BSA are back!
First new model to hit showrooms by 2019
Indian giant, Mahindra, have acquired the rights to the legendary BSA British marque, and have revealed to MCN that they will relaunch the brand worldwide, with the first bikes arriving in showrooms by 2019.
Speaking to MCN at Mahindra’s London offices, Rajesh Jejurikar, President and CEO of Mahindra Two Wheelers said “We want to bring back the aura of BSA, while also bringing back a commitment to honest engineering. To achieve this we have Classic Legends [a subsidiary of Mahindra], which will allow us to move into the premium and niche segments.”
While many key elements are as yet undecided, Mahindra have said it will be a large capacity engine and likely to be in the 500-750cc bracket. When pushed a little more, Mahindra said they have seen a gap in the large capacity singles market, and also confirmed that they own the rights to the Gold Star name, hinting at a possible return for the legendary café racer.
They also stated that while they have production facilities in both India and France, they are making every effort to produce the bikes in the UK.
As two years is such a short time frame for development, Jejurika admitted they do already have more than just a blank sheet of paper and that design work has begun involving their Italian-based racing division. He also suggested the design evolution of their new model may include the expertise of another of their recent acquisitions: Pininfarina. So, watch out Triumph…
The rise and fall of BSA
It’s easy to forget just how big BSA were in their prime. At their peak they also owned Triumph and were the largest motorcycle manufacturers in the world. BSA’s demise started in the mid-1960s due to cheaper imports from European rivals, better reliability from Japanese rivals and £2million pound losses from a hare-brained 3-wheel moped launch. Despite attempts to update existing models and create entirely new ones, BSA ceased producing bikes in 1972.
Inventing the café racer
The BSA Gold Star was a single-cylinder sportsbike that reigned supreme in the 1950s, but was actually produced from the late 1930s right up to the early 1960s. Named after the pin awarded for a 100mph lap of the fast and dangerous Brooklands circuit, the 500cc Gold Star became a TT legend until it was eventually outclassed by newer and more powerful machinery. The Gold Star’s longest standing legacy is that it’s broadly credited as bringing about the ‘café racer look’ with its low clip-on bars and chromed tank.