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I THINK IT'S A MESS! new and rookie BSA owner (66 Spitfire Mk2) - need help, guidance, and advice. probably some dumb questions but need some input, so please bear with me. just bought a 66 Spitfire. fairly original and a nice example for a 55 year old bike. at sometime in it's past, the handlebars were changed from (i'm assuming) the as delivered U.S. western bars to the UK/euro bars. that's really not an issue as i don't mind the lower bars. when this change was made, i'm thinking the clutch and throttle cables were not changed to a shorter length to compensate for the different handlebar geometry. to further complicate the throttle cables, the original GP carbs were switched out for a couple AMAL 932, again, no problem as i'd rather have the AMAL's for daily riding. the throttle cables come off the twist grip OVER THE TOP of the brake lever and don't appear to be routed correctly. i'm assuming this is from the lower bars. same applies with the clutch cable - appears to be too long and not routed correctly. not even sure i have the correct twist grip. finally, i have steel clutch/brake levers - thought i read Spitfires came with alloy assemblies. is this correct?

everything seems to function properly, and the bike runs fairly well. the overall handle bar/ control lever/ cable configuration is the main issue with the bike and i would like to bring it back to factory and period correct. in general, i think it's a mess. have ZERO experience with BSA's and digging into this, i'm getting into information overload. the parts manual is confusing the hell out of me. so, i figure i'll start with the CORRECT U.S. western handle bars and go from there. heed some input for parts and P/N's, correct cable routing, etc.. this is where i'll need you help and expertise. TIA....

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

Last edited by joe czech; 12/05/20 2:29 pm.
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[Linked Image][Linked Image][Linked Image][Linked Image]These might help. This was my best attempt at correct routing.


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Looks like getting the taller 42-4968 bars and everything else will be good.


1967 BSA Wasp
1967 BSA Hornet (West Coast Model)
1967 BSA Hornet (East Coast Model)
1968 BSA Firebird Scrambler
1968 BSA Spitfire Mark IV
1965 Cyclone Competition Build
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I've bought bars by just asking Randy Baxter for the closest thing they had to original, did pretty good.

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[Linked Image]If you haven't found bars yet, these look good.


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I’ve found the LF Harris bars to be spot on.


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68’ A65 Lightning “clubman”
71’ A65 823 Thunderbolt (now rebuilt)
67’ D10 sportsman (undergoing restoration)
68’ D14 trials (undergoing transformation)

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shopping around several places - bars are in the cart. as a matter of fact, from the paperwork, Baxter sold this spitfire to a gent over in the Sarasota FL area some 20+ years ago.

all others, thanks for the replies. FWIW, since the 66 is running Amals similar to the 67 Mk3, the 67 parts manual is a bit more clear on P/N's and such. much more helpful over the 66 edition. the 67 manual does distinguish the "USA" spitfire over the "domestic" whereas the 66 pretty much only identifies as "S" and/or Mk2. then to confuse thing more, you have the east coast/west coast thing. hurts my brain.

ONE QUESTION - SHOULD A 66 Mk2 SPITFIRE HAVE ALLOY CONTROL LEVERS OR PLATED STEEL? CAN'T SEEM TO FIND A DEFINATIVE ANSWER. bike's "showing" 13K on the clock, and from the overall appearance it just may be correct. from the clutch/brake levers on the bike, they are plated steel, and from the appearance, they seem to be original, but a lot could have changed over the last 50+ years. both the clutch and brake cables appear to be original, but who really knows. when i punch in the part numbers, both styles show up -- puzzled

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the ones Beach posted 2nd post look right to me for US export Spit ........it might be yet another example of language between American "English" and actually English terminology ( so no biggie) but they re also often called SEMI western bars .......full westerns rise a bit higher but drop at a bigger angle

Beach has semi westerns (in my talk) on his fine example which is exactly what my 70 A65L (US export model ) arrived to me with ......new bike

fitting drop bars to a spit is factory ok but bear in mind that "clip ons" will need a different steering yolk ........they are different in that they drop on the top clamp (triple tree to you)


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My '66 factory Spares manual shows the same hand levers (steel) for all A50 & A65 models.


