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Posted By: tiger_cub B40GA Australian Army - 05/14/19 1:34 am
I am just starting this thread to capture any known info. There are a couple of other threads on here mentioning these ex-Australian Army bikes, with around 450 built in Jan/Feb 1967 as far as I can tell. there wouldn't have been too many in Western Australia and probably sold off from the logistics depot in Perth in the 1970s. As well as the C15T (in my other thread) I have been offered one of these in parts for about $1500. Again, I will be looking at it next month and may just buy it anyway. I previously owned an ex Brit Army B40GB in the 70s when i was in UK (72 ET 69, later registered in West Yorks MYG--P).
Posted By: Shane in Oz Re: B40GA Australian Army - 05/14/19 3:21 am
The Australian War Memorialhas digitised the Australian army vehicle registration books
There are photocopies on the parts books and workshop manuals kicking about, but I don't think anybody has these in digital format.
Posted By: tiger_cub Re: B40GA Australian Army - 05/14/19 4:21 am
That is a great resource, however annoyingly they are not indexed. I have tried searching for a picture of an Aus Army B40 showing a rego number as a start point but nothing so far. Otherwise will need to go through the whole lot and that will take forever. The below link has some good info, but no BSAs appear to be listed:
Posted By: BSA_WM20 Re: B40GA Australian Army - 05/14/19 8:50 am
Basically the engine & frame are as per the B40 Rough Rider .
As Shane has mentioned there are parts books for the GA but it is just that , a list, no exploded diagrams so you will need the Rough Rider parts book for sequences.
The big end will be buggered.
The army specified B50 needle rollers which would have been fine if they did not combine it with the C15 trials 1st, 2nd & 3rd with the std BSA 1:1 top.
Thus the bike got laboured in top because the jump 3 to 4 is a valve bounce to idle job. Downchanging 4 to 3 can and does lock up the the wheel despite being 6.5:1 compression
Labouring in top allowed the cage to skuf on the outer race eventually breaking up . I have a box full of rods with the cage remenets hammer welded to the outer race.
If you were lucky it fell out leaving you with a not so crowded ; crowded race and the bike will actually run like that because it is very low compression & the piston can not hit the valves.
I rode one of mine liken that for years in my impoverished youth.
If you drop a B44 box in you can run the B50 bearing , otherwise go for a Std B40 / B44 big end.
Get a copy of Rupet Ratio. there are 3 different length big end journals. You can fit any one but you have to space out the crank accordingly

Other little differences is the GA's are 6 V with the 66 multi pin ignition & lighting switches.
I geared min up as high as I could on the gearboox sprocket and ran it as a 3 speed bike leaving top as an overdive for long flattish roads like expressways.

It was fitted with the ET points cam ( always open, close open then fire ) and was designed to run battery less .
Oil filter fitted under battery.

Got lots of photos if you need then for reference .
The fully enclosed chain guards are very hard to find as most tossed the lower & rear sections.
Single leather pannier on left side, despatch box on the right, 2" thick hardwood duel seat and high rise right hand muffler ( also impossible to find ) as it is an empty case over a perforated pipe similar to Brooklands style mufflers.
Long neck oil tank that eats your right thigh when kick starting.
Unique Amal 626 carb with long spacer that has a drain as the carb is mounted slightly cantered forward. The carb is jetted to allow for the air hole between it & the inlet valve but the drain tube must be 18" long exactly.
Air filter is tool box which I think is also unique but a std pillbox element can be made to fit.

There is no record of the actual rego numbers and like a fool I washed mine the instant I got it home thus removing the dirt outline of the rego number.
There were 3 finishes
1) Olive drab, full viterous enamel
2) RAAF blue, also full vitreous enamel
3) MP , Olive drab with chrome handlebar levers & wingscreen
On all others all normally chromed parts were painted dull silverfrost

