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Fast BSA cruising? #769737
03/31/19 7:07 pm
03/31/19 7:07 pm
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Posts: 526
just a guy from Jersey [Hopewe...
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nert Offline OP
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just a guy from Jersey [Hopewe...
Let me start by saying, I am spoiled with a 2013 Triumph Trophy SE touring bike. I can cruise all day, 80mph or more, even in the rain.
Now the problem. When I ride my 66 BSA Lightning, back roads and speeds around 50mph is fun and comfortable. When I NEED to get on the Interstate and keep with traffic in the slow lane, going 60-65mph, about 4500rpm according to the finally jeweled vintage instruments displaying the information, I feel stressed, and I feel like I'm stressing the bike. My 73 850 Norton Commando, gives me similar feeling, within similar mph. But I love to ride the old britbikes, especially to work and back. Commute is 60 miles total round trip, 12 miles of it is interstate. Back in 1970, I used to take long weekend trips on my 68' BSA and recall preferring not to ride the interstate for similar reasons. But I didn't care as much, and pushed on. Nothing can go wrong when you're 18!
What is your experience? How do you ride your old stuff? Am I expecting too much? Or, is it me? Both bikes run amals, points, and standard, brakes and charging, all original stuff.


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Re: Fast BSA cruising? [Re: nert] #769742
03/31/19 7:38 pm
03/31/19 7:38 pm
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,812
scotland
triton thrasher Online content
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scotland
Just go faster and see what happens.

When something shakes loose, reattach it so it does not come loose again.


Amateur Loctite enthusiast.
Re: Fast BSA cruising? [Re: nert] #769745
03/31/19 7:54 pm
03/31/19 7:54 pm
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 526
just a guy from Jersey [Hopewe...
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nert Offline OP
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nert  Offline OP
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just a guy from Jersey [Hopewe...
with Loctite I assume?


keep your "oddies" lubricated, and carry a dime
Re: Fast BSA cruising? [Re: nert] #769753
03/31/19 9:25 pm
03/31/19 9:25 pm
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 1,259
Sydney, Oz
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Shane in Oz Offline

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Sydney, Oz
It appears to be geared wrong. Standard Lightning gearing should give you 4000 rpm at 100 km/hr (approx 62 mph). They were originally balanced to be smoothest in that range.

I prefer the Rocket 3 for touring, but a Lightning should be quite happy at 65 mph all day, and 75 mph for your expressway distances. Switching to a 21T gearbox sprocket for a lot of high speed riding is worthwhile, but A65s have to be kept above 3500, and preferably 4000, so with the 21T you'll spend a lot of time in 3rd on slower roads.

Re: Fast BSA cruising? [Re: nert] #769756
03/31/19 9:53 pm
03/31/19 9:53 pm
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,812
scotland
triton thrasher Online content
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scotland
Originally Posted by nert
with Loctite I assume?


Loctite, lock wire, locknuts, peening/staking, rubber mounting, zip ties; you’ll use them all before you make a Brit twin stay in one piece.


Amateur Loctite enthusiast.
Re: Fast BSA cruising? [Re: nert] #769759
03/31/19 10:18 pm
03/31/19 10:18 pm
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 1,005
Isle of Wight, UK
K
koan58 Online content
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Posts: 1,005
Isle of Wight, UK
Of course you're gonna feel some vibes with an old Brit twin.
I'm disappointed that the Commando feels similar though, maybe some isolastic attention needed?
Vibes on all brit twins can be mitigated by dynamic balancing (nothing to do with balance factor). It makes a difference out of all proportion to the expense.

Otherwise just make sure the engine bolts are tight, head steady secure, and as TT said use spring washers etc, or even amateur loctite!

Re: Fast BSA cruising? [Re: koan58] #769762
04/01/19 12:36 am
04/01/19 12:36 am
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 526
just a guy from Jersey [Hopewe...
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nert Offline OP
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just a guy from Jersey [Hopewe...
Sorry, maybe I mislead. The Norton is smooth as electric above 3,000 rpm. Its not vibration I refer to when saying stressed. The bikes just seem like they are working so hard, and loud, and vulnerable?


keep your "oddies" lubricated, and carry a dime
Re: Fast BSA cruising? [Re: nert] #769785
04/01/19 5:31 am
04/01/19 5:31 am
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 5,421
Crossville, TN
DavidP Online content

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Crossville, TN
I am of the same opinion. Though my BSA and my Bonnie have no trouble cruising the interstate at 65-70,they just don't feel right. I much prefer either bike at 50-60 on the secondary roads. I even dropped a tooth on the gearbox sprocket of the BSA to make it more fun on the back roads.
The Trident, on the other hand, lives to cruise at 80 or better.


Stepping on others doesn't make you stand tall.

