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#855585 08/06/21 10:16 pm
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Lately I've been feeling the urge to find a 441 or 500 to bop around on.
My first real bike that I owned fully was a Honda 100 CB bought new (with the help of my dad). Not enough for me so I sold it and bought a used Victor Special for $240. What a difference!! From smooth, quiet and efficient to a loud, raucous FU ! to the neighborhood that seemed to lose parts regularly from the vibration. I loved it! I lived in a very hilly area near Berkeley, Calif. and that low-end torque came in handy. Was a blast out at "Richmond Ramblers" (that's what we called it since there was/is a club there by that name) in Pt. Richmond dirt hills.
My best friend had a Gold Star from the '50s that he acquired when a neighbor (Hell's Angels Oakland chapter) member was killed in an accident and his family gave the bike to my friends family. My 441 could beat his GS in acceleration and I beat another friend's Triumph 500 twin too.
Long boring story short, I had to move to Los Angeles and sold my BSA. Then after a couple Hondas, I found a 441 for $50 left behind at an apartment building. Ran that bike while working 110 hour weeks until it got stuck in 4th gear.. I had NO time to fix it and just kept riding it like that, having to push start it. I ran it for months in 4th gear only. Then I bought another for $50.That was in the '70s though.
Occasionally I will see a 441 popping by and I still lust after this model bike. I envy you guys lucky or fortunate enough to have one of these brutes. I may need to amend my "bucket list" to include one of these 441 Victors. -BA just rambling on

Last edited by BAinLA; 08/07/21 12:23 am.

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Yeah, B44s are nice. B50s have more power, but are highly strung.

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And if you get the crank balanced, parts don't fall off as fast. In fact, it transforms the engine imho, and you will be much more willing to use the revs.

I had mine get stuck in first and then rode it 30 miles home that way (see my first comment). The selector pawl had turned sideways and wouldn't grab the camplate. It was pretty deep into the right side of the gearbox but was an easy fix once I was in there.

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Larry, I think I have maybe seen just one of those here in the States. Were they even sold here? Were those huge crash bars standard? Never seen a bike with those before.

Last edited by BAinLA; 08/07/21 2:27 am.

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Originally Posted by BAinLA
Larry, I think I have maybe seen just one of those here in the States. Were they even sold here? Were those huge crash bars standard? Never seen a bike with those before.

First thing I did after losing a mirror and noticing a big crack in the handle bar (If memory serves) was take the crank down to a shop run by the late Dick Mann to have the big-end replaced. Don't know if he would have checked the balance as a matter of routine. I wish I had had more time, I would have looked into that stuck trans. I probably didn't even check the oil level.


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Originally Posted by Shane in Oz
Yeah, B44s are nice. B50s have more power, but are highly strung.

My Victor had 11-1 compression I believe. I don't recall ever seeing or hearing about a B50 around here. B50 is the 1970s "Gold Star" and "Shooting Star"? Or was it also the older GS? -BA

Last edited by BAinLA; 08/07/21 2:41 am.

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Originally Posted by BAinLA
Originally Posted by Shane in Oz
Yeah, B44s are nice. B50s have more power, but are highly strung.

My Victor had 11-1 compression I believe. I don't recall ever seeing or hearing about a B50 around here. B50 is the 1970s "Gold Star" and "Shooting Star"? Or was it also the older GS? -BA

Stock 441 BSAs had 9.4:1 compression - if yours had been modified to 11:1, it would have been one miserable batarde to start! I wouldn't want to have ridden it!

BSA recycled the "Gold Star" name from the original competition-based pre-unit 500 singles, and applied it to the 1971-72 250 and 500 unit singles, much to the disgust and dismay of the original Gold Star owners. There were a LOT of them sold, so the local lack of them is pretty unusual ... they're all over the place east of the Mississippi.

Lannis


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Originally Posted by BAinLA
Larry, I think I have maybe seen just one of those here in the States. Were they even sold here? Were those huge crash bars standard? Never seen a bike with those before.

Again, Shooting Stars are/were common in the East - you see more of them than you do Victors as a general thing.

No, BSA didn't put crash bars and touring gear on 441s. That's something that the owner did. People will do all sorts of things to haul their stuff with them on a single .... Just ask Gordon if those coolers on each side of his Touring Shooting Star are stock .... !!

Lannis


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Originally Posted by Shane in Oz
Yeah, B44s are nice. B50s have more power, but are highly strung.
Originally Posted by BAinLA
My Victor had 11-1 compression I believe.
A B50 still made more HP. And it has lighter flywheels which make starting trickier.
Originally Posted by Lannis
Stock 441 BSAs had 9.4:1 compression - if yours had been modified to 11:1, it would have been one miserable batarde to start! I wouldn't want to have ridden it!
Round barrel B44's, afaik, came with a compression plate and were 11 to1 with the plate removed. A stock round barrel Victor, plate removed, is usually much quicker than a stock square barrel one. I've had several of both and that's always been the case for me.
And, the early ones were ET ignition which could complicate the starting drill. I had one kick me back, rip the heel right off my boot and toss it across the shop.

Originally Posted by BAinLA
First thing I did ......was take the crank down to a shop run by the late Dick Mann to have the big-end replaced. Don't know if he would have checked the balance as a matter of routine........
They probably didn't. Dynamic balancing one of those is a lot of extra work. Especially since the LH counterweight is lots heavier than the RH one. It's a built in rocking couple and takes a lot of drilling or machining to set right. But they sure are nice once it's done. I statically balance mine each side separately for results nearly as good as a spin balance. (Maybe better because the balancing doesn't depend on the accuracy of 2 truing jobs.)

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the Shooting Star has a fiberglass tank. modern gas will eat that. even the non-alky fuel

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69/70 Shooting Star has a steel tank, 68 and before has the glass fibre tank plus oil tank.

