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Hi everyone
I’m new to the world of BSA. Long story short about a decade ago my friend’s neighbor gave him a 1970 BSA Victor special with 3k miles on it that had been sitting since 1979. He said it didn’t run and needed clutch work. My friend and I being about 14 at the time tried our best to get it running but hell we were 14 and got a bit of progress done before my friend lost interest so we stopped working on it. For the past ten years I kept trying to buy it from him. Finally he gave in. So now this 1970 441 is all mine.

First thing I did was take the motor out of the frame since it had been sitting with no oil and no spark plug in it despite it spinning freely I figured I should pull it apart and check everything out. The cylinder looks amazing and can still see the cross hatching very minor scuff marks that I can’t feel with a finger nail. Piston looks pretty good too.

The clutch was missing a ball bearing for the pushrod so I assume that was the previous owners clutch trouble. Despite the bike had 3k miles someone had messed with it a bit. The shift lever was brazed to the shift shaft and pretty much every nut I’ve come across has been partially rounded from what I assume is someone using standard wrenches on them (some of which was probably 14 year old me haha)

Anyway I bought the book the Rupert ratio and I’m reading it cover to cover but I have a few questions not really covered in the book/ a bit specific to my bike.

1. Is it worth converting to electronic ignition? And if I do should I get the electrix CDI 12V conversion. Or go with the Boyer unit? Anyone have any opinions on either? I think the CDI would be the way to go I’m no BSA expert.

2. Should I bore the cylinder anyway? The scuff marks aren’t bad on the cylinder and I can’t feel them but I can’t find a standard piston, and my piston isn’t great it’s not bad but it’s scuffed snd I’d prefer not to use it. Seems like a .010 over piston is easy enough to find. I don’t mind paying for a bore but I’d be curious what you lot would do.

3. I need to repair the shift shaft for the shift lever the threads are ridiculously stripped and brazed over. I found a repair shaft but it seems I need a lathe to cut the old shaft off perfectly and bore a 1/2 in hole into the shifter and then braze the new shaft in. Is that something better left to the professionals or is it fairly easy to do. I’m an aircraft mechanic by trade and I’ve tinkered with cars and bikes my whole life but I’ve never used a metal lathe but I could get access to one I think it would be easy enough to do but I’d hate to mess it up and struggle to find a new one.

Anyway I’m glad to join you all with my New to me BSA Id like to hear any advice or options you all have since well I’m 24 no one my age even knows what a BSA is so I figured I better seek out the guidance of you lot.
Thanks
-George.

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Well hey! A hearty welcome to you, nice to see a person interested in Victors without grey hair (though you might end up with it after messing with a BSA for a while).

You'll need to weigh the consensus of opinions on your questions, as there are no certain answers. Here are my questionable opinions;

1- I would do the conversion to EI (though I won't offer an opinion on which). For me, the reducing of the possibility/probability of kickback was a convincer.
2- Couldn't answer without actually seeing the piston, but standard size pistons do come up on ebay occasionally. And cheap, because nobody replaces pistons without an overbore. If it was an easy deal...?
3- If the engine was in situ, I might suggest a cobble-fix with a pin, but as you already have it out and are tearing it down, I'd probably replace the entire shaft. PIA.

If you're not aware of it, BSAunitsingles.com is a very good resource for parts and info.

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don't bore it yet. maybe run a dingle ball hone, clean everything and go with it. I wouldn't even replace the rings.

buy an NOS shift shaft and lever. at least the shaft

I've installed the Boyer is half a dozen old Brit bikes & like them. I could start my B44 and B50s wearing house slippers.

40+ years A&P, AI, pilot SEL, SES, MEL, instructor, FAA designee

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and……welcome aboard and I’m honored to give you your first “ like”

We have a lot of unit single owners with lots of knowledge that they are willing to share. You’ve already had two reply to you.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions….try searching first but you really can’t beat real life experience and for the most part unit single folks don’t mind answering any questions.

On line research can be a bit confusing. For that matter you’re going to hear difference opinions on here too…you have to take it all in then decide for yourself.

A perfect example is the EI vs Points question.

It’s nice to see someone your age wanting to give these old beasts a go.

Last edited by Gordon Gray; 08/26/22 12:38 pm.

Gordon Gray in NC, USA........"STOP blaming the bike!!!!”
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I've owned my B44 for over 12 years and my thoughts on the issues at hand are as follows:-
- I would convert to EI, mainly because the advance curve is controlled electronically rather than bob weights and springs. Once setup, EI is usually very reliable though you do need to ensure at least 12v power supply otherwise kick back can happen (at least with Boyer). I've heard good reports about the Vape EI system and would use that if I was building another bike.

- I have no experience with the electrix CDI 12V conversion you mention, usually these bikes rely on an alternator and rotor in good condition, combined with modern a solid state regulator/rectifier and 12v battery. Often people upgrade to a higher output 3 phase alternator and rotor Like This one which requires a 3 phase regulator/rectifier like This Example, shop around for the best deals. Worth checking what you already have as it may be adequate, though the rotors loose magnetism over the years.

