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ZB34 competition: is it a goldstar? #779405 07/22/19 6:16 pm
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cas.vanderwoude Offline OP
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I'm new to goldstars and looking to buy one. Hoping the gurus here might be able to help out. The bike I'm looking at has a zb31s frame #7#3 and engine is zb34-6#3. It has an iron head.

From what I can work out, its a ZB34 Competition model. Are these considered to be "Goldstars"? Its not going to reduce the amount of joy I imagine I will get from riding one, but I;m trying to work out a value that is fair to both myself and the seller. Can anyone help with advice?

cheers

Cas from Hawaii

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Re: ZB34 competition: is it a goldstar? [Re: cas.vanderwoude] #779406 07/22/19 6:26 pm
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Originally Posted by cas.vanderwoude
engine is zb34-6#3... Are these considered to be "Goldstars"?
The answer is simple. No. Without a 'GS' within the engine number, e.g. ZB34.GS.6#3, it is not a Gold Star. The 'GS' isn't just cosmetic, it alerts the buyer to the fact there are internal mechanical differences.

Originally Posted by cas.vanderwoude
I'm new to goldstars and looking to buy one... Can anyone help with advice?
A book available on Amazon.com contains 150-pages of advice for someone who is new to Gold Stars and looking to buy one.

Re: ZB34 competition: is it a goldstar? [Re: Magnetoman] #779419 07/22/19 8:58 pm
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Originally Posted by Magnetoman
Originally Posted by cas.vanderwoude
engine is zb34-6#3... Are these considered to be "Goldstars"?
The answer is simple. No. Without a 'GS' within the engine number, e.g. ZB34.GS.6#3, it is not a Gold Star. The 'GS' isn't just cosmetic, it alerts the buyer to the fact there are internal mechanical differences.

The somewhat less simple answer is that BSA had 4 overhead valve 500 singles at the time.
ZB33 - cast iron head and cylinder, standard road model.
ZB34 - cast iron head and cylinder, trials "competition" model
ZB34A - aluminium alloy head and cylinder, trials "alloy competition" model.
ZB34GS - aluminium head and cylinder, sports and racing Gold Star model.

Just to further confuse matters, the Gold Star was available in various configurations such as Scrambles and Clubman.
Magnetoman might be able to tell us if there was a Gold Star trials model available at that stage, or if the ZB34A filled that role.

Re: ZB34 competition: is it a goldstar? [Re: cas.vanderwoude] #779425 07/22/19 9:42 pm
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Zb34GS was available in:
Reliability trails
International trails
Touring
Scrambler
Clubman
Racing


Harold
BSA: M20 ‘40 M21,B31 ‘55 B33 ‘54, ZB34GS ‘49
Triumph 5T ‘49 + T100 speedkit
Sunbeam S7 ,48
Moto Guzzi LeMans ‘79
BMW R51/3 ‘ 51, R100GS ‘89
Re: ZB34 competition: is it a goldstar? [Re: cas.vanderwoude] #779427 07/22/19 9:57 pm
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cas.vanderwoude Offline OP
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wow, thanks for the information!

So the ZB34 competition is a B33 with some extra options while the Goldsta engines are different internally but superficially similar? Geez Louise - ya gotta be on the ball before laying down some money. I really appreciate all the help here.

Re: ZB34 competition: is it a goldstar? [Re: cas.vanderwoude] #779432 07/22/19 11:04 pm
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CAS: It looks like you are looking at a 1949 ZB34 for both engine and frame. Motolab lists the various 500cc OHV models for 1949 above but if you include 1950 and 1951 there was also a ZB33A engine as an option with the alloy top end.
An iron head ZB34 is really the same as the ZB33 but could have been fitted with the optional cams. The info list is the Bacon Singles Restoration book lists three optional cams for the B series engines, inlet 65-2438 and exhaust 65-2434 and 65- 2436. The carbs listed are the same for the ZB33 and the ZB34. Those two engines would both have the same flywheel set up with the small drive side roller bearing.