71 A65L "Zelda"
92 BMW K100rs "Gustav"
72 T120V cafe project "Mr. Jim"
72 T150V "Wotan"
Re: Fast BSA cruising? [Re: nert] #769807
04/01/19 11:31 am
04/01/19 11:31 am
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Posts: 517
new jersey usa
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I rode my A-65 for years with the standard (US) 19 tooth countershaft. It saw quite a few miles of 60-70+ cruising. Nothing fell off. However, when I changed up to a 20 it was more relaxed on the highway without being too sluggish locally. A 21 is too much for mixed use. Hey, I', in NJ too and still have 3 Beezers that are road ready! Where are you! Cheers, PRT

Re: Fast BSA cruising? [Re: pushrod tom] #769809
04/01/19 11:47 am
04/01/19 11:47 am
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Posts: 526
just a guy from Jersey [Hopewe...
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nert Offline OP
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pushrod tom
I'm in Mercer county, Hopewell NJ.


keep your "oddies" lubricated, and carry a dime
Re: Fast BSA cruising? [Re: pushrod tom] #769811
04/01/19 12:17 pm
04/01/19 12:17 pm
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 5,464
West Yorkshire
Allan Gill Online happy

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West Yorkshire
Originally Posted by pushrod tom
I rode my A-65 for years with the standard (US) 19 tooth countershaft. It saw quite a few miles of 60-70+ cruising. Nothing fell off. However, when I changed up to a 20 it was more relaxed on the highway without being too sluggish locally. A 21 is too much for mixed use. Hey, I', in NJ too and still have 3 Beezers that are road ready! Where are you! Cheers, PRT



Is that with the 42 rear though Tom?

The clutch on mine is like gearing the bike up a tooth, I then run 19 front and 42 rear (so more like 20:42), The bike will sit at 80 all day, it will also perform well around town, but generally these bikes like to be kept above 3500rpm


beerchug
Re: Fast BSA cruising? [Re: nert] #769826
04/01/19 2:22 pm
04/01/19 2:22 pm
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,777
Mississauga, Ontario.
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Adam M. Offline
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Mississauga, Ontario.
I have completely different experience from riding my A65 with higher speeds.
My engine thrived on high revs, actually felt the best around 90 mph, however vibes would shake the bike to bits if I kept this speed for a long time.
I separated myself from most of the vibes installing very heavy handlebar weights, but my side cover brackets had to be repaired a couple of times.
However my engine was built from stock parts, configuration was unusual - small port head with biggest valves installed, "sport" Lightning camshaft and 32 MK1 Concentrics.
Head ports weren't open for bigger carbs. Crankshaft was dynamically balanced, front sprocket had 20 t.
I believe you already have most parts of this configuration.

Another part allowing higher speeds was my very effective 70 front brake you don't have.
I worked on it for a long time ( it was horrible when I bought a bike ) but finally got something very effective., comparable to T150 front disc.

Re: Fast BSA cruising? [Re: nert] #769860
04/01/19 9:21 pm
04/01/19 9:21 pm
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 3,861
gastonia nc
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raf940 Online content
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the issue I have with riding my '68 A65 or the 72 T120 or even the Commando on the Intercourse Highway system (I-85, I-77, I-40 in this nekkid of the woods) is not so much RPM/vibes related but the fact that around here the traffic on that road network is basically a racetrack with most 'drivers'..'competitors'.. going around 80mph or more..a lot more.. nose to tail....none for me thanks I ride my bikes on backroads around 50mph and am happy as a lark doing that.

Last edited by raf940; 04/01/19 9:23 pm.

1972 Triumph T120
1968 BSA A65
1968 MGB Roadster
1979 Chevrolet Camaro Berlinetta
1969 Honda Mini Trail
1939 farmall f30 tractor
2004 Honda Shadow Aero
1972 BSA Thunderbolt
1975 yamaha xs650b
1972 Norton commando
2 olive drab WWII military bicycle replicas
Re: Fast BSA cruising? [Re: nert] #769863
04/01/19 9:48 pm
04/01/19 9:48 pm
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,558
Auckland NZ
Ignoramus Offline
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Auckland NZ
Shane in oz is right about the theoretical revs ........i once got around to calculating and it was 3800? (dont recall exactly;y) at 60mph...... that was on a 70 a 65 with std gearing

back in the day i gave it heaps at all times, however a lifetime spent in the engineering trade has taught me that with nearly 50 year old parts component failure can and does happen.........

I treat my a65 and a10 pretty sympathetically but 60mph is easily doable for a long time

if you want to go fast get a jap wizz bang.

