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Whatever happened to BSA revival?

BSA Victor 355 sketches revival
BSA Victor 355 sketch

The expected revival of the traditional British motorcycle brand, BSA, seems to have stalled more than three years after the brand was bought by Mahindra.

Indian tractor and automotive company Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) bought the revered brand for $A5.4m in October 2016 through their wholly owned subsidiary, Classic Legends Private Limited (CLPL).

At the time they expressed intentions to make it a traditional-styled revival.

A few months later Italian motorcycle designer Oberdan Bezzi released some sketches of BSA models but they were never confirmed.

Xmas revival

On Boxing Day 2017, M&M boss Anand Mahindra Tweeted a short note that suggested they would produce a new motorcycle by Christmas 2018.BSA tweet Mahindra

His Tweet, accompanied by the old advertising image above, reads:BSA tweet Mahindra

However, two Christmases have now passed and there is not even a hint from Mahindra about reviving the brand.

Several old motorcycle brands have been revived in recent years including Bultaco, Brough, Hesketh, Levis, Matchless, Norton and Jawa.

The latter was also revived by Mahindra’s Classic Legends who released a range of classic motorcycles for the local market in late 2018 and added the Perak bobber in November 2018. Booking for the bobber have now opened with scheduled delivery from April.

Jawa Perak bobber revival
Jawa Perak bobber

When the first two models launched, the order website crashed because of demand.

They said they planned to sell 90,000 bikes a year.

But despite the interest, the Jawa relaunch has been fraught with production problems and delays of up to a year.

Some customers cancelled their orders in frustration.

And that’s just for domestic sale. They haven’t even contemplated exports.

Jawa say that production is improving and customers only need now wait a few weeks for a bike.

However, Mahindra’s boss recently lamented getting into motorcycles at all, so the revival of BSA could be stalled permanently.

BSA history

The inside cover of the original BSA factory record book Why you should secretly mark your bike
An original BSA factory record book

BSA stands for Birmingham Small Arms Company Limited and it began in 1861 making guns.

It gradually moved into bicycles and motorcycles for which they are most famous, although they also made cars, buses, tools and other metal products over the years.

Its most famous motorcycles were the Gold Star 350cc and 500cc single-cylinder four-stroke bikes considered among the fastest of the 1950s. At the time, BSA was also the world’s biggest motorcycle manufacturer.

However, the halcyon post-war days slipped away in the 1960s under competition from more modern and reliable Japanese models.

BSA went bankrupt in the early 1970s and merged with the Norton Villiers Triumph Group. BSA-branded machines ceased production in 1973.

BSA is currently just a brand that churns out motorcycle t-shirts and merchandise.

  1. Looks like Mahindra & Mahindra bought a “pig in a poke” was they say. Not only has their own inability to sort out Jawa cost them but Kawasaki checkmated their efforts by trademarking the “Meguro” name which is their old motorcycle brand name. The reason is simple: Meguro made under license BSA A7 to A10 models branded them as Meguro during the 1950s and early 1960s. When BSA managers visited the Meguro factory back in the day they remarked the Japanese quality was superior to the British. So, if you want the real BSA pedigree, the stay tuned for what Kawasaki will turn out under the Meguro moniker. Most likely it be several derivatives of the current Kawasaki W800 and 250cc Estrella machines.

  2. A big sigh of relief. The BSA brand should be returned to the UK, and any future manufacturing of BSA motorcycles should be a 100% British venture.
    Indian makers of motorcycles and parts should exclusively produce for the domestic market

    1. Sounds like another Indian promises to unload and play with your money. Which is against the Law. you don’t ask for deposits and orders when you can’t deliver. I’d rather by real proven reliability from a used Honda, Kat, Yam, sushi, Triumph,,,,,,,,and yes even Harley.


  3. So according to this article ‘BSA is currently just a brand that churns out motorcycle tee-shirts and merchandise’…really, what an absolute load of rubbish. (1) BSA as a named company doesn’t churn out any merchandise – spin offs of the original company still have a market in sporting rifles at the original Birmingham site and another organisation BSA Regal has engineering and building interests in Southampton. (2) The name is still very strong in classic motorcycling circles with thousands and thousands of BSA motorcycles still in use globally getting by using reconditioned original parts, original new stock parts and a growing market of pattern spares that are increasing in quality and availability. It should be noted that around 15% of the UK motorcycle market is in the ‘classic’ bracket and BSA motorcycles are a big part of this with all classes of machines available ranging from £2000 for a 2 stroke Bantam to £25000 for a rebuilt Rocket Gold Star 4 stroke twin and many models in between. Thousands of machines are bought and sold every month in the UK, US, Australia and many other countries. Even if BSA motorcycles never re emerge as a new entity there is a great deal of business conducted through the aforementioned businesses and the classic motorcycle market which is considerably more than ‘T’ Shirts’. I would expect to read better research than this to be honest!

  4. After reading through various comments, I read an article on a newly built semi-offroader being built very high tec but using a “BSA” engine was it, nothing like normal old style units but sounded very punchy, A new kid on the block, a Hurrican was it?

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