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|Engine||2-stroke 125 cc (D1)|
150 cc (D3)
175 cc (D5 Onwards)
|Power||4.5 bhp (3.4 kW) (D1)|
5.3 bhp (4.0 kW) (D3)
7.4 bhp (5.5 kW) (D5 & D7)
10 bhp (7.5 kW) (D10)
12.6 bhp (9.4 kW) (D14/4 & B175)
|Transmission||Three speed gearbox (D1-D10) Four speed gearbox (D14/4-B175)|
|Fuel capacity||1.75 imp gal (8.0 l; 2.10 US gal) ("Teardrop" Tanks) |
2 imp gal (9.1 l; 2.4 US gal) (D5 & D7)
1.9 imp gal (8.6 l; 2.3 US gal) (D7 Deluxe onwards)
The BSA Bantam is a two-stroke unit construction motorcycle that was produced by the Birmingham Small Arms Company (BSA) from 1948 (as a 125 cc) until 1971 (as a 175 cc). Exact production figures are unknown, but it was over 250,000[ citation needed ] and some estimates place the number closer to half a million.[ citation needed ]
Despite the Bantam being considered the archetypal 'truly British' lightweight motorcycle[ citation needed ] outselling all others, it was based on a German design. The Bantam was based on the DKW RT 125, a design that was received as war reparations, with the Bantam as a mirror image so the gearchange was on the right side as with other British motorcycles of the period. The same design went into production in at least two, and perhaps four, other countries. Harley-Davidson started producing their Model 125 in late 1947 (several months before BSA) and the occupiers of East Germany, the U.S.S.R. began building the Москва (Moskva) M1A model even earlier, c.1946.[ citation needed ] In East Germany the machine was made at the original DKW factory by IFA, which later became MZ [ citation needed ] and Japan also produced copies.[ citation needed ]
The BSA designers made the design a mirror image with right hand side controls and Imperial fittings for manufacture in Birmingham. This original Bantam, the D1, was released in October 1948 and continued in production for several years. It had telescopic forks, a rigid rear end, direct electrics, shovel front-mudguard and fishtail silencer, was available only in "mist green" and sold for £60 plus tax. Although the frame changed out of recognition (beginning with conversion to plunger and then swinging fork rear suspension), the engine remained a recognizable development of the original for the entire 23 years of production.
The engine is a unit construction (engine and gearbox of one piece) single cylinder 2 stroke. The barrel is cast iron while the head is alloy. The gearbox was initially three speeds, later versions went to four, fed through a "wet" clutch. Ignition was of two types: a Lucas battery-powered coil in earlier machines, or a magneto by Wipac. The magneto was on a composite assembly sitting within the flywheel with its magnet inserts; windings gave power either directly to the lights (with a dry cell for when the engine was stopped) or through a rectifier into a lead acid battery. The early D1s had "fish tail" styled exhausts but this was replaced with the more conventional cylindrical silencer. High-level exhausts were made for the trials and off-road models, in which the only electrics are the magneto-powered ignition.
This listing shows only the main variants and most models were available with refinements or in competition form. BSA had used a lettering system for their range of motorcycles and started the "D" series for their first two-stroke. The D175 was marketed as the B175 as BSA struggled against imports in the late 60s to its closure in 1972 (the larger capacity "B" series having helped make them the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world). The engine size shown is nominal, British motorcycles were made 1 or 3 cc smaller than their tax bracket maximum to allow for re-bores and wear.
