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Spitfire top speed? #480545
03/09/13 5:34 am
03/09/13 5:34 am
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 4,939
Gnashville
DavidP Offline OP

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Gnashville
I've seen it mentioned: "I have often wondered how the spitfire was able to achieve 120mph out of the box (if it actually ever did)"
I've also read period "tests", which quoted 125mph, without verification.
So, are there any verified results of just how fast a stock Spitfire can go?
Inquiring minds want to know.


Stepping on others doesn't make you stand tall.

71 A65L "Zelda"
92 BMW K100rs "Gustav"
72 T120V cafe project "Mr. Jim"
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Re: Spitfire top speed? [Re: DavidP] #480548
03/09/13 6:05 am
03/09/13 6:05 am
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 3,425
Orygone
Boomer Online content

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To what "Spitfire" do you refer?


Bill


Boomer
Re: Spitfire top speed? [Re: DavidP] #480550
03/09/13 6:48 am
03/09/13 6:48 am
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 1,799
Christchurch, NZ
Kevin (NZ). Offline
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The best advert BSA ever did. I will see if I can find a colour version.


Last edited by Kevin (NZ).; 03/09/13 7:05 am.

Why, Y, Dash Y..



Re: Spitfire top speed? [Re: DavidP] #480555
03/09/13 8:19 am
03/09/13 8:19 am
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 220
Cape Town, South Africa
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Whisper Offline
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B.S. Motors on the box?

Oh Yeah!

Re: Spitfire top speed? [Re: DavidP] #480559
03/09/13 9:42 am
03/09/13 9:42 am
Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 527
North Wales Uk
R
rocketgoldie Offline
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North Wales Uk
Hi theMK11 was the one with the twin GP whent like Hell!!!!!

Re: Spitfire top speed? [Re: DavidP] #480561
03/09/13 9:44 am
03/09/13 9:44 am
Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 527
North Wales Uk
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rocketgoldie Offline
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The MK11 was the fast one with twin GP carbs whent like hell !!!

Re: Spitfire top speed? [Re: DavidP] #480566
03/09/13 10:19 am
03/09/13 10:19 am
Joined: Jul 2009
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Vic. Australia
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Pete R - R.I.P. Offline
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Re: Spitfire top speed? [Re: DavidP] #480584
03/09/13 2:59 pm
03/09/13 2:59 pm
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Posts: 836
derby england
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Bob Curry tested a mk2 at mira for the motor cycle and got 123mph, cycle world got 117mph out of a mk3, both electronicaly timed.but standard bikes we will never know !


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Re: Spitfire top speed? [Re: DavidP] #480589
03/09/13 3:31 pm
03/09/13 3:31 pm
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 455
new jersey usa
P
pushrod tom Offline
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new jersey usa
This thread really jumped out at me! In 2006 I dipped my toe into standing mile LSR speed runs and, while feeling the water, a huge wave hit me and dragged me in! I too have been reading those road tests and ads from BSA since the mid sixty's and, since I didn't really know, just assumed that their claims might be true. What is true is that they were BSA's. What also must be true is that the BSA boffins made sure that their road test bikes were as ready as they could make them. Those guys knew what to do and I wish I could have gotten to share some of their experience.
My own story is one of self learning on what seems like a rather moderate learning curve. First time out my A-65 turned in a run of 104+ in the Production 650 class. Rear wheel hp, on a good day, was about 40. The record at the time was held by a Honda 550cx. It was humbling to realize that my 'fire breathing Beezer' wouldn't beat that POS. It took a lot of 'learning' and $ to finally get the record at 114.94 in Sept 2010 after years of inching up on it every season. My next goal was to get up to 120+ just like the old days and that happened this past season on the mile in Ohio at 123.08 and at the Loring 1.5 mile course 124.66. The bike used GP's, stock cam, mufflers and cr gearbox with 21/47 gearing. There is more to be had and I will keep at it as long as I can. Cheers, PRT

