BSA Gold Star

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1956 BSA Gold Star
BSA GOLD STAR MOTORCYCLE.jpg
BSA DBD34 Gold Star
Manufacturer Birmingham Small Arms Company (BSA Motorcycles Ltd. from 1954)
Predecessor 1955 BSA Gold Star DB34
Successor 1971 BSA B50
Class Clubmans racer
Engine alloy air cooled ohv 499 cc single cylinder
Transmission 4-speed gearbox with wet multiplate clutch
Wheelbase 56 inches (1,400 mm)[1]
Seat height 30.5 inches (770 mm)[1]
Weight 380 lb (170 kg)[1] (dry)
Fuel capacity 4 imperial gallons (18 l)[2]
Related BSA B33
BSA Rocket Gold Star

The BSA Gold Star is a motorcycle made by BSA from 1938 to 1963. They were 350 cc and 500 cc single-cylinder four-stroke production motorcycles known for being among the fastest bikes of the 1950s. Being hand built and with many optional performance modifications available, each motorcycle came from the factory with documented dynamometer test results, allowing the new owner to see the horsepower produced.

Origin[edit]

In 1937, Wal Handley lapped the Brooklands circuit at over 100 mph (160 km/h) on a BSA Empire Star, and was awarded one of the traditional Gold Star pins for the feat. That inspired BSA to produce the BSA Gold Star.[3] The first Gold Star was an M24 model. It had an alloy 496 cc engine, an Electron alloy gearbox, and a rigid frame made of light tubes devoid of sidecar attachment lugs. This model continued up to the start of World War II.[4]

1948 YB32 and YB34[edit]

After the war, the all alloy 348 cc B32 and 499 cc B32 Gold Star were released,[5] with a very large list of optional components. Once ordered the bike was assembled by hand, and the engine bench tested. They were 20 lb (9.1 kg) lighter than the comparable cast iron barrel and head B series single. They were successful in the 350 class from 1949 to 1956. They could be specified in tourer, trials, ISDT, scrambles, racing or Clubmans trim.[4] The YB is taken from the beginning of the engine number – YB is 1948, ZB is 1949 on.[5]

1949 ZB32 and ZB34[edit]

1949 CB34 Gold Star

The 499 cc B34 Gold Star had a modified crankshaft and a different design main bearing. The 350 continued. Plunger frames were available as an option.[5] In 1950 both received larger front brakes. In 1952 the 500 gets a new Bert Hopwood design head, and the 350 had a new head of that design the following year.[4]

1953 BB34 and BB32[edit]

In 1953, a swingarm duplex frame was introduced,although rigid and plunger frames were still available, along with an improved gearbox.[4]

1954 CB34 and CB32[edit]

1954 CB32 Gold Star

An optional CB engine was given more and squarer finning, a stronger crankshaft, a shorter connecting rod, oval flywheels (500), improved valve gear, and an Amal GP carburettor.[4]

1955 DB32 and DB34[edit]

The DB Gold Star had an improved oil feed to the crankshaft, and finned front brakes. If the buyer specified Clubman cams and timing, he also received a special silencer. At the end of this year the BB and CB models were discontinued.[4] The 350cc DB32 continued in production until 1962.[5]

1956 DBD34[edit]

Motocross version from early 1960s

The 500 cc DBD34 was introduced in 1956, with clip-on handlebars, finned alloy engine with a new design of head,[5] chrome plated fuel tank, 38 mm ( 1 1/2" ) bell-mouth Amal carburettor and swept-back exhaust. The DBD34 had a 110 mph (180 km/h) top speed.[6] The Gold Star dominated the Isle of Man Clubmans TT that year.[7] Later models had an ultra close-ratio gearbox (RRT2)[8] with a very high first gear, enabling 60 mph (97 km/h) plus before changing up to second. Amongst the options available were a tachometer and a 190mm full width front brake that gave a larger lining area than the standard 8" single sided unit.[8] A scrambles version was also offered.[9]

Production ended in 1963.[5]

Gold Star Daytona[edit]

1956 DBD34 Gold Star Daytona

In 1954, BSA wanted to win the prestigious Daytona 200 race. During the 1950s, the race was run partly on asphalt and partly on the beach at Daytona. A team of works prepared Gold Stars and A7 Shooting Stars were entered.[10] The race was won by a Shooting Star with a Gold Star in 3rd place. A replica of the works Gold Star was offered to the public. The specification included a rigid frame, which saved 50lbs over the swinging-arm frame.[11] Engine modifications included using a 350cc head, which had a better downdraught angle, machined to 500cc dimensions and fitted with a large inlet valve. The engine produced 44bhp.[12] The model was also offered in subsequent years.[5]

A swining arm version, known by the factory as "USA Short Circuit" was also produced in 1956 and 1957.[13]

Gold Star Catalina[edit]

In 1956, Chuck Minert won the Catalina Grand Prix on a modified Gold Star.[14] (The Catalina Grand Prix was a popular 100-mile race race on the island of Santa Catalina off the coast of Los Angeles.[15] In 1956 more than 1,000 bikes started the race.)[14] Modifications included a larger fuel tank, an air scoop on the front brake and a 19" front wheel.[14]

US west coast BSA distributor, Hap Alzina, persuaded the factory to produce a replica named after the race.[14] The Gold Star Catalina was manufactured from 1959 to 1963.[5]

End of production[edit]

Towards the end the Gold Star was only offered in scrambles, or Clubmans trim. In 1963 Lucas ceased to produce the magneto used in the B series, and that line of singles was ended. The demise of the Lucas magneto was a prime reason that BSA and Triumph reconfigured their pre-unit-construction parallel twins into engines with integral gearboxes, simultaneously converting the ignition system from magneto to battery & coil. The Gold Star was not considered for progression to unit-construction, and instead the 250 cc BSA C15 was developed (via the B40) into the 500 cc B50. Although the B50 never attained the kudos of the DBD34, a B50 fielded by Mead & Tomkinson once held the class lap record in the Production TT, as well as gaining results at the 24-hour endurance races the Le Mans Bol d'Or and at the Montjuïc circuit in Barcelona.[16] CCM used BSA B50 bottom ends in their early specials.[17] [18]

Isle of Man TT wins[edit]

BSA Gold Stars won the following Isle of Man TT races.

Year Race Winner Laps Time Speed (mph)
1949 Clubmans Junior TT Harold Clark 1.30.21.6 75.18[19]
1950 Clubmans Junior TT B A Jackson 2.01.58.2 74.25[20]
1951 Clubmans Junior TT Brian Purslow 2.00.10.0 75.36[21]
1952 Clubmans Junior TT Eric Houseley 4 1:54:45.2 78.92[22]
1953