|Model Name||Years Produced||Engine||Top Speed||No. of|
|125 cc, 4 bhp (3 kW)||45 mph (72 km/h)||3||Rigid|
Rigid and plunger
|Wico-Pacy or Lucas||Mist-green only (including wheel-rims)||Bantam de luxe/ BD1 |
|125 cc, 4 bhp (3 kW)||45 mph (72 km/h)||3||Wico-Pacy or Lucas||Limited edition, Finished in black enamel , tank with chromium top strip and cream side panels;polished primary chain case; chromium rims and mudguard clips; leg shields incorporating crash bar; larger carrier.|
|D3||1954–1957||150 cc, 5.3 bhp (4.0 kW)||50 mph (80 km/h)||3||Plunger (Swinging|
arm after 1956)6
|Wico-Pacy||Grey, Black or Maroon|
|D5||1958||175 cc, 7.4 bhp (5.5 kW)||57 mph (92 km/h)||3||Swinging Arm||Wico-Pacy||Entire machine Maroon or Black with Ivory tank panels and chrome bars and wheels.|
|D7||1959–1966||175 cc, 7.4 bhp (5.5 kW)||57 mph (92 km/h)||3||Swinging Arm||Wipac||Various shades of red or blue with chrome highlights.|
|D10||1967||175 cc, 10 bhp (7 kW)||57 mph (92 km/h)||3||Swinging Arm||Wipac with coil ignition|
and 60 W alternator
|Blue & Silver or Polychromatic Blue & Chrome|
|1967||175 cc, 10 bhp (7.5 kW)||57 mph (92 km/h)||4||Swinging Arm||Wipac with coil ignition|
and 60W alternator
|Sports Flamboyant Red & Chrome, Bushman Orange & White|
|D14/4 Supreme |
D14/4 Sports & Bushman
|1968 -1969||175 cc, 12.6 bhp (9.4 kW)||65 mph (105 km/h)||4||Swinging Arm||Wipac||Black or Polychromatic Blue with two tone tank,|
painted above, chrome plate below.
Sports Flamboyant Red & Chrome, Bushman Orange & White
|1969–1971||175 cc, 12.6 bhp (9.4 kW)||65 mph (105 km/h)||4||Swinging Arm||Wipac||Blue, Red or Black. |
Bushman Orange & White
Pre-1958 (D1 to D3) had 19 inch wheels and 4.5 inch brakes. The 1958 D5 had 18 inch wheels and 4.5 inch brakes. 1959 D7 and later models had 18 inch wheels and 5 inch brakes front and rear.
The D1 (the original model) 125cc was available initially only with a rigid rear suspension, although within three years the range was enhanced to include an optional plunger rear suspension. The front suspension of all D1's possessed no damping and resulted in a bouncy ride quality. D1's were available with a variety of electrical lighting systems. Wipac systems were available either in 6v AC (known as direct lighting) or DC. The AC system used a small dry 'torch' cell battery to illuminate the forward facing 'pilot' bulb within the headlamp shell, the remaining lighting was only available for use when the engine was running and the dry cell had to be regularly replaced. The DC system incorporated a lead acid battery and operated in a conventional manner. For a short period some D1's were equipped with Lucas lighting systems and these operated in a similar manner to the Wipac DC system. The D1 continued to be available to the public right up until 1963 and was still produced for the GPO (General Post Office) for at least 2 more years.
The D3 Major represented the first step in development of the Bantam, although the D1 would be produced for many years to come.First produced in late (most likely October was the first released) 1953 with a 150cc engine, the D3 continued in production until 1957. A modern-style foam-filled pillion seat was fitted as standard, an economy and comfort breakthrough that had become popular as an option on the D1. It replaced the original standard fitting of a parcel carrier behind an individual sprung rubber seat.
In addition, the front suspension was made more substantial in volume and the cylinder was not simply bored out but was enlarged with distinctive larger thermal cooling fins. These larger cooling fins was also added to the post-1953 D1 models, albeit they maintained their smaller bore.
The D5 Super was a further development of the Swinging Arm D3 with a similar frame but with lengthened rear section which gave more upright mounts for the rear suspension. A more rounded style of tank was fitted. The engine was further increased to 175cc. The D5 model was only produced for the 1958 season.
