Bsa sources?

Discussion in 'Old's Cool' started by vicster, Oct 17, 2012.

  1. vicster

    vicster Long timer

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    I'm going to look at a '71 BSA Thunderbolt tomorrow night and wanted to make certain things like manuals and whitworth tools/taps/dies are still readily available. Had a '70 Lightning from '71 to '73 and still have kind of a soft spot for BSAs and figure an oil-in-frame Thunderbolt might be the cheapest way to get back into the 650s.
    The story told to me is it's a one owner, complete, stored in his house for the last however many years non running example with 16K miles on it. Apparently the guy is a doomsday prepper and the bike no longer fung shues with his armegeddon. Or something. We'll see. Smart money says it's a half there rust bucket, but a guy's gotta look, ya know?
    Thanks in advance.
    #1
  2. Rich B

    Rich B Been here awhile

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    BSA bits are not that hard to find, just have to know where to look. The wet frames are unloved by the "purists", but they are a nice bike for the money. And a good handling bike.

    By 71, BSA was largely changed over to SAE threads on the cycle parts, most of the engines stuff was still cycle thread. British Tools & Fasteners (do a web search) has CEI, BSC, etc taps and dies. A basic "Whitworth" set of wrenches and sockets for the engine can be had off fleaBay for a decent price. Koken makes a decent set of sockets, Acesa makes nice wrenches in Brit sizes.

    If you end up with it, let me know, setting up the front brake needs to be done to get it to work right. And the forks can be made nicer with some minor changes. And check the engine mounts, front and bottom to see if they need shimmed to fit the frame. Does wonders for reducing vibration. Also make sure the head steady is installed.

    My first 2 street bikes were 71 Lightnings...... I actually do miss them. Though my LC does wonders for making me forget them when looking at it or riding it :D
    #2
  3. vicster

    vicster Long timer

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    Thanks!
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  4. Garbln

    Garbln Been here awhile

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    Look up the web site of "British Only" they will have most every thing you need.
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  5. anotherguy

    anotherguy Long timer

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    These guys have been a tremendous resource while restoring the 1967 Triumph in the shop. Knowledgeable,easy to deal with and only ran into one backorder. Prices are reasonable,so far quality is top shelf and shipping isn't too bad.
    #5
  6. caponerd

    caponerd Kickstart Enthusiast

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    You can get whitworth tools, nuts and bolts, etc. from many sources, both in the UK and the US.

    Parts for almost any make of British bike are available from sources in the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, and probably many other countries.
    #6
  7. Steve G.

    Steve G. Long timer

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    This fellow is a true enthusiast with direct personal links to all the suppliers in England. His prices are fair, his inventory is great:
    http://www.walridge.com/index.html

    Steve
    #7
  8. Mista Vern

    Mista Vern Knows all - tells some.

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    When I win the lottery I am going to buy every one of the bikes they have for sale - what a cool site!
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  9. CarlWheezer

    CarlWheezer Where's my Boomstick....

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  10. vtwin

    vtwin Air cooled runnin' mon

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  11. vicster

    vicster Long timer

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    Thank you, gentlemen, for all the feedback. Tonight's plans fell through, so tomorrow night it is.

    Should engine and frame numbers match?
    #11
  12. Rich B

    Rich B Been here awhile

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    Engine & frame numbers started matching during the 66 model year, approxiamtely late Dec 1965. So yes they should match....doesn't mean they will 40+ years on though :huh
    #12
  13. vicster

    vicster Long timer

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    Finally got to see the bike tonight and talk to the very, uh, interesting, owner.
    First the bad news, Motor's frozen. No title.
    The original owner bought the bike when he came home from Viet Nam, rode it for 3 years/16K miles. Parked in the family barn in '74 at his new bride's insistence where it sat in the dry, out of the sun until the present owner bought it from the estate sale and parked it in his house in 2005. Everything's there except for the front turn signals and the mufflers. Unmolested. No dents or dings that I saw. Light surface rust. Some inside tank rust, but not that bad. Centerstand, side stand, original switches, side covers, tool kit, etc. No evidence it's ever even so much as tipped over. Seat's mint.Looks kinda like a time capsule. Unusual, IMO, that a returning soldier just used it for travel and didn't get caught up in the whole chopper craze or the era.
    Couldn't talk him off his $1500 asking price.
    Thanks, Rich B, numbers match and appear unmolested.
    #13
  14. ChrisC

    ChrisC Amal sex?