Gordo


The roadside repairs make for the best post ride stories.
Re: ZB34 competition: is it a goldstar? [Re: cas.vanderwoude] #779444 07/23/19 1:25 am
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And without wishing to be pedantic, there is an important distinction between 'trials' and 'trails'. Trials was, and is, a recognized sport, first popular in Britain, and then in the rest of Europe, especially so in Spain.

Trails was the sport of riding over un-made roads, trails, if you like. Trails are different in Europe, where trail riding turned into enduro. In the US, trails can be anything from a single track through a forest, to seasonal roads all over the country, to the famous arroyos in the deserts of the west (think Baja 1000)

BSA made 'trials' bikes. So did, for example, Norton, with its 500T. Ariel had the 500cc HT5, the most famous of which, GOV 132, was built and ridden by Sammy Miller, a dear friend for many years. Magnetoman and I first befriended Sammy back in the late 1990s, and it was a very happy friendship, with a great sportsman. And on we go.

Thanks to MMan, I have a ZB34 in an M-20 frame. It was built in Arizona by MMan's friend, who was a great aficionado of BSAs, of all sorts. I fancy it as a quasi trials bike, except it has Gold Star cams, which would make it way to sporty for Trials. I recently rode it for 75 miles over the seasonal roads of the Catskill Mountains in New York State in the company of The Vintagent (thevintagent.com), who rode my Ducati Monster. They were a good match, for machines built 60 years apart.

Last edited by NYBSAGUY; 07/23/19 2:23 am.

1949 BSA ZB34 'Bitsa'
1959 BSA DBD34 Catalina
1973 Norton Commando 850 R
1974 Norton Commando 850 R (I know, one too many)
1975 Honda TL250 Trials, a new addition to the family
1998 Montesa Cota 315 HRC
2004 Ducati M1000ie
Re: ZB34 competition: is it a goldstar? [Re: Shane in Oz] #779449 07/23/19 3:50 am
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In 1951, there was a B33A as well.


Coming to terms with your delusions, is the first step to sanity
Re: ZB34 competition: is it a goldstar? [Re: cas.vanderwoude] #779462 07/23/19 8:12 am
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I'm not sure if there was a 500cc ZB in 1949

Re: ZB34 competition: is it a goldstar? [Re: Gordo in Comox] #779465 07/23/19 9:38 am
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Originally Posted by David Cass1
I'm not sure if there was a 500cc ZB in 1949


Please read the messages above, ZB34 GS was surely available in the spring ‘49

Originally Posted by Gordo in Comox
CAS: It looks like you are looking at a 1949 ZB34 for both engine and frame. Motolab lists the various 500cc OHV models for 1949
Gordo


They are in the Bsa lists, and brochures, but keep in mind, maybe not for every country in ‘49 and... the first ones are competition specific, so may be not for everyone available then..,


Harold
BSA: M20 ‘40 M21,B31 ‘55 B33 ‘54, ZB34GS ‘49
Triumph 5T ‘49 + T100 speedkit
Sunbeam S7 ,48
Moto Guzzi LeMans ‘79
BMW R51/3 ‘ 51, R100GS ‘89
Re: ZB34 competition: is it a goldstar? [Re: cas.vanderwoude] #779530 07/23/19 10:02 pm
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It is hard to really know when the ZB34GS came online. The 'lists' show such a bike but years ago I read that the ZB32GS came out a year earlier. The numbers for the ZB34GS start in 49 at 101 and in 50 start at 2001.

One of the problems is confusion between the model year and the year of manufacture. Some authors seem to get confused. However expert John Gardner in his book 'BSA Gold Star Super Profile' states that the ZB34GS came out in 1950, a year after the ZB32GS.

Maybe Boomer has first hand knowledge.

