Final yr noticed the return of BSA as a motorbike producer after many years of slumber as its Indian homeowners, Mahindra, goal to get a slice of the success that rival Royal Enfield has loved.
India’s bike manufacturers, together with Mahindra, Hero, and Bajaj, are all concentrating on that middleweight, retro-style market that was Royal Enfield’s territory—additionally underneath Indian possession for many years—following a pointy upturn in Enfield’s fortunes each in India and globally. Hero has tied itself to Harley-Davidson and can launch its first H-D branded machine this yr. Bajaj has the same association with Triumph, and is predicted to launch a spread of Triumph-badged singles in 2023. Mahinda, in the meantime, has purchased a number of outdated manufacturers, together with Jawa and BSA, and already launched fashions bearing these names.
We have been pleasantly stunned by the primary BSA-branded providing, the Gold Star, once we rode it final yr. Packing a 652cc single that may hint its roots to the Rotax single that after powered BMW’s F650—though you’d battle to inform, given the retro-style, finned castings on the BSA’s cylinder and head that endow it with a convincingly old-school attraction. Now it appears to be like like the corporate has its eye on additional fashions, having utilized for trademark rights on a trio of traditional BSA mannequin names.
The trademark functions, made within the US, Australia, and New Zealand, cowl the titles “Lightning,” “Thunderbolt,” and “Bantam.” If granted, they’ll enable these badges for use on future BSA fashions, mimicking the lineup from the model’s postwar heyday interval. The US trademark functions particularly are fascinating, as latest laws adjustments have restricted the scope for manufacturers to carry emblems on names they don’t use; candidates are solely meant to use for cover of emblems they’re genuinely planning to make use of within the close to future.
If BSA’s newest iteration retains true to the corporate’s heritage, then the Lightning and Thunderbolt names (most not too long ago utilized by Buell, however these emblems having since lapsed), can be destined for twin-cylinder bikes. Within the Nineteen Sixties, each have been 650cc twins, but it surely’s unclear what route Mahindra will take with the names sooner or later. Sticking to 650cc and two cylinders would rival Royal Enfield’s INT650 and Continental GT, in addition to the brand new Meteor 650, however BSA’s present Gold Star already fulfills that function to a big extent, regardless of being a single. The opposite possibility is likely to be to maneuver up a capability class, creating twins to rival Triumph’s Bonneville vary, simply as the unique Thunderbolt and Lightning did. The Bonnie, additionally a 650 within the ‘60s, now sits within the 900cc to 1,200cc class.
BSA’s different trademark software, Bantam, is clearly for a smaller-capacity machine. Since Mahindra additionally owns Jawa and its associated Yezdi model, promoting an array of retro-style bikes constructed round a 334cc four-stroke single, it could be a comparatively easy job to make use of the identical parts in a BSA-branded mannequin. The unique BSA Bantam was, in any case, a reworked DKW two-stroke, constructed from designs awarded to the British agency as reparations after World Battle II, so such platform sharing can be fairly logical.
BSA has but to increase gross sales to the US, though its trademark functions make it very clear that it intends to take action. Within the UK, the place the Gold Star has not too long ago come onstream, its preliminary gross sales are promising, with 253 examples bought in March 2023 to be the bestselling retro bike of the month, and shut behind outright prime sellers like the brand new Honda CB750 Hornet (271 gross sales) and the outright primary, BMW’s R 1250 GS Journey (364 gross sales).