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What make and model is a good British Single? (2009)

Discussion in 'General Classic Motorcycle Discussion' started by Bobs850, Dec 20, 2009.

  1. Bobs850

    Bobs850

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2009
    I am looking for something to ride on the back roads. Most of the riding would be 50 to 55 mph. I have never owned a single and always wanted one. Anybody good a good reference on a reasonable affordable single from the 50s or 60s?

    Thanks,

    Bob in Fresno
     
  2. swooshdave

    swooshdave

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2009
    Catalina Gold Star. :mrgreen:
     
  3. Unclviny

    Unclviny

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2009
    I'm kind of opinionated on this but I think the smaller displacement bikes are generally better (easier to ride and
    less "stressed").
    The smaller bikes also tend to sell for less $ as Americans seem to be obsessed with "bigger is better", I think
    the small displacement BSA singles are particularly nice for smaller backroads as they are light, narrow, have low
    seat height and they are Torquey.
    Since this is an old bike purchase you have to find "the one" that looks right.

    B25 http://www.b50.org/b25starfire.htm
    and
    C15 http://www.bsa-c15.org.uk/
    are probably the easiest to find.

    Modern, British, 492cc and big $ http://www.mac-motorcycles.com/

    Unclviny
     
  4. Cookie

    Cookie

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2008
    We had one of those old 250 Triumph singles around in college. Everybody enjoyed it. There are truly great ones if you have lots of money but if i see another little 250 Triumph i may buy it myself.
     
  5. Bobs850

    Bobs850

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2009
    Catalina Gold Star - I cannot ever rememeber seeing one of those for sale. Probably financially out of my budget.

    Mac Motorcycles? I like the "Spud". I wondew if those are sold in California?

    Triumph 250. You still see a few of those around. The guy I bought my Valkyrie from has a basket case at his house. I think he wants too much money for it.

    Anybody have any experience with the late 60s BSA 441 Victors? There is one for sale in my area. I plan to go have a look see.

    Thanks

    Bob in Fresno.
     
  6. swooshdave

    swooshdave

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2009
    You didn't specify your budget. :mrgreen:

    441s are great, but they aren't getting any cheaper. I wouldn't give more that $500 for a 250 basketcase, which means I'll never get one.
     
  7. frankdamp

    frankdamp

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2005
    If I remember correctly, the "Triumph" 250 was a re-badged BSA C15, put into production after the Triumph-BSA merger. The two "real" Triumph singles were the 150cc Terrier and the 200cc Tiger Cub. There was a trials version of the Tiger Cub.

    Neat little bikes, but they have a tough time with a heavy rider. The Terrier was only about 12 hp and the Cub maybe 16 or so. In the bigger 4-strokes, AJS, Matchless, Ariel and of course Norton (the ES2) were interesting. Probably the 441 BSA Victor is top of the heap.

    Most British 1950-1965 singles were two-strokes, usually with a Villiers engine. If you don't mind mixing the oil and gas, some of them are a real blast, particularly the Greeves for off-road trail riding. It has an unusual front suspension specifically for off-road work.
     
  8. Cookie

    Cookie

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2008
    I'm pretty sure you are right that the 250 single we has was a badge job since our parts bike was a BSA version. It's been a long time but I think the barrel might have been the main difference between our Triumph 250 and a 441. They sure looked similar. I'm sure anybody who rebuilds them knows what it would take to make a 250 a 441.
    Although I've seen a few cubbies here I don't recall much in the way of the Villiars single. Now and again you see one on Ebay, but San Mateo isn't dirt bike heaven and a lot of them were used off road.
     
  9. Unclviny

    Unclviny

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2009
    I have owned several B44's and a few B50's, thats why I like the C15/B25. the B44/B50 is basically a B25 bottom end with a MAJOR bore job and WHEN the bottom end lets go it's spectacular!

    Good luck.

    Unclviny
     
  10. grandpaul

    grandpaul VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    For Sale - 1969 BSA 250 Starfire thumper, needs top end overhaul, and has been painted brown from front to back. Otherwise all original but old and rusty.