Re: Spitfire top speed? [Re: ] #480663
03/10/13 4:28 am
03/10/13 4:28 am
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 4,939
Gnashville
DavidP Offline OP

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Originally Posted By: Allan Gill
I think I worked out once that with 20/47 gearing the spit would have to do about 7500 rpm in top gear to reach 120mph (7k with 21/47)

7500rpm would be right at maximum piston speed for a race bike. Don't think the engine would hold up for very long.
However, I wonder, did Spits come with 19" rear wheels?
OOPS, just read the test data, they didn't.
I know a Trident will touch 120mph at 7000rpm, but they came with 19" rear wheels.

Last edited by DavidP; 03/10/13 4:55 am. Reason: wrong question

Stepping on others doesn't make you stand tall.

71 A65L "Zelda"
92 BMW K100rs "Gustav"
72 T120V cafe project "Mr. Jim"
Re: Spitfire top speed? [Re: DavidP] #480673
03/10/13 5:43 am
03/10/13 5:43 am
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 4,366
Owego, NY, USA
Mark Z Offline
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Owego, NY, USA
I have a copy of the Cycle World MK II and MK III road tests, with spec sheets. Nowhere in the articles are sprocket sizes mentioned, but the spec sheet for the MK III shows 15.7 mph per 1000 rpm in 4th gear, and yes, the claimed top speed was 117 mph, so let's see... 117/15.7*1000 = 7452 rpm. Does this help?

The '67 Spares book lists an alternate 21-tooth gearbox sprocket for the Spitfire, so I always figured that's what was used on the test bike.


Mark Z

'65(lower)/'66(upper, wheels, front end, controls)/'67(seat, exhaust, fuel tank, headlamp)/'70(frame) A65 Bitsa.
Re: Spitfire top speed? [Re: DavidP] #480682
03/10/13 9:47 am
03/10/13 9:47 am
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,309
scotland
triton thrasher Online content
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Originally Posted By: DavidP
Originally Posted By: Allan Gill
I think I worked out once that with 20/47 gearing the spit would have to do about 7500 rpm in top gear to reach 120mph (7k with 21/47)

7500rpm would be right at maximum piston speed for a race bike. Don't think the engine would hold up for very long.


If a bike is over-revving at 120mph, it's still doing 120mph.

Some of the engines didn't hold up for very long, even when you didn't go flat out.


Amateur Loctite enthusiast.
Re: Spitfire top speed? [Re: triton thrasher] #480699
03/10/13 12:49 pm
03/10/13 12:49 pm
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 52
UK
K
Keith Miller Offline
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UK
The maximum speed I've had with my 66 Spitfire MK 11 with 32mm concentrics is 110 for about 4 seconds at 7000 rpm (using gps to verify speed not speedo). It will sit at 90 for long periods but at 110 it felt as though the engine was about to go into orbit. Standard gearing, balanced crank, SRM bottom end, pazon ignition, SRM oil pump, SRM prv, alloy clutch housing etc.etc.
It will cruise between 70-85 for very long periods on motorways with no problem and not mutch vibration and will do just under 200 miles on a tank full of petrol (4 gallon UK tank).

My Thunderbolt will do about 105mph max with a tail wind.

Enjoy your riding.

Keith.

Re: Spitfire top speed? [Re: DavidP] #480792
03/10/13 11:58 pm
03/10/13 11:58 pm
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 455
new jersey usa
P
pushrod tom Offline
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new jersey usa
That sounds just about right. PRT

Re: Spitfire top speed? [Re: DavidP] #719474
12/20/17 11:57 am
12/20/17 11:57 am
Joined: Dec 2013
Posts: 3,742
ohio, usa
kevin roberts Offline

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well then, where did motorcyclespecs.co.za get 132?

haven't found their source yet.


live every day.
die once.
Re: Spitfire top speed? [Re: DavidP] #719476
12/20/17 12:59 pm
12/20/17 12:59 pm
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 2,491
Elburn, Ill. USA
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Irish Swede Offline
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Motorcyclespecs.co.za likely got "132" from the BSA advertising and sales promotion departments.