- B44's can have a tendency to smoke due to badly seated rings, so with the piston and bore in the condition you mention, I think a re-bore would be a good idea and use the latest Hepolite piston which comes with a modern ring package which is very good. Try to avoid JCC/GPM pistons which come with old style iron rings and are hard to run in. Alternately the JCC/GPM pistons could be fitted with a Hastings ring set which use 3 piece oil control rings and are much better than one piece iron rings.

- I've had a repair shaft fitted on my A65, it was beyond my skills to install it so I farmed it out to a local engineer who did an excellent job for not much money.

Last edited by gunner; 08/26/22 1:37 pm.

1968 A65 Firebird
1967 B44 Shooting Star
1972 Norton Commando
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Originally Posted by Gordon Gray
It’s nice to see someone your age wanting to give these old beasts a go.

Dang, this is why I’m old before my time and bitter, no-one ever said nice things like that to me when I started at 20. laugh

Joking aside, I love it when I see young people riding or just getting interested in these old bikes (and not just BSA) these bikes are a real part of history and still a very practical and viable form of transport for modern day, more so than the cars of the same era.

Fairly economical to run even compared to modern bikes.

The only sad thing about them is the cost of spares is getting silly. When I started and for a long time I was earning a pittance, the bike was my hobby and I spent most my pittance and all my free time either tinkering away or going off enjoying rallies. So if you find your not getting on as quick with the bike as you would like (and I was quite impatient at one time) relax, take some time off and do some reading. So much to learn with these things, more than just what the WSM, parts books or mate down the pub can tell you.

Belgium and Netherlands seems to have a great audience of young members, all very active and do a lot of the rallies. We could do with a lot more in Britain.

Britbike is a great resource for getting to know people, and if your not already, look at joining the BSA Owners club. You may even decide to attend some of the international rallies (with or without your bike in attendance)


Now let’s all have a beer beerchug

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

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Originally Posted by Allan G
Originally Posted by Gordon Gray
It’s nice to see someone your age wanting to give these old beasts a go.

Dang, this is why I’m old before my time and bitter, no-one ever said nice things like that to me when I started at 20. laugh

Uh……either we are learning from our mistakes or…….nobody liked you. 😂

Note to George ( the original poster)…….once you’re welcomed into the fold be forewarned. Nothing is sacred and you must have thick skin. 🤪

Oh and DON’T let richrd near any of your women.

Last edited by Gordon Gray; 08/26/22 2:24 pm.

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I would not buy an electronic ignition before you get the bike going. You may be satisfied with the points. While many folks these days seem to think they are absolutely necessary, they are not. A properly working points system works just fine. I have points on all three of my unit singles as well as my Italian singles. They all work fine. The advantages of EI are
1) less maintenance;
2) Costs less to buy if you are faced with buying a new ignition advance and points;
3) linear advance curve (if that is what you are looking for).
The disadvantages of EI are:
1) Most won't run with a low or dead battery like points will;
2) If something does go wrong, its harder to fix by the side of the road;
3) Linear advance curve (part of the thrill with old British Bikes is shove in the back you get when the advance kicks in. You don't get that with EI. Its one of the reasons EI equipped bikes often feel slower even though they aren't.).
With regard to kickbacks, don't start the bike straddling it, and don't start it with short stabbing kicks like you might start a two-stroke. Stand to the side and when you kick it, follow through to the bottom of the stroke. You are much less likely to get a kickback.


Ed From NJ

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Quote
I would not buy an electronic ignition before you get the bike going. You may be satisfied with the points. While many folks these days seem to think they are absolutely necessary, they are not. A properly working points system works just fine. I have points on all three of my unit singles as well as my Italian singles. They all work fine. The advantages of EI are
1) less maintenance;
2) Costs less to buy if you are faced with buying a new ignition advance and points;
3) linear advance curve (if that is what you are looking for).
The disadvantages of EI are:
1) Most won't run with a low or dead battery like points will;
2) If something does go wrong, its harder to fix by the side of the road;
3) Linear advance curve (part of the thrill with old British Bikes is shove in the back you get when the advance kicks in. You don't get that with EI. Its one of the reasons EI equipped bikes often feel slower even though they aren't.).
With regard to kickbacks, don't start the bike straddling it, and don't start it with short stabbing kicks like you might start a two-stroke. Stand to the side and when you kick it, follow through to the bottom of the stroke. You are much less likely to get a kickback.

I agree with all the points made by Ed and its certainly better to get the bike running with points ignition and see how you get on, before progressing to installing EI. My feeling is that EI offers a significant improvement over points, but only if the rest of the electronics is up to scratch and also the carburation.

Starting these bikes can be problematic, and my preference is to have the bike on the center stand so that any kick energy goes into turning the engine rather than compressing the suspension and then bring the piston up until compression is felt, then kick hard. It helps if the ignition is spot on and not over over advanced which can be a source of kickback.Using a longer trials type kick start can be useful to ensure the engine turns with sufficient speed to get it started.


1968 A65 Firebird
1967 B44 Shooting Star
1972 Norton Commando
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Originally Posted by Gordon Gray
Originally Posted by Allan G
Originally Posted by Gordon Gray
It’s nice to see someone your age wanting to give these old beasts a go.

