Going for a Gold Star: BSA’s new owners aim for refinement and authenticity with all-new model

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BSA’s revived Gold Star caused a stir when it was unveiled at Motorcycle Live last year but has had a rocky route to market through the Covid-19 pandemic. MCN took the opportunity to sit down with Classic Legends Co-Founder, Anupam Thareja and Ashish Joshi, CEO, Classic Legends, and Director of BSA ahead of the official press launch.

“We were so clear that we were not going to do a badging exercise,” explains Thareja, whose Classic Legends brand is behind BSA’s return. “It’s very normal for classic bikes to be revived in various parts of the world. You can do that because you have the money to buy the brand and you have a factory in a cheaper location to put it together. But we came to the UK and built a team here to design the bike, I actually kept everybody in India away from it.”

Thareja and Joshi know a thing or two between them about British and classic bike brands having previously been key players at Royal Enfield. Their firm, Classic Legends, more recently revived Czech brand Jawa and its Indian equivalent Yezdi. Joshi has also worked at the highest level of Triumph.

Ashish Joshi (left) and Anupam Thareja (centre) speak with MCN

To create the new Gold Star, Anupam says that he and the design team practically moved into the Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham as they spent so much time studying classic BSA models to try and capture as much authenticity as possible for the new design.

The Goldie shares no common parts with any of the bikes in the Classic Legends portfolio as they wanted to create something that felt like a true successor to the Gold Star name. This quest for authenticity is also how they came to the decision to use a single-cylinder engine.

“BSA was always about the rider. Initially, in the good old years it gave you freedom of mobility. It was the first mass produced bike made in the factory of the world at that time, Birmingham. Then after the war it gave people the freedom of happiness and adrenaline and joy.

Ashish Joshi sits on the 2022 BSA Gold Star

“We wanted to go to that attitude. [We could have gone with] two cylinder, three cylinder, four cylinder… faster bike, bigger bike, heavier bike. The speed limits on the highway are coming down, the speed limits of the bikes are going up. Somewhere in that race of ‘evolution means performance’ somebody forgot what motorcycling is about.”

The engine in the Gold Star is far from rudimentary, though, and every effort has been made with partners including Rotax (who made BMW’s 650 singles among others) to create a smooth and balanced power unit.

Tolerances are so fine that the crank has to be dipped in liquid nitrogen before it is pressed into place and oil chambers are too small to be cast and have to made using a process called electron beam melting.

2022 BSA Gold Star in red

Joshi explains: “The most popular BSA models were singles and we wanted to bring back that joy again. In terms of vibrations, most people would look at a balance factor of about 64% for a single. Perfect balance would be 50% which is theoretically possible but practically not. We’re currently at around 52%.

“From a technical standpoint, the world forgot about the single. What we did is looked at all the things that can go wrong with a single and thought ‘how can we correct those?’, the big bore can cause vibrations, ‘how do we balance it?’.

“There’s other stuff we did too; closer tolerance of the gears, for example, and also silent chains and stuff which were never there on a single. All of this still leaves you with the wonderful single cylinder’s character but it dampens down the issues.”

Classic Legends Founder Anupam Thareja

If all of this work sounds expensive (and it is) that isn’t reflected in the bike’s price. The new BSA Gold Star’s pricing has been announced and it will start from £6500 for the basic colour, rising to £6800 for the fancier paint and £7000 for the fanciest chrome version.

The bikes are set to arrive in the UK in August 2022 and will be in dealers from late August to September. Order books will open at 9am on Monday, July 18, 2022 at the Lukas Distribution website.

Keep an eye out for our full BSA Gold Star review coming soon.

BSA Gold Star left side

Where is the Gold Star made?

Back when it was announced, the plan was to build the Gold Star here in the Midlands but is this still the case? Well, for now at least, the answer is no. BSA have produced the first models in India where all the tooling has been made but the hope is still to move to a plant the Midlands in the future.

Thareja explains that the UK Government has ‘put their best foot forward’ for BSA since they made they started talks back in 2018. “Every county showed us a parcel of land but obviously we have a bias towards Small Heath and Birmingham for obvious reasons. If it was not for Covid, the answer to that question would be different and we’d be here now.”

As far as manufacturing goes, even once the UK factory is up and running some of the Gold Star’s parts will have to come in from the East ready for assembly in the Midlands.

“We’ve been working with so much love and authenticity so now we can’t be inauthentic about the provenance. Having said that supply chains today are global and people understand that parts come from everywhere.”

Ride the Gold Star: Reborn BSA reveal plans for Goldie test rides

First published on 26 July 2022 by Dan Sutherland

BSA Gold Star right side

BSA caused a stir towards the end of 2021 when a gleaming new Gold Star stole the show at the NEC in Birmingham – and you should soon be able to sling a leg over one.

India’s Mahindra Group, one of the world’s largest automotive and engineering conglomerates, bought the BSA brand in 2016. The firm are still working on plans to build a factory in Birmingham with more than 200 jobs promised and are also developing a robust dealer network. They now say that the Gold Star, a 650cc single, will be hitting those dealers in June with test rides available shortly after.

The looks are inspired by the original Gold Star, but underneath the retro looks is a modern, liquid-cooled, four-valve single. Claimed power output is a steady, but A2 licence and Euro5 compatible, 45bhp which should give a top speed of fractionally over 100mph.

Two models are planned: the base version a higher spec Legacy Edition with chrome mudguards and engine highlights, plus silver paint like the Clubman’s Goldies of the late 1950s.

You can register an interest and be contacted about a demo ride by applying online now.