Too bad the bike didn't perform up to the level of it's 150mph Smiths speedometer, though.

Re: Spitfire top speed? [Re: DavidP] #719480
12/20/17 1:28 pm
12/20/17 1:28 pm
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 4,765
Rotherham - S. Yorkshire
Allan Gill Offline

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Rotherham - S. Yorkshire
Maybe they meant Kilometers wink

Had 110mph out of the lightning, and there was a little more in the throttle but at the time the suspension wasn't up to even that so it was quite hair raising. That said, the bike isn't standard.. Megacycle track cam (x12) 32mm concentrics, small port head with big valves, and my own style 2-1 (short pipe) with long dunstall silencer. Could probably get more by adjusting the cam timing and tweeking jetting further. But im pretty happy with what I have their as a road bike.

also sheading some weight from my ever growing fat ass will help laughing

Last edited by Allan Gill; 12/20/17 1:29 pm.

beerchug
Re: Spitfire top speed? [Re: DavidP] #719481
12/20/17 1:41 pm
12/20/17 1:41 pm
Joined: Dec 2013
Posts: 3,742
ohio, usa
kevin roberts Offline

fefsa
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fefsa
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ohio, usa
the fastest ive read of magazine tests were 117, 123, and 124 . . .

the latter two seem pretty optimistic, but then rollie free got 150 out of his vincent after leaving out the wheel bearing grease and most all of his clothing.

132 is pretty rarified for a 650.


live every day.
die once.
Re: Spitfire top speed? [Re: DavidP] #719512
12/20/17 6:38 pm
12/20/17 6:38 pm
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 549
Ewing. NJ
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edunham Offline
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Ewing. NJ
I always figured those top speeds were achieved by riding out the back of a high flying airplane.

Ed from NJ

Re: Spitfire top speed? [Re: DavidP] #719544
12/20/17 11:03 pm
12/20/17 11:03 pm
Joined: Jan 2014
Posts: 3,677
Aus
N
NickL Offline
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Aus
The 123mph Mira test is the one quoted by avid beezer fans, the mark 2 spitfire (gp's 10.5-1 etc) As to whether the bike
was really off the shelf is the contentious point. The same was true of all 'em, how many bonneys did 120mph? How many Harley's did 100 miles?

The previously mentioned rev limit of 7500 is at least 500rpm short of what would would be realistic for a bore and stroke like the a65.
Certainly on a race track. Most blokes running Triumphs in the 60's were revving to around 7200-7500. If the a65 wouldn't see 8000-8500
why bother using it as it was heavier etc etc.

I do know that even as a virtually standard engine, the a65 i first ran in my sidecar outfit was clocked at 108mph at one of the uk circuits
by a fixed speed trap. That was when we first went 'classic' racing and i was trying out a beezer motor. That motor was virtually a spitfire
engine, pistons were +0.060 10-1 venolia, standard spitfire cam, 32mm mk 1 AMAL carbs, home ported cylinder head. close 1st and 2nd gears.
That is with 2 blokes on board both weighing around LB180. (unfortunately the leaders were at least 10mph faster!)

My decision to go with the beezer engine rather than go back to Triumph was made mainly because of the mid range performance of that
mostly standard motor. It's a shame when we started tuning them we just buggered it up, ending up at 920cc with all the bollox, the thing
produced 80+BHP but never lapped anywhere 50% faster than as a 650.


I forgot, it did have a 'racing' exhaust system as well.

Last edited by NickL; 12/23/17 7:19 am.


