In 1861 the BSA Company (Birmingham Small Arms) was formed. It was formed by the group of gunsmith’s that had gotten together in the 1850’s to form a Trade Association and this is possibly the reason that the BSA logo was a stack of rifles.
In 1880 there was little demand for rifles so they started making bicycles instead and moved on to making motorcycles by buying in the engines. The first one that they built used a Belguin Minerva engine.
The first wholly BSA motorcycles were built in 1910, before then engines had come from other manufacturers. First engine was 499cc, producing 3.5hp from one upright cylinder, driving directly to the real wheel by belt.
BSA Motorcycles Ltd was set up as a subsidiary in 1919. BSA motorcycles were sold as affordable motorcycles with reasonable performance for the average user.
After WWII, the factory at Small Heath in Birmingham turned to solely producing motorcycles and in 1951 BSA bought over Triumph Motorcycles. That made BSA into the largest producer of motorcycles in the entire world. In 1953 BSA produced the 100,000 BSA Bantam.
When NVT Motorcycles Limited was liquidated in 1978, its management, then under William Colquhoun, formed a new company - BSA Company and bought from NVT the rights to the BSA Motorcycle brand.
In 1991 BSA Company was merged with another buy out company, Mike Jackson's Andover Norton International Ltd., to form a new BSA Group. BSA purchased the Norton Spares business from Norton Motors and this change to the cash starved spares business prompted a rapid and continuing growth in the sale of genuine parts. MZ (GB) Ltd was acquired and BSA Group became heavily involved with the renowned Norton F1 designers Seymour Powell in developing and launching the MuZ Skorpion, later to win the 1994 BBC Design Award. In December 1994 Colquhoun and Jackson's BSA Group was taken over by a newly formed BSA Regal Group and the company moved again, this time to Southampton.
Tue, 24 Mar 2009 00:00:00 -0700
There are few motorcycle icons within pop culture that have endured as vividly as that of the late, great Steve McQueen. A man who was at one time the highest paid actor in Hollywood, he avoided the limelight in favor of immersing himself within his passion for motorcycles. Never afraid of getting dirty, McQueen was at his happiest flogging a bike around the track with fellow racers or tinkering with the machines himself.