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one for my pal John Stevenson maybe!!!

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  • one for my pal John Stevenson maybe!!!

    I wish I was knowledgeable enough to redo this bargain surely for someone, Alistair



    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Bantam-stored-...item2558e39cb1
    Please excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

  • #2
    The little BSA Bantam was widely sold over here in the U.S. in the 1950's. Both the BSA Bantam and the original 1948 Harley-Davidson 125 borrowed heavily for their design from the German D.K.W. 125. (Das Kleine Wunder).

    It appears that there are a few parts missing from the Bantam. Good luck finding them.

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    • #3
      Good God NO Alistair, these things were the pits and I detested them.

      When we were growing up, ower kid and I used to buy old motorcycles to ride round the local fields, this was a time when many guys were coming off motorcycles after the war and moving onto cars, remember it took us up to the 60's to get over the war.

      We made friends with the local dustbin men who used to go round the backs of the houses to collect the bins at that time, they used to spot a bike covered in old carpets etc and tell us.

      We had an agreement that we either bought jointly or singly but we would never pay more than £5 for a bike, in any condition. That was probably $20 at rates in those days.

      We would go round, knock on the door and ask if they were selling the bike. Always we were told No they were going to do it up or such like. Later on the wife would pass word back that the bike was for sale after she'd worked on hubby and made it clear she wasn't going back on that bike and they always took the £5.

      One day we had a message to call and see a guy we hadn't visited, I went, and it turned out he had one of these BSA Bantams in running order and wanted £25 for it, I told him we only paid £5 and he got all huffy and siad it was worth £25 so I left.
      Later on he called round and said he'd take £20 for it but I refused.

      After a few months he called round and said I could have it for £5 but by this time I had decided I didn't like the damn things anyway so again refused.
      Later he called back and said I could have it for free but on principle that I didn't want to own one I refused again and this really pissed him off

      We worked it out a few years ago and we reckoned we had owned about 180 bikes between us in that time, but never a Beeza Bantam
      .

      Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.



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      • #4
        My first bike was a BSA Bantam (like most people here). I paid $40 for it in about 1971 and I sold it many years later for $40. It had the plunging heel frame like that one on ebay and was a 1947 model if I recall correctly.

        We had a lot of fun riding that old thing in the bush but yes, they really were crap - especially the concentric gearshift/kickstarter which meant the kickstart shafts always cracked.

        Chris
        Brisbane Australia.

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        • #5
          How the he11 did it handle with that steep rake angle on the front end?? Wouldn't have to hit much of a bump to loose trail
          - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
          Thank you to our families of soldiers, many of whom have given so much more then the rest of us for the Freedom we enjoy.

          It is true, there is nothing free about freedom, don't be so quick to give it away.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Your Old Dog
            How the he11 did it handle with that steep rake angle on the front end?? Wouldn't have to hit much of a bump to loose trail

            It woud probably handle rather quickly. The frame appears to be bent in the upper and lower tubes where the forks attach. That would move it back a few degrees. It could have been bent and had the fork tubes straightened later without fixing the frame. I've seen bikes like that.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Your Old Dog
              How the he11 did it handle with that steep rake angle on the front end?? Wouldn't have to hit much of a bump to loose trail
              The "steep" rake angle was, and still is, used on dirt flat track racing. One half mile track. Also note that the rules of the race prevent the existence of brakes.

              JCD

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              • #8
                Originally posted by JCD
                The "steep" rake angle was, and still is, used on dirt flat track racing. One half mile track. Also note that the rules of the race prevent the existence of brakes.

                JCD

                Quite right. It appears that the frame may have been shaped somewhat to achieve that configuration. The smallest engines I've seen on flat track in the U.S. were 250cc. I never saw a 125cc dirt oval race but I presume they had them in Europe and the U.K.

                Class C AMA competition used to be 45 cu. in (750 cc) flathead for Harleys and Indians of the day and later they permitted 500 cc OHV British singles and twins, such as BSA Gold Stars, Star Twins and the Triumph Tigers and an occasional Norton, AJS or Matchless.

