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Thread: New guy. 68 BSA

  1. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by TriNortchopz View Post
    "I checked the vin number. It's a A65FB, so 68 Firebird."

    Gotta ask, since it may be one of 250, (The first year, 1968, BSA made only 250 of these Firebirds, almost all of which went to the United States...) do the engine and frame numbers match?
    They match

  2. #22
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    well, bummer someone messed up a super rare bike. There is tons of BSA twins out there that no one would bat an eye over being cut up but some hillbilly went and cut up a super rare one of 250. Damn!
    Guess it makes mine more valuable.

    I have a 1966 T120C and its the early 66 so one of 211, I told the guy who had it that it was something very special and why. He did not care. I made sure he fully understood, still did not give 2 shits about it but it had been mildly bobbed when he got it, Wanted something like what he used to have and we made a trade. I went way over & above because I didnt want grief later. It worked out well for both of us and he turned into a long term customer for 12 years.

    But I rode that 66 around as a bobber for a while and told all the stick up their A** purists how i was going to cut the neck and make a extreme chopper out of it. Part of the reason people locally still talk sh*t about me today I guess (That F**K'n chopper guy)... But Im not an idiot. Couple years ago spent a bunch of money and bought all the stuff to restore it. Ill run it stock and restored for a while but will eventually sell it. Its worth a small fortune. There is no lack of plain jane or orphan parts out there to chop, but its crazy to see people STILL cutting up a rare bike and destroying the value.

    They COULD have 2 or 3 choppers out of what a rare bike like that was worth.

    (insert cool hand luke quote)

  3. #23
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    It wouldn't be too hard for a welder that's any good to combine that frame with a stock donor and maintain matching numbers.

    I'd off the thing to a collector and use the money for a Harley. OP would get a much more reliable engine, larger displacement (torque is good), vast aftermarket and a machine you can rely on. Nothing old and British is reliable by modern standards. Don't get me wrong, I love 'em but not blindly. They make great second or third (or more, more is good) machines.

  4. #24

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    It's already chopped up. I'll keep it. If it were worth a crap load of money, or historically important, I'd put it back to original.

    I did play around with it today. It's looking better. Just a mock up, and my camera seems to distort it a little.

    It's about 17" from bottom bearing to center of the axle with a 21" wheel. This puts the bottom of the frame level. Anyone have short forks they want to sell? Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by Trey; 07-27-2018 at 3:50 PM.

  5. #25
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    I have a complete H-D 39mm NG single disk front end with short tubes and 21'' wheel for sale.
    Change the neck bearings to match and you would be good to go.

  6. #26
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    A 39mm would be a good front end, just keep in mind the weight difference, so you will be VERY stiff unless you do something about springs,
    Looked close at the pix, and its looking better! But someone was doing some weird ass stuff with that bike. I hope they didnt try and ride it the way it was.
    A) The oil tank needs to get swapped with the battery. Oil feed is by gravity, having the tank BELOW crank centerline or even level with it is a recipe for no oil flow, no oil, & bad things happen
    B) The coils???? The Horror! the Horror! What moron mounts them under the seat? Some old fat guy like me rides it first bump will short out the coils and might even light up the arts & entertainment district. (Twig & berries), Could lead to endless jokes if you catch my drift. I know my friends would NEVER let me live it down!

    Theres a rock band called "Riot!" and they had a song "Fire down under" but maybe a better choice is Jerry Lee Lewis "Great balls of fire!" But seeing its looking like stock Lucas coils you probably are not in too much danger, I have a couple Triumphs and on some the stock hi/lo beam switch and horn button is so craptastic I saw sparks coming out of it when riding it night, I had to do a lot of work to make the switch actually useable without shorting. Stock is not always best. Its never optimal to have sparks or shorted out electrical or ignition parts.

