The creation of the BSA Gold Star is the birth of a future classic. Jeremy Webb looks at the first model from the renowned company since its purchase in 2016.
2021 saw the launch, or I should say the relaunch, of a British Classic. The Birmingham Small Arms company initially manufactured motorcycles from the 1910s to 1971, when they went out of business despite being the leading British producer.
The name BSA continued to be talked about as it is so engraved in the history of motorcycling, and this captured the heart of its new owners, Classic Legends Pvt. Ltd., a subsidiary of the Mahindra Group.
As a child, I grew up listening to stories of motorcycles from BSA, Triumph, Matchless and numerous other British firms that lead the way in motorcycle production. I read books about the models racing in the Isle of Man TT and dreamed of riding them. I have yet to ride an original classic, but happily, due to the resurgence of the Retro look, I get to ride plenty of modern machines that look like they are from the 1950s and 60s. Royal Enfield has their Interceptor, BMW the R nineT series, and Triumph the Bonneville Speedmaster.
The BSA Gold Star is the epitome of classic, with gleaming chrome, beautiful paintwork and a simplistic look. It has a 652 cc single-cylinder engine which is bulletproof and straightforward to maintain. The Water-cooled four-valve DOHC produces 45bhp at 6,000rpm linked to a five-speed gearbox and wet slipper/assists clutch.
You get an impressive 110 Km/G from this, so combined with a 12 litre fuel tank, you get around 180 Km before filling up. I reckon 180 Km would be a good round trip for the Gold Star as, although comfortable, you are exposed to all the elements. No fairing or heated grips on this machine.
You won’t find many buyers taking the Gold Star on long trips or touring, but it would be ideal for commuting and getting out and about at the weekends. The riding position is good with your body sitting upright, and you don’t have to lean forward to maintain a grip on the bars or to use the switches.
The chassis is a double cradle frame with a twin-shock steel tube swing arm, 41mm front forks and preload-adjustable rear shocks. Brembo brakes with a twin-piston sliding calliper up front and a single-piston rear provide good stopping power combined with the dual-channel ABS setup. Pirelli Phantom Sportscomps tyres are fitted with 45 cm front and 42.5 cm rear wheels.
BSA has not ventured far from the classic Gold Star looks, with the paintwork, engine, instruments, and fuel tank maintaining 1960s styling. The twin-pod clocks have individual analogue speedometer and tachometer units with LCD multi-functional display. The needles have a reverse sweep function as the original Smith clocks did.
The fuel tank copies the original Gold Star style, with chrome on the sides, an offset fuel cap and a dash of colour with contrasting pinstripe. The BSA logo commands the same prominent position on either side.
If you are in the market for a retro-style bike, you must pop down your BSA dealer and test a Gold Star. You will fall in love with its looks and character. My local BSA supplier is Dearden Motorcycles of Hythe, Hampshire.
The basic model starts at $10,880
The BSA Gold Star is available in a Legacy Edition, inspired by the Gold Stars of bygone days, and finished in a ‘Silver Sheen’ colour. The seat is white, and instruments are finished in a gloss black, as are the headlight cover and foot pegs, along with chromed components across the motorcycle. Other unique touches on this edition include chrome-finished mudguards, mirrors and levers, and polished engine covers.
Other colour schemes for the new BSA Gold Star include Insignia Red, Dawn Silver, Midnight Black and Highland Green.