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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I posted a while back about what Triumph to buy. You may remember I've been trying to sell my car to fund a bike. It's up on ebay, so here's hoping...anyway, this isn't about selling a car...
I've been enjoying the search for a Triumph, but it's been turning up alot of BSA's. Wondering again how they may be suited for my 1st bike. I want something that can really go, and It's likely that I'll hardtail it at some point. I just want to know that if I buy a bike, i'll have plenty of options.
I guess what i want to know is, how serviceable will a bsa be, parts and hardtail availability, and what years or models to look for/ avoid? The bsa's have a nice style, but I'm definitely going function first, cuz I know I'm going to end up styling it my way, whatever I get.
Thanks, all.
 

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when i was looking for my triumph a bit over a year ago, there were lots of them for sale. then late last year and early this year i was looking around trying to help a buddy find one and all i saw were BSAs. which is cool, i kinda wish i had the money because i found a '63 Lightning(i think that's what it was?) that was is in really good nick and it was only $2000. i found all these on cycletrader.com also if you haven't been looking on there. good for finding stuff that was in a project state or a stock bike that's been sitting for awhile like mine.
 

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where are you people looking? I find Triumphs up the ass. Finding BSA's has proven to be a bit more difficult for me. Triumph parts, in my case anyways, seem to be more available. Have you checked out the classified section on this page. There is always a butt load of triumphs for sale here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Tony, I'll check cycletrader, thanks.
ExMonkeyPunk. I'm in central Pa. I went to a brit bike mechanic, who has an obscene amount of bsa'a 70's and down...maybe 20 of them. He fixes them up, semi resto, so you end up paying for him to do what you'll undo to it if you chop. I've been keeping an eye on the classifieds here. I'm sure something will turn up.
Thanks guys. Keep the input coming. I hope this car sells soon. When I get a bike I'll post pics right away.
 

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disturber said:
Tony, I'll check cycletrader, thanks.
ExMonkeyPunk. I'm in central Pa. I went to a brit bike mechanic, who has an obscene amount of bsa'a 70's and down...maybe 20 of them. He fixes them up, semi resto, so you end up paying for him to do what you'll undo to it if you chop. I've been keeping an eye on the classifieds here. I'm sure something will turn up.
Thanks guys. Keep the input coming. I hope this car sells soon. When I get a bike I'll post pics right away.
lucky bastard. BSA's in Illinois are more like Days without humidity here.
I got a T120R Frame with numbers matching 650 twin for sale. It needs total restoration. motor totally rebuilt. price. too much for anyone to want. fuckit i'll probably just restore it my damn self.
 

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Triumph have more parts out there . Don't get me wrong there still is a lot of bsa parts floating around but they tend to cost more . The parts that are most common to go out are interchangable thru the hole British bike industry . I.E. ingnition parts , carb parts , cables , brake pads , fork seals , and so on .
The BSA 650 or 500 twin is a more solid power plant . so it revs out slower then a triumph . The big draw back is the crank bushing on the unit engines . If they have not had proper care they will go out . BSA's need straight wt fresh oil all the time . The preunit BSA 650 are a great engine with minimal vibes it also is a dog compaired to a twin carb preunit triumph . The up sides are that you can get more power out of a unit BSA then a triumph and keep it reliable . Ulso fo custom bike the BSA engine is way cooler looking . And its funny to watch guys at shows try to impress there girl friends by telling " how they once owned a Triumph just like this "
Triumphs are the easier of the two power plants to get Hard Parts for ( internal engine ) They are also easier to get hard tails for or complete after market frames and Ex. pipes . You will need more fab skills to do a BSA right then a triumph .
Presonaly I think for your fist brit bike you should get norton comando . That way you can ride the shit out of it with out problems !
 

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Just a few tips from a shop that does both.

BSA parts TEND to be more expensive (I am sure someone will pick this statment apart but evidence is antecdotal at best.)
BSA parts TEND to be a little harder to find.
BSA bushing (timing side) lower ends are the norm (only late BSA switched over) and perhaps inferior to bearing bottom ends found on Triumph 650s for all years. BSA Conversion to bearing lower end is VERY expensive

Hardtails for Triumph 650s are more plentiful and BOLT right up for 1960-1970. BSA 650s require cutting and welding (getting it straight on the garage floor without a table and jig is possible but not as easy.) Both hardtails can be bent to start with, easier to just unbolt the Triumph tail and send it back to the manufacturer.

