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Spitfire top speed? #480545
03/09/13 5:34 am
03/09/13 5:34 am
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 5,018
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
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Orygone
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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: 532
North Wales Uk
R
rocketgoldie Offline
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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
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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
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Vic. Australia
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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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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 !


BSA lightning
BSA B50MX
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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: 482
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: 5,018
Gnashville
DavidP Offline OP

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Gnashville
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: 4,472
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: 7,459
scotland
triton thrasher Offline
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scotland
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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K
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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: 482
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: 4,009
ohio, usa
kevin roberts Online content
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ohio, usa
well then, where did motorcyclespecs.co.za get 132?

haven't found their source yet.


i have no idea what i'm doing.
Re: Spitfire top speed? [Re: DavidP] #719476
12/20/17 12:59 pm
12/20/17 12:59 pm
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 2,672
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: 4,847
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
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ohio, usa
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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.


i have no idea what i'm doing.
Re: Spitfire top speed? [Re: DavidP] #719512
12/20/17 6:38 pm
12/20/17 6:38 pm
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Posts: 598
Ewing. NJ
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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: NickL] #719548
12/20/17 11:46 pm
12/20/17 11:46 pm
Joined: Aug 2014
Posts: 1,547
OZ
Triless Online content
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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
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Posts: 3,744
Sydney Australia
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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: 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
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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."

Re: Spitfire top speed? [Re: DavidP] #722149
01/15/18 6:47 pm
01/15/18 6:47 pm
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Rotherham - S. Yorkshire
Allan Gill Offline

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65’ lightning rockets (or possibly clubmans) were road tested a119mph. Similar high compression, same cam just smaller ports, valves and monoblocks. Never hear of those going bang... not saying they didn’t but I’ve neaver heads of it.

As for fast enough to get you killed, well walking pace can do that. wink


beerchug
Re: Spitfire top speed? [Re: DavidP] #722193
01/16/18 2:05 am
01/16/18 2:05 am
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Posts: 128
Anchorage Alaska USA
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Mitch Offline
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how much faster if you had leaded fuel like back in the day

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