                The J.A.P., Jawas and Essos among others that were raced in England on short track on alcohol (dope) fuel were 500cc singles.



                .

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                • #9
                  Never owned a Bantam though I knew of a few, for my sins I was inflicted with a James of about the same cc.

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                  • #10
                    Bantams were so unpredictable, they had a Wico Pacy flywheel magneto fitted and from recollection the points gap was 0.015" according to the book.

                    However this gap was related to what day it was and how late you were for work. So on a Monday it needed setting down as low as 8 thou for it to even start, the rest of the week could be less, could be more. If it was really being pedantic it had to be dropped down to about 3 thou to even get a spark but by that time it was too late and the bastard thing was flooded.

                    The James / Frantic Barnett / Tandon / Sun / etc were fitted with Villiers engines, still not mind breaking but a bit more reliable plus being popular spares were cheap or even free if second-hand.

                    Most of these bikes were badge engineered, with probably only works made frames brazed up from proprietary fittings, British Hub company wheels, and maybe works made forks.

                    I once got a postcard from a guy [ no phone in those days ] in the next town saying come and have a look at this bike.
                    This was unusual as we didn't tend to move out of town so rather curious I went to have a look. He had this 125 Francis Barnett round the back, complete and running but nothing special, there were literally 1,000's of these things, basic day to day get to work horses.

                    He asked me if I was interested but I said I'd got enough bikes and wasn't really interested.
                    He seemed to ignore this and went to fetch the log book [ registration document ] came back and gave it to me but I still wasn't interested until I checked the book.

                    It had had 3 owners including this guy, the first owner was my Grandad who died when I was only small. He then told me he's asked around to find out where the family lived and I could have it for free, rode it home and we didn't do anything to it other than service it and ower kid took his motorcycle test on this bike.
                    I think he still has it.
                    .

                    Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.



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                    • #11
                      Last Brit Bike I rode was a WWII BSA M20..
                      In a field in Bayeux France 1994...

                      Made it around the 20 acre field halfway... Stopped to BS with a friend... Bike would not start....

                      No Spark... No Surprise, its British

                      Opened Mag cover, let the oil drain out, cleaned the points, and rode directly back to its owner...

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                      • #12
                        You missed the main source for these Sir John, Bloody Beezer Bantams, ex steeds of the GPO telegram delivery boys.

                        Jeez, you saw them flying round sounding like enraged sewing machines with bits flying orft in all directions, and just by the noise you knew what and where.

                        Pony express arrived late in Britain.

                        The tale I got was that the British army "Rescued" the design from the ZM works, (Later to become MZ) and toted the plans round various motorcycle companies as a power unit for a cheap get to work affordable transport for a skint post war Britain. BSA picked it up and turned the drawing sheet over so that the kickstart moved over to the RHS of the bike, ( the ONLY correct side) and the ZM became the Bantam. 125,150 and 175 ccs.

                        The good ole 2 strokes were a national institution over here and appeared in covered in motorcycles. Seemed strange the first time I saw someone lift the bonnet (Hood) on a three wheeler, stick his foot inside and KICKSTART the engine. Villiers in a Bond.

                        Regards Ian

                        Regards Ian
                        You might not like what I say,but that doesn't mean I'm wrong.

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                        • #13
                          When I was a hard up apprentice I had an ex post office bantam to get to work. A journey of about 20 miles. One day on leaving work the front vertical frame tube snapped just below the headstock, so that when you sat on the bike the engine nearly hit the ground. I had to ride it home by sitting over the back wheel adopting a full racing stance. Trouble was that the remaining top frame tube did not really connect the front and rear wheels very securely; it was very wobbly, so I could only go quite slowly. This was all very well until I had to go through this village which was a meeting place for bikers at their local cafe. They could see this BSA Bantam approaching at about 10 mph with the rider doing a full racing pose, so they cheered me on like I had just won the senior TT - how embarrassing!
                          Alan

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                          • #14
                            My interest in British motorcycles peters out around the 2nd World War.

                            This 1956 machine is sitting in my workshop awaiting resurection;

                            Paul Compton
                            www.morini-mania.co.uk
                            http://www.youtube.com/user/EVguru

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