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Hi all,

Brand new here, and looking for a source of information and help as I embark on the journey of bringing a 1967 A65 Thunderbolt back to life.

I will preface this by saying I am not a rider myself, so have never owned a bike before. I do however like projects (especially engines) So when I got the opportunity to take this on for the wonderful price of FREE I could not say no. Bear with me as I use the wrong terminology and make rookie mistakes. Have a good laugh at my expense, then kindly point me in the right direction!

Anyways, the story goes this bike has not been on the road since 1971. With 13, XXX miles on the odometer, it threw a rod and punched a hole in the crankcase. The then owner sat with it for a while (30ish years, during which time it had a small fire that burned up the seat) before passing it along to a family member which happens to be my father-in-law.

My FIL then got a few parts like a new crankcase and a new con-rod, but it stopped there and sat for a few (20ish) years. I am able to have it to work on in hopes of getting it on the road once more. Now me being reasonably busy and having young kids, I do know this will take me 2 or 3 years to complete. But I have the space to do it, and the interest in hearing it run again so here we are!

Here are a few pictures of the frame, boxes, and whatnot. I can always get more if anyone wants. https://imgur.com/a/3LKM5Xx There is good and bad with this project, things like the head which I show in those pics are pretty rough from not seeing oil in 50 years. Other things like the clutch pack and drive chain I swear are brand new. Only time will tell what other goodies are in store for me: eek

On to a couple of questions, I do have:

1- Is this board the best place for me to be asking for technical advice for this bike when I inevitably run into problems?
2- I am located in Saskatchewan, Canada. Can anyone recommend a decent place to buy parts where the shipping won't break the bank? I see some affiliate links here on the site, but figured I would ask if there is a preference.
3- I am under the impression that many of the nuts and bolts on this bike will be Whitworth. Any truth to that?

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

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G'day
First up, get yourself a workshop manual and a parts list book for the bike.
You will need a set of WW/BSF spanners and sockets, the '67 has no other types of thread
(other than a couple of BA ). Most are BSF some are BSC (cycle) which the spanners will fit.
Get a large bucket of diesel and immerse the dirty/corroded components in and go and read
the manual.

British Cycle Supply are a good Canadian outfit for parts i believe.

Years of fun ahead eh?

Nick

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+1 to what Nick said.
Some other literature that might be handy, Thunderbolts and Lightning by Peter Crawford, Wideline Publishing, just out recently so still in print..
This has great info.
BSA Twin Restoration by Roy Bacon, out of print , but 2nd hand copies are out there. Its more UK orientated so some specific export details are wrong, but it has useful info and pics.

This site is a very good resource. If you take up premium membership posting images gets a bit easier. To search the site use Google, search term," BSA forum A65 ( then the specific question) ", the onsite search is very difficult to use.


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Thanks for the tips Nick. Lucky for me the bike came along with a workshop manual, parts list book and a copy of Modern motorcycle mechanics by J.B. Nicholson.

I have a small parts washer, but a bucket for soaking might make things a bit easier.

Let's hope for the years of fun!

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The book "Building Budget Brits" by Mike Brown is an excellent introduction to all things Brit bike.
https://www.amazon.com/Building-Budget-Brits-Practical-Refurbishing/dp/1884313620

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Originally Posted by M.Gunderson
Lucky for me the bike came along with a workshop manual, parts list book and a copy of Modern motorcycle mechanics by J.B. Nicholson.
Is that the factory BSA manual, or a third-party manual such as Haynes? The original factory manual is excellent. The Nicholson book is highly regarded, so that's good as well.
The correct parts book is almost essential these days. It should be readily available. Alternatively, our host has reinstated ads for Kim th CD Man's CD sets. The BSA edition has a plethora of BSA parts books, service sheets and workshop manual for a quite reasonable price.

One thing to be very wary of is that a number of 1970 model A65s sent to north America had engine numbers which are easily confused with 1967 models. Given that you know most of the bike's history, this probably won't cause problems for you.

There has been some good advice above to get you started. A first pass of the workshop manual is an excellent starting point.

One thing to watch out for is that BSA changed the crankcases and crankshaft in 1966 (I think), switching from a ball bearing on the drive side to a roller bearing. They don't mix and match readily. There were further changes in 1970 where the cylinder stud diameters and locations changed, which can be another trap.

If you can post the frame number, original engine number, and number from the placement crankcases, we should be able to tell you if they're compatible.