Mark Z

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My spare parts list lists different levers for Spitfires and Hornets:

[Linked Image from oseose.webs.com]


[Linked Image from oseose.webs.com]

Regards

Last edited by Ola; 12/06/20 12:42 pm.

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Those bars must have been "standard" for BSAs sold in the USA that year.

I have an original, rough, unrestored '67 Lightning that still has those same bars.

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Originally Posted by Ignoramus
fitting drop bars to a spit is factory ok but bear in mind that "clip ons" will need a different steering yolk ........they are different in that they drop on the top clamp (triple tree to you)
not sure i understand you're statement. most likely it will not apply at this time as i'm going to install OE style bars - whether they're called western or semi-western - i'll be ordering by the 49-4268 part number. thanks for the reply anyway.

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Originally Posted by Mark Z
My '66 factory Spares manual shows the same hand levers (steel) for all A50 & A65 models.
Originally Posted by Ola
My spare parts list lists different levers for Spitfires and Hornets:

[Linked Image from oseose.webs.com]


[Linked Image from oseose.webs.com]

Regards

STILL CONFUSED - i know the parts manual list two different control levers one - for L and T, and another for S and H. i agree - i need the 68-8718 and 68-8719 levers. when i punch those numbers into a search function, most come up as DOHERTY 200 AMAL type alloy levers. these levers have the cable adjustment built in to them, so I GUESSING since the standard BSA style brake and clutch cables come with adjusters built into them, they won't work. the parts manual, does not call out separate S and H control cables - only one number, fits all. still puzzled.

https://www.ebay.ie/itm/68-8718-68-...CH-LEVERS-BSA-SPITFIRE-ETC-/371104467700

Last edited by joe czech; 12/06/20 1:58 pm.
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I’ve just googled both part numbers and some sites list both numbers against one set of bars. Unless someone can give you measurements it’s hard to be sure what your getting or which is which.


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68’ A65 Lightning “clubman”
71’ A65 823 Thunderbolt (now rebuilt)
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if you get bars like Beach has you will be factory correct for US export .....i only added the bit about the "droop yoke" and clip on cause hey were ok factory option for the Spit and cafe racer style ..........wasnt meaning it had anything to do with your bike ...hope no confusion


Allan above made a good point bout the measurements ................what ever they get called FULL westerns and SEMI westerns are NOT the same


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Ola, is your parts list for 1966 models? It is clearly different from my '66 Spares manual, although the drawing is the same. In your listing, the difference between the hand lever for Spitfire &Hornet vs. other models is the lack of a choke lever (air control). Not sure what the difference in clutch levers is, but they may still be steel in both cases. The alu. lever looks different, no ball-end; I would think they would have had a different drawing for that.

I will scan or photo the page in my manual.


Mark Z

'65(lower)/'66(upper, wheels, front end, controls)/'67(seat, exhaust, fuel tank, headlamp)/'70(frame) A65 Bitsa.
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Originally Posted by Ignoramus
if you get bars like Beach has you will be factory correct for US export .....i only added the bit about the "droop yoke" and clip on cause hey were ok factory option for the Spit and cafe racer style ..........wasnt meaning it had anything to do with your bike ...hope no confusion


Allan above made a good point bout the measurements ................what ever they get called FULL westerns and SEMI westerns are NOT the same

U.S. market BSA bars had an 8-inch rise. U.S. market Triumph bars (late sixties) had a 5-inch rise. The Triumph bars (which I have on my A65 bitsa BTW) may be what were referred to as "semi-Western".

The BSA bars are also "swoopier" than the Triumph bars; i.e., the grips point downward instead of straight out to the sides. The bars in the picture from Baxter's look correct.


Mark Z

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There is an early and late '66 Spares manual. Looks like some of you have the early version, and some of you have the late version. The late version is almost identical to the '67 manual.

'66 Spitfires came with steel controls, '67 with alloy.