Re: Spitfire top speed? [Re: NickL] #719548
12/20/17 11:46 pm
12/20/17 11:46 pm
Joined: Aug 2014
Posts: 1,453
OZ
Triless Offline
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OZ
Well, I don't like talking about this much, but a good mate of mine has a Mk 1V Spittie and, bloody hell, it can go ! But, being an export model it has the piddling little tank, so its only fleeting! Bloody thing, I really don't want to talk about it any more !

Re: Spitfire top speed? [Re: pushrod tom] #719572
12/21/17 4:54 am
12/21/17 4:54 am
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 3,674
Sydney Australia
B
BSA_WM20 Offline
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Sydney Australia
Originally Posted by pushrod tom
This thread really jumped out at me! In 2006 I dipped my toe into standing mile LSR speed runs and, while feeling the water, a huge wave hit me and dragged me in! I too have been reading those road tests and ads from BSA since the mid sixty's and, since I didn't really know, just assumed that their claims might be true. What is true is that they were BSA's. What also must be true is that the BSA boffins made sure that their road test bikes were as ready as they could make them. Those guys knew what to do and I wish I could have gotten to share some of their experience.
My own story is one of self learning on what seems like a rather moderate learning curve. First time out my A-65 turned in a run of 104+ in the Production 650 class. Rear wheel hp, on a good day, was about 40. The record at the time was held by a Honda 550cx. It was humbling to realize that my 'fire breathing Beezer' wouldn't beat that POS. It took a lot of 'learning' and $ to finally get the record at 114.94 in Sept 2010 after years of inching up on it every season. My next goal was to get up to 120+ just like the old days and that happened this past season on the mile in Ohio at 123.08 and at the Loring 1.5 mile course 124.66. The bike used GP's, stock cam, mufflers and cr gearbox with 21/47 gearing. There is more to be had and I will keep at it as long as I can. Cheers, PRT


Not sure what the go was in the UK, but next years USA media bikes were hand built in the comp shop from the current production models with special parts to bring it up to next years specs.
Remember the bikes had to get shipped to the USA, then tested written about and finally printed.
Back then the monthlies , printed in colour on glossy paper would have a lead time of 6 to 8 weeks and ideally the bikes needed to be made, shipped , tested , written up & finally printed before the spring selling season so the dealers could know what to order for next year and that is not going to happen by pulling the first bikes off the production line in September.

There is a lot of smoke & mirrors going on as pre-season bikes could have been tested doring the summer of the previous model year and then BSA publicity department would tell the magazine when they could release the copy to the public.
Things were a bit different then because the factories wielded a lot more power than they do now and a magazine who did the wrong thing could find itself unable to get evaluation bikes till after all the other publications and the "money" test was the first one printed.
AFAIK no magazine bought bikes to road test so they were at the mercy of the factories.


Bike Beesa
Trevor
Re: Spitfire top speed? [Re: Triless] #719573
12/21/17 5:14 am
12/21/17 5:14 am
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NickL Offline
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Originally Posted by Triless
Well, I don't like talking about this much, but a good mate of mine has a Mk 1V Spittie and, bloody hell, it can go ! But, being an export model it has the piddling little tank, so its only fleeting! Bloody thing, I really don't want to talk about it any more !


That's a big admission there Stephen.



Re: Spitfire top speed? [Re: DavidP] #721663
01/10/18 10:16 pm
01/10/18 10:16 pm
Joined: Aug 2016
Posts: 6
United States
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Ehab Sahawneh Offline
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United States
I own a pretty original 1968 Spitfire MK IV and it is fast, I have driven it up to 90 mph but the engine vibration over 6000 rpm was crazy! It also cracked my rear license plate!


1968 BSA Spitfire mkiv special
Re: Spitfire top speed? [Re: DavidP] #721682
01/11/18 1:20 am
01/11/18 1:20 am
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 2,491
Elburn, Ill. USA
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Irish Swede Offline
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If it's like most "high-performance" A65s, it went Fast but not FOR LONG.
The high compression radio and hot cams were not favorable to a 1950-designed lubrication system.

"How fast can it go?" "Fast enough to get you killed."

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