Gordo


The roadside repairs make for the best post ride stories.
Re: ZB34 competition: is it a goldstar? [Re: Gordo in Comox] #779544 07/24/19 12:33 am
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Originally Posted by Gordo in Comox
It is hard to really know when the ZB34GS came online.... John Gardner in his book 'BSA Gold Star Super Profile' states that the ZB34GS came out in 1950,
A one-page price list from Rich Child, Bulletin #75 dated February 1st, 1949, shows eight models of BSA including 'BSA Gold Star 30.50' for $764 dealer cost. However, Bulletin #55 dated October 15th, 1948 shows only five models of BSA, none a Gold Star of either size. Since Child handled the entire country at that time, those two prices lists narrow down the arrival date[*] of the 500cc Gold Star in the U.S. to a window of 3-1/2 months during model year 1949.

[*]Table 2 of The Gold Star Buyer's Companion shows the despatch date of the first ZB34 was April 5, 1949 so Child was taking orders two months before they were actually available. But, no matter what, they were available in model year 1949, just over 13 months after the ZB32 (first one despatched February 21, 1948). It's interesting that Child apparently didn't see enough sales potential in a little, but expensive, 350cc machine to merit importing them.

Last edited by Magnetoman; 07/24/19 12:58 am. Reason: added [*]
Re: ZB34 competition: is it a goldstar? [Re: cas.vanderwoude] #779567 07/24/19 6:05 am
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I'm overcome by the generosity of information you guys have given me. I'd like to thank you all for your kindness - especially considering I'm in the wrong forum with a non-goldie. One final question - value. I'm not asking for a $ value but compared with an equivalent condition GS, what is the Competition model worth? 1/2, 2/3 ? Just a rough estimate would be great. It will help me negotiate a price that is fair to both of us. The motorcycle condition looks to be 3-4 but closer to a 4.

Re: ZB34 competition: is it a goldstar? [Re: cas.vanderwoude] #779585 07/24/19 12:54 pm
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Originally Posted by Magnetoman


The Gold Star Buyer's Companion shows the despatch date of the first ZB34 was April 5, 1949 so Child was taking orders two months before they were actually available.


Since i have/OWN an engine from a despatch to rich child on 10 may 1949, confirmed with the actual factory records, i have the physical evidence here in the workshop ;-)


Originally Posted by cas.vanderwoude
One final question - value. I'm not asking for a $ value but compared with an equivalent condition GS, what is the Competition model worth? .


“Competition” may be not correct... until factory data prove it, because they /it might be delivered as “normal” Road bike(s) with “an option”...

But never the less... in my opinion max 500 € / us dollar more than a similar condition B33, maybe the same, but seldom more in reallity..... a genuine GS would-be be another thing..


Harold
BSA: M20 ‘40 M21,B31 ‘55 B33 ‘54, ZB34GS ‘49
Triumph 5T ‘49 + T100 speedkit
Sunbeam S7 ,48
Moto Guzzi LeMans ‘79
BMW R51/3 ‘ 51, R100GS ‘89
Re: ZB34 competition: is it a goldstar? [Re: cas.vanderwoude] #779628 07/24/19 9:53 pm
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Excellent, you are confirming that MMan is correct. If the first bike was dispatched to Child in April 49, you are indeed lucky to have an engine that is just a month older. Congratulations.


1949 BSA ZB34 'Bitsa'
1959 BSA DBD34 Catalina
1973 Norton Commando 850 R
1974 Norton Commando 850 R (I know, one too many)
1975 Honda TL250 Trials, a new addition to the family
1998 Montesa Cota 315 HRC
2004 Ducati M1000ie
Re: ZB34 competition: is it a goldstar? [Re: NYBSAGUY] #779631 07/24/19 10:05 pm
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Originally Posted by NYBSAGUY

Excellent, you are confirming that MMan is correct.

Yeps...... ( but me and Gordo did mentioned it also earlyer above...)


Originally Posted by NYBSAGUY

If the first bike was dispatched to Child in April 49, you are indeed lucky to have an engine that is just a month older. Congratulations.


Do not want to hijack this topic..
But it makes me wonder if my engine has Some interesting history....

Who do have such records in the US?


Last edited by Motolab; 07/24/19 10:10 pm.