The D7 Super was introduced for 1959, had a similar 175cc engine to the D5 but had an entirely new swinging arm frame and hydraulically damped forks which incorporated a nacelle mounted headlamp. The D7 continued in production until 1966 with at least 3 different styles of tank and alterations to the Wipac powered electrical system including a change to battery powered external coil ignition.
1966 saw the introduction of the D10, still 175cc and 3 speed gearbox but with increased power. The electrical system was further revised with a new type of Wipac alternator and rotor. The points were moved from the nearside to a separate housing in the primary drive cover on the offside, apart from this the bike's external appearance was very similar to the late D7 models. There were 2 variants added to the range both with 4 speed gearboxes, high level exhaust and forks with no nacelle but a separate headlamp. The first was the Sports model with Chrome mudguards, a fly-screen and a hump on the rear of the dual-seat. The second was the Bushman, mostly for export, which had 19 inch wheels and a modified frame for more ground clearance. D10 production ceased in 1967.
For the 1968 model year the D14/4 was introduced, similar to the D10 but with greater power again and the 4 speed gearbox fitted across the range. The Sports and Bushman models also gained heavier front forks.
The B175 (and B175 Bushman) was the ultimate Bantam model produced and arguably the best in terms of power delivery and handling. It was a subtle and refined reworking of the D14 model. The engine featured a handsome new cylinder head design with revised finning and a central vertical spark plug, the efficient squish combustion chamber had a slightly lower compression ratio at 9.5:1 which combined to give a smoother running engine without any power loss over the previous D14 models. The forks are slightly heavier in construction than those previously fitted and have external springs. It had a separate headlight with high-beam warning, exposed rear shock springs, strengthened kickstart shaft all with folding pedals, revised fixing on crankshaft compression disc plates. This final model was produced from 1969 to 1971 in handsome metallic red & blue or plain black liveries, all with white painted linings on the fuel tank, mudguards and side panels like the D14 and featured a modern outline text decal in yellow reading “Bantam 175” on the side panels, the right hand side panel covered and efficient large air filter that fed the AMAL 626 Concentric carburettor via a rubber hose. Even after the demise of BSA the remaining stocks of B175s were still being sold at least until 1973 to lucky and discerning buyers!
The off-road Bushman version was available as an export model, for Africa and Australia in particular, but 300 were sold in the UK. All UK Bushman models carry the engine number prefix BB. The precursor to the Bushman was a stripped down D7 called a Bronc Buck but the Bushman models proper were fully equipped with lights, high level exhaust systems, side strands and sported dual seats apart from the commercial farming focused Pastoral model with its single saddle and carrier rack. The very first Bushmans were derived from the D7 but produced in far greater numbers as D10 models, some D14 and ultimately the B175 Bushman from 1969 - 71. There are various air filters fitted to the Bushman models but all were mounted remotely from the carburettor behind the side panels where the battery was on road Bantams, the Bushman models had direct lighting so dispensed with the battery. Most featured sump guard plates and the engine mounts are raised slightly to give the engine cases better clearance from rocks etc. Even by the mid 1970s the Bushman models were sought after by collectors and they are even more so today an amazing 49 years after BSA produced the last ones in 1971.
BSA engineers were working on an upgrade to the Bantam, the D18, before financial troubles in 1971 resulted in a drastic reduction of the model range. The D18 was intended to be an interim model before the introduction of a new range of two-strokes that were in development. The D18 used an alloy barrel and a new head with a central spark plugs. A prototype was built before the project was cancelled.
Sprite was an historical British brand of off-road motorcycle, built by Frank Hipkin, of Hipkin & Evans, trading as Sprite Motor Cycles, initially at Cross Street, Smethwick, Birmingham and later by Sprite Developments Ltd., Halesowen, Worcester (1965–1971). The Sprite slogan was "Built by riders—for riders". Frank Hipkin died in August, 2012.
