Author Topic: Velocette vs BSA  (Read 1043 times)

Offline jachenbach

  • Resident Legend
  • *****
  • Join Date: Feb 2014
  • Posts: 563
  • Karma: 8
Velocette vs BSA
« on: 02.02. 2016 20:58 »
I know, this is the A10 forum, but I'm asking under "offtopic" so.....  In addition to an A10 (which I should having running in the not too distant future) I've long had a hankering for a pre-unit BSA single and a Velocette. I recently bought a Velo book by Rod Burris, which has me thinking about it again. I've never ridden either, but I like four stroke singles. My first was a 441 Victor, and I've had an SR500 since 1989. Still have an XT500 and XT600. I know we have members on the forum that own or have owned both, so I'm curious as to relative likes/dislikes of the BSA and Velocette. Velos are quite rare here in the USA, which only increases their appeal to me; however, they tend to be rather expensive. B34s are both more abundant and cheaper.

Online Joolstacho

  • Resident Legend
  • *****
  • Join Date: Jan 2010
  • Posts: 515
  • Karma: 4
Re: Velocette vs BSA
« Reply #1 on: 03.02. 2016 08:15 »
Well, here's MY take on it.
Velocettes were engineered as thoroughbreds, based on grand prix winning machines (KTTs). They changed nothing at all unless it needed changing. It was about efficiency.
The final Thruxtons from 1971 still retained parts from Velos from 1930. My 1964 500cc Clubman will still run comfortably with 2015 bikes at 'normal' speeds. Of course it will be blown into the weeds by modern machinery, but my bike is based on the bike that STILL holds the record (yes, from 1963) for averaging over 100mph for 24hrs. (A record even the modern japanese haven't beaten).
You won't find a BSA (much as I love 'em) that will come close to that.
BSAs were basic every-day practical bikes. Excellent for what they were. The Goldie -DBD34 being the ultimate Beezer single, was fabulous looking, fast but somewhat fragile, beautiful thing, that maybe had stretched the B34 design a smooftie past it's limit. The thing about the Velo is that it feels understressed, and long-legged. The engineering quality was always a step ahead of the BSA.

Online Klaus

  • Valued Contributor
  • ****
  • Join Date: Jun 2015
  • Posts: 371
  • Karma: 10
Re: Velocette vs BSA
« Reply #2 on: 03.02. 2016 08:49 »
I have a racemate with a Velo biuld up with Java parts 4 valvehead and such other goodys.
The bike is realy fast and a lightwight compared with the Goldy.
The Veloracer is about 110kg the Goldy is 25 more.
But it is a pain with the clutsh, designed in the 20th and nothing has changed till produktionend.
Parts are realy rare and all you can get is nearly scrab. The crankcases and gearbox shells often split. Some enthusiasts in England cast this parts with modern alloy.
For a Goldy you can get everything you whant, complete engines if you have no hole in your pocket.
I have a Goldstar engine used partly in my racer clocked 50 tousand miles with no problems.


cheers Klaus


If you think, everything is under control, you are not fast enought.

Online olev

  • Brisbane, Australia
  • Resident Legend
  • *****
  • Join Date: Sep 2008
  • Posts: 505
  • Karma: 3
Re: Velocette vs BSA
« Reply #3 on: 03.02. 2016 10:04 »
Gday Jools,
First you get a history lesson.
In 1981 I was living in Perth, western Australia and bought a velocette venom from some old digger up in the hills.
Orabanda probably knows him. He was a velo nut and had a few ktt's.
I brought the thing back to Brisbane with us in 1987 and sold it as I couldn't afford to register it. (started a family)
The thing was an absolute pr!ck to start. Its lucky we lived on a hill.
Over the years I have ridden a lot of bikes.
I have never never never come close to bonding with a machine like I did with that velo.
have a close look at my user name.
I can definitely recommend a venom (if you live on a hill)
cheers

