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The BSA A65 & A50 series.....

Discussion in 'Old's Cool' started by England-Kev, Sep 4, 2016.

  1. England-Kev

    England-Kev Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2007
    Oddometer:
    4,652
    Location:
    England. Somewhere on the Canal.
    As one project gets close to ending (the Guzzi Eldo, see other thread), then I feel the need for something else to fettle in my little lock up, so look what followed me home from Netley Marsh this weekend...

    A 1970 BSA A65 Lightning. Originally found in a barn in Indiana over there in the US of A, and sold by the widow of the owner. it is in amazing unmolested condition, apart from those hideous bars! has the original keys for both ignition and steering lock. no rust anywhere and the tank inside is all shine and new looking. But it could really do with a good clean.
    Yes there are a couple of things that need sorting, fork gaiters, bars, and the rear light lens, and guard were damaged in shipping. but with a battery connected, all the lights etc work, as does the ammeter, and when kicked over there is a good spark at the plugs, and a good oil return at the tank.

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    Nice clear matching numbers

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    Never seen these alloy clock surrounds before, standard fitting?

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    So, that is where I am at, but what do you have to show us? come on, join in.
    #1
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  2. insomnia

    insomnia Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2015
    Oddometer:
    951
    Location:
    wide awake in my kitchen
    lovely old bike well wear with her and I hope its easily fixed up . I personally love the handle bars they most lightly be on that bike for over 40 years and are as much a part of it as anything else . I would leave them there myself . I feel they would add to the whole time warp experience of it all . be something different to all the café racer style that's going about these days . you will need some lamb chop side burns and flared jeans and brown avatior shades to to match :-)
    #2
  3. Bar None

    Bar None Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    Oddometer:
    12,538
    Location:
    SWFL WNC
    Nice BSA.

    How did you manage to get her and return her to her home country?

    I had the single carb one back in the 60's. Sweet runner she was.

    I'd do "fork gaiters, bars, and the rear light lens, and guard" as you mentioned and leave the rest alone.
    #3
  4. England-Kev

    England-Kev Long timer

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    Location:
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    Now don't tell everyone, but apparently you guys in the USA don't want these old brit bike projects, so we have people buying them up by the container load and shipping them back here, where we get to fix them up, ride them for a while, and then sell them back to you guys or Japan? go figure.
    From what I was told this bike came via Indiana, and on through the swap meet at mid Ohio. Now it is about 70 miles from where it was built:clap
    #4
    Old Mule, jeep44 and Bar None like this.
  5. jeep44

    jeep44 junk collector

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    I thought a '70 would have the Triumph TLS front brake?. At any rate, it does seem very unmolested for it's age. Those metal surrounds for the gauges are an aftermarket thing-stock would have been rubber "buckets" that the speedo and tach set in. I've had two A65s over the years-a '69 and a '70. I enjoyed them both in the time I had them.
    #5
  6. Mick56

    Mick56 n00b

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2014
    Oddometer:
    7
    +1 on the TLS
    #6
  7. Mick56

    Mick56 n00b

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2014
    Oddometer:
    7
    +1 on the TLS front brake
    #7
  8. Rich B

    Rich B Long timer Supporter

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    Stone Creek, OH
    Kev,

    I am guessing that bike has had the forks replaced. Gauge cluster plate is for a 64/65 dual carb street bike. And definitely should have TLS with Triumph style forks.

    But still a nice clean bike...nice find
    #8
  9. England-Kev

    England-Kev Long timer

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    Oddometer:
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    I am sorry to say this, but I think you may be jumping to the wrong conclusion! :eek7 or maybe just an conclusion that doesn't quite equate?

    You see this is one of the infamous "Y" bikes.
    What the hell is this idiot on about I hear you all screaming at your monitors.
    Well let me try to enlighten you if I can.

    If you look at my bike it is a 1967 in everything but the motor, and if you look at the engine number, this also equates to 67, except for the pesky "Y" at the very end of the number. but this is all on a new motor with the raised number block, that was introduced in 69?

    Anyway there is a whole thread on this anomaly over on Britbike, look here.... http://www.britbike.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=403236&page=1 :eekers

    So have a read, and come back and tell me what you think?
    #9
  10. yokesman

    yokesman Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,250
    Location:
    SW. Idaho
    AS Im looking for something a65, like a spitfire this info would come in handy, as for the noted links right now spells alphabet soup.
    #10
  11. motu

    motu Loose Pre Unit

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    And they didn't have a cast iron head either - paint stripper should sort that.
    #11
  12. England-Kev

    England-Kev Long timer

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    :rofl
    #12
  13. England-Kev

    England-Kev Long timer

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    Location:
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    Label on headstock says it all... February 1970 A65L.

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    So that is where I have started, and now I start sorting parts, finding what's good, and also what's bad. And ordering new parts as I start to get the bike back on the road where it belongs....

    As I intend to pull the top end, I have started getting a few parts for that area, de-coke gasket set was first, and while looking at the SRM site, I saw these nice tappet adjusters, which arrived today...

