Forty (40!) years (sigh) ago I bought a very nice 1972 BSA B500 SS from a dealer in College Station, Texas; they had completed work on the bike in 1981 for a client who never returned - I can no longer remember what I was told they had repaired, but the bike was very nice, looked original, rode well, started as it was supposed to … :-). Was, at that point nine years old.
I had owned several bikes, new and old, by then - all Japanese - all great and fun, and reliable. THIS however, was INTERESTING!
Rode it for a couple of years in College Station and Corpus Christi, Texas while completing initial flight training in the bike’s seeming counterpart - T-28 Trojan.
Paint wasn’t as nice as it should have been, so I painted the metal bits with Emron paint - in the garage middle of Texas summer. Meh - nice, but not beautiful.
Moved to a variety of places over the intervening many years - carried it everywhere except Hawaii. It just sat in the garage in a corner at each place. “Honey, it’s a classic!” Life continued to happen.
Only odd circumstance was when boredom overcame me between flight cycles while living in Brunswick, Maine - one February I decided to start it up … figure 1988. Way too cold obviously, and kept hitting the tickler … too much gas … lit off both the internal combustion thing and the external on fire thing. Got it extinguished quickly, but did scorch the tank and a couple of wires - no burn throughs. Gave up.
Continued to move...
Well, it’s time to do something - so, I have a few options, but need some advice. Engine turns over fine (just rolling it through with everything disconnected), starter pawl needs to be replaced (it doesn’t return to vertical, and when in gear spinning the rear wheel causes it to bump, but that is minor, I think).
Option 1 - full restoration replacing almost everything, repainting almost everything, rebuilding almost everything (whether all need it simply trying to make new again)
Option 2 - partial restoration of just those things that need it, including repainting metal bits except the frame
Option 3 - use as a basis for a hybrid bike of some sort, things like replacing scrambler pipe with swept, etc.
All options would include electronic ignition, repaint, engine repairs as needed once back together.
My sense is the value of the bike is limited, even if it is in near perfect condition, so I was considering more options 2 and 3.
Furthering the sense of the passage of time, I had a large box of stuff for the bike that I had also been carrying around; I thought was mainly bits I had removed (like carb and side panels, etc). Turns out it included: two tires and tubes, the kickstarter pawl gear and shaft, a reworked carburetor (original I had redone somewhere?), complete set of oil and gas hoses, full set of gaskets, stainless side cover bolts, new rear brake light cover, new struts and seal kit, new stickers for the tank and side panels, fuel petcocks, rubber bits for all the pegs, etc, new clutch cable. Most from around 2000-2005, the last time I was going to work on it - but, life was still happening.
Would appreciate input regarding the various options - I took some photos that might be instructive on determine condition as it applies to the options - can't find how to post photos, yet, so here is a link that should work: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1VFyAOL_gVX3MCUR80lhOkcwDX4fdvXQk?usp=sharing
Thanks to All!