It should be nice project.

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You can overlook Nicholson for now unless you like to read in bed. "Modern Motorcycle Mechanics" was modern back in 1942. While the later editions, 6 in 1969 & 7 in 1974, do cover unit construction BSA's, there is not much in the way of specific information. It was a lot of good general reading but it was originally written to bring old WWII-trained mechanics up to speed on the new motorcycles. More oriented to good workshop practice than getting your A65 taken apart, repaired where necessary, & put back together again.


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Thanks for more tips guys. My parts book is genuine from BSA, so that's a plus. The workshop manual I have is a Haynes published in 1974. It seems ok for the most part, but sometimes seems to assume you have a general knowledge about the machine already (I'm working on it I swear!). The Nicholson book is the 6th edition, so has some relevant things.

As for serial numbers, my frame # is A65TA 18107
my engine# is A65TA 18107-Y

There is another number on the crankcase 68-628 that is behind the right side cover. I have no idea what this number means unfortunately.

So seems I have one of the dash Y bikes. That means something along the lines of it being produced later in the year?

I guess I need to get my story straight a bit. That is the original crankcase, and I don't see significant damage to it. It definitely looks like the left side cylinder suffered the failure as there were bent valves on that side. That is the same side that has the serial number stamping. I am seeing my Father in Law tonight, and will ask him about the backstory of failure again and what parts they bought.

[img]https://imgur.com/a/X3VjMXe[/img] Here are pics of the serial #'s

Thanks again guys.

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To establish the year of the bike look at the following details.

1970 onwards models had a significant change , the clutch cable has a vertical entry into the outer timing case. also cylinder base flange studs were enlarged to 3/8 " diam and fitted with bi hex nuts.
A 67 model would have the clutch cable entering the rear section of the timing side casing horizontally and have 5/16 cylinder base studs with normal hex nuts. Many of the - Y models had the 1970 features.
A 67 front brake would be 8 Single leading shoe, a 1970 would be a twin leading shoe .

the haynes manual is better than no manual, a year specific manual is best of all, but first establish the year going by the info above.

looking at the pic of the motor number it does not have the raised boss , so its got 67 cases, but do check the clutch cable and stud sizes to be sure, the - y thing is complicated, theres a whole thread here dedicated to it.

Last edited by gavin eisler; 10/24/21 12:01 am.

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+1 for British Cycle Supply in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. I've been doing business with them for about 30 years. Their staff is knowledgeable and helpful, and they've never sent me the wrong stuff.


Mark Z

'65(lower)/'66(upper, wheels, front end, controls)/'67(seat, exhaust, fuel tank, headlamp)/'70(frame) A65 Bitsa.
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The frame pictured is pre -69 (no fairing lugs on head stock), and the cylinder is pre -70 (no cut aways on lower cooling rib over the bolts). Together with the numbers, I would be very certain it is a -67.
Best regards.

Last edited by Ola; 10/24/21 10:24 am.

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Originally Posted by M.Gunderson
Thanks for more tips guys. My parts book is genuine from BSA, so that's a plus. The workshop manual I have is a Haynes published in 1974. It seems ok for the most part, but sometimes seems to assume you have a general knowledge about the machine already (I'm working on it I swear!). The Nicholson book is the 6th edition, so has some relevant things.
The BSA workshop manual is excellent; the Haynes is adequate.

Originally Posted by M.Gunderson
As for serial numbers, my frame # is A65TA 18107
my engine# is A65TA 18107-Y
Yep, that's 1967.

Originally Posted by M.Gunderson
So seems I have one of the dash Y bikes. That means something along the lines of it being produced later in the year?
The dash Y indicated some running changes during the 1967 model year, mostly the oil feed/return manifold and some electrical changes. For some unknown reason, BSA later produced 'Y' bikes (no dash), which for all intents and purposes are later models. There are various hypotheses, but I won't ruin your reading pleasure on the epic "Dash Y and Y" thread.

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First time BSA owner here too. Mine was completely road ready with a fresh top end. It’s a ‘68 Scrambler, and I absolutely love it!

6920A75C-78DB-4F07-A821-946D9BB52050.jpeg

If you love it, let it go. If it comes back, you've highsided!"
2016 Triumph Bonneville America LT
1968 BSA Firebird “Scrambler”
1982 Triumph T-140 “Electro”

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