I have the only bike that was for sale out of the 280 sold from Moorebank in the final 2 auctions that had divisional markings ( signals 40).
All others simply had the std AIF kangaroo stencelled in yellow on the right side of the tank and NO BSA on the bike anywhere other than the timing cover in the primary . No MADE IN ENGLAND's or any other markings apart from the PROV_UR or CERT_UR stencilled on the tanks showing they were Uneconomic Repairs.
There were at least 3 C15's that were used during evaluation and remained in service .
Large tank which is identical to one of the Gold star tanks that did not have any badges fitted & for that reason are now unobtanium as they all got sandblasted chromed and suddenly increased in value by a factor ot 10 as genuine GS parts.
Posted By: tiger_cub Re: B40GA Australian Army - 05/14/19 11:41 pm
I have had a look through those registration books in the areas where I thought they might cover 1967 without any luck. Unfortunately the numbers aren't issued in sequence which doesn't help. I will look through some of the others when i have time but a contemporary pic showing at least a rego prefix would help a lot as the books have to be scrolled through page by page. Internet search hasn't turned one up as yet.
Posted By: tiger_cub Re: B40GA Australian Army - 05/20/19 6:44 am
I finally found the B40GA entries in the ARN registers. They are in Ledger 16 pages 159 - 173 (ARNs 94785 - 95234). This makes a total of 449 bikes, which would be correct as according to the bsawdb40 site, one was kept back as a development bike for the B40GB and still exists. It should be possible to work out which state each bike was in from the disposal unit so once I have that worked out I will update this post. Most of them appear to have been disposed of from 1971 - 73, with a few later. The ledger also shows engine number changes made. Interestingly, entries from 1942 are only two pages before and page 158 is very interesting as it shows the bikes the Army was trialling up to about 1962, including several B40s and a couple of C15Ts, amongst other makes. Whilst ploughing through the several thousand pages of these registers I have also come across and made a note of the WM20 entries and will make a separate post on where these can be found.
Posted By: BSA_WM20 Re: B40GA Australian Army - 05/20/19 9:51 am
The spread sheet boffing over on the WM 20 forum have already done this AFAIK
Unfortunately my WM20 is not on there as it was never actually allocated & was sold surplus, crated.
But before you go square eyed compiling the information you might like to do some enquireys there as AFAIK the boys have already done that.
Back the B40GA's
The disposal site had nothing to do with the actual dispersal.
My bike was used by a division in Albury but disposed of from Holdsworthy.
The Department of Supply took over all Government stores and in this process stuff was shifted all around the nation as they consolidated smaller warehouses then disposed of the surplus stuff that was way down the back, before selling the land.
Because most of the spares for the B40 GA happened to be in the Suez cannal at the wrong time, they ended up being sunk.
Apparently most of the sunken salvage went to Indian steel plants under the supervision of the various insurance companies.
Because of this the B40's were replaced way before time with Suzuki 400 twins ( Escort duty & MP's ) and Honda Elsinores for feild operations .
At least the boffins had learned from the early failures that a single biike for both field & road use was not a good idea.
The servicing of the remaining B40 GA's went to contract and in Sydney it was done by Gladesville Motorcycles run by the Carruthers Bros ( Yes that Carruthers ).
In Victoria Mildridge Bros had the contract but I have no ides if there was a Brisbane , or even QLD service agent and if there was one no idea who it was, Same for SA.
Also because of the lack of spares as by now BSA had closed down, B40's that were suspected of having the said big end failures were kept for spares and not repaired.
As the servicing was done on contract most of the bikes got transferred to a warehouse near the servicing agent, if they did not get burried under piles of Vietnam surplus.
The unsubstantiated rhumor was that a lot of perfectly good ones also got the "PROV-UR" stencilled on the tank as the servicemen really did not like them and prefferred to have a new bike by hook or by crook.
When the big sales happened at Holdsworthy a lot of our members bought bikes from there and it was common to see 3 or 4 on every club run.
However the ones that were pressed into daily transport all ended up with a failed big end.
Of the 2 purchase by yours truly, both dropped their big ends. One remained free & the other siezed on the crank, the former was stolen & the latter I still have
For a while I rode Shane's and his dropped the big end as well.
Stuart had 2 and both of them ended up with new big ends for the same reason.
As did Nial's, who wrote the piece you saw on the UK B40 Army site.
Stuart did a piece that was printed in one of the local bike mags, when he returned from the UK having spent some time with Dave Smith ( Rupet Ratio to some ) researching.
AMCN did a 1/2 page back in 64 when the trials were on and another one in March 1966 (Vol 15 No 20 ) announcing the placement of the order should you feel inclined to dig them out.
The B40's in the first trial had the old C15 frame but this was upgraded to the Victor frame before the order was placed.
The original trials go back to 1960 where all British makers + HD sent bikes so there were Nortons , Triumphs, Enfields & Velocettes all under evaluation.The C15 won out that round.
You will see them as entries 94741 to 94752
In 1964 the second batch of evaluation bikes arrived being C 15's & B 40's both to army specifications & the B40 won the day.
Note that quite a few of the B40's have C15 aa frame numbers.
Posted By: BSA_WM20 Re: B40GA Australian Army - 05/20/19 10:54 am
And just to muddy the waters a bit further, they were also supplied to the RAAF.
Our president at the time bought one from a Defence Auction resplendent in Airforce blue with a rondel on the air box lid.
Unfortunately it was stolen from his home at Fairfield.
AFAIK it was the only RAAF WDB0.
We did publish a stolen bike report so if I get some time I will go back through the Banters to see if there is an engine & frame numbers to see if it is in the register.
Not sure if it was part of the original order, or a separate bike acquired for an RAAF evaluation as in those days each branch of the services ordered equipment individually.
Posted By: BSA_WM20 Re: B40GA Australian Army - 05/20/19 11:55 am
Dereck Pickard did his usual poor standard journalism in the July 1972 Two Wheels covering the army B40's although he managed to call them Roughriders, a misnaming that remains in common use today.
Posted By: tiger_cub Re: B40GA Australian Army - 05/24/19 3:18 am
Thanks for the very useful additional info posted above. having looked through the ledgers it looks like two may still be 'in service' (Army Museum?), two transferred to Singapore, one to PNG and one reported as stolen! I can't identify any specifically as RAAF machines. Interestingly, several have engine chnages with one number being 581. From this, i assume that part of the order was spare engines, at least 31 of them, which would be usual for a fleet buyer such as a defence force. Servicing agents could possibly have been local BSA dealers, which could be Brisk sales in Brisbane and the well known JN Taylors in Adelaide, however this is supposition. Regarding the WM20s, it looks like the site mentioned has captured all these in a spreadsheet, just not published online. I wasn't planning on doing this, just providing a guide as to where to find them in the registers. I may provide these as a form of index to supplement the excellent REMLR site and also the AWM direct.
Posted By: BSA_WM20 Re: B40GA Australian Army - 05/24/19 9:08 am
No the boys have not published it but if you ask they will give you a copy.
They are true enthusiast.