The Triumph Tigress, also sold as the BSA Sunbeam, was a scooter designed to have good performance and handling for the motorcycle enthusiast. The entry of the BSA group into the scooter field was announced by Edward Turner in October 1958. The 250 cc model would have a cruising speed of 55 to 60 mph and petrol consumption of 120 miles per imperial gallon. A prototype 250 cc BSA Sunbeam was displayed at the 1958 Earl's Court Cycle and Motor Cycle Show. Manufacture started in late 1959, but delivery difficulties were acknowledged due to problems with recruiting labour, although it was claimed that the group had a manufacturing capacity of 50,000 machines a year.
Francis & Barnett Limited was an English motorcycle manufacturer founded in 1919 by Gordon Inglesby Francis and Arthur Barnett and based in Lower Ford Street, Coventry, England. Early motor cycles were affectionately known as ' Franny B'. Motorcycles were produced for enthusiasts and was reasonably affordable for citizens for use as general transport. The majority of the lighter motorcycles used Villiers and later Two-stroke engine and later Associated Motor Cycles AMC engines. During the 1930s the 250cc Cruiser model 250 cc (15 cu in) was developed with a faired engine that protected those riding from any oil or dirt – one of the first of its kind to do so. AMC took over Francis & Barnett Limited in 1947 combining this with the James motorcycle models in 1957. The combined company remained in business until 1966.
The Honda XL175 was a motorcycle produced by Honda. The XL175 first entered the market in 1973 as a lightweight dual-sport motorcycle, and the model continued in production through 1978. The XL175 had a 173cc single cylinder OHC four-stroke engine mated to a 5-speed transmission and was started via a kickstarter only. The gauges included a speedometer and a tachometer up until 1976, when the tachometer was deleted for that and subsequent years. Braking was via front and rear cable operated drum brakes. The dimensions of the bike were 2,075x840x1,095mm (82x33x43in).
The BSA Golden Flash, commonly referred to as the Gold Flash, was a 646 cc (39.4 cu in) air-cooled parallel twin motorcycle designed by Bert Hopwood and produced by Birmingham Small Arms Company (BSA) at Small Heath, Birmingham. The Golden Flash was the first model in the BSA A10 series. It was available in black and chrome; but it was the distinctive golden paint scheme that gave The Golden Flash its name. Production continued until 1963, when it was superseded by the BSA A65 Star.
The BSA M20 was a British motorcycle made by Birmingham Small Arms Company (BSA) at their factory in Small Heath, Birmingham. Although initially viewed as a near failure by the War Office in 1936, the M20 evolved into one of the longest serving motorcycles in the history of British military motorcycling, as well as becoming the most numerous type produced for World War II with 126,000 in active service. Many are still in use around the world today.
The BSA A7 was a 500cc motorcycle model range made by Birmingham Small Arms Company (BSA) at their factory in Armoury Road, Small Heath, Birmingham. The range was launched in 1946 using a 495 cc (30.2 cu in) long stroke engine. An improved 497 cc (30.3 cu in) version based on the BSA A10 engine was launched in 1950. The various A7 models continued in production with minor modifications until 1961/2 when they were superseded by the unit-construction A50 model.
The BSA C15 was a 250 cc single-cylinder ohv motorcycle manufactured by the British company BSA from September 1958 until 1967, and was BSA's first four-stroke unit-construction bike. For most of that period, after the introduction of 'Learner Laws' in 1961, a 250 cc was the largest capacity solo machine that a learner could ride unaccompanied when displaying L-plates in the United Kingdom. A road-going Sports derivative was added in 1961, and off-road versions, for Trials and Scrambles, were also available in the range.
The BSA C11 is a British motorcycle manufactured by Birmingham Small Arms Company (BSA) at their factory in Armoury Road, Small Heath, Birmingham, between 1939 and 1956. Actor Steve McQueen owned a 1951 BSA C11.
The Royal Enfield Thunderbird is a cruiser style motorcycle produced by Royal Enfield Motors in India. The Royal Enfield Thunderbird is known as Royal Enfield Rumbler in export markets.