Dang, this is why I’m old before my time and bitter, no-one ever said nice things like that to me when I started at 20. laugh

Uh……either we are learning from our mistakes or…….nobody liked you. 😂

I think you mean Like”s”😂.


Now let’s all have a beer beerchug

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

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Allan my friend......you do have a reputation!!! laughing

Sorry George.......I tend to get carried away.

My only suggestion ( I'm staying out of the EI vs Points ....I'm still on the fence) would be since you have to go into the gear box........check everything out. There could be a reason the shifter got beat up. It would be a shame to install a NOS shaft and have something else in there worn enough to give you grief.

[Linked Image]

If you have trouble finding a NOS shaft......I can probably come up with a good usable one.

Last edited by Gordon Gray; 08/26/22 9:54 pm.

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Goerge,
Well not only did you knock the hornets nest out of the tree, you gave it a hefty kick as well asking questions like "should I use EI?".
My answer would be absolutely YES, you are much more likely to get it running BUT don't toss the points in case you end up wanting to "proper" restoration.

I use the Vape / Wassel units on my B441s, very happy and not a single kick back, work happily down to 9v.
Podtronics reg and rec simply work.
Get a new Premier AMAL as soon as you can afford it, but remember that 90% of carb problems are the electrics, Jo Lucas was not known as the Prince of Darkness for nothing..
Re the gear change shaft.... the complete mechanisms do show up, one of mine was toast as well, Peter at BSA Unit Singles is (for me) the go to place for bits and often seems to have stuff not listed on his website, my advise would be to ask.

Rebore .... probably. I did both of mine as one barrel was egg shaped (+40 thou) and the other was trash at an existing +50. With than one I bored out the existing liner and inserted a new one then bored to stock.

If the thing has been sitting around since '79, it may of may not have valve seats suitable for unleaded, now some say you don't need to change them, personally I did (actually did the guides and fitted new valves as well).

Mike Waller of Britannia Motors did a series of YouTubes on rebuilding a B441VS, I found them useful and entertaining.
Well done for getting The Blessed Rupert Ratio books!

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Wow I didn’t expect to get nearly as many replies!
I’ll try to get back with more specific replies to everyone but thank you all for welcoming me and all the great advice so far,

I think since I have the whole motor pretty much pulled apart (besides the case half’s waiting on a clutch pulling tool.) I figure the EI is a no brainer. The points don’t look awful but a mouse got to much of the bikes wiring. So I figure no point in fixing all the get the points working just to then switch everyone over the EI. Figure may as well do a 12V and EI conversion all at once. The Boyer seems like a good unit I was leaning more towards the electrix but after hearing about that VAPE one and it’s very reasonable price that might be the direction I’ll go. I’ll have to do more reading.

For the shift shaft I think it would be cool to try and repair it with the piece I got from BSAunitsingles. But if I fail it’s good to know Gordon has a bin of them. Thank you for that offer! I try not to throw stuff out I can fix or attempt to fix. I guess that’s how I end up with abandoned bikes and cars.

The cylinder under closer inspection looks ok not great not bad. I haven’t measured anything yet but I have nice and calibrated bore gauges and other measuring tools from the last engine I rebuilt for my car so I should be able to measure it for out of round and all that. As for the scoring i can’t feel it so it seems like something a ball hone could take out. But I still wouldn’t be opposed to just going for a bore and new piston like Gunner said. Also my bike didn’t come with a center stand. But I was thinking about installing one and after reading that about kicking it over it seems like a no brainer.

I tend to use everything I work on nothing sits around. So any modifications I can do to make it more streetable would be preferred I was lightly reading on the B50 intake valve it would be cool to port the head put a 32mm carb on it with that valve and maybe lighten some components like the Rupert ratio says. Nothing crazy just squeeze a little more out of it so I can get out of the way of the Toyota suv that will inevitably merge into me. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

As for the rest of it I found a crack and bend in one of my case pieces where the stator is which someone previously had repaired with hot glue it looks like. Doesn’t look like RTV pretty janky. Hopefully a good machinist will be able to sort it out. The gearbox I want to take apart and measure all the shims and look for problems but at a quick glance it looks good. And there’s some screw driver pry marks on the kickstart side cover that are pretty damn deep. I figure I can fill them with grey RTV but I’d prefer to have them welded and shaved and try out this well seal or Hylomar that the British bike folks speak so highly of rather than go the rtv route.

And I’m pretty used to mechanical forums don’t worry no one will make me cry. When I’m wrong I’m wrong and at the end of the day it’s all opinions. So far you’re all much more welcoming than the alfa bulletin board. Thanks again for all the advice I’m going to try to figure out how to post photos. So I can show you all the cylinder walls, the cracked case, and the bike itself of course.

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https://imgur.com/gallery/4J5vrTp
There’s a bunch of the photos of the bike and everything.

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Thanks Steve! I bought my Rupert ratio from that site. And even met Peter? I think his name was Peter briefly at the Connecticut British iron show the other weekend. Good resource for sure. Definitely will do EI and take a crack at the gear shaft repair, as for the piston and liner more inspecting will have to be done. Thanks.