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    So come on then join in, or am I the only one here with a BSA power egg?
    #13
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  14. Old Mule

    Old Mule Long timer

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    I had a very nice, gentle,1964 BSA Star Twin, one carb, valenced mudguards, siamesed exhaust. I put a 190mm GS front brake and home market bars on her and left the rest alone. What a smooth, quiet machine!
    The ape hangers need to go on your good example, don't embarass yourself.
    Congrats on a good score. NOW your foreign bikes need to go!
    #14
  15. motu

    motu Loose Pre Unit

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    The redesign of the A10 to the A65 was almost brilliant - putting a head on an A65 is an enjoyable task, the same job on an A10 is a short fuse to a brain explosion. Pity Ed Turner just put the same parts into a unit case.
    #15
  16. Scrivens

    Scrivens Long timer

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    I've had a few unit BSA 650s for daily riders - there are pics of a couple of my rebuilds in the Vintage Brit thread from memory, and this is my last Thunderbolt ('67), sold about a year ago.
    BSA Mar15 23.JPG
    Easy to work on, quite reliable and smooth for a Brit 650 if properly built. I've never liked the front forks much and the gearbox ratios are a pain in the very hilly, twisty, narrow-roaded area where I live. I prefer BSAs to Triumph twins and for me the unit BSAs handle a lot better. I replaced the twin carb head on my Lightning with a Thunderbolt single head mainly for smoother running around town. Doesn't make much difference out on the road and uses a lot less fuel. I always buy new AMAL carbs from Burlens for my rebuilds as the cost is minimal in the scheme of things.
    #16
  17. Rich B

    Rich B Long timer Supporter

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    Nice looking T-bolt.

    The gear ratios they chose are a bit odd. But not far off from pre-unit STD gears. Those are odd on a GS as well. The early CR gears for unit twins are amazing. You are always in the right gear in the twisties, 1st is really not high when starting out. Love the CR box in my Lightning.

    The damper rod forks were copies of Matchless dampers. Age have not been kind to them. If you can find sufficient new or non-worn pieces, they actually are fairly plush, IMO. Smoother in action than the shuttle valve forks.

    BSA unit twins are nice handling bikes.....still.
    #17
  18. Scrivens

    Scrivens Long timer

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    Apart from the seat cover, spokes and rims, rear guard and shocks it was pretty much built up from the original bike, which apart from a completely stuffed engine was still in very good nick for its age as it had been parked undercover for about 30 years. The tank and side covers were repainted, but the rest of it was just properly cleaned up (no re-chroming) and most of the old bolts and wheel bearings etc replaced. New carb, SRM oil pump, Boyer ignition, TriSpark rec/reg, new alternator unit and a MAP filter to bring it into the modern world, a lot of time and about $6000 in parts and machining. That pic is just before I sold it and I'd put around 6000 miles on it in about 3 months. I probably should have kept it but after doing 5 restos in a row in recent years I felt like taking a break from the old stuff for a while.

    I did look around for a CR gearset at one point but they are rare and expensive and the gearbox in this one was still in as new condition, unlike the rest of the engine. The cases are the only parts of the original engine that made it to the final build. BSAs do handle beautifully, an absolute joy in the curves.
    #18
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  19. England-Kev

    England-Kev Long timer

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    It was a good day walking around Kempton Jumble today, I managed to get a few things for the Lightning, so I can now start to get this thing headed back towards the road.
    The first things on my list were the handlebars, and the Lucas rear light, well as you can see I found some new Triumph western style bars, and I also found a genuine Lucas rear light unit. These two items alone have transformed the look of the bike.

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    After..

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    I have new gaiters to fit, new fuel taps, and fuel line. but first tomorrow I will be pulling the head to see what the top end looks like. :bigt
    #19
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  20. England-Kev

    England-Kev Long timer

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
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    People are strange when you're a stranger
    Faces look ugly when you're alone
    Women seem wicked when you're unwanted
    Streets are uneven when you're down

    When you're strange
    Faces come out of the rain
    When you're strange
    No one remembers your name
    When you're strange
    When you're strange
    When you're stran
    ge

    So said the Doors.... And in some cases it seems to be true, especially when you start looking at old bikes that have an unknown history, and just when you think you have seen it all, up pops something new that makes you chuckle to yourself, whilst at the same time makes you recoil in disbelief as you wonder what other little surprises await as you dig further into that "new" old bike!

    Today I started pulling the top end apart to try to discover the cause of low compression on one cylinder, so the first thing that needs removing is the tank, which as had already been noted had the wrong fuel taps fitted....

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    but what I discovered here left me speechless, in an amused bewildered sort of way!

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    Yes, that is an ariel coaxial cable joining piece!
    :jack

    Tank off, and deeper in to the mire...

    Original Lucas harness.

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    pistons are at +20, and there is evidence of previous problems. as this light scoring proves, but this looks worse in the picture than it actually is, you can't feel it with your finger nail, so a light honing should be fine here.

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    Valves seem to be sealing well, but will be removed, later for head overhaul. So that only leaves one place for the compression loss, it must be the rings?

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    And that proves to be true when the barrels are removed, and we find that all the rings are solidly stuck in, on the R/H piston, causing blow by, on this cylinder. Time to order some new rings.

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    :photog
    #20