    $12,500.00
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    * Also includes all of the following:

    Running bikes-
    '74 Trident 750 triple, scruffy but mostly original, fair runner
    '79 Bonneville Special, drag bars & quarter fairing, very good runner
    '80 BMW R100RS, scruffy, full Windjammer & bags, decent runner
    '81 Honda CB900F DOHC, Mikuni smoothbores & Yoshimura header, decent runner (needs re-jetting)

    Rolling projects-
    72 Norton 750 rigid chopper
    72/66 BSA Bitsa 650
    72 kawasaki 250 triple
    77 yamaha RD400
    '72 Honda CB750K
    '76 Honda CB500 Four
    724 honda CB350
    75 honda CL360
    81 Goldwing 1100

    Parts Biks-
    71/66 BSA frame, engine, forks, wheels & other stuff
    77 Yamaha RD400 rolling chassis & some engine parts

    + other stuff as it catches your eye when you come pick up all of the above.

    You won't find that many extras with any other deal on an old British single ANYWHERE ELSE ON THE PLANET. Any three of the four runners are worth the $12,5 price.
     
  11. kommando

    kommando

    Joined:
    May 7, 2005
    Anybody have any experience with the late 60s BSA 441 Victors?

    Have a B44 Victor and also a B25, as both have the same frame they both handle the same, great for gentle off roading and for local country lanes as they will turn on a sixpence. The difference is the engines, the B25 is a bussbox and needs full use of the gearbox to keep the revs up to get performance, the B44 is a torquey bike by comaprison and is a much easier ride as it pulls well from low down and you do not need to change gear very often at all. Neither are very good at motorway speeds unless you gear them to the max eg 19 tooth gearbox and 47 teeth on the rear wheel. Even with this high gearing the B44 takes off well but the B25 needs clutch slipping to get it going, then you slow down with head winds.
     
  12. Bobs850

    Bobs850

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2009
    Kommando - Thanks for the information on the Victor. One of the previous posts talked about a weak bottom end in the 441 model. Did you have any problems with the lower end? I am about 15 miles away from the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Lots of good rolling hills to ride through. A 250 would be pretty stressed on these roads. I have never seen any of the older 500 series of BSA singles or known anybody that had one. All I have ever run accross are the Victors.

    Thanks.
     
  13. grandpaul

    grandpaul VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    Unless you carefully overhaul / restore an engine, ANY engine, it could blow up at any minute or maybe never.

    Even if you are careful, you can grenade one by over-stressing it. Remember, some of the core parts are still 40 years old...

    The 441s are great bikes and lots of fun.
     
  14. Cookie

    Cookie

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2008
    I know a couple people with 441s, both of them don't run with storage issues, but they seem to have been keepers for these guys.
     
  15. Bobs850

    Bobs850

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2009
  16. swooshdave

    swooshdave

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2009
    I didn't see the BSA but this...

    [​IMG]

    Holy...
     
  17. Bobs850

    Bobs850

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2009
    [
    I didn't see the BSA but this...

    [​IMG]

    Holy...[/quote]


    The BSA Catalina is in the Street Bikes for sale section.

    The coolest museum you will ever go to is down the street from me. They had a Norton Flat tracker in there the last time I visited.

    http://www.vft.org/


    They just finished their expansion. There is a nice open house every May. The amount of old programs, posters, pins, etc. is really impressive. They put on a big outdoor barbecue as part of the open house. The place is my favorite charity.
     
  18. motoracer8

    motoracer8

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2009
    I have several BSA singles, A B44 Shooting Star, thats the road version, I've had it a long time and have riden it over 40,000 miles, at around 12,000 miles it developed a noisy bottom end. I replaced the crankpin, race and rollers with B 50 parts, new rings, exhaust valve and guide, and have ridden it mostly trouble free for many years.

    It's not a freeway burner but it will run at 60mph longer than I can sit on it. Parts are available to keep them running. I have a Gold Star Clubman as well, nice running Gold Stars are big bucks these days and require a bit more maintainace if you plan to ride it. B44's can be had for reasonable money and if cared for will run for a long time.

    Ken G.
     
  19. Bobs850

    Bobs850

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2009
    Ken G. Thanks for the information.

    Bob in Fresno
     
  20. kommando

    kommando

    Joined:
    May 7, 2005
    The B25 has a shell bearing bottom end and is the weakest, B44 has a 24 roller bigend and can give problems but I have never had an issue, the B50 has a needle roller big end and has more of a reputation for con-rod breakage than big-end. The B50 needle roller big end fits the B44 with small modification as the con-rod is common, as are the tapers in the flywheels, mod is to machine the flywheel holes on the inside to give clearance for the wider bearing. In the UK the B50 and B44 are used in pre-65 and twinshock scambles and any road bike runs the risk of being bought for competion so prices have increased rapidly in the last few years. Either way they get used but the days of B44's being cheap is long gone in the UK.
     

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