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In November 1919 BSA launched their first 50 degree vee-twin, Model E, 770cc side valve (6-7 hp) motorcycle for the 1920 season. The machine had interchangeable valves, total loss oil system with mechanical pump and an emergency hand one. Retail price was £130. Other features were Amac carburettor, chain drive, choice of magneto or Magdyno, 7-plate clutch, 3 speed gear box with kickstarter and new type of cantilever fork.
BSA Motorcycle Types:
All BSA parallel twins were pushrod operated overhead valve machines. The A7 and A10 models were semi-unit construction until about 1953 and pre-unit construction thereafter. All A50, A65 and A70 models were unit construction.
The BSA Rocket Three / Triumph Trident was the last major motorcycle developed by Triumph Engineering at Meriden, and was a 750cc air-cooled unit construction pushrod triple with four gears and conventional chassis and suspension. It was badge-engineered to be sold under both the Triumph and BSA marques. The Rocket3 / Trident was part of Triumph’s plan to extend the model range beyond their 650 cc parallel twins. Created to meet the demands of the USA market, the smooth 750 cc three-cylinder engine had less vibration than the existing 360° twins. BSA fell into serious financial troubles, but during the seven-year production run 27,480 Rocket3 / Trident models were produced.
The C-series were 250 cc single-cylinder models
In the 1930s the M series was a mixture of overhead valve and side-valve models. During and after the Second World War only the side-valve models of this series were continued, typically for use by the armed forces or in sidecar combinations.
All Bantams were single cylinder two-stroke machines
The Birmingham Small Arms Company Limited (BSA) was a major industrial combine, a group of businesses manufacturing military and sporting firearms; bicycles; motorcycles; cars; buses and bodies; steel; iron castings; hand, power, and machine tools; coal cleaning and handling plants; sintered metals; and hard chrome process.
At its peak, BSA was the largest motorcycle producer in the world. Loss of sales and poor investments in new products in the motorcycle division, which included Triumph Motorcycles, led to problems for the whole group.
A government-organized rescue operation in 1973 led to the takeover of remaining operations by what is now Manganese Bronze Holdings, then owners of Norton-Villiers, and over the following decade further closures and dispersals. The original company, The Birmingham Small Arms Company Limited, remains a subsidiary of Manganese Bronze but its name was changed in 1987.
Photo source: Flickr.com – creative commons license