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    I would have herniated myself reaching for my wallet waaay too fast... :eek1
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  15. Euromad

    Euromad Been here awhile

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    I'd think $1500 was a bit high with a frozen motor too. I picked up my non running motor turns over Triumph for $600.
    Any nonrunner would need a teardown to clean the sludge trap, yadayada.
    #15
  16. concours

    concours WFO for 41 years

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    Where on the planet are you? www.britbike.com is a great resource, formerly an all BSA site. You can get pretty much any damn thing you need. How much of a mechanic are you? The prices have risen some..
    #16
  17. ricochetrider

    ricochetrider a certain something

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    I'd be interested to hear RichB's opinion of 1500.00 for the bike but it does seem a bit high for a froze up OIF BSA with no title. I'd hold out if I were you. They're not exactly a dime-a-dozen but not all that rare. 60s and 70 Brit Bikes were made by the thousands, so there's plenty of bikes around. As was already mentioned, OIF (oil in frame) models aren't as "sought after" as mid 60s or pre unit models. Parts are indeed readily available, both new and vintage after market, as well as original. BritBike.com is absolutely a fantastic resource, THE resource in fact. There, you'll find not only just about all available vendors, but also plenty of knowledgeable (AND FRIENDLY) people, as well as manuals, unlimited info, etc. Here is their BSA page:

    http://www.britbike.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=postlist&Board=1&page=1

    There is a huge USA community to be tapped into at this website, and the majority of the other members are in the UK, tho there are also European, Australian, and New Zealand members.

    WTF is the title anyway? As far as I'm concerned, that is a bigger issue than the motor being frozen.
    Offer him 500.00 and leave him your number. If he won't budge offa his 1500.00 then let the bike rot in his living room, or where ever. This ain't no Brough Superior here. For 1500.00 you could buy a titled OIF BSA that runs, if you're lucky. (or diligent)
    #17
  18. vicster

    vicster Long timer

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    Concours - I'm an ok, slow and careful mechanic in western Washington. I do all my own vehicle maintenance and repair (so far), I've done a couple ground up bike builds, doing everything but the bottom end rebuild. I'm confident of my abilities to do everything the BSA needs that I have the tools to do. Crankshaft endplay? Probably not.

    RichohetRider, I agree, the price just seems a little too high. The bike is very complere and unmolested, but it's not rare and it's not a "must have to relive my youth" situation as it's way too different from the '70 Lightning I had as a kid. I offered him 800 cash and he wasn't at all interested.
    The motor is frozen up, and there's no oil on the dipstick. I was told it was running when parked, but who really knows.
    Apparently it's a lost title situation. The owner parked it in his dad's barn and moved away, leaving it there. The family died off and the bike was sold to the current owner after it didn't sell at the estate sale. Washington has a lost title system that is effectively a 3 year probation, after which the title is official.
    #18
  19. Steve G.

    Steve G. Long timer

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    Not that financial sense is ever taken into consideration when taking on a "rescue mission" of an old motorcycle in need of help,,,but the fact that the 71 BSA's are not currently an expensive club to get into: http://www.britcycle.com/bikes/forsale/AFitzgerald_71_BSA_Thunderbolt.htm taking on a BSA like the one you are looking at, with a stuck engine, should really be avoided unless you realy REALLY want this particular machine.
    #19
  20. vicster

    vicster Long timer

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    Yeah, but see, that bike is cosmetically not that much nicer than the bike in question would be after some elbow grease is applied, and it doen't have a title either.

    Where I am at a disadvantage is that between not knowing internal damage or parts costs, I have NO idea what a rebuild would cost.
    #20