SPORTING MACHINES ON TEST. THE No. 1. o.h.v. B.S.A.
13)7 ” DOUZEARBRES.” VI V attention was first directed to the overhead valve
v model B.S.A. on the memorable occasion, a year or so back when in the hands of H. S. Perrey, it climbed the railway track up Snowdon in the teeth of a terrific gale. There is no need to mention numerous other successes of this intriguing little machine, except perhaps to remind readers of the sixty ascents of Bwlchy-Groes when fitted with a sidecar. Though personally I am not so qualified to report on the behaviour of any two wheeler as are my colleagues on the staff of Motor Sport, special privilege has been accorded in this case, as the test happened to be of quite an unusual nature, part of it including several hectic
An Unassuming Mount.
For all its turn of speed and acceleration the No. 1 0.H.V., B.S.A. is quite an unassuming bus as far as appearances go. This, of course, constitutes one of its many charms, for one can steal along unnoticed by the ” knuts,” open out and leave most of them gasping with astonishment. “Good heavens,” they say, ” pipped by a B.S.A.”, and if they take up the challenge it wants something quite out of the ordinary to enable them to read the number plate. My first experience on this bus was a long trip on a rainy day, as I thought it best to get over any skidding tactics before any sort of over-confidence led me to take
days of despatch riding in the great National Emergency. One result of the test, for which the machine cannot be blamed, is that all future tests of motor cycles will be done by other members of our staff, this being my first and only appearance as a motor cycle critic.
For years and years the B.S.A. products have been world renowned for reliability and the man who wanted to get there and come home again with the certainty of having no trouble, naturally bought one of these machines, but for years the connoisseur of speed mounts look with disappointment in the catalogue of the firm’s products. Now, Whilst the virtue of reliability has not been sacrificed we find the 3.49 h.p. overhead valve Super Sports B.S.A., which possesses qualities calculated to please the most ultra of ultra-speed men, who maintain that the 350 c.c. category is the best for general purposes.
risks. No skidding occurred, however, either on tramlines, cobbles, wet tar-mac roads or slithery mud. The weather protection provided by the unvalanced mudguards was quite good, the only inconvenient thing I noticed was a tickling on my neck, caused by the plug shorting against the wet skirt of a leather driving coat.
At all speeds the B.S.A. is perfectly steady and after shifting the saddle, foot rests and handlebars to suit one’s anatomy, nothing better could be desired for riding comfort, the well sprung forks and Terry saddle combining to dispel the terrors even of bumpy roads. Though the machine was sent out with the high compression piston and strong valve springs, I found no difficulty in getting it down to a crawl on top gear, though naturally for traffic work the alternative parts supplied with the machine would be rather better. Personally, however, the fascinating acceleration seemed worth the risk of a, little extra wear on the cams and orte
expects to pay in some form or another if quick riding cannot be resisted.
A Few Speed Tests.
Being satisfied with the preliminary canter of my test the next step was naturally that of finding out something about speed. To this end I wended my way to a quiet arterial road, where when no traps are about and” early falls the dew” one can do a comfortable eighty without • any trouble. I am not absolutely definite as to the speed attainable on bottom gear as between 35 m.p.h. and 37 m.p.h. the speedometer needle suffered from the jumps. On second gear, however, with the touring sprocket on the engine, an easy sixty was reached and the merry little piston and things simply loved being shaken up to that tune. Besides it was my own bike and if it got busted up there need be no explanations, but this and other experiments gave me the impression that the B.S.A. is ” unbustable.” I never got the bus really going on top gear, for I was afraid of attracting unwelcome attentions. She was quite seventy-fivish, however, with plenty more throttle to open.
In racing trim, with a magneto in lieu of the Magdyno I had fitted I should say 80 m.p.h. was a distinct possibility with the machine as it is turned out from the works.
My car was having a real holiday during those delightful days, and my word ! how dissatisfied the B.S.A. made me with the piffling 60 m.p.h. to which I can sometimes urge my decrepit 11.9 h.p. four-seater 1 For the sensations of sheer speed and exhilaration I—a hardened car user—must admit that a motor bike has it every time.
A Kindergarten Camberley.
“Well now,” says I to myself says I, “what about a spot of rough stuff,” and finding a suitable venue I began a few fork breaking tests. Up and down over the kind of ground shown in the illustrations, falling over
several times be admitted, the little B.S.A. defied all my attempts to break its heart. Whilst being amply powerful for all kinds of stunts the machine is not too heavy if one takes a topple—I mean the ordinary kind of topple, not getting huffed by a taxi at 45 m.p.h. That I can assure you is intensely objectionable.
Now to dispel the idea that I am booming this bus I will record a few minor details which appear to me as criticisms. Firstly the hand operated clutch wants a very strong grip, as one discovers if driving much in traffic. The difficulty was reduced to some extent by removing the spring at the upper end of the clutch plunger lever. If one is not very careful in regulating the oiling system to a nicety, the clutch plates are inclined to become gummy so that no free engine is available. The machine
was sent to me with the magneto sprocket nut on the loose side and when the timing slipped I burnt up a fur glove in extinguishing a flaming carburettor. But one always expects the job of going over important nuts after a new machine has done a few miles on the road.
There is a tendency for oil leakage from the engine chain case which is rather a nuisance if one leaves the machine standing for any time in well-kept front gardens. But apart from these details I should describe the B.S.A. super-sports as being very good indeed.
One very curious mishap occurred, which is nothing to do with the B.S.A. people but is worth while recording. One night just after starting up I heard a loud bang, something fell on the road, some liquid trickled on my boots, and the lamp went dim. The accumulator had blown the side out of itself—why, goodness only knows, but Lucas’ changed it for a new one without demur.
Early in May, it will be remembered, there was a sudden call for all sorts of vehicles, so the B.S.A. was put to work and spent three or four very amusing days on national duty. The first trip to town—normally a matter of 15 minutes—took one hour and the traffic conditions made it convenient to keep the engine running all the time. The T.T. Amac carburettor gave a good tick over and the engine showed no sign of overheating.
My job was darting about in town and very pleasant it was too, for free from speed restrictions one could really enjoy life. I shall not forget many impromptu dusts-up with Panthers, Scott Squirrels and other fast bikes with the Strand and other thoroughfares as speed testing grounds. Those were times when a really good bike was needed and the super-sports B.S.A. filled the bill to my entire satisfaction.
One night, however, Nemesis overtook me and my machine, there was a wallop and the nurse said” Drink this,” so me for four wheels when my leg gets mended.
‘Pon my word I haven’t said anything about the machinery, but if you drop a line to Birmingham you will receive a very nice catalogue, which will tell you all about that, and if you want a jolly little machine, the B.S.A. certainly merits your careful consideration.
Known as the ” Manx ” by reason of its short tail, this new model incorporates the following improvements : Greatly improved Dash mounting, carrying petrol tank, improved instruments and wiring system. Carburettor fitted with choke lever. Positive ignition control in place of Bowden wire. The lever. Positive
has been widened by 21 inches, giving increased steering lock and better road holding. A new steering box has been fitted and a slightly lower gear ratio, and it is now absolutely impossible to, tell that it has not a differential. ‘Me steering is very light and positive.
A new Engine Sump has been fitted, which holds gallon more oil and is ribbed for increased cooling.
A Marelli Magneto is standardized in place of the R.B.
The Brake Drums have been increased to 101 inches in diameter, and the Actuating Rods have been replaced by steel ribbon.
The Chassis is 4 inches lower. The Engine has been slightly improved in the head, and is capable of even higher revolutions than heretofore.