Harold
BSA: M20 ‘40 M21,B31 ‘55 B33 ‘54, ZB34GS ‘49
Triumph 5T ‘49 + T100 speedkit
Sunbeam S7 ,48
Moto Guzzi LeMans ‘79
BMW R51/3 ‘ 51, R100GS ‘89
Re: ZB34 competition: is it a goldstar? [Re: Magnetoman] #779641 07/25/19 12:57 am
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The Despatch books, as quoted by the Ian Jackson of the BSA Owners Club in the UK, show the first ZB32GS (#128) being despatched on 21 Feb 1949, two months before the first ZB34GS (Engine# 105). The 32 was shown at the Earls Court Show in London very late in 1948, but didn't appear at any dealers that year, hence the lack of any GS in the '48 catalogue.

However, several factory machines ( possibly 101-104?) appeared in the Daytona 200 in March 1949 (see one of Boomer's recent posts), sponsored by Rich Child and with BSA support. I believe they were 500s.

Mebbo

Re: ZB34 competition: is it a goldstar? [Re: Mebbo] #779651 07/25/19 2:27 am
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Originally Posted by Mebbo
The Despatch books, as quoted by the Ian Jackson of the BSA Owners Club in the UK, show the first ZB32GS (#128) being despatched on 21 Feb 1949,...
According to what I regard as the, ahem, Gold Standard of Gold Star information, you have the month and day correct, but the year wrong. The first ZB32GS was despatched February 21, 1948. Whether or not that is correct, the author goes on to quote its UK price as £211.9.1 including tax. The attached image is from 'Goldie'.

Attached Files 1948GoldStar.jpg
Re: ZB34 competition: is it a goldstar? [Re: cas.vanderwoude] #779663 07/25/19 8:10 am
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Not that it is worth that much as part books were often printed anything up to 12 months in advance of anything coming out of the factory & BSA was not adverse to knocking up a single model addendum .
but
Page 127 of the 48 book does not list any "Gold Stars" as such, just YB32 comp & a YB34 comp.
The 49 parts book on page 27 lists
ZB 32 comp
ZB 32 GS rigid
ZB 32 GS spring
And the same spread for the B34

These books are on line & I think there was link to them a while back.
The PDF's are the same as my originals

As Y was the year prefix for 1948 bikes & Z was the prefix for 1949 bikes, a bike that was despatched in February 1948 should have been stamped YB being that Feb 48 is within the Sept 47 to Aug 48 1948 model year.
However it would not be beyond the relms of belief for BSA to release a publicity 49 ZB Gold Star during the 1948 model year to the USA so it could have time to create demand for the new seasons model.

As for BSA studio publicity photos, they are even more difficult to date and could have predated actual production by a considerable amount of time, could even be a pre-production prototype of a non production machine.
Regardless of BSA factory literature having to be considered a primary source I would put more faith in a newspaper/magazine photograph of the bike , in situ with a rider to be more accurate date wise.

Last edited by BSA_WM20; 07/25/19 8:28 am.

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Re: ZB34 competition: is it a goldstar? [Re: Magnetoman] #779692 07/25/19 3:39 pm
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Originally Posted by Mebbo
the first ZB32GS (#128) being despatched on 21 Feb 1949,
Originally Posted by Magnetoman
The first ZB32GS was despatched February 21, 1948
The 1948 date traces to the same records held by Ian so someone has made a typo along the way. Although of little practical consequence, in the interests of the historical record it's certainly worth a bit of effort to sort this out once and for all.