Meguro motorcycles were built by Meguro Manufacturing Co motorcycle works (目黒製作所), founded by Hobuji Murato and a high-ranking naval officer, Takaji Suzuki, in 1937. One of the first Japanese motorcycle companies, it became a partner of Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd, and was eventually absorbed. Named after a district of Tokyo, Meguro had its roots in Murato Iron Works, which was established in 1924. Meguro Seisakusho, which had once developed a copy of a Harley-Davidson V-twin, was established to design and build gearboxes for the nascent Japanese motorcycle industry. Abe Industries, which had once produced its own motorcycle, merged with Meguro in 1931. The brand is being revived by Kawasaki with a new K3 model to be introduced in Japan on February 1, 2021.
BSA motorcycles were made by the Birmingham Small Arms Company Limited (BSA), which was a major British 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.
The BSA A10 series was a range of 646 cc (39.4 cu in) air-cooled parallel twin motorcycles designed by Bert Hopwood and produced by Birmingham Small Arms Company at Small Heath, Birmingham from 1950 to 1963. The series was succeeded by the A65 unit construction models.
The BSA B25 was a series of 250 cc (15 cu in) unit construction single-cylinder OHV four-stroke motorcycles made by the Birmingham Small Arms Company. Developed from the BSA C15, the machines were produced between 1967 and 1971. The B25 was the fastest British production 250.
The BSA B40 was a series of 350 cc (21 cu in) unit construction single-cylinder OHV four-stroke motorcycles made by the Birmingham Small Arms Company. Developed from the BSA C15, the machines were produced between 1961 and 1967 for civilian use. Military versions were manufactured from 1967 to 1970. Around 14,000 machines were built in total.
Bridgestone motorcycles were a division of the Bridgestone Tire Co. of Kyōbashi, Tokyo, Japan that produced mopeds and motorcycles from 1952 to 1970. Initially producing power assisted bicycles, the division moved on to producing mopeds and then motorcycles. The motorcycles were technologically advanced and powered by two-stroke engines. The high technical specification resulted in the machines being more expensive compared to other manufacturers models. Production was stopped in 1970 to protect the supply of tyres to other manufacturers.
The Ducati 450 Mark 3 is a 436 cc (26.6 cu in) single cylinder bevel drive SOHC motorcycle produced by the Italian manufacturer Ducati from 1969 to 1974. The 450 was largest displacement version of the OHC single series produced by Ducati and used the 'wide case' engine. A higher performance version, the Ducati 450 Mark 3D, which used desmodromic valves was also available. The 450 was criticised for vibration and lack of performance compared to other models such as the Mach 1.
The Ducati 450 R/T (road/trail) is a 436 cc (26.6 cu in) single cylinder bevel drive desmodromic SOHC motorcycle produced by the Italian manufacturer Ducati from 1971 to 1974. Initially produced at the request of the American importers Berliner Motor Corporation as a pure motocross machine exclusively for the American Market, only a few hundred machines were made of this type. It is the only motocross bike to use desmodromic valves. An optional street equipment kit was available. From 1972 it was produced for the European Market as a street legal on/off road machine, which was sometimes known as the 450 T/S.
The Ducati Strada is a 249 cc (15.2 cu in) single cylinder bevel drive SOHC motorcycle produced by the Spanish manufacturer MotoTrans, who were licensed by Ducati to produce motorcycles under the Ducati brand name and was produced from 1978 to 1983. The model is based on the 250 'wide case' Ducati singles which the Italian Ducati factory had stopped manufacturing in 1974, but which MotoTrans continued to develop and produce.
The Ducati Forza is a 340 cc (21 cu in) single cylinder bevel drive SOHC motorcycle produced by the Spanish manufacturer MotoTrans, who were licensed by Ducati to produce motorcycles under the Ducati brand name and was produced from 1976 to 1983. The model is based on the 350 'wide case' Ducati singles which the Italian Ducati factory had stopped manufacturing in 1974, but which MotoTrans continued to develop and produce.