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The Rise and Fall of BSA Motorcycles


As the 1950s came to a close, BSA Motorcycles was on top of the world. The BSA Gold Star was a mega hit, on the track and in showrooms, and the BSA A7 (500) and BSA A10 (650) non-unit twins were solid sellers with a great reputation. BSA also owned Triumph Motorcycles, Ariel Motorcycles, Sunbeam and New Hudson, and this was just a small part of the BSA empire, which also included cars, buses, steel, heavy construction equipment, agricultural & industrial powerplants, machine tools, weapons, ammunition, military equipment, bicycles and more. They were a bona fide industrial giant, capable of accomplishing almost anything and in far better financial shape than just about anyone else in the motorcycle business.

By 1970, the once-mighty BSA was broke and irrelevant as a motorcycle company.

Even Triumph, the jewel in BSA’s crown, already on death’s door, was taken over by its workers in their failed attempt at independence.

How the mighty fall.

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