Re: ZB34 competition: is it a goldstar? [Re: cas.vanderwoude] #779694 07/25/19 8:18 pm
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As far as ZB34GS's are concerned this is how I understand it after several conversations with Ian Jackson. His dispatch records are one of two factory sets. The other is a dispatch record of the competition machines built that was in the hands of John Gardner and upon his demise those records seem to be forever lost or may even have been destroyed. Ian's dispatch record shows the first ZB34GS being dispatched on April 5th, 1949 and actually going to France, IIRC. The 1949 Daytona race was held on March 12-13 so previous to the April date. It is speculated that ZB34GS101-104 went to Daytona and my engine number is in that range and was ridden and later owned by Hubert Simon. Since 101 to 104 are not in Ian's records, again it is speculated that they were on the competition list. I knew Hubert Simon and talked to him about Gold Stars quite a bit as he and his partner were BSA dealers from '47 to when they sold the business in '74. He often talked about his '49 Daytona bike and recalled several details. When in the early '90's his race bike was found in a barn, yes a real barn, he went to look at it and confirmed it was his '49 race bike. I now own that bike and it has several features that are unique to the BSA team bikes.

I posted this picture already on another thread but I think it's appropriate to post again. Hubert is in front on #57.

Bill B...


[Linked Image]


Boomer
Re: ZB34 competition: is it a goldstar? [Re: cas.vanderwoude] #779696 07/25/19 8:51 pm
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This all quite fascinating.

Isn't it marvellous where a straightforward question can lead to?

Re: ZB34 competition: is it a goldstar? [Re: Shane in Oz] #779698 07/25/19 9:13 pm
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I'm getting quite an education here which I am very grateful for. But, my lack of knowledge will be demonstrated by the stupid questions I ask....

I get that the B34GS models are the made-to-order race bikes - the finest made by BSA, and the ZB34 is not a Goldstar and the GS community does not hold it in higher regard than a B33
I understand a B33 engine, its limitations, and design brief as a reliable commuter to eventually replace the sidevalves.
so what is the basic difference between a B33 and B34? Surely there must be some difference otherwise having 2 engine designations does not make sense. If the B34 designation was actually exclusively "Goldstar" then it would be logical but why have a standard B33 as well as a B34 in the lineup. From what I read here, there is virtually no difference between the 2 models.
So why have B34 and B33 non-goldstar engines?. Even weirderer to have an all alloy B34 and an all alloy B33. Please educate me - I'm still a bit confused. Why buy a ZB34 competition instead of a ZB33? Surely it is not just the cams?

Re: ZB34 competition: is it a goldstar? [Re: cas.vanderwoude] #779701 07/25/19 10:31 pm
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Yes Cas, we AND BSA have confused you. A simplistic generalization of the B33/34/34GS goes like this. B33 has an iron barrel and head. A B34 has an alloy barrel and head. A B34 competition has an alloy barrel and head but pretty much everything internally is the same as B33. A B34 GS is a hand fitted engine with upgraded specs a few of which are, and again another generalization because there are many exceptions, higher compression race piston, racing cams, magnafluxed and polished rod, bigger crank pin and crank pin nuts, polished lightened flywheels, extra webbing on the inside of the crankcases. The head was ported and had a hand fitted inlet with bigger valves. Then when the engines were built they were dyno tested. These are just a few of the upgrades over a B33/34. That's why the "GS" designation makes it so much more. They were not special racer ordered, just a very limited production. They were uni\que in that by changing the cams, tires, and exhaust you could go from road riding to racing to scrambles. A versatile machine.


HTH, Bill B...


Boomer
Re: ZB34 competition: is it a goldstar? [Re: Boomer] #779703 07/25/19 10:59 pm
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Originally Posted by Boomer
Yes Cas, we AND BSA have confused you. A simplistic generalization of the B33/34/34GS goes like this. B33 has an iron barrel and head. A B34 has an alloy barrel and head. A B34 competition has an alloy barrel and head but pretty much everything internally is the same as B33.
This is like hen's teeth - an error from Boomer smile
Just to really confuse all of us, the XB34, YB34 and maybe ZB34 had an iron cylinder and head, as per the B33. The B34A models had the alloy cylinder and head.
I think, but stand to be corrected, that the main difference between the B33 and B34 were in the cycle parts rather than the engine. The B33 was the road model, and B34 the off-road (mostly trials), model, so it would have had off-road modifications such as increased ground clearance, high level exhaust, etc.

The alloy cylinder and head for the B34A makes sense, because lighter is better for trials use, but the B33A seems to have been a rather odd thing to make...

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