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Yeah, I have the cravings too. Back in 1972 I bought a used B50 that had been crashed for $180.00. I bought it from a guy's mother. He son was in bad shape. Bent front forks and really bent frame. Engine and gearbox were undamaged. I bought a new frame from a local BSA dealer that was stripping new bikes down for parts to sell since he couldn't get new parts from BSA. The frame was from a 250, which was the same. I switched frames and beat on the front forks with a sledge hammer to straighten them. I rode that bike for 2 - 3 years. It was fantastic to ride. Unbelievable torque. I hated the OIF though. That thing could be scary to start. You never knew when it was going to kick back. I remember one particularly bad handstand followed by a landing in a trash can. There was something about the size of the bike and the way it felt and sounded while riding that I never got over. At the time I had other BSA A65s but I preferred to ride the B50 unless it was a long trip. I recently broke down and bought a 1969 441 VS and am in the process of getting it reliable. It only has a little over 5,000 original miles but hadn't been started since 2005. The PO kept it in their living room. I now have it running, but no matter what I do I can't start it with a kick. It starts right up and runs and idles very well when rolling it down a hill. Very frustrating. I think it may be the timing.


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I have a lovely 441SS for sale!

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Originally Posted by pushrod tom
I have a lovely 441SS for sale!

So you've said..... clap......pics or it didn't happen?

Some of us can't resist....once we've laid our eyes on it. help Just saying and a great thread to post it on?

One of the BSA unit single guys.......Gordon in NC ( and NO the cooler bags aren't stock)

PS.....just my opinion....worth what you paid for it. My first unit single love was for a B40ES.......then moved on to a NEW Victor Special.....absolutely loved both of them....still do BUT..........CENTER STAND. Something that's NOT
found on either of those two and once I had one....I don't want to go back.

Last edited by Gordon Gray; 08/07/21 1:04 pm.

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Originally Posted by LarryLebel


You're slipping Larry.........we've had that "Shooting Star vs Roadster" conversation several times. laughing

Your bike is VERY NICE........every now and then I watch and enjoy your videos over again. thumbsup

Prices are down IMO.......more of a buyers market right now which could help the OP find one. I LOVE the things.......but understand their drawbacks.

Take care........hope you still have that sweet little car since it looks like you're backing away from two wheels.

Gordon in NC, USA

Last edited by Gordon Gray; 08/07/21 2:43 pm.

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Gordon. I used the name "Roadster", instead of the correct name, "Shooting Star", to emphasize that BAinLA needs a road going bike in the city. I don't remember our exchanges on the topic but don't feel slighted because its not the only thing I don't remember. I do still have the Mini. It's for my final ride. When that time arrives there'll need to be somebody around that can drive a standard. Take care.

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Originally Posted by LarryLebel
"Fiberglass gas tank has been epoxy coated to resist methanol fuel."

Methanol.
So the luggage carrier is mainly for traction.


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"Epoxy-coated to resist methanol fuel."

Famous last words.

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It helps to not actually use methanol fuel. Here on the west coast of NA, we can get 94 octane fuel that does not have methanol, at least that's what Chevron says.

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Where I live you can buy 87, 89 and 92 octane gasoline with no ethanol or methanol. That's all I burn in my motorcycles, lawn mowers and other small engines. I burn the cheaper ethanol blend in the one gasoline powered car we have. Everything else we have is diesel including my M1030M1 USMC surplus diesel motorcycle.

Last edited by Gary Caines; 09/17/21 1:33 am.

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Originally Posted by Lannis
Originally Posted by BAinLA
Originally Posted by Shane in Oz
Yeah, B44s are nice. B50s have more power, but are highly strung.

My Victor had 11-1 compression I believe. I don't recall ever seeing or hearing about a B50 around here. B50 is the 1970s "Gold Star" and "Shooting Star"? Or was it also the older GS? -BA

Stock 441 BSAs had 9.4:1 compression - if yours had been modified to 11:1, it would have been one miserable batarde to start! I wouldn't want to have ridden it!

BSA recycled the "Gold Star" name from the original competition-based pre-unit 500 singles, and applied it to the 1971-72 250 and 500 unit singles, much to the disgust and dismay of the original Gold Star owners. There were a LOT of them sold, so the local lack of them is pretty unusual ... they're all over the place east of the Mississippi.

Lannis


OK then I stand corrected about the CR. Somewhere I got the idea that I had the 11-1 engine. It was not hard to start if I just put it in gear and rolled it back, click to Neutral and stomp it over. But I had exceptional leg strength from riding bicycles my whole childhood on those Berkeley hills.
All of my 441 Victors were round bore, alloy tank, than is until I put one out for sale and a sailor on leave from San Diego came up for a test drive and gassed it going around his first corner and crashed an burned the seat and the tank. I put a Honda seat and tank on it from a 350 and sold it pretty quick.

Last edited by BAinLA; 08/08/21 3:31 am.

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Round barrel could have been 11:1, as mentioned above. I think they were even advertised as such, though the compression plate needed to be removed to get there (came with the plate installed I've been told, so actually weren't as stock).

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Originally Posted by BAinLA
.....OK then I stand corrected about the CR. Somewhere I got the idea that I had the 11-1 engine.....
Not so fast, you could actually have had that.

If it was a 1966 B44E without the compression plate, it was 11.4 to 1. If you had a B44GP, that was 11.4 to 1 also. Did any of them have oil in the frame?

From the 1967 B44EA onward, there isn't a compression plate listed and afaik, they are all 9.4 to 1.

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IF I ever buy another BSA it will be a single. Love to find a good B50, but a B44 would do nicely. Proper metal tanks only.


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