So Nert step one would be check what gearing you are running and dont forget those smiths instruments are a bit like engine oil grade ........ie how fast did it go ? oh 20/50


"There's the way it ought to be and there's the way it is" (Sgt Barnes)
Re: Fast BSA cruising? [Re: nert] #769868
04/01/19 11:58 pm
04/01/19 11:58 pm
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 5,190
Stone Creek OH USA
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Stone Creek OH USA
21/47 or 19/42 are very close numerically as ratios. But, I find the 19/42 to be more relaxed in the road. For whatever weird reason, 19/42 gives excellent open highway (interstate) cruising speed. 21/47, just not as good in my experience. Close, but not as good. But neither are bad on slower roads. You just might (gasp) have to downshift to 3rd occasionally.


Never underestimate the human ability to elevate stupid to a whole new level!.
Re: Fast BSA cruising? [Re: nert] #769869
04/02/19 12:37 am
04/02/19 12:37 am
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 4,721
Owego, NY, USA
Mark Z Offline
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Owego, NY, USA
Been riding one or the other of two A65s for 45 years, most of the time with 20-47 gearing. I went to 21-47 for a while on the bitsa, when it was in a hardtail frame (not a good combination). The gearing was too high at 21-47, always in 3rd gear on the secondary roads.

What made the biggest difference in smoothness at highway speeds (65-70) was getting the crank balanced on my last rebuild. Another thing that improves highway riding is a windshield or faring. These bikes are light, so you will exert energy just fighting the wind.

Funny, after devoting all this time, money, and effort proving to myself that an A65 can be a viable ride on the interstate, like raf I've decided that I don't really enjoy "slabbing it" anymore with the cars and the trucks. (On the subject of trucks, we have a major metal scrap business in my town, so I frequently encounter open-top semis filled with scrap, going 70 mph down the interstate. I'm afraid to follow these trucks, many of which are dirty and in need of repair, and I don't want to have to commit to going 75 to keep ahead of them, so I have to keep backing off to keep my distance.) Fortunately, I have a choice of four routes to get to work, only one of which entails getting on the interstate.


Mark Z

'65(lower)/'66(upper, wheels, front end, controls)/'67(seat, exhaust, fuel tank, headlamp)/'70(frame) A65 Bitsa.
Re: Fast BSA cruising? [Re: nert] #769879
04/02/19 5:19 am
04/02/19 5:19 am
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,452
Bega NSW Australia
Mark Parker Offline
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Highest speed limit in NSW is 110kph/70mph but normally its 100kph/62mph so you really have to hope no one coming near you is going to sleep, or sending a text. Once you stand in the same room as your bike at around 8,000rpm on a dyno, its easy to appreciate how relaxed it is at speed on the road. If all you do is putt around at 3,000rpm that's what you become used to, holding 4,500rpm on a freeway then seems excessive. I've always considered A65s under-geared, even stock bikes. If it feels like you need to change up another gear for cruising I think its nice to have it, even if 1st is a little taller.


mark
Re: Fast BSA cruising? [Re: nert] #769883
04/02/19 7:15 am
04/02/19 7:15 am
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 4,000
Sydney Australia
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I rode my OIF A65L quite hard without much worry.
However after being t-boned the insurance company paid for a second hand 2 gallon tank rather than repairing my 4 gallon tank.
From that day on the bike worried me every inch of the way till I fitted the 4 gallon tank again.
The difference is the sound dampening effect of the big tank.
With those tiny tanks you lot seem to be in love with I am not surprised that you pull them apart every 10 minutes beause they d sound like they are going to blow up any second.

However these bikes are a lot tougher than most here seem to believe they are.

Over the years I have seen running bikes with 1/10" undersized main journal.
Big ends packed out with aluminium cans and all sorts of things.
My own A 10 did well over 90 miles on one cylinder while the other con rod slowly ate the spigots off the bottom of the barrels then lifted the barrels off the flange.
But it was still running till I turned it off.
As for you Nert, find the rev range where vibrations are the least then alter the gearing so the bike is doing those revs at the speed you want to cruise at.
Just remember , riding at low revs will kill the engine in no time flat.
A65's need to be revving and for cruising something better than 4000 rpm is good.


Bike Beesa
Trevor
Re: Fast BSA cruising? [Re: nert] #769887
04/02/19 10:26 am
04/02/19 10:26 am
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,452
Bega NSW Australia
Mark Parker Offline
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"From that day on the bike worried me every inch of the way till I fitted the 4 gallon tank again.
The difference is the sound dampening effect of the big tank."


That is so true. I've even fitted foam under the outer timing cover to quieten the engine. A lot of the noise is usually pistons though, as alloy nicasil cyls with close piston clearances quieten them quite a bit. When I rubber mounted my engine it made a lot of difference as well, it gives the impression its straining when the vibrations get intense, so eliminating the vibes gives the feeling the thing is enjoying the revs and is unstrained, even if the motor is buzzing away furiously in the rubbers.