Offline Topdad

  • bob hebdon
  • Wise & Enlightened
  • *
  • Join Date: May 2011
  • Posts: 2230
  • Karma: 32
  • l
Re: Velocette vs BSA
« Reply #4 on: 03.02. 2016 10:37 »
I was fortunate to work for a dealer who had a Velo agency . Having said that we sold maybe 6 a yr at most ,all of those owners simply wouldn't have another marque and some wouldn't even let our workshop prep'em ! . Our manager was well versed in them and past on that wisdom so I have to say I can't remember any problems starting them , the Truxton model was the dogs dodahs simply elegant ,looked like it was doing the ton even in the showroom . Loved the Goldies but have to say the Velos were in a class of there own. One other thing I remember is that we didn't have that many in second hand for resale owners tended to sell 'em to mates only getting new ones from dealers .
Alan ,the manager mentioned that He found it strange  that Velo's produced things of such class in one of the oldest bike factory's in the country and which only converted to electric lighting at the end of the 50's/early 60's.
" rules are made for the guidance of wise men and the blind obediance of fools"
United Kingdom

Offline cotterpinkid

  • A's Best Friend
  • ***
  • Join Date: Jul 2010
  • Posts: 137
  • Karma: 2
Re: Velocette vs BSA
« Reply #5 on: 04.02. 2016 20:10 »
I was in the same position some 16 years ago and also wasn't sure what I wanted. For some reason I had some spare cash and wanted a 'big single' and I eventually purchased a Velocette Venom (all hail to 'Hall Green'). They're a well engineered machine with a good pedigree and I have no problem using mine in modern traffic or at modern speeds.

Spares are generally available, especially for the swinging arm models (even new crankcases and cylinder heads, 5 speed clusters, clutches, primary belt drives, alternators, electric starters etc.) and there's an active and helpful Club including North America:

 http://velocette.org/

http://www.velocetteowners.com/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/126265105@N02/albums

Folks that moan about the Velo clutch often don't understand how it works and don't follow the service manual and folks who think they're difficult to start often don't follow the starting procedure or something is amiss with the machine.

I've certainly enjoyed being a Velo owner over the last 16 years and don't regret my purchase
A10 GF Plunger
Velocette Venom

Online metalflake11

  • Resident Legend
  • *****
  • Join Date: Aug 2012
  • Posts: 579
  • Karma: 9
Re: Velocette vs BSA
« Reply #6 on: 04.02. 2016 21:02 »
What is this heresy!! Off with their heads!  *smile*
England N.W
1960 A10
England

Offline Rocket Racer

  • Wise & Enlightened
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2009
  • Posts: 1423
  • Karma: 16
  • A kiwi with a racing A10 rig and too many projects
    • NZ Classic Sidecar Racing
Re: Velocette vs BSA
« Reply #7 on: 05.02. 2016 07:37 »
I've owned a cooking plunger ZB33 for over 30 years ever since I was a uni student, ridden it all over the country, often two up with gear. Will run flat out all day without any complaint. (which is about 80mph) -cooking cams and a flat top piston
Tough as.
Many years ago I did a rally which was a couple of hundred km's each way, two up with gear and rode with a venom similarly laden. The two bikes ran happily at the same speeds all day both ways , but on hills it had to drop to third while I just used top (70mph up the Bombay hills) .

I'm a beesa guy, was lent a velocette 500 to ride round the TT course at the IOM and liked it. But its not a beesa.
Whatever floats your boat, but if it came to it while I like velo's, Beesa's do it for me.
My single is a hard working honest girl, never complains and runs like a clock.

I have owned a B50, nice too but when a bike needed to be sold to finish my race sidecar, it was the one to go.
Would I have a velo in my shed? No. I don't need another single. I have the best single BSA ever made  *yeah*.

A good rider periodically checks all nuts and bolts with a spanner to see that they are tight - Instruction Manual for BSA B series, p46, para 2.
New Zealand

Online Greybeard

  • Jack of all trades; master of none.
  • Wise & Enlightened
  • *
  • Join Date: Feb 2011
  • Posts: 6028
  • Karma: 35
Re: Velocette vs BSA
« Reply #8 on: 05.02. 2016 12:03 »
I've certainly enjoyed being a Velo owner over the last 16 years and don't regret my purchase
Oh my God, that Velo is SUPERB!!!!

Online Joolstacho

  • Resident Legend
  • *****
  • Join Date: Jan 2010
  • Posts: 515
  • Karma: 4
Re: Velocette vs BSA
« Reply #9 on: 05.02. 2016 12:36 »
Yup, super. Lovely job. (And unlike my Mk1 Clubman (below) there's no little oilstain underneath it!)
Looks like a Mk2 Clubman (?) with a few tasty and tasteful modifications. Interesting is the reversed gear lever as per Mk1 Clubman but TLS frontbrake as per Mk2 Clubman.
Many 'cooking' Venoms have been converted to Clubman specs with rearsets, Thruxton style seat, and TLS brake, all good mods.
(Bloody 'ell I'll be going 'round in an anorak with a choofin' clipboard soon!  *help*



(Sorry, I know we shouldn't be showing our Velo's, here, but well, it could be worse, I could start showing a few japanese classics, that'd stir the possum eh boys?!)