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Yea I may order a ball hone and try to see if that will suffice. I’ll have to do more inspecting if the cylinder and measure it and also see what pistons I can get. And good to see another person in aviation on here! God knows it’s not an easy field to be in. I work on a fleet of C208s on floats operated in salt water part 135. Never a dull moment that’s for sure.
Thanks!

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I’d definitely like to find a local club the only one I currently know about is the Connecticut British iron association. I’m sure they could be very helpful. I do get a little impatient but I forced myself to wait for my Whitworth wrenches to come in before pulling the motor apart I can be impatient but I’ve screwed myself too many times ordering the proper tool but getting impatient and trying whatever I’m doing with the wrong tool one too many times so lesson learned there. And I do plan on riding this thing I always wanted a motorcycle I could commute on and take the shortcut off road down the power lines service road on the way in! Thanks Allan!

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The advance is in good shape it seems but the wiring and the points are not so I feel starting fresh with a 12V and EI system might be less of a headache. But I will or course keep every part I take off. Never throw anything away especially when dealing with old machinery. The power curve and delivery makes sense to me I feel like I’d prefer the points power delivery but the rest of the EI benefits make up for it. And thanks for the kickback advice that definitely makes sense. Good to hear from someone fairly close to me. Thanks Ed!

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I’ll have to find that YouTube series.

When my valve compressor tool comes in I’ll check out the seat. The exhaust valve had tons of lead on it that I cleaned off. I was thinking about running it on a mix of AVGAS and regular pump gas since I work at an airport and 100LL AVGAS is available. Aviation avgas has 4X the amount of lead that old leaded gas has so I usually mix it with pump gas so it’s not too much. But it may all be unnecessary if I end up replacing the seats and valves and guides etc. hoping to find a 32mm carb and port to match.
Thanks Dave!

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Peter Quick ( that is probably who you met) is my go to guy on parts for my unit singles......hands down the best. If you can't find it on his listings then ask. He also offers for free a LARGE selection of downloadable manuals. You need a part.......go and look up the part number in his parts manuals. I spend a LOT of time looking through that information......it's priceless.

I have all of the Ruperts........GREAT resources but......PLEASE take a look at YOUR bikes OWNERS manual......easily found on Peter's site.

There "could" be some confusion about some things if you go strictly by Ruperts........do your homework.

Unless somebody did something odd to your bike.......it's always been 12 volt. Upgrading the zenor and rectifier doesn't change the voltage.

I didn't double check your numbers but the Victor Special doesn't have a center stand. The needed lugs are missing. The Shooting Star ( the road version 441 cc ) came with the center stand. It wouldn't be impossible to fab tabs up and use a Shooting Star's stand......but you'd probably want to do that before you put the engine back in.

You gota a good start..

PS......if you want hot......talk with this fellow. https://www.shopevengineering.com/

Last edited by Gordon Gray; 08/27/22 2:01 pm.

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Thanks Gordon I’ll try to repair the shaft and if not I’ll definitely buy a good one from you! Seems like we’re off to a good start with this thread I didn’t think as many people would be active and interested but I’m definitely glad I decided to post here and not just in the Facebook group.

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Originally Posted by Gtv6george
Thanks Gordon I’ll try to repair the shaft and if not I’ll definitely buy a good one from you! Seems like we’re off to a good start with this thread I didn’t think as many people would be active and interested but I’m definitely glad I decided to post here and not just in the Facebook group.

You'll get LOTS of help/advice here.......great group of people. You're up in Peter's part of the world......I'd love to visit him one day and drool over some of the "jewels" he must have.

That cracked piece is the points housing.......easy enough to fix.

At this point in my life.....I'm not selling parts. I might have to one day but I'm not planning on it anytime soon.

If you can use it and I have extras......I'll send them to you.

Last edited by Gordon Gray; 08/27/22 1:38 am.

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Interesting I thought it was 6 since the battery it came with said 6 but the battery wasn’t installed and looked like it was never installed. So that could add up. But yes I have printed a manual off his site but I don’t know if it’s correct I think it was the round barrel manual I printed, I did it before I picked up the bike and had no idea the year so I printed the Victor manual that only went up to 68. So looks like I’ll have to print the proper one. I have been looking through it online though that and the parts manual. If I have to custom fav a center stand I’m sure an aftermarket one may suffice if a roadster one is too difficult to find.

And thank you! Still going to try to repair this shifter shaft first I like a good challenge and I always wanted to play machinist with a lathe. But don’t be surprised if I mess it up and end up asking for that shift quadrant.

I’ll have to make it up to peters actual shop one day I only briefly talked to him at the show seemed like a nice guy.

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Your bike is a 70... most of your Fasteners will not be Whitworth.

That side case may not be worth your while repairing, check ebay pricing. Or ask here on Garage Sale board.

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So far every fastener that held the engine on and in the engine has been Whitworth. Besides the Phillips heads on the cases.and good point I’ll have to take a look for one. My other thought Is if I convert to CDI would I need that part of the case to even be oil tight so would it matter? As long as I can seal the stator cover?

