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BSA Gold Star reborn

Classic Legends Ltd, a subsidiary of the giant India-based Mahindra & Mahindra group, relaunched the BSA brand at Motorcycle Live by reviving the legendary Gold Star single. The full-on retro 2022 model outwardly imitates the 110mph version of the ‘Goldie’ single made from 1954 to 1962, revered in the cafe racing era and a highly valued classic today. Features lifted from the original include bright chrome panels on a teardrop fuel tank, Gold Star tank badges, twin needle-type instruments and a Lucas-lookalike headlamp. One of the five colour options is silver with red pinstriping, strongly evoking Goldies of old.

Designed for BSA in Austria, the Euro 5 compliant 652cc single-cylinder, twin-spark engine has four valves operated by twin overhead camshafts and a balancer shaft. It drives a five-speed gearbox via a slipper clutch. Although water-cooled, the unit copies the original DBD34 Gold Star in being heavily finned, while outer engine covers and a tapered silencer on the brushed stainless steel exhaust also echo the old model. Quoted power is 45hp at 6500rpm with 55Nm maximum torque, and pull is said to be available from below 2000rpm, with a surge of power coming in higher up the range. BSA say the engine is currently restricted, so output could be boosted in future.

A BSA R&D centre in Coventry, set up nine months ago, designed the tubular cradle twin-shock chassis, tested on UK roads and providing an upright riding position and low centre of gravity. Spoked wheels have Brembo disc brakes with dual-channel ABS. Kerb weight is 213kg (about 40kg heavier than the old Goldie) and claimed top speed is 103mph. Prices are to be finalised, but BSA estimates selling in the £6k bracket. The most obvious market rival is Royal Enfield’s retro Interceptor 650cc twin.

The reborn Gold Star was first revealed at a slap-up National Motorcycle Museum reception ahead of Motorcycle Live. The launch, to the press and invited guests, included trade veterans with past BSA connections.

“We could have launched at EICMA, but Milan is not in our name and Birmingham is,” Classic Legends director Ashish Joshi said, referring to what the BSA initials originally stood for – Birmingham Small Arms. There was a heavy emphasis on the city, with video messages from Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, and Steven Knight, creator of the Birmingham-based TV drama Peaky Blinders. Joshi acknowledged support from the West Midlands India Partnership and the West Midlands Growth Company, while a representative of Invest in Warwickshire was present.

Joshi said that the A2-rated 2022 single not only looks like the original, but possesses its DNA and character in how it rides and sounds.

While machines are presently built in India, the stated intention is to manufacture in the West Midlands. Covid travel restrictions are blamed for delays in finding a factory site in consultation with government bodies. Anticipating that the issue will be resolved in the next three months, Joshi dismissed the idea of occupying the old BSA Small Heath location, since inner-city sites are considered unsuitable for manufacturing today. Work is underway on creating a dealer network.

Joshi confirmed that a range of other models will follow and a £4.6m government grant will fund development of an electric machine.

GOLD STAR TIMELINE

  • 1937 Wal Handley gains a Brooklands Gold Star by lapping the track at 100mph on 500cc BSA Empire Star
  • 1938 BSA launch 90mph 500cc M24 Gold Star
  • 1949 350cc B32 Gold Star introduced
  • 1950  500cc Gold Star re-introduced, now B34
  • 1952 Clubmans racer versions available to order
  • 1956 500cc DBD34 Clubmans takes the Gold Star’s 11th Clubmans TT win
  • 1963 Last 500cc pre-unit DBD34 Gold Star shipped
  • 1971 250cc and 500cc unit-construction BSA singles given Gold Star model name
  • 1972 BSA Group collapses
  • 2016 Mahindra & Mahindra acquire BSA trademark via Classic Legend Pvt Ltd, announcing that the first new model will be a Gold Star
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