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Old 01-22-2015, 11:38 AM   #1
AllBlak OP
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Thoughts on the BSA Firebird Scrambler

What is your opinion of the '69 scrambler?
Have your piece and then point out the facts.
Thanks
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Old 01-22-2015, 11:51 AM   #2
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No thoughts on if it was/is a "good" bike but I like that era of brit iron and it'd be a fun resto project. Also no idea if it's worth restoring money wise but again it'd be a fun project and betting it's a blast to ride.
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Old 01-22-2015, 01:47 PM   #3
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Typical BSA Twin with an oil in top tube tribsa frame, parts wont be cheap but plenty about, nice strong engine , simple easy to maintain as standard.
You could change to an electronic ignition if you felt the need and modify the electrical circuit, but standard works ok and it is all down to what you want at the end of the day.
A nice ride good handling despite the purists scowling at the frame, they actually handle fantastic. The Brakes are well Classic by nature.
All together a nice practical classic british twin, many triumph bits are the same this helps with sourcing parts a little.
Overall i really like these bikes think you cant go wrong with one myself, i would have one with absolutely no hesitation.
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Old 01-22-2015, 05:00 PM   #4
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A 69 Firebird Scrambler is still a dry frame bike. And a quite good handling bike of any era. The BSA frame just works.

69 should have high pipes, scalloped tank, chrome version of the RIII fender, cast iron TLS front brake, and basically Triumph shuttle valve forks (but they do have some significant part differences ).

Any BSA unit twin needs careful engine build, good ignition timing, and a return line oil filter. A Podtronics or similar charge control does wonders for the electrics. As does adding some ground wires from major components and the battery ground.

Make sure the engine is shimmed to fit the frame, good carb balance, and good ignition timing does wonders for smoothing out the engine. A dynamically balanced crank is a wonderful thing! And make sure the head steady is installed and actually tight.

The 69 FB is a great looking bike, parts (other than sheet metal) are not hard to find, and a well sorted BSA twin is a sweet bike to ride.
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Old 01-22-2015, 06:33 PM   #5
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Thanks!

I saw a little used one today. High pipes, barbque grill heat shield. Front drum brake. I think the tires were a bit beat, but that could have been its neighbor in the barn. I was focused on something else at the time but wondering if it is worth a second look.

If I go back:
What is the
Quote:
head steady
And where are the shims expected to be?

Is there a BSA owners group?
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Old 01-22-2015, 06:50 PM   #6
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I had a '69 Firebird Scrambler-it's a very good example of a BSA Unit Twin-it has a surprisingly effective front brake, plenty of power, and I never especially noticed excessive vibration. The gas tank is a thing of beauty with those big BSA emblems on it. My exhaust system had been changed out for the usual Lightning exhaust system though-I never did change it back-I figured those high pipes would bake my leg.
You can't go too wrong if you pick it up for a reasonable price-parts are plentiful and relatively cheap, and there is a huge body of knowledge and advice about them on the web.
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Old 01-22-2015, 07:37 PM   #7
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The shims are located at the engine mount points. They are put in place to make sure the engine fits tight in the frame. I used washers from home depot to shim mine both on the front and bottom mounting points. The head steady is simply a bracket or a piece of metal that attaches the cylinder head to the frame. All these help to eliminate vibration.

The best site to join in order to answer your questions would be britbike.com.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AllBlak View Post
Thanks!

I saw a little used one today. High pipes, barbque grill heat shield. Front drum brake. I think the tires were a bit beat, but that could have been its neighbor in the barn. I was focused on something else at the time but wondering if it is worth a second look.

If I go back:
What is the

And where are the shims expected to be?

Is there a BSA owners group?
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Old 01-23-2015, 12:56 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich B View Post
A 69 Firebird Scrambler is still a dry frame bike. And a quite good handling bike of any era. The BSA frame just works.

69 should have high pipes, scalloped tank, chrome version of the RIII fender, cast iron TLS front brake, and basically Triumph shuttle valve forks (but they do have some significant part differences ).

Any BSA unit twin needs careful engine build, good ignition timing, and a return line oil filter. A Podtronics or similar charge control does wonders for the electrics. As does adding some ground wires from major components and the battery ground.

Make sure the engine is shimmed to fit the frame, good carb balance, and good ignition timing does wonders for smoothing out the engine. A dynamically balanced crank is a wonderful thing! And make sure the head steady is installed and actually tight.

The 69 FB is a great looking bike, parts (other than sheet metal) are not hard to find, and a well sorted BSA twin is a sweet bike to ride.
Did not realise that they were dry frame rich, i spent some time around a 1971 firebird scrambler in the mid 1970s it was oil in top tube, i was just guessing they all would have been the same in 1969.
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Old 01-23-2015, 02:41 AM   #9
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BritBike.com is probably the source for online BSA info. Though some get a bit esoteric with their advice

If you want a physical BSA owner's club, there are quite a number scattered around the world. The are 4 in the US alone.

The BSA wet frames started in 1971. A single large backbone made the main structure of the frame, top portion under the tank was a breather. The oil was contained in the vertical portion of the tube under the front of the seat. The wet frames get a lot of crap from the "purists", but they were quite good handling frames as well.
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Old 01-23-2015, 04:55 AM   #10
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Any BSA of that era is crap.

I saw the quality control slip disastrously over just a few years from about 1964.

Personally I wouldn't touch another of the small singles. The Twins weren't much better.

Which is why you can still find them in sheds with low mileage and needing "just a little" work.... :)
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Old 01-23-2015, 12:42 PM   #11
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All good info.
About what I thought about the shims and head steady, but if I had not asked
it would have wound up being something esoteric..

What is reasonable for something of this age needing a bit of work?
Or running well for that matter?
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Old 01-23-2015, 12:52 PM   #12
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You referring to price?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AllBlak View Post
What is reasonable for something of this age needing a bit of work?
Or running well for that matter?
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Old 01-23-2015, 02:10 PM   #13
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First of all, it is a garbage-wagon of a scrambler, not a scrambler but a heavy street-bike with ugly high-pipes.

Most importantly it is a BSA A65, the shittiest British 650 twin ever made. Unlike Triumph and Norton twins, it has garbage connecting rods with aluminum rod caps that like to go out of shape, and a plain bushing for a timing side crank bearing that some genius decided to channel the oil-supply for the rods through, so as it wears the rods get less and less oil, brilliant.

Less important is how ugly it's engine-tranny unit is, like someone sat a wasp-hive on top of a watermelon, it has the highest steering head and longest and most flexible forks of all the common 650 twins and handles the worst.

In the end an all-around POS that ends up in the hands of those who can not afford or are not smart enough to own any other brand.

I always find it funny when BSA unit-twin owners sit around and scratch their heads wondering why their pathetic shit-piles are not fetching as much as classic Norton and Triumph bikes on the market, if they had any brains they would be able to figure that out, and they would not be BSA unit-twin owners to begin with.
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Old 01-23-2015, 02:20 PM   #14
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Tell us how you really feel!
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Old 01-23-2015, 02:37 PM   #15
Beezer Josh
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I think someone didn't get his nap in today...

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