Author Topic: Where to start  (Read 1347 times)

Tim Louth

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Where to start
« on: 13.04. 2009 18:36 »
Hello all,

I have just joined the forum and need some input.
I have been riding bikes for 35 years and have most recently been into building Streetfighters based on 70's japanese 4's.
Now I need a real challenge so I have decided to get a British Classic to put back to as close to the day it left the factory as possible.
I have my eyes on a BSA Golden Flash (early 50's I think) belonging to the widow of a very good friend of mine.
I have only seen the front end really, as the rest is under a mountain in his garage. The tank is black with a red Gold Flash badge on it.
I know it hasn't been run for over 30 years.
I intend to do a nut and bolt re-build.
I work overseas and will be going to have a proper look when I get home in June. I have a few questions that I hope some of you can help me with..

1. What is a fair price to offer his widow, I really don't want to be accused of ripping her off but I don't want to pay over the odds as I know it will be an expensive project?
2. What should I be looking out for, any weaknesses or common problems with these bikes?
3. What is the availabilty of parts like?
4. Are they easy to convert to unleaded?
5. Any other tips and hints before I start on my journey.

I have a feeling you will be hearing from me quite regularly over the next few years.

Many thanks.

Tim Louth.

Offline Beezageezauk

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Re: Where to start
« Reply #1 on: 13.04. 2009 19:31 »
Hi Tim and welcome to the forum.  I think that the first thing you need to determine is the exact model and  year.  We can then be more specific.  Also advise us where you are based and we should be able to advise on suppliers of spare parts in your area.

Anyway, talking generally, an A10 Golden Flash will make a good versatile bike whether it be early 50's or early 60's.  Taking into account the variations that occured throughout the range spares are reasonably easy to obtain but some items on the sports models prove to be more difficult and quite expensive.

Value will depend on the year and model, how complete it is and the overall condition.  Personally, I tend to look at the bikes available on Ebay in order to get a good idea of value.

Coverting to unleaded is easy just by having hardened exhaust valve seats fitted in the cylinder head.  Some guys haven't bothered and haven't had a problem.  It might depend on the amount of running it gets. I do a fair few miles and chose to go down the hardened valve seat route.

Hopefully the bike you are interested in is virtually complete and original.  If not, you will need to be careful.  An incomplete or un-original project can easily run away with you hard earned cash.

Try to get more information on the actual bike then report back.  An engine, frame number and photographs will help.

Good luck with it.



Offline Lannis

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Re: Where to start
« Reply #2 on: 13.04. 2009 19:36 »
Welcome !

From your use of the words "proper" and "odds", as well as the question about unleaded gas (leaded's been unobtainable in the US for the road for 20 years), I assume you're in the UK.

Well, since you don't want to be hard on a poor widow but don't want to be into this bike for too much, I'd suggest £1400 as a starting point.   She may be glad to get it, OR her nephew (who lusts after it and is hoping to get it from her for love) may have told her that it's a rare creation, it's like a Vincent or a Brough, this BSA, and it's worth £12000 as is, better hang on to it till I can fix it up for you ...)

You don't need to do anything to convert it to "unleaded".  That sort of turned out to be the Y2K of motorcycles - lots of worry but nothing really happening.  

Availability of running parts, bearings, engine parts, etc is good, easier than japanese bikes.  Tinware can be expensive, especially short-run special tanks and nacelles.  If the bike doesn't have good tinware as is, you best knock the price down low or avoid it.

Take the bike apart and do it back up as a dry assembly before having anything painted or chromed or powdercoated.  You don't want to find out too late that the part you just spent £200 having chromed is missing a bracket that now needs to be welded on.  A lot can happen in 55 years, there's NO guarantee that anything's stock.

Join the BSA club; lots of good help and encouragement there for very little money.   Get a good set of factory parts and service manuals, you can't do without them.  There's lots of expertise out there but no one wants to be used as a walking talking service manual.  

There's more - I'm sure others will be along!

1961 A10 Golden Flash
1969 A65 Firebird Scrambler
1955 M21 Commodore
1935 Matchless Model X Project
1990 Moto Guzzi California III
1983 Moto Guzzi 1000SP
1986 Yamaha TT225 trail bike
1966 Morgan 4/4

Offline tombeau

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Re: Where to start
« Reply #3 on: 13.04. 2009 20:17 »
Hello and welcome.

I appreciate the awkwardness of your situation, and think that Lannis' approximation is pretty fair.

I may be a bit out of touch, but I reckon any complete A10/A7 is probably worth £1000. You'd be struggling to buy a runner for £2000 (although they do turn up) and for a good restored one, people tend to be looking for roundabout £3000-£3500.

Of course the amount it will actually cost you to do up....


Offline LJ.

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Re: Where to start
« Reply #4 on: 13.04. 2009 20:27 »
Hi Tim... Good of you to join us!

I'd say that an A10 is a good bike as any to restore, it's hard to say about prices untill the actual bike is seen, hopefully you'll be posting some pictures here for us to see. We look forward to hearing more of your project soon.

Good Luck!
Ride Safely Lads! LJ.
1940 BSA M20 500cc Girder/Rigid- (SOLD)
1947 BSA M21 600cc Girder/Rigid-Green
1949 BSA A7   500cc Girder/Plunger Star Twin-(SOLD)
1953 BSA B33  500cc Teles/Plunger-Maroon
1961 BSA A10  650cc Golden Flash-Blue
1961 BSA A10  650cc Golden Flash-Red

Offline fido

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Re: Where to start
« Reply #5 on: 13.04. 2009 20:37 »
Another minor point is paperwork. It helps if there is a V5 computer generated registration document with the bike, otherwise you may not be able to use the original registration number. The BSAOC can help with the process of getting it properly registered (if necessary) by providing dating evidence.

Tim Louth

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Re: Where to start
« Reply #6 on: 14.04. 2009 05:42 »
Many thanks to everyone who has replied.
Photo's will start to appear in June.
One thing I have learnt while building Streetfighters is not to keep a list of what I have spent................incriminating evidence that should never be allowed to fall into the hands of the wife!