Online cyclobutch

  • Wise & Enlightened
  • *
  • Join Date: Aug 2010
  • Posts: 1479
  • Karma: 14
Re: Velocette vs BSA
« Reply #10 on: 05.02. 2016 13:20 »
Guy I bought my A10 from was trading 'up' to a Velo. That was in '79 - wonder if he still has it?
Various, including ...
'58 Iron Head Flash Bitza


Offline nimrod650

  • Valued Contributor
  • ****
  • Join Date: Feb 2015
  • Posts: 446
  • Karma: 4
Re: Velocette vs BSA
« Reply #11 on: 05.02. 2016 20:10 »
Well, here's MY take on it.
Velocettes were engineered as thoroughbreds, based on grand prix winning machines (KTTs). They changed nothing at all unless it needed changing. It was about efficiency.
The final Thruxtons from 1971 still retained parts from Velos from 1930. My 1964 500cc Clubman will still run comfortably with 2015 bikes at 'normal' speeds. Of course it will be blown into the weeds by modern machinery, but my bike is based on the bike that STILL holds the record (yes, from 1963) for averaging over 100mph for 24hrs. (A record even the modern japanese haven't beaten).
You won't find a BSA (much as I love 'em) that will come close to that.
BSAs were basic every-day practical bikes. Excellent for what they were. The Goldie -DBD34 being the ultimate Beezer single, was fabulous looking, fast but somewhat fragile, beautiful thing, that maybe had stretched the B34 design a smooftie past it's limit. The thing about the Velo is that it feels understressed, and long-legged. The engineering quality was always a step ahead of the BSA.
the bike is on display at national m/cycle museum uk

Offline jachenbach

  • Resident Legend
  • *****
  • Join Date: Feb 2014
  • Posts: 563
  • Karma: 8
Re: Velocette vs BSA
« Reply #12 on: 16.03. 2016 02:22 »
Well, I sold one of the BSAs to raise money to work on the other, but along the way got seduced and bought still another project. Just couldn't resist, as I've never before seen one for sale that I could afford. 1959 Venom, the engine on the floor was built by Geoff Dodkin in 1988, never installed and the bike has been apart since before that. Talk about overload of projects, the guy I got it from is restoring 5 airplanes, building an RGS clone, several /2 BMWs and wants to  get on to his Norton 350 single. Figured he may never finish the Velo and told my ex-boss about it (who I had told several times I'd like to someday have one). Ex-boss told him I would give it a good home. Lots of spares, both old and new came with it. Wonder if there is a Velo forum half as good as this  one?

Online Joolstacho

  • Resident Legend
  • *****
  • Join Date: Jan 2010
  • Posts: 515
  • Karma: 4
Re: Velocette vs BSA
« Reply #13 on: 16.03. 2016 02:56 »
Mate, you've scored a beauty there. You will not regret it! Well done.
A genuine Dodkin-built motor is great, they were put together beautifully, - probably nobody knew more about doing a good Velo than Geoff, it should have all the useful mods already done.

I have a Swing-arm Mk11 KSS project* that's been sitting around here for maybe 30 years... Wonder if I'll ever get around to it!

*This is the one Velocette SHOULD have made postwar but didn't. Consisting of the excellent OHC 350 motor in the 'RS' Swing arm frame.
They didn't do it (because the cammy was expensive to produce)... and instead... wait for it... produced the LE 'Noddy' bike instead!

And, no, there isn't an online forum (like this brilliant beezer one) for Velos. But join the club for sure.



Offline cotterpinkid

  • A's Best Friend
  • ***
  • Join Date: Jul 2010
  • Posts: 137
  • Karma: 2
Re: Velocette vs BSA
« Reply #14 on: 16.03. 2016 17:56 »
There's a yahoo group that's worth joining:

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/velocette/info?referrer=nortonmodel7

Also, there's a Facebook group

https://www.facebook.com/groups/178589188940265/

Many owners are members of both and you'll get advice, but as  Joolstacho says - Join the Club (which is very active and has there own spares scheme)
A10 GF Plunger
Velocette Venom