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Originally Posted by Gtv6george
....The cylinder under closer inspection looks ok not great not bad. I haven’t measured anything yet but I have nice and calibrated bore gauges and other measuring tools.........
Hi and welcome to the forum. About reboring, these engines were set up loose from the factory at .0035" piston clearance assuming is would be ridden hard in the dirt. This was noisy. .0025" will be absolutely fine for normal street use. If you measure it out at more than .0045" or so, a rebore will be quieter.

Originally Posted by Gtv6george
.............I tend to use everything I work on nothing sits around. So any modifications I can do to make it more streetable ....... Nothing crazy just squeeze a little more out of it ...........
You sound like me. Most everything I have gets used sooner or later. The one biggest improvement I like on these is balancing the crank. Most mods will tend to push the rev range higher but you won't like using it because the B44 isn't all that smooth at high revs. Brackets break, light bulbs blow, speedometers rattle to pieces and so on. One of mine years ago would actually vibrate the petcock closed if revved too much! Annoying.

The trouble with balancing is this. The crank needs to be built twice and a lot of metal needs to be removed from the LH flywheel. But imho, it is worth it. My current dual sport B44 with dirt gearing is balanced and it tolerates 60 mph freeway riding if needed. (Without rattling everything to pieces.)

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Have you checked the engine numbers for year? My first B44 was sold as a 1970, it was actually a 1968 but first registered in 1970, (seems it took the slow boat across the pond!) but I knew this so it was OK. Makes a difference on some fastening sizes.

Speaking of fastenings ..... do the mod that Mike Waller suggests for the rocker box studs .... it makes life much easier / possible taking the head on and off with the motor in the frame.

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The numbers are shown in the attached link .

Plus, with that tail light extension, it is a 70... nobody would put that on an earlier year!

(ps; Metrinch tools... they don't care what denomination your Fasteners are.)

Last edited by Steve Erickson; 08/27/22 2:07 pm.
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George......before we/you go much further.......you posted your engine numbers with your photos (great job by the way). Check and see if they match the frame numbers. ( I might have missed you mentioning it?) That could matter when we're talking about parts you might need other than for the engine. Matching numbers are how they left the factory back in 1970. No telling what happened after that. Steve's 100% correct about that taillight extension being a 70. I'm wondering about the headlight.......it's not Victor Special. Might have had to replaced it when they destroyed the original fender? That thing looks like it got dropped a couple of times.

PS:.....I see Steve and I were tying at the same time. Easy to get us stirred up. laughing

[Linked Image]

Last edited by Gordon Gray; 08/27/22 2:16 pm.

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Yea the frame and engine match both are HD13475B44VS. One thing to note about that is when I was looking for the frame number I remember reading it would be on the frame by the triple tree or steering stem. It wasn’t it was lower by the most foreword motor mount.

The headlight, jeez I didn’t even notice! But the fender is hard to miss. Yea I do believe the 3,000 miles on this bike are correct since the license plate expired 9 years after it’s manufacture and I remember the original owner saying he had stopped riding it and left it in his garage for years. But the speculation for me with those 3000 miles is I think they had to be a-lot of dirt or competition miles. Between the repainted dented tank, the front fender, the headlight. And the. Both clutch side and points sides of the cases had marks from being open up many numbers of times, but the cylinder head and jug seem to never have been messed with. All seems to me like it had a short but hard life.

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Wow those are interesting sockets never seen something like that before. And yes frame says 70 as well.

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That makes sense with the piston clearance for dirt. I’ll have to measure mine and see. Balancing the crank/flywheel seems like a great idea. I just had the last engine I rebuilt fully balanced and what a difference. So that will have to go on the to do list.

I’d like to take the bike to work which requires about 5 miles on the highway. Most of the commute is backroads and some dirt trails if I choose to have some fun but I think it would be nice to have the option to get on the highway for the 5 miles and not be terrified or rattle every bolt off the bike at speed. But of course I’m not expecting a highway cruiser or aiming for it really.

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Regarding honing the barrel, I read somewhere that ball hones are not the best for use in barrels and that using a large brake-type hone with expanding shoes is preferable, with a coarse grit of around 180 or so. I don't know why ball hones aren't recommended, maybe I'm wrong about that.

I had a lot of trouble getting my B44 rings to bed in and stop burning oil, I used a JCC piston with hard iron rings but following the rebore and several hundred miles the rings didn't seat and it smoked.

Eventually, I resorted to using a large brake hone with a 180 grit all mounted in a cordless drill. I managed to get a reasonable 45-degree crosshatch and after cleaning the barrel with hot soapy water to remove any carborundum grit I used a 3-piece oil control ring, and the result is perfect, no burning oil and smoke.


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"I’d like to take the bike to work which requires about 5 miles on the highway"

What's the speed limit?


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Interesting I was always told the ball Hones are better for pretty much everything I’ve used brake style hones vs ball hones on lycoming cylinders with much better results from the ball style hone. But the issue with the ball style hone is when you can’t get them in the size you need sometimes the next size up is much bigger and puts deeper grooves in the cylinder vs the brake style which the spring tension of the hone stays relatively the same. So I could see that. If I do have to get it bored it will likely be honed at the machine shop anyway.