Gladesville Motorcycles were not a BSA agent and no body was one after 1973.
Still trying to dig up the origianl receipts for my B40's to get an exact sale date which will allow easy tracing of the catalogues.
There were 2 sales at Holdsworth in 1982 ( I think )
One had over 200 bikes & part bikes and the second was around 100.
About a dozen or so pallets of parts turned up for auction at St Marys (NSW ) over 2 or 3 different sales when that site was decommissioned around 85 from memory.
Shane & I went there but bought nothing as the dealers present were determined to buy all of them and there was no point in pushing up the prices.
A bit latter on some more pallets of parts turned up listed in Brisbane but we did not go up to look at them.
I have about a half dozen sets of cases and some have funny numbers on them.
Fairly sure there was a B40 at the Tank Museum inside Puckpunayal we were there a few years ago as part of a BSA National Rally.
There is also one at Singleton Barracks museum but in either case there is nothing to prevent them having been bought and then donated or bequethed to the museums.
Posted By: tiger_cub Re: B40GA Australian Army - 05/28/19 4:23 am
I had a bit of time yesterday so looked through the B40GA records concentrating on engine changes. 107 of the bikes (so about a quarter of them) have had engine changes, further details about which follow. Several additional replacement engine series were identified, being 551 - 599 (probably part of the original order, of which only 15 were fitted), 1588 - 1597 (3 fitted, could these be from the B40GB series?), KH 6609 - 6616 (6 fitted, possibly made Sep 72?), 610002-3 (unknown range) and a single 443020 (could this be a B44 engine?). The remainder were fitted with engines taken from existing bikes, some possibly with a suffix stamped on indicating a a year of rebuild? eg /70. This might mean that around 80 could have been disposed of without engines or as parts, as the records don't state that these ones were replaced? This seems like quite a high cannibalisation rate. There are also about six which appear to have had frame changes to suit the ARN, although why this would be needed is unclear. Quite a few of these changes occurred as late as 1976/77 according to the record references, well after the bikes were out of service and some had been sold off, although some could still have been in reserve stocks? I also noticed that on the b40wd site mention was made of a further order in 1968 or 69. These do not appear in the register, so perhaps they didn't arrive? Or alternativel they were sent to the Navy & Air Force?
Posted By: tiger_cub Re: B40GA Australian Army - 06/18/19 12:56 am
I was in contact with a local chap who until recently had a 1968 B40M, number 43X. I asked him about it and he said that it had been repainted light blue at some stage, although there were clear traces of green paint underneath and on some inside areas. There is no trace of any B40Ms being issued to the Army as I have re-checked the AWM registers and none show up. Is it possible that the B40M Roughriders were in fact still in Army green when sold? The only pictures I could find (on the B40WD site) seem to show that, even the Roughrider advertising poster seems as if it could be. As I surmised before, it is possible that 1968 models were sent to the Navy and Air Force, some may have been repainted, but some not? The later Roughriders have the date code HC (Jul 69), which this definately isn't, as well as the serials for those seem to start at 462. I suspect that these are more likely the ones sold for civilian use. More sightings and info required on these I think.
Posted By: BSA_WM20 Re: B40GA Australian Army - 06/18/19 6:06 am
The standard colour for the roughrider was the same green full baked enamel as the army bikes.
They are often mistaken for military motorcycles because of the colour.
Most body parts are interchangeable
However the Rough rider has a solo seat, different to the ones on the MP's bikes and a long rack.
The popular story is they were originally a military order that got cancelled
They are also 12V not 6V like the GA's.
Posted By: tiger_cub Re: B40GA Australian Army - 08/01/19 4:41 am
I just got a rear wheel which came off a GA I believe. This still has the original 3.50 x 18 Trials Universal tyre. Interestingly, the tyre has W↑D impressed in the sidewall. Its too far gone to use and I wrecked some of the rim paint getting it off, but I have taken a pic for posterity.
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