Used Triumph parts are more plentiful because more were made and more spares were sent over here.

But it is true that the Triumph and BSA are about the same relaibility wise and in many cases, have the same performance ratings. Both are jaunty beasts that look good stock and even better as customs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks, Wes...always with the definitive answers. I'm beginning to think you might know a thing or two.
I think I'm leaning in the direction of the Triumph for the above reasons, first bike and all. The more time spent sourcing parts, or saving money to get what I need, the less time riding. It's not like I'll have another one to take out in the meantime. I'm not ruling out BSA. I got some knowledgable responses in their favor too. It just might be my 2nd bike. Thanks guys.
 

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someone correct me if i'm wrong (like you need my permission), but weren't the bsa lightning 650's the fastest (or was it quickest?) production bike in the world until kaw came out with their triple?
 

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fouraceswes said:
Just a few tips from a shop that does both.

BSA parts TEND to be more expensive (I am sure someone will pick this statment apart but evidence is antecdotal at best.)
BSA parts TEND to be a little harder to find.
BSA bushing (timing side) lower ends are the norm (only late BSA switched over) and perhaps inferior to bearing bottom ends found on Triumph 650s for all years. BSA Conversion to bearing lower end is VERY expensive

Hardtails for Triumph 650s are more plentiful and BOLT right up for 1960-1970. BSA 650s require cutting and welding (getting it straight on the garage floor without a table and jig is possible but not as easy.) Both hardtails can be bent to start with, easier to just unbolt the Triumph tail and send it back to the manufacturer.

Used Triumph parts are more plentiful because more were made and more spares were sent over here.

But it is true that the Triumph and BSA are about the same relaibility wise and in many cases, have the same performance ratings. Both are jaunty beasts that look good stock and even better as customs.
I'll pick apart you answers - You're right. :)

But given I've owned both, honestly, I lean towards BSA. They are more rare, and seriously my beezers have just felt better. Personally a like the look and feel of pre-unit BSA over pre-unit triump. And I like the fact it has fewer points for oil leakage. The comment on fresh whole wt oil isn't necessarily overwhelming. I've used synthetic and heavy multi-weights in them with no problem. Synthetics can cause clutch slippage in my experience. BSA wiring harnesses in my estimation aren't as complicated.

Just my two cents. I like them both. Want to grab attention? - AJS.
 

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A lot of it is personal preference. Back in the 'day' in the old country there was a fierce rivalry between Triumph and BSA owners.
The A10 handled a little better, which is why there were a few "Beezumph" bikes around, pre unit Triumph in a BSA frame.

The A65L had a reputation for self destructing at high speed, some 'transient spark' problem as I recall.

So, for my money, it's the Triumph! Looks better than the 'blob' beezer lower end and is WAY cheaper and easier to rebuild.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks guys. I'm pretty set on the Triumph. For my 1st bike, cheap and easy to work on is key. But by all means keep the rivalry going. I'm learning a good bit about both bikes. Thanks.
 

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There are a lot of guys on here who know a lot more than I about the brits. I like the unit Trumps better than the unit Beezas but hands down the Pre unit A-10 (got one) smoke the pre unit Trumps. I feel that my money would be on Wes or Trumpnut and Baron...but it seems he is very busy these days. I'm surprised he has not stepped up yet. These guys will be great sources if you choose to do a Brit build. The three have great resumes.
 

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Hey, fellas - I'm going through sort of the same thing, but I know even less about bikes. Here's the scope-

I want a '60s English motorcycle because they look really cool. I'm not going to lie - that's the sole reason for my interest in motorcycles. I want to kind of do the "mod" thing but bikes are so much better than mopeds. I've seen pics of both BSA and Triumph and I can't tell what's cooler. Either would do.

SO, aesthetics aside (since like I said either would do), I WOULD like something that can go fuckin FAST (or at least as fast as possible), is RELATIVELY safe (ie not gonna kill me), and that I could learn both riding and maitenance on (decently).

With those traits in mind, which cool '60s English bike would I be looking for?
 
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