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Originally Posted by Gordon Gray
"I’d like to take the bike to work which requires about 5 miles on the highway"

What's the speed limit?

I believe the speed limit is 60, but it’s a fast highway speed of traffic is usually around 80 in the mid to left lane. It’s 4 lanes most of the way so I don’t mind cruising at 60 in the far right for 5 miles or avoiding the highway and taking backroads all together if I have to. I have a Kawasaki if I want to go fast, I’d like to use the bsa for blasting around town on and off road and taking it to work when I can.

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With stock gearing you should be able to scoot along that highway for 5 miles........shouldn't be a problem. IMO.......they "can" do 80 but mine don't seem happy at that speed. I tend to baby my bikes so I've never tried to make any of my bikes go as fast as they can. I have ridden a Victor Special on I-77 for a few miles and was able to keep up. I do try to shy away from those kinda roads though.....I was running late that time so it couldn't be helped.

Heck last year coming back from the BIBR rally I rode my C25 on I-40 through Asheville ( heading East) and down the mountain to Hwy 70 in Old Fort. Buzzy little devil but almost as fast at the VS. I stayed in the right lane and kept up with the speed limit.....60-65? ( got fogged out of my usual route) 55 down the mountain....easy enough even for a 250.

My B44s seem happy around 55-60......and can do that all day. I think my single (pun intended) longest riding day on a BSA unit single (1967 B44R) was right at 600 miles.

Last edited by Gordon Gray; 08/28/22 5:21 pm.

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So I got a bit more work done the past few days. Ran into a few issues. The clutch pulling tool I bought from BSA unit singles was a piece of crap. (Not saying it’s their fault they don’t make the tool of course, just that it must have been from a bad batch) I screwed it into the clutch drum all the way. Obviously I had the nut removed also had the plate with the 4 flatheads removed and all that stuff. I turned the inner bolt of the puller in by hand with a ratchet and with little to no resistance it ripped sideways… considering I ran it in by hand I can’t imagine I cross threaded it by hand I mean I’d like to think I’m pretty strong but I’m not that strong. Upon closer inspection the threads of the puller and the clutch got pretty messed up. The threads on the puller also seemed messed up behind where I threaded it in so I’m wondering if I got a bad puller? Regardless I ordered another puller from the bonneville shop, it came in today seems of much better quality. Hopefully I can get it in the damaged clutch basket threads and pull hub out. Definitely going to replace the hub once I get it out. My only concern is if the threads aren’t good enough for the new puller to grab how the heck to I get the clutch basket out? I don’t want to pry obviously it seems like that would be a futile effort and would just likely end with me damaging the case.

Second thing. I decarbonized the cylinder head snd polished the combustion chamber as to prevent carbon build up. Or at least help prevent it. I also just like polishing things. I plan to polish the ports as well since the casting seems extremely rough. Is it worth putting in oversize valves? They’re very available and I’d think a 32mm AMAL carb, oversize valves, possibly a minor port job, and that electronic ignition would give it great improvement. I figure while I have the engine out why not go all out. Not trying to get a crazy compression ratio or bore/ stroke the heck out of it. Just some better top end flow I think will really wake the bike up and seems cheap enough to do. Also the Rupert ratio is giving me tuner ideas. That 38$ book is gunna end up costing me big time isn’t it hahaha.

3rd I measured the bore of the cylinder. Don’t have the numbers infront of me but it’s ovaled by .010” which seems like reason enough to bore it maybe .010 over or .020 over. But not sure if .010 out of oval is normal for these. Hard to find good specs. The shop manual doesn’t delve into the engine clearances and tolerances too much and the Rupert ratio is very helpful but I haven’t found anything about out of round tolerance in there yet.

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The clutch puller........your trying to free the clutch hub from a tapered shaft. Sometimes it comes off as you hand tighten the puller's bolt. Sometimes it takes tighten the bolt "just a little" and then give it a "smack" with a mallet. Sometimes you tear up a lot of [***] trying to get it off.

I've had several pullers.....I've stripped at least a couple....but the bolt stripped in the puller, not the puller stripped in the hub. Wonder if someone tried the wrong puller and messed up the threads?

Hopefully the new puller does the trick.

Send the bad one back to Peter.......I wouldn't think he'd want stuff like that coming out of his shop.

Last edited by Gordon Gray; 08/31/22 12:12 am.

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Quote
But not sure if .010 out of oval is normal for these

I would say that's quite a lot and ideally, you want the cylinder perfectly round else the rings won't seat.

Here is what OJT (now defunct) in the UK said about the matter, they recommended cords rings, which are now hard to get, if at all.



I would use either the latest Hepolie pistons which come with a good ring package or try any of the other brands, E & V engineering supplly a JE piston with a decent ring set or maybe use a JCC or Gandini piston with Hastings or Total seal rings.

otj1-a.jpg otj1-b.jpg
Last edited by gunner; 08/31/22 4:49 pm.

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True, again I don’t think it’s peters fault. I think I’ll try the new one and if it works well I’ll let him know what happened to the other one. But he’s a small buisness I wouldn’t ask for my money back or anything but I’m sure he’d like to know. But I’ll wait to see if this other puller does the trick first.

