’68 BSA A65 Firebird
I have always liked BSA motorcycles. I have owned and ridden different singles (the 350cc C15, a 441 Victor and the ‘break your ankle’ B50MX), the twins (The Lightning, Firebird, Spitfire, Thunderbolt and a 500cc A50), and lastly, the famous Rocket 3 triple. I actually liked the Rocket 3 better than the Triumph Trident, but that’s another story. I always liked the look of the BSA engine, in my view it’s right up there in the beauty category with the Norton powerplant. There is something about the egg shaped side engine cover and the swept back finned valve covers that always draw me in.
I owned a Lightning for quite a while and loved it…most of the time, being British it was a bit temperamental. At one time though, I was lusting after a Firebird Scambler. It was a later model with the high pipes and fibreglass tank. Some thought it was the ugly duckling of the BSA family at the time. The following year so did BSA, they dropped it from the line.
The Firebird was on the low end of performance for BSA at the time having only one carburetor, which actually made it easier to start and tune as well making the motor actually a bit smoother. Even if it was a bit down on power compared to the Lightning or Spitfire, it still put out a very respectable 50 +/- horsepower that could haul you along at a bit ‘over the ton’. It’s a good bike.
I found a very nice example of the Firebird on ebay today. It’s got 30,000 miles on the clock, which is quite a lot by British bike standards of the day, but if it has been well taken care of and maintained, it shouldn’t be an issue. The ignition has been upgraded with the popular Boyer-Brandsen electric module which really makes the bike much easier to start and stay running. This Firebird has a beautiful polished tank, the chrome all looks good and a cool set of Clubman bars for the Cafe Racer look. Another thing about this bike you’ll like is the double leading shoe front brake, and for 1968, it works really well. The best part about this BSA is that it is coming from a motorcycle shop, that by looking at the pictures, I can see they have a clean shop with some interesting and unique bikes. They have gone over the bike so I would imagine that you could buy it and ride it without too much worry…you always have to worry a little about old English motorcycles. The other best part is the price, it’s really quite reasonable compared to others I have come across, it’s a good value in my opinion, for someone who wants a good rider or maybe add to a nice collection. But you know me…’Ride em, don’t hide em’. Click on the pic’s below for more info and a bunch more pictures.