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Old 11-17-10, 01:42 AM   #1
AL NZ
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Dating my BSA - late 1910s - plus GREAT on-line BSA archives

For 18 months I have wondered how old my BSA is.
I have posted on it before, then followed a mild forum debate on 'what is a Path-racer?'.
The 3 numbers stamped on the frame are easy to read, but there is no database of BSA serial numbers that I can find.
I have always thought it was 1920s, but with no strong evidence. I did come across a comment on the net that BSA had gone away from bolt-on seat-stays by 1932, but there was no documented proof of this.

Then last night I stumbled on this fantastic site - http://bsamuseum.wordpress.com/

the photos and old BSA literature on this site have enabled me to narrow down my bike to approx late 1910s - end on World War 1

(pics in next reply - I am having problems attaching photos)

Last edited by AL NZ; 11-17-10 at 02:03 AM.
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Old 11-17-10, 01:59 AM   #2
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My BSA as acquired, with a top-tube Sachs shifter and 1938 3 speed Sachs coaster hub (presumably a later mod)

My BSA after my rather-naive 'Path-racer' makeover. Note the sloping top tube.

a 1919 BSA Military Roadster from http://bsamuseum.wordpress.com/
It has identical-pattern seat and chain stays, and lugs, to my bike, but no nickelled cap to the fork crown. Also no sloping top-tube.


these fantastic old BSAs are from the 1917 catalogue, courtesy of the website.
Being a NZer, I am tickled that my bike is closest to the 'All-Black' cycle, which shares the shape and the 28" wheels, but has no plated cap to the fork crown.
It may also be a 'Road Racer', except that lists 26" wheels, whereas mine is 28"
So none is an exact match.
But the photos on the same website show the stays on a 1926 BSA and my bike are different.
So, given the close similarities to the 1917 brochures, and photo details of the 1919 Military Roadster showing the same seat and chain stays, I think mine is from that late-1910s era.

I am still planning a custom frame build at some point, and I am tempted to do a recreation of the Pathracer in the above brochures. However I suspect this would require custom lugs because of the severe top-tube slope - this would be either financially prohibitive or practically impossible. But I guess I'll never know if I don't try..
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 86685301_full..jpg (50.0 KB, 51 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_0080..jpg (90.9 KB, 55 views)
File Type: jpg 1919wd_bsa_12-copy.jpg (41.6 KB, 40 views)
File Type: jpg 1917_bsa_catalogue.jpg (56.3 KB, 28 views)
File Type: jpg 1917_bsa_catalogue_16..jpg (53.0 KB, 18 views)
File Type: jpg 1917_bsa_catalogue.jpg (51.0 KB, 26 views)
File Type: jpg 1917_bsa_catalogue_09..jpg (56.5 KB, 28 views)

Last edited by AL NZ; 11-17-10 at 02:33 AM.
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Old 11-17-10, 03:22 AM   #3
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I just sold my BSA for $9.99 US.

BSA_20_Full_Side_2..jpg BSA_20_HeadBadge_1..jpg BSA_20_Full_Side_L_2..jpg
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Old 11-17-10, 07:20 PM   #4
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Pretty interesting bikes. 75 gear inches on a single speed ... for manly men!
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Old 01-06-12, 04:31 AM   #5
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I would say the bike is BSA touring bicycle from the 30's to the 50's - it does not have the traditional BSA fittings from before 1920. Also the chain wheel is chromed which would put it after 1930. The bolted seat clamp was used on touring BSAs even in the 30's to 50's. Only the race and sports models had brazed on seat stays.............
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Old 04-10-14, 12:59 AM   #6
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Dating your BSA

Hi we have one like this ..an Australasian one.
The thing is you can never be sure if parts have been added or subtracted as the making things look the latest model with can of paint or changing the chainwheel /cranks was the fashion.
Does your chainwheel with 'BSA' cast in it screw off with a five screws? It can be removed once the articulated pedal is removed.
If it has; it is 1908 onwards...a nice picture /illustration at the oldbikemuseum.eu site under the manual pic "BSA CHAINRING and PEDALS."You will note a few examples of the BSA chainwheels you could get for 1910 on this site

Has it got detachable pump mounts on the seatpost or brazeons same place but like a Raleigh style.Ours has detachable.
I have not gone through the whole posting yet but I can get the frame number for you and compare. I am not sure what year this one is but it has about 1/4" 'half round' steel rear mudguard fender stays and not round wire. Deep guards sort of curved and squarish as there was lots of mud then. It has round wire stays on the front guard. Eadie coaster rear and a BSA piled logos x2 hub for the front. All 28" clincher type rims. It has a refined stem H/bar mount I am not sure of but the headlight bracket looks the part for that early period.The h/bars I do not think are original.
BSA's always have large casting marks under the BBB.Pedal cranks are square profile not curved btw and have "B.S.A"stamped on them close to where most brit bicycle have a logo. Not piled arms.
Not pinstriping evident but imagine it was dark green type of p/s on black.



Quote:
Originally Posted by AL NZ View Post
My BSA as acquired, with a top-tube Sachs shifter and 1938 3 speed Sachs coaster hub (presumably a later mod)

My BSA after my rather-naive 'Path-racer' makeover. Note the sloping top tube.

a 1919 BSA Military Roadster from The BSA & Military Bicycle Museum
It has identical-pattern seat and chain stays, and lugs, to my bike, but no nickelled cap to the fork crown. Also no sloping top-tube.


these fantastic old BSAs are from the 1917 catalogue, courtesy of the website.
Being a NZer, I am tickled that my bike is closest to the 'All-Black' cycle, which shares the shape and the 28" wheels, but has no plated cap to the fork crown.
It may also be a 'Road Racer', except that lists 26" wheels, whereas mine is 28"
So none is an exact match.
But the photos on the same website show the stays on a 1926 BSA and my bike are different.
So, given the close similarities to the 1917 brochures, and photo details of the 1919 Military Roadster showing the same seat and chain stays, I think mine is from that late-1910s era.

I am still planning a custom frame build at some point, and I am tempted to do a recreation of the Pathracer in the above brochures. However I suspect this would require custom lugs because of the severe top-tube slope - this would be either financially prohibitive or practically impossible. But I guess I'll never know if I don't try..
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Old 04-10-14, 01:04 AM   #7
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Try for frame nos at top of seat post tube lug, LHS usually.May even have date code for year to one side? Normally 4 numbers or more. Some large casting marks on base of BBB?
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Old 04-10-14, 01:06 AM   #8
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quatoe:
"the photos and old BSA literature on this site have enabled me to narrow down my bike to approx late 1910s - end on World War 1

(pics in next reply - I am having problems attaching photos)"

Sometime if bikes/cars survived the two wars they might get some green military paint on them if they were requisitioned?

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Old 04-10-14, 01:09 AM   #9
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I think the early BSAs had more teeth, like 48 on the chainwheel cut whereas later 50s -60s had less?
I have a 60s BSA gents with an orange flash gold dart p/s on it. and alloy badge, chromed fork crown top with 4 slash cuts in it. It is 28" wheeled with sturmy archer 2=3 speed on the back and piled arms skinny front hub spindle
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