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I can’t read that image on my phone gets a bit blurry when I zoom in but I’ll check it out on my computer tomorrow thanks. I agree .010 seems like a lot of out of round I couldn’t believe it and double and tripple checked measurements which I used a calibrated dial bore gauge to measure. Interesting how that happens but I guess it makes sense it was more worn front to back not left to right if that makes sense.

I’ll try to find those pistons and rings hopefully Peter has them he’s who I’ve been getting most of my parts from thus far. I definitely want to order that soon since I want to have the parts to be installed in hand when I take things to the machine shop so they can match it up for me when they bore and hone it and all I have to do is double check it.

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Originally Posted by Gtv6george
..... I agree .010 seems like a lot of out of round I couldn’t believe it and double and tripple checked measurements .......
It probably ran without an air filter or maybe a badly maintained one. You will probably need to go .020" oversize. The JE forged pistons are trustworthy. I've got one in my B50 dual sport bike. I don't know if Peter has them but if he doesn't, Ed at E&V Engineering lists them.
Here's the link.

https://shop.shopevengineering.com/...182&shopBy=-8415&catalogId=-2087

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Awesome! Thanks for the link didn’t know about that site or Ed I’ll have to have a look around his website. Thanks Stuart! I’ll keep you guys updated with some measurements etc as I go. Thanks again

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I had the same issue with the puller, but just ground down the external part back to good threads and it has been fine ever since. It is softer metal than the hub / center so if those thread are mashed, some one has been there before!

As far as the valves ....... "A good big one will always beat a good little one" ........ did it to one of mine, admittedly I did it by default, bought a trashed barrel and head from fleebay and the head already had it done, fitted new valves and guides, cleaned up the ports and swapped it onto the "enduro" style bitsa.
Left the carb alone, the difference was quite marked.

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Here's my 2p for what its worth as another young (for a classic british biker) newish owner of old BSA's

I converted my B44 to EI once i had got it running well enough on points to make sure there wasn't any nasty engine noises, I went with the Wassel Vape unit and i'm very happy with it, I'll be fitting the same to my A65 when the restoration is finished.

My opinion when i was doing my A65 was that as i had the engine apart and the bores weren't great it wasn't worth putting it back together without getting them done, So unless money is very tight or the bores and pistons look good i would personally get it rebored with a new piston, Especially as the engine has to be removed from the frame to get the top end off on a B44.

I can't help with the repar section, I would imagine you could find an engineering shop to do the work if you haven't ogt the equipment, however it might be cheaper to buy a new replacement part than to repair the old one.


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I can’t read that image on my phone gets a bit blurry when I zoom in

I've modded the pic from the OTJ catalogue so you shouldn't need to zoom in.

This explains their theory about "piston topple" and why in their opinion Cords piston rings were desirable to prevent excess oil consumption.

The modern equivalent of Cords rings would be a three-piece oil control ring as sold by Hastings & Total seal. The modern Hepolite rings still use single-piece oil control rings but have a spring tensioner behind them to push the rings against the cylinder.

Last edited by gunner; 08/31/22 4:57 pm.

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There really isn't any shops left in the immediate area (I'm in Oxford) John down at Competion Cycle in Stratford is very knowledgeable if you get stuck.
I just noticed you re in New Haven. I'm also working on a b44 ( among other things), and have some British specialty tools, pullers and some fork tools and CEI taps and such if you're in a bind pm me.

Also Job cycle in Uncasville (bit of a haul)
I get most stuff from Peter Quick


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Originally Posted by DAMadd
There really isn't any shops left in the immediate area (I'm in Oxford) John down at Competion Cycle in Stratford is very knowledgeable if you get stuck.
I just noticed you re in New Haven. I'm also working on a b44 ( among other things), and have some British specialty tools, pullers and some fork tools and CEI taps and such if you're in a bind pm me.

Also Job cycle in Uncasville (bit of a haul)
I get most stuff from Peter Quick
Oh nice! I live In Cheshire not too far away at all! I just work in new haven and that’s where I keep the bike at my job at the airport there. Is competition cycle also a machine shop or just a classic bike shop in general. I have local machine shops I like specifically mikes engine stand in prospect, however I think he’s a little more geared towards cars Im sure he’s more than capable of doing this machine work but I like to try and find machine shops that have some more knowledge on what I’m bringing them.

Im a bit of a tool junkie so I’m sure by the end of this build I’ll have a drawer in a tool box full of weird bsa tools just like I did with the last engine I rebuilt. But I appreciate the offer and if I’m stuck I will definitely reach out! Where did you get your CEI taps from? And do you know if heli coil or time serts are available for these threads? I have one bolt in my sump that the previous owner tapped to a standard sae thread that I’d like to return to original if possible.

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Originally Posted by Dave Martin
I had the same issue with the puller, but just ground down the external part back to good threads and it has been fine ever since. It is softer metal than the hub / center so if those thread are mashed, some one has been there before!