    I know this is headed into a custom Bobber territory,, but in 8 hrs it ends on ebay and some guy is selling a alleged 68 Firebird scrambler, it has a 68 wheel on it. Must have been a few that had the Hornet and US Spitfire tanks, also has the pipes on either side too. Zero bids at $5500 and BIN @ $6500. Rare bikes but under performing prices which is common on A65s

    See: https://www.ebay.com/itm/1968-BSA-FI...1bVeBD&vxp=mtr

    " VERY CLEAN BIKE WAS RUN LAST YEAR SAT THE WINTER HAS SOME RUSTING ON RIMS HAS BEEN GONE THROUGH A LITTLE OVER A YEAR AGO BY MECHANIC I PURCHASED IT FROM GREAT VINTAGE BIKE FOR RESTORE OR RIDE IT NOW PIPES ONLY THING NOT ORIGINAL THIER HORNET IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS PLEASE ASK RUNS GREAT IDLES ROUGH FROM SITTING GETTING VERY HARD TO FIND STOCK HAS ABOUT 11K MILES ON IT CAN HELP WITH YOUR SHIPPING JUST ASK THIS BIKE WAS ALSO CALLED DESERT SLED SHIPPED ONLY TO AMERICA VERY FEW MADE TIRES ARE LIKE NEW ALSO HAVE ANOTHER SEAT NEEDS RECOVER COMES WITH NEW COVER LIKE ORIGINAL selling because not a good bike for a 70 year old with bad back

    VIN # A65FB3150

  7. #27

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    I have moved the oil tank up, and took off a bunch of goofy mounting brackets. The coils will be moved, but I'm not sure where yet. It's coming along. My main goal is to get a front end under it. I'm ok with running a 39mm unit. I'd like a springer, but I can't find one that supports a front brake and isn't super wide.

  8. #28
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    Good move on the Oil bag, Gravity! Its not just a good idea, its the LAW!

    The stock position for the coils is a cross frame bracket just above the ass end of the motor, below the carbs (They get dribbled on a little if you tickle the amals, and lots of fuel spits out of the intakes on these when running, Folks that run without air cleaner and just velocity stacks learn how MUCH fuel spits out pretty quick, tends to mess up the paint on the oil tank, side covers and rear fender too)

    There ARE narrow springers or you can build one See: http://www.chopperhandbook.com/ness1.htm

    I was just mentioning also the Jammer chopper guide as there is some good tech articles in there as well. One of which, I just ALSO mentioned was the one about correct mounting of a wheel, spacers and setting up a disc brake on a springer or girder. There is repop vintage BSA, Norton and Matchless springers on ebay made in India, and despite the hate towards some of the stuff made in India, some of it is pretty good and the prices are awesome. But despite my support for some of these parts I have my doubts about RIDING one of those repop springers, would be fine for a show bike or static display but working in manufacturing and mettalurgy trades I am just a bit leery of trusting my a&& going down the free at 70 mph with Buffy the soccer Milf tailgating me in her Escalade while texting her BFF that clearly, Becky is just not that hot. Dont want to be a meat pizza splat and already got clobbered badly from behind by a drunk.

    If you go that route and cant find a copy of the tech articles on springers & girders and setting them up right, PM me and Ill scan the relevant pages, or can make you a photocopy of the whole book.
    (I used to reprint them)

  9. #29
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    BTW ethanol fuel permeats then destroys fiberglass tanks. Some have luck with two-part sealants. Solvent-based sealants cure by evaporation and are easily damaged by the solvent effects of ethanol.

  10. #30

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    Thanks for all the information guys. I'm having fun with this bike. Got some new bars today. I can almost see what it's going to look like!

    Click image for larger version. 

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  11. #31
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    Doug, you probably know better than anybody that rare does not necessarily mean valuable.

  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by hillcat View Post
    Doug, you probably know better than anybody that rare does not necessarily mean valuable.
    That is very true. Especially in some of the brands like AJS & Matchless, I have some rare Triumphs and in competition models the TT or T120C race bikes are very desirable and command big money, but the single carb versions, mostly sold to west coast desert racers was the TR6SC Not just TR6C, which was a factory enduro, but the SC TR6 was a factory race bike like the TT/T120C and even MORE rare. But, the single carb race bikes while MORE rare are consistently valued lower and tend to sell at 30%-50% less.
    I tell many people that some of these bikes financially dont make sense but people work on them or restore them anyway.
    Recent debate with the Nortons is one of the aftermarket guys making new & improved repop cyl heads just closed up shop, $2500 for a bare cyl head. Some of the other parts are way crazy as well.
    WTF?? I can buy a NICE Buell for that money. Buells are rare (Relatively) and awesome all the way around and tons of fun, But they sell artificially cheap.
    Lot of bikes like that, Like XS650s were popular custom donor materials but now very rare to run into a cheap XS650

  13. #33

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    What do you guys think?

