1972 BSA A65L Lightning

BSA A65L Lightning
BSA A65L Lightning
BSA A65L Lightning
BSA A65L Lightning
BSA A65L Lightning
BSA A65L Lightning
BSA A65L Lightning
BSA A65L Lightning
BSA A65L Lightning

105 mph     420 lbs      52 bhp

 

The BSA and Triumph 650s underwent a fundamental design change in 1971 – both moving to oil-in-the-frame (OIF). This made the bikes slimmer but also taller – the latter generating a fair degree of negative press comment. In fact the change was not that much and the bikes were highly regarded in the day – with the BSA A65 being considered the best of the breed.

The A65L was styled very much for the USA market – colourful, with a small 2.5 gallon fuel tank and strong performance care of a good engine, twin Amal 928 Concentric carburettors and 9:1 compression.

 

The OIF BSA lasted only from 1971 to 1973. Given the quality of the bikes being produced (under the guidance of the Humberslade Hall R&D facility) it  was a tremendous pity that BSA got itself into a terminal cashflow crunch around 1972 and had to shut up shop in 1973. This was from a combination of factors:

  • Expecting falling USA demand in 1972 – whereas reality was the reverse;

  • Scheduling a major factory revamp to coincide with the expected weak demand;

  • Then ramping up production (of still teething problem prone new models) for the booming market – and then being too late to market with product as dealers had sold customers other brands in the interim;

  • Consequently having all cash trapped in a substantial stockpile of unsold bikes.

 

The OIF machines are the last of the iconic British big twins and as such represent an important but also poignant moment for a great industry.

This bike is a matching numbers USA model acquired in the UK but having spent most of its life in Spain. It is fairly faithful to the original – aside from a few mods such as a Boyer electronic ignition.

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