As far as the valves ....... "A good big one will always beat a good little one" ........ did it to one of mine, admittedly I did it by default, bought a trashed barrel and head from fleebay and the head already had it done, fitted new valves and guides, cleaned up the ports and swapped it onto the "enduro" style bitsa.
Left the carb alone, the difference was quite marked.
As far as the puller goes the new one from the bonneville shop worked great! Threads seem much harder the original one I tried seems to be made from very soft metal.

That’s good to hear so far no one who’s actually had an oversized valve head has actually given any input so I’m glad to hear it’s worth while. On BSA unit singles I only see an oversize intake available for a 1970 square barrel so I’ll have to do some digging to find an exhaust one.

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Yeah it’s out and the barrel condition is questionable so definitely definitely boring it in some capacity.

Hopefully a machine shop can repair the case cover but if I find one cheap enough used I’ll likely just replace it.

Money isn’t too tight. Im not a rich man by any means but I’m 24 and live with my parents with a decent job. So I don’t have a mortgage to worry about. My life plan always was do the projects I want to do while I’m young and have the energy and money for them. Because once I buy a house I’m sure the money and the energy will be depleted a bit so may as well restore what I want to restore now and then all I’ll have to do is maintain my toys while I get older and have real bills to worry about. And this bsa was always on that bucket list project.

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Thank you!
Where did you find that info seems like they must have some useful documents like that.

So definitely going to try to seek out some hasting rings. Hopefully in .020 over. Interesting

Or maybe I’ll try to find that Hepolie piston and ring set. I’ll see what’s out there and report back before I make a final decision. Can’t thank you or the rest of you all enough for the advice. It’s little things like this as to why I post on forums like this. Im more than capable of just rebuilding a 1cylinder engine but it’s that tribal knowledge built from experience that is the big difference between a decent rebuild and a really good one.

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Competition cycle uses center auto machine ( it's just about across the street) but their guy who really knew the Brit stuff is on an an extended leave. They're mainly automotive. Job cycle does machining but again uncasville. Center was able to do my b44 valve job don't think they'd go much beyond without Rob.

Tracy tools UK for the tap and dies.
I'm pretty much a tool addict also.


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George……message Mike King ( aka Mr Mike). He’s successfully done some of the mods you’re considering.

Be patient he’s not online as much as he used to be.


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Originally Posted by Gtv6george
Yeah it’s out and the barrel condition is questionable so definitely definitely boring it in some capacity.

Hopefully a machine shop can repair the case cover but if I find one cheap enough used I’ll likely just replace it.

Money isn’t too tight. Im not a rich man by any means but I’m 24 and live with my parents with a decent job. So I don’t have a mortgage to worry about. My life plan always was do the projects I want to do while I’m young and have the energy and money for them. Because once I buy a house I’m sure the money and the energy will be depleted a bit so may as well restore what I want to restore now and then all I’ll have to do is maintain my toys while I get older and have real bills to worry about. And this bsa was always on that bucket list project.

Definitely. That’s what i did… And glad I did.


Now let’s all have a beer beerchug

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So I found out the reason I can’t find an oversize exhaust valve is because they don’t make them!

Interesting you can get an intake oversized but no exhaust. I’m wondering if it’s even worth it to do just the intake. As the intake is already larger than the exhaust valve. According to Peter there isn’t much room for an oversized exhaust valve which I can see now the seat is close to the edge of the head. So I wonder if the b50 valves are bigger and would possibly fit.

I also wonder if just installing an oversize intake valve would help or hurt performance. I’d imagine shoving more air and fuel in with not a lot of a area for that stuff to escape could be bad. But I guess the exhaust is being forced out by the piston either way. I’m not an expert on the subject.

I’ll have to message mr Mike and see what he did. In the meantime if anyone has b50 valves they could give me measurements of diameter of head, stem and overall length let me know.

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Originally Posted by Gtv6george
So I found out the reason I can’t find an oversize exhaust valve is because they don’t make them! .....Interesting you can get an intake oversized but no exhaust.......
Modern knowledge has found that older engines often have excessively big exhaust valves and do just fine with smaller ones. The spent gasses are still super hot and highly pressurized when the exhaust valve opens so they escape easily with the piston pumping to finish the job.

Normally aspirated induction only has atmospheric pressure (14.7 psi at sea level) to push the fuel/air mixture in. That's the basic reason that intake valves are usually bigger than the exhausts. Even lawnmower engines are built that way.

So consider this, fit a smaller exhaust valve to make room for a bigger intake valve? Not that I'm suggesting that for you, but some tuners do exactly that.

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“The spent gases show little reluctance to leave the cylinder,” as a wise tuner may have said.

Yes, forget bigger exhaust valves.

On the inlet side, a bigger valve is an improvement, if the present valve is too small. Do you have any reason to think it is too small?

A bigger valve was a common modification to keep an old head in service by cutting a bigger diameter seat area in an old pocketed seat.

A bigger valve has a similar effect to a longer duration cam, because it has more open area when it’s just opening and when nearly closed. It is possible to overdo it, especially if you already have a sporty cam and then you find that you’ve lost the midrange power and low speed behaviour that makes a bike enjoyable to ride.


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Gordon Gray in NC, USA........"STOP blaming the bike!!!!”
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