I've never had a problem with getting the correct bars when ordering 42-4968. No supplier has ever questioned whether they are high-rise, mid-rise, semi-rise, other-rise, or other-wise.

I'm not a robot.


1967 BSA Wasp
1967 BSA Hornet (West Coast Model)
1967 BSA Hornet (East Coast Model)
1968 BSA Firebird Scrambler
1968 BSA Spitfire Mark IV
1965 Cyclone Competition Build
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Note in the listing below, page reference number 4 (choke lever) and page reference number 9 (brake and air control) are the same for all models.
[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]
[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]


Mark Z

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Originally Posted by Gary E
There is an early and late '66 Spares manual. Looks like some of you have the early version, and some of you have the late version. The late version is almost identical to the '67 manual.

'66 Spitfires came with steel controls, '67 with alloy.

I've never had a problem with getting the correct bars when ordering 42-4968. No supplier has ever questioned whether they are high-rise, mid-rise, semi-rise, other-rise, or other-wise.

I'm not a robot.

That explains the discrepancy. Joe, it looks like you could go either way, but it appears the path of least resistance is to stick with the steel levers.


Mark Z

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Originally Posted by Mark Z
Originally Posted by Ignoramus
if you get bars like Beach has you will be factory correct for US export .....i only added the bit about the "droop yoke" and clip on cause hey were ok factory option for the Spit and cafe racer style ..........wasnt meaning it had anything to do with your bike ...hope no confusion


Allan above made a good point bout the measurements ................what ever they get called FULL westerns and SEMI westerns are NOT the same

U.S. market BSA bars had an 8-inch rise. U.S. market Triumph bars (late sixties) had a 5-inch rise. The Triumph bars (which I have on my A65 bitsa BTW) may be what were referred to as "semi-Western".

The BSA bars are also "swoopier" than the Triumph bars; i.e., the grips point downward instead of straight out to the sides. The bars in the picture from Baxter's look correct.


here is as close as i can fund to the full western look

https://www.trojanclassics.com/assets/full/BAR0099.jpg?20200707030809


the Semi westerns are more like this......not exact but best i can find

https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/JaUAAOSwsypeutKS/s-l400.jpg


but yes what you say ......the full are droopier (good word)

its subtle but they are different

Last edited by Ignoramus; 12/06/20 7:13 pm.

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I have both the bars you link to ignoramus, the first set “full western” I got from LF HARRIS, if you mount them with a forward lean as per the advertising drawings they are quite comfortable. The “semi western” ones were ordered by a supplier for me and not what I wanted, I did try them and found them uncomfortable, almost like a high off roading bar.

I didn’t get the feeling that the full western was any higher than the semi western, just one set was more swoopier than the other.


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68’ A65 Lightning “clubman”
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Originally Posted by Allan G
I have both the bars you link to ignoramus, the first set “full western” I got from LF HARRIS, if you mount them with a forward lean as per the advertising drawings they are quite comfortable. The “semi western” ones were ordered by a supplier for me and not what I wanted, I did try them and found them uncomfortable, almost like a high off roading bar.

I didn’t get the feeling that the full western was any higher than the semi western, just one set was more swoopier than the other.

I like the Semi westerns ........the droop angle (dont ever use that term to a woman hahhaahha ) is to hard on my wrists, horses for courses i guess ....i think the full are slightly higher but due to swoop angle your wrists are in about the same height from tree .....dont know for sure about height need some one to measure them

i think the point we have established is that there IS a difference in who calls what what ...........DANG


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Originally Posted by Gary E
There is an early and late '66 Spares manual. Looks like some of you have the early version, and some of you have the late version. The late version is almost identical to the '67 manual.

'66 Spitfires came with steel controls, '67 with alloy.

I've never had a problem with getting the correct bars when ordering 42-4968. No supplier has ever questioned whether they are high-rise, mid-rise, semi-rise, other-rise, or other-wise.

I'm not a robot.

this is starting to shed some light on the subject. thanks!

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Thought the original question was how the cables should be run. First thing I'd do is correct the throttle cables. Under the brake lever.


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