Ben's 750 90degree is very smooth and he has 51mm straight through titanium mufflers that sound great, and that is predominantly what you hear when riding. What we hear really has a phycological effect, The BSA timing gears are very robust and dead reliable, but they are straight cut and depending on the backlash can be noisy in a 'doesn't sound healthy' way, Honda gear driven cams have split gears putting spring tension on the gears stopping the backlash but inducing a whine, the whine is quite loud but sounds both healthy and precision like.


mark
Re: Fast BSA cruising? [Re: nert] #769891
04/02/19 12:22 pm
04/02/19 12:22 pm
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 526
just a guy from Jersey [Hopewe...
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nert Offline OP
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just a guy from Jersey [Hopewe...
Another experience with my 68 lightning back in the early 70's. I was riding in Pennsylvania, and at that time, PA too had a helmet law. But, we were up in the remote mountains of PA and I decided to remove my helmet for the wind in my hair experience. Aside from getting a ticket from the state police who decided to roam of his normal beat, I couldn't wait to get the helmet back on due to the amount of noise, not music, coming from the engine. Undefinable!


keep your "oddies" lubricated, and carry a dime
Re: Fast BSA cruising? [Re: Allan Gill] #770029
04/03/19 11:26 am
04/03/19 11:26 am
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 517
new jersey usa
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Hey Allan, My rear wheel is a standard (for the US) 47. Also, for over here a 19 was std (I'm pretty sure) on the 650's. That bike is getting a serious looking at this winter in hopes of dethroning the Turnip in Maine. Gearing with the Newby is 22/47. The mission is 'Go Fast or Go Home'!

Re: Fast BSA cruising? [Re: nert] #770089
04/04/19 12:22 am
04/04/19 12:22 am
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 4,505
Santa Barbara, California
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SO<>>>>>>>>. Am I they only guy that had an A65 sieze on the freeway??? They were not intended for long duration high RPM IMHO. Not fun anyhow.


Down to 1 BSA, 2 Triumphs, 1 '56 Chevy
Oops,.. add 1 '65 XLCH
Re: Fast BSA cruising? [Re: KC in S.B.] #770090
04/04/19 12:42 am
04/04/19 12:42 am
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Posts: 1,259
Sydney, Oz
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Shane in Oz Offline

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Originally Posted by KC in S.B.
SO<>>>>>>>>. Am I they only guy that had an A65 sieze on the freeway??? They were not intended for long duration high RPM IMHO. Not fun anyhow.
You must have been pushing it. I rode the Firebird to the BSA International at Kynton umpteen years ago, including a few hundred miles of 110 km.hr (70+ mph) on the Hume Highway in the 4500 - 5000 rpm range. That wasn't much fun, either, but much less not fun than seizing.
BrizzoBrit rode his Lightning from Brisbane to Hall's Gap for last year's BSA International and back home again on the New England and Newell Highways, with similar speed limits. His gearing is a bit better suited to highway riding, though.

The triples are definitely nicer for long distance touring.

Re: Fast BSA cruising? [Re: nert] #770112
04/04/19 11:43 am
04/04/19 11:43 am
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Posts: 517
new jersey usa
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pushrod tom Offline
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I'm sure there are others but I also had one seize on me. It was a fairly new build and I was giving it some stick on the Garden State Parkway which is a congested 3 lane highway that runs n/s in New Jersey. WFO. Approaching 6,500 and 75 mph. Third gear. All of a sudden it was very quiet and I realized that the rear wheel was not turning! I was able to get the clutch in and coast to the shoulder and then pushed to the next exit. About a mile! So, I'm thinking as I pushed 'I survived the seizure, nobody ran me over and now I am tempting a heart attack'. The takeaway is that I no longer do any performance testing on the road and ride my street Beezers with respect for a 50 year old machine.
I agree that the triple is a superior touring bike. Unfortunately I rode mine like a racer back in 1969 and it threw a rod through the case and sent me down the road. Ahhh.....another story. Cheers, PRT

PS I still vote for the 20/47 as the best compromise.

Re: Fast BSA cruising? [Re: KC in S.B.] #770116
04/04/19 12:04 pm
04/04/19 12:04 pm
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 5,464
West Yorkshire
Allan Gill Online happy

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West Yorkshire
Originally Posted by KC in S.B.
SO<>>>>>>>>. Am I they only guy that had an A65 sieze on the freeway??? They were not intended for long duration high RPM IMHO. Not fun anyhow.



Depends how it happened, if you were along a straight road with no change in speed, or if you were suddenly going up a huge hill without changing down or opening the throttle to overtake a truck etc without changing down.

If you can open the throttle and the engine instantly responds then fair enough, but if your feeding the throttle in and nothing is happening.... so you give it a bit more and more then whilst its sucking in all the extra air, its not drawing fuel, the motor gets super hot and something goes bang....


beerchug
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