    Hillcat, I'll email you later.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  14. #34
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    Looks like you're ready to go fast now! That frontend is a huge upgrade -got a brake to mount on it? Good to see those coils are gone from under the seat. What will you be doin' for gas tank, oil tank and rear fender?

    Here's another custom BSA for inspiration:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    http://cyrilhuzeblog.com/2011/02/14/...bsa-lightning/

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by TriNortchopz View Post
    Looks like you're ready to go fast now! That frontend is a huge upgrade -got a brake to mount on it? Good to see those coils are gone from under the seat. What will you be doin' for gas tank, oil tank and rear fender?

    Here's another custom BSA for inspiration:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    http://cyrilhuzeblog.com/2011/02/14/...bsa-lightning/
    That there is a purty trailer queen! Or hipster ornament. While it IS a very attractive bike, its about useless to ride except short distances. No heat shields from the pipes. (Leg burners-Although if he did an internal ceramic coating it might help), No chain guard (hope he has a well trained ol lady to clean it a lot) No room for an air cleaner, so that velocity stack is gonna be spitting fuel droplets all over that pretty paint. (Anyone who has run open carbs will tell you the same) Thats most likely a replica Indian or chinese made BSA or Enfield Girder and while they look cool, I would be super nervous to ride one for any distance over 15mph (No guts no glory for me), Plus no front fender so I live in Oregon so that rules out about 9-10 months out of the year. (Ever ride in the rain without a front fender?? It gets old leaning to the side to avoid the waterfall in your face and down your shirt)

    So, it sure looks nice, but not a great real world example of a cool BSA Custom that is gonna be on the road.

    One thing about Unit BSA A65s. MOST look like the frames bent in the middle so the OP and the example above WERE well done in that they dont look cobbled together in the hardtail dept. few people get that right.

  16. #36
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    Stance is most important and looks way better.
    A great start... (Doug!)
    Keep us updated w/pics.

  17. #37

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    Thanks guys! I ordered one of those eBay India tanks. It will be good enough for what I need. Also have a pill style oil tank. Going to order some bias ply tires and a ribbed fender soon. Click image for larger version. 

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  18. #38
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    The Indian made stuff can be an excellent value for the money< I am very pleased many are making really obscure parts for bikes I long ago had thought I could never find sheet metal for (I Have some 1940s and early 50s stuff body work was un-ob-tain-ium which is a very rare alloy). However quaility is at times all over the map from junk to awesome, So PLEASE do report on your experience and who the seller was, (Very helpful!) I Have a few friends IN India and they tell me MOST of the sellers are middle men merchants and the guys making the stuff in most cases WOULD correct the issues if the actually knew about them, however most times the middle man doesnt pass it on, or never meets the actual maker. (FEEDBACK IS IMPORTANT)

    As to tires,, your choice, your bike, but many people opt for the old school look of the bias plys, but when I had my shop I tried really hard to get people onto modern tires, NONE ever regretted that decision and neither did their butts. Most said "I cant believe I rode so long on that old junk, Man she rides so nice now! I fell in love with riding again!"

    Depends also on the style of tires you want, but cant go wrong with Dunlop K70s, they were originally fitted and some purists are upset they no longer say "Made in England" so they take a grinder and shave the Made in japan off... But they still have the original block style tread. I use them a lot, and ride is decent, so is grip. And they LOOK period correct. Just my $0.02
    Last edited by Dougtheinternetannoyance123; 08-18-2018 at 12:11 PM.

  19. #39

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    The Dunlop will work for the rear. Any opinion for a 21" front?

  20. #40
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    am not sure the K70s come in a skinny 21 or not, But I can tell you that in my opinion stay away from the Avon Speedmasters. they are noticable and were a popular period tire but they had a weird tread of parallel lines but no shipping or break in the tread, Just look like someone pinstriped it with no breaks in the tread, In my experience they hydroplane the easiest of any tire I have ever seen so dont ride in the rain, plus they dont corner well or grip, plus the ride quality is poor.

    What STYLE do you want? Enduro-off road style? Blocky period tread? Or a modern radial pattern? Around town or much freeway use? Daily rider or weekend putts? Typical speeds traveled? Any weight besides you and the bike? I am not a current tire expert but I know some and can ask. (I have a friend who holds 8 patents for tire design)

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