problem transpired to be the plates bedding in, warranting nothing more than a tightening of the rather slack springs)
Last was the 500. Of the three this was probably the most alien. I'd never experienced anything quite like it, the modern motorcycle world doesn't really do thumping great singles like this anymore. The Rocket was perhaps hotter outright pace-wise but this felt altogether more frantic and brutal - fantastic! I decided to take it a little easier on the 500, though the pace home was, shall we say, lively - and noisy!
I'd had an eye-opening experience and I'd learned a lot. If I could have one, it would be the RGS - maybe because it seemed more familiar. That aside, whether it be the 350's pace, the 500's presence or the 650's consummate capability, each taught me something that's helped me understand the lure of the classic. Now all I need to do is learn how to start one!
George Prew 01763 848763
Another long-standing Gold Star specialist with a vast stock of parts and in depth knowledge of the model.
John Cronshaw 07836 626752
A successful Gold Star racer, John can supply brand new replica Gold Star engines and parts.
Steve Tonkin Restorations 01524 825205 www.stevetonkin-restorations.co.uk Restorations and replacement Gold Star parts to his own design, including complete crankshafts, belt primary drives and gearboxes.
Bruce Beer 01206 870060
ABSAF (Holland) Manufactures new complete engines and parts in 500cc, 600cc and racing spedfication. www.absaf.nl
BSA Gold Star Owners' Club
~J% MORTONS ARCHIVE
For more details on the Gold Star, or any other dassic motorcycle come to that, why not check out the Mortons Archive website on www.mortonsarchive.com. It harks all the way back to the beginning of the last century. Images, back issues, brochures, hand books, instruction books, period road tests you name it, give the archivist ladies a call on 10507 529423. Did you know also that for a small fee you can actually spend time in there yourelf to undertake your own research?
Triumph T140 Bonneville Spares and Service
Shropshire Classic Motorcycles
Was this article helpful?