BSA Gold Star returns! Iconic British motorcycle brand resurrected by Mahindra

First published April 12 2022 by Dan Sutherland

BSA Gold Star front right

BSA Motorcycle are back! The iconic British marque has risen from the ashes with a brand-new BSA Gold Star 650 single. At this point it’s not clear when we’ll be getting our hands on the new bike, but we’re hoping to ride it during 2022. 

But what is it? The mid-sized retro roadster has been developed in the UK and is set to begin production in India in January, with the BSA brand now owned by The Mahindra Group – one of Asia’s largest automotive and engineering conglomerates.

Available in your choice of five colours, the A2-compliant machine is powered by a 652cc single-cylinder DOHC engine, producing a claimed 45bhp at 6000rpm and 41ftlb of torque at 4000rpm. Service intervals come every 6200 miles.

The 2022 BSA Gold Star

Sporting fins reminiscent of the original air-cooled Gold Star, which ceased production in the 1960s, BSA Motorcycle say the new Euro5 motor starts to pull from as little as 1800rpm – making life that bit easier when chugging along the back lanes. There’s also an assist and slipper clutch, too.

Holding that motor in place is a tubular steel dual cradle chassis, with suspension provided by a set of 41mm non-adjustable forks, plus five-stage preload adjustable twin shocks.

There’s also a set of Pirelli Phantom Sportscomp tyres, which wrap around the 18in front and 17in rear 36-spoke rims – with braking power provided by a single 320mm front and 255mm rear disc with Brembo calipers and two channel ABS.

BSA Gold Star right side

But it’s not all about engine stats and chassis components. Bikes like this need to look as good as they ride, and we reckon BSA Motorcycle have nailed the brief.

Sat on top of the rumbling engine is a 12-litre fuel tank, said to be inspired by the M24 and DB34 Gold Star models. You get the trademark BSA logo on either side, with pin striping and an offset fuel filler cap.

Moving back, there’s a typically Brit bike flat seat with a height of 780mm, which works with the gentle pegs and bars for a comfortably relaxed riding position.

BSA Gold Star analogue clocks

And to complete the classic look, there’s twin analogue clocks, complete with internal LCD display and a USB charger mounted on the handlebars.

There’s no word on pricing yet, but we’d expect something in the region of £5000 and £6000 – making it a direct competitor to Royal Enfield’s uber popular 650 twin range.

“This motorcycle came to life with a lot of passion and emotion,” said Classic Legends CEO and BSA Director Ashish Joshi.

BSA Gold Star in red tank and mudguard

“There is a term that we use which is ‘emotion engineering’ which simply boils down too: can you engineer a product to evoke a certain emotion. And that is what we have tried to do with the Gold Star.

“Birmingham is in our name, it’s in our DNA, and that’s why we are standing here today. We could have chosen to launch this bike at EICMA, but we do not have Milan in our name.

“We are a Birmingham brand, and we are very proud to be coming back in Birmingham. Will BSAs be produced in the UK? Yes, shortly. We are looking at locations in the West Midlands now.”

BSA Motorcycle Gold Star Legacy Edition

Original BSA Gold Star with 2022 version

The Gold Star will also be available in a standard and Legacy Edition. The Legacy model will be finished in a special ‘Silver Sheen’ colour scheme, as seen in the photos.

Other unique touches to this model include chrome-finished fenders, mirrors, and levers – plus polished engine covers, a white beaded seat and more.

Gold Star returns! BSA to reveal new 650 single at Motorcycle Live

First published on 3 December 2021 by Dan Sutherland and Hugo Wilson

The 2022 BSA Gold Star revealed at the National Motorcycle Museum

One of British motorcycling’s most famous names, BSA Motorcycle, will unveil an all-new Gold Star model at Motorcycle Live on Saturday, 4 December 2021.

The new bike takes its styling cues and name from BSA’s most famous model, with a rounded tank with chrome panels, twin analogue clocks and traditional styling.

Members of the biking press were given a sneak peak of the new 650cc single at an event at the National Motorcycle Museum on Thursday, 2 December – with more details about the finished product set to become available at the weekend.

BSA Gold Star finished in red

What we can tell you for now is that the new engine features liquid-cooling, a four-valve head with twin overhead camshafts and twin balancers to smooth vibration. The tubular cradle frame also has an authentic look, with wire wheels, conventional forks and twin shock rear suspension.

The retro machine was developed in the UK but will, at least for the present, be made in India – with plans to assemble initially petrol bikes at a new factory near BSA’s historic home in Small Heath, Birmingham, set for next year.

This is due to the BSA brand now being owned by The Mahindra Group – one of Asia’s largest automotive and engineering conglomerates – who bought the name back in 2016.

BSA Gold Star petrol tank

The new Gold Star gets a claimed 45bhp output and will be A2 licence compliant when it arrives. Expect a top speed of around 100mph, too.

Two levels of finish will also be available, with varying levels of chrome, and there will also be a range of accessories. Expect pricing to be between £5000 and £6000, with production planned for January and bikes being available in UK dealers by March.

This level of pricing and performance should put it in direct contention with Royal Enfield’s Interceptor 650 twin. Also assembled in India, it’s one of Britain’s favourite bikes, thanks to its simplistic charm and easy-going riding appeal.

BSA Gold Star engine

In 1951, after BSA’s purchase of Triumph, the original Small Heath company became the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturer, famous for models such as the Bantam, Gold Star and Rocket. However, following a dramatic decline in the 1960s it was amalgamated into Norton-Villiers-Triumph and produced its last BSA-badged machine in 1973.

Look out for more details on this new Gold Star model very soon. 

Ben Clarke

By Ben Clarke

Assistant Editor (Motorcycling), hick for life, two cylinders max