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Thread Like Summary
BeezaBryan, Gordon Gray, GrandPaul, ricochetrider
Total Likes: 15
Original Post (Thread Starter)
by ricochetrider
ricochetrider
OK kids, grab a beer (or beverage of choice) and kick back. I got a tale to tell.

After much thought on the matter, I recently decided I'd sell one (or possibly more) bikes and just get some different stuff to ride. I'm sure as heck not getting any younger and I do have my "List" of bikes I want to own & ride while I can.

My first thought was to off the Big Rig- my lovely 2002 K1200RS, which I've owned for nearly 10 years. YES it's a fantastic machine, and I just dumped a massive pile of hard earned $$$ into the thing- so what better time to sell a bike that many people aren't fully enamored of (many folks still haven't gotten over the "treasonous" act by BMW Motorrad of inventing an engine other than a horizontal opposed twin- go figure)?

Well after a few weeks on various sites and pages, I finally managed to send the mighty K to a new home.

SO. What next then? I've kinda always had a hankering for a Ducati ST series bike. A later one would suit me, say an 05 ST3s, or similar vintage ST4s. Then again, Im not a complete masochist, and I'm sure as hell not made of money- so moving down The List, my thoughts next went to a bike I was looking at when I bought the K1200- a Triumph Sprint GT.

Triumph had rousing success with the Sprint ST bikes, The 1050 triple is amazing and the ST was a super-sporty "sport tourer" with hard emphasis on "Sport". They had a great run on these bikes and decided for all the world, to update and upgrade the Sprint. So they made it longer, improved many things about it, simmered it down somewhat and turned the ST into the GT- designed specifically for all-day, long distance 2-up comfort touring, maintaining more than a casual nod to the "sport" aspects of "sport touring" (for example, the GT retained its chain drive- no drive shaft). The new Sprint was widely acknowledged to be a bike that got everything right- yet somehow, it failed to generate mass appeal! Triumph made it for a few years, I believe from 2011 to about 2014 or 2015, then again without fanfare, swept it under the proverbial rug. They dropped it like a hot potato and created the bloated (but no doubt lovely [*whatever*]) Trophy. Which to me looks like a massive cow.The Trophy is infinitely more complex with all manner of electronic gizmos and stuff.... I was never a fan however.

So a couple weeks back I began hunting for a Sprint GT. Well it didn't take me long to realize that the few people who ever bought one must abso-fliipin-lutely LOVE the bike. Because DARN few ever come up for sale! I missed one after another on sites like Cycletrader dot com. I considered buying one from England and importing it to the US., I looked high and low, and may STILL have one coming my way eventually.... had a whole conversation with a guy who has some physical difficulties and cannot ride much longer, so he's mulling it over... blah blah blah.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, I'm continuously poring over motorcycle ads in places like Craig's list and [email protected] Marketplace.... and a few local BSAs keep popping up. Well most of these guys, what the heck are they thinking? A Bitsa for 8,000 $$$? A 69 Lightning? Not a chance in H E Double EL, Bucko. But one of them had an enticing story line along with it- although the photos were total [email protected] The guy's tale of the bike mentioned an old, long dead friend of mine, DT Howard. DT had apparently worked on the bike, or the guy was friends with DT. Or something. Let's say he had my attention. Even tho the pix were garbage the bike purportedly sat in a basement for 40 years, this dude rescued it in 2008, DT worked on the thing, then dude.... failed to ride the doggone bike! When I went to look at the thing after he upgraded his photos, he said he'd barely put 300 miles on it!

Hold that thought.

Meanwhile back in 2019 The Lovely Miss C & I flew over to England to ride one of Shaun's BSAs to the BSA International in the Cotswolds. It wes fabulous etc- BUT nearing the end of the week there, Cynthia & I were walking around, basically just shooting the breeze and gawking at bikes, when she turned to me, (and by now were standing with a few friends) and said: "SO... WHY don't you have a BSA?" Far as I was concerned those were marching orders! The end result was that ever since, I've had at least half an eye out for a bike. A BSA. BUT not just any BSA, it had to be THE BSA.

The end of the story (you wish) is that when this dude posted better pix of his bike that my dead friend worked on... it sure LOOKED like THE BSA. From what I could see, the bike looked like an unmolested machine with every nut, bolt, bit & bob intact. The paint looked solid. It looked like original paint. Not even heavily patinaed, But the patine seemed true, it seemed authentic. So I messaged the guy and asked if I could come see the bike- an A65T Thunderbolt- 1966. Stuck away in some back yard shed.

[Linked Image from ricochetridersmotomojo.zenfolio.com]

Did you ever have a "magic moment" with a random person, where it was like dominoes falling, quite naturally, one after another, into the perfect pattern? That was what our conversation was like. It was pretty much all around our mutual long lost buddy, DT Howard. And meanwhile... the bike. My immediate take away was this: this bike, for what it is, isn't necessarily anything special. Single carb 650, they made, quite literally, 10s of thousands of these. It's as plain as plain can be. What I told him is this: this bike is extraordinary in that everything is there. Not one bolt had been changed. Not one part removed. It was never repainted, it was not molested. The paint isn't perfect, the bike has its (very minor) flaws- scratches. Dings. A smallish dent in the tank. This bike, I decided, is a one-in-a-thousand literal "survivor". It's as though you could look at BSAs for sale for ages and not find this bike, in this condition. There's a [email protected] AIR PUMP under the seat. It still has its original tool kit!

SO.

I bought the thing. In the space of a few minutes (practically) I went from importing a modern space-ship super bike from England (remember I was hot for a Sprint GT) to buying a 1966 BSA that had only been ridden a few miles in its entire lifetime. To do the math, 2021 - 1966 = 55 years. 5516 miles on the clock- and I have zero reason to believe these are not for real, honest miles. 5516 miles. Divide those into 55 years. This bike has been ridden about 100 miles PER YEAR. Except I know it sat for 40 years, but never mind that, laugh Dubba-u. Tee. Eff. How does this even happen.

Cynthia was like, "you did what?" & "you bought....a what?" to which I responded gleefully, as only a 5 year old 64 year old could, HECKF*CKINYEAH MAMA I DID. BUT YOU GOTTA SEE THIS BIKE. And she replied.... well I won't repeat it, let's just say her response wasn't as enthusiastic as I might have hoped. Her "enthusiasm" was nowhere near the level of my own. frown

I told dude, in no uncertain terms, "Your bike is a total dream. I'll f*ckin take it. Let me give you this 500.00 and I'll see you in the mornin with the rest of the $."

*******************************************************************************************************************************************************************************
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

SO today I went over there with cash in hand, and we rolled the bike out of the shed into daylight. OK, first REAL solid look at the thing. Not as peaches-&-cream as I thought, OK so it's possible I had my head in the clouds and couldn't see straight when I first peeped it. BUT. Even in daylight, I was still thrilled.

And so it goes, that on this day of our lord, 13 April, 2021, I became the proud owner of a 1966 BSA.
My 1st Beeza.

Of all the bikes I've owned... and the numbers aren't huge, I've never been so excited. Wade popped by just now to see the bike in person. I'll let him chime in on it, bu tty say he was impressed could be something of an understatement.

So, it's a done deal. I've officially crossed over to The Dark Side.
I've owned Triumphs (still have a matched pair).
I've owned a Norton Commando (which I still have).
I've owned a spate of BMWs (still have the trusty R100RS)

All current motorcycles are officially antique tho- a 1st for me!

Until today, I'd never owned a BSA. Until Miss C chirped up at the BSA International... I'd never even considered owning one. SO you're probably bored to tears by now, and understandably so. Without further ado, then, here is my "new" bike.

[Linked Image from ricochetridersmotomojo.zenfolio.com]

AND here is a link to all my pix of the bike. My new-to-me BSA A65T, BSA Thunderbolt. Our very own @andylorenz tells me that according to the numbers, my bike was dispatched to New Jersey on 16 March, 1966. And it never has gone very far from there in its lifetime.

HERE IS A LINK to the gallery of photos in Zenfolio. I have a few more pix to add yet, but there is certainly enough here to see the bike in all its glory.

The deal is 100% done, I have the new title and a brand-new, shiny Antique tag bolted up to the bike. It's all but ready to ride. Im having it gone through to make sure it's OK n stuff. I fully expect to be riding it by early-mid May.

Meanwhile the hunt for a Sprint GT goes on.

Yee and indeed, haw. The future on The Dark Side never looked so bright.
Liked Replies
by BeezaBryan
BeezaBryan
Darkside Tom?

Wrong!

You have finally seen the light and entered the wonderful world that is BSA
Hallelujah, a sinner has been saved beerchug
2 members like this
by TR6Ray
TR6Ray
Congratulations, Tom! Hope you enjoy the ride. I look forward to seeing your pictures of the new T-Bolt in front of the covered bridge, the round barn, and your other favorite haunts.
2 members like this
by expresidente
expresidente
Hi Tom
Just read your story of the "barn Find" Bsa, which is indeed very special. You can call yourself lucky for finding this beauty. And don't loose too many tears over the BMW (the Flying brick). In my opinion it is more a car than a bike. You will get much more feedback from the A 65 when you are on the road with it.
So, now that you are officially a BSA rider and Wade is not far away, who has a fair amount of Beesas in the stable, you might think about an own BSA Pennsylvania chapter? Next step; a membership in the BSA OC ??
By the way; of course i remember the visit at the shop of DT Howard back in 2014. It looked like a lost place with lots of dust on the tools, the bikes and all.
Must have been difficult to see him when he was so weak, almost more dead than alive when we were there. I am quite sure that he must have had a busy life, when i look at his Rocket Bike and the bike shop.
Hope you will have a nice time with the A 65. Will follow the progress.
Cheers my friend
Dieter
2 members like this
by wadeschields
wadeschields
Yes Dieter , We could start our own Chapter in PA. I never got to see DT Howards until the final auction when I first learned who he was... Sorry I didnt learn earlier in their hey day.... But as you say... It was covered in dust so maybe I would have been too late even if I had been earlier.

Tom definitely scored a super nice , unmolested and as original as it could be.... BSA . Go to enough BSA rallies and meet the great people who ride BSAs and you will eventually have to have a BSA ... We have done well leading Tom to the water and he has finally drank of the water... The sweet sweet water... !! If the bike runs as good as it looks he will be very happy ....

May we all run our bikes into the sun and through the twisties and switchbacks with the wind in our hair and bugs in our teeth... And a pint to wash them away... Happy BSAing
2 members like this
by Tridentman
Tridentman
Looks nice--good find.
But dont ever work for a bank----
5516 miles over 55 years equals just over 100 miles per annum!
1 member likes this
by No Name Man
No Name Man
Nice one Tom. I'm sure you'll enjoy it. Both the good and the weird
1 member likes this
by Shane in Oz
Shane in Oz
Originally Posted by ricochetrider
The 2 bikes are remarkably close- although I see the GT actually has a taller saddle height! Wheelbase & O.A. length very similar/same (respectively), but the GT comes in at a wet (curb) weight of 590 compared to the K1200 @ 628 (pounds)!

wheelbase: GT 60.5; K12 61
seat height: GT 32.1; K12 31.5
dry weight: GT 558 lbs; K12 586.4 lbs
wet weight: GT 590; K12 628.3
overall length: GT88.6 inches; K12 88.6 inches
HP: GT 128; K12 130.52
torque: GT 108; K12 117
That 40 lb difference in wet weight will make a lot of difference. I'd only looked at the dry weight of the Sprint before, which is very similar to the T160. Other than that, they do seem very similar.

One thing I forgot to mention is that the swingarm was extended for the GT, to keep the front wheel down. Pulling out into a gap in traffic in Yarrawonga on the way to an All British Rally, I found that asn't entirely successful.

We can compare notes when you do manage to snare one.
1 member likes this
by MikeG
MikeG
He's probably very lucky he never got to fuel that rocket up:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messerschmitt_Me_163_Komet

Nice bike Tom! excellent find.
1 member likes this
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