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What is a 1938 BSA (500 I believe) military bike. It came out of the crate last year and the guy rode it around 500 miles. Thanks for any input.
 

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M20 maybe. My buddy has a motor from a wartime m20, the motor is stamped w4. It's a 500 cc single.
 

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Likely an M20. Side valve single, 500cc...13hp. A bit sluggish, but high on torque, very reliable when properly maintained (many survived some very rough service in Europe during WW2). Also easily repaired. Great to ride on secondary roads. You need to educate yourself on the workings of these old girls ("learn to speak British") before you consider buying one, but if you have a mechanical aptitude, the intestinal fortitude and the desire to ride something with 'personality', this is it.
 

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Werent the military ones called wm20?
You may be right, I'm so used to seeing them in olive green...but other than paint and panniers, the M20 was pretty much the same machine military or civilian.

One more request for XR50RIDRE88....Please, please, please, if you're going to get this, for heavens sake, take it out and ride it at least form time to time...these things deserve to be seen and heard, not spend their days hidden away in somebody's private rec-room unused and unseen. It's HISTORY and should be shared.
 

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Hmm...

The WM20, however, wasn’t ideally suited for warfare. It was too heavy, too slow and had poor ground clearance. But it was (small mercy) durable and easy to repair, which must have been a key factor in BSA being awarded a contract to supply them in huge numbers.

Dont know the difference but I bet someone more educated will chime in!
 

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My buddy has a 39 BSA that I have been trying to buy for ten years now and he always calls it a WM20. It is a little sluggish but it is a really fun ride if you like really interacti riding. So much stuff going on. Spark control/ timing etc. Fun though.
 

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He also told me that the BSA's of the day was a M20. The M stood for Model / 20. And WM was War model 20. Made for the military. That may be wrong but maybe someone has a definitive answer.
 

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by what i understand the w in the designation is "wartime model"
 
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