Sunday, July 19, 2009

B.S.A & Triumph Renewal


Towards the end of the 60’s, the British motorcycle industry was in decline under the assault on the market of Japanese bikes in particular by the Honda 450cc DOHC. In an attempt to stem this tide BSA & Triumph management planned the development and sale of a motorcycle which could compete in the marketplace against the Japanese bikes. Thus the BSA Fury & Triumph Bandit were born. Essentially the same bike which were badged under their respective brands..

The Triumph TR6 Trophy was introduced in 1956 and lasted until 1973 when it was replaced by the 750cc TR7. During this time it was a successful model, particularly in the US. The competition variant, the TR6(S)C, popularly known as the "desert sled", won numerous competitions throughout the late 1950s and 1960s. The bike's appearance in The Great Escape and Steve McQueen's fondness for the model are well known. Although not quite as quick as the Bonneville the Trophy is considered by many to be Triumph's best all-round 650cc model.

By the 1960s, small, reliable, oil-tight Japanese machines were gaining momentum. To strengthen its position, BSA merged with Triumph, and had mild success with its Rocket 3, a three-cylinder bike that shared its engine and drivetrain with the Triumph Trident. Nevertheless, by the 1970s, performance Japanese motorcycles had displaced BSAs in the minds of many motorcyclists.

The BSA Lightning was designed as the 'all-round' sportbike of the 1960s, planned largely for export to the US market to complement the touring BSA Thunderbolt and the supersports BSA Spitfire. Development of the engine aimed to make it more reliable, quieter and less prone to oil leaks, with top speed sacrificed to improve mid-range and rideability. With twin carburettors the A65L could still reach 108 mph (174 km/h), however. Improvements included an oil pressure warning light which had a tendency to malfunction, so riders learned to ignore it.

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