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Wednesday, 7 January 2015

B50SS - The Bike That Dare Not Speak Its Name

When I was 14, I had a poster on my bedroom wall which featured an OIF BSA A65 Lightning and a B50SS. I've never really paid much attention or registered any emotion for these bikes since then, but these things must have a profound psychological impact because when I stumbled across this bike for sale in December I just had to get my hands on it.

Unbelievably skinny and very light at 140kg, the B50 was the very last in the line of British 500 singles, and as such deserves a place in motorcycling history. With a punchy 34bhp engine and 'trail' styling, its looks were somewhat ahead of its time.

Controversially, BSA decided to add the 'Gold Star' name to the SS, which deeply offended DBD owners. To be fair, as well as setting a TT lap record and winning its class in both the Thruxton 500 and the Barcelona 24 hours, the B50 (with assistance from CCM) went on to have an illustrious off road competition career so maybe in hindsight it has earned the right to use that sacred title.

I think I'll to refer to it as a 'Goldie' just to annoy people.

My example is an American import (as most are), with only 11,000 miles on the clock and is in very original condition. I'm not going to restore it, I think that would be a shame. Just a thorough re-commission and a good clean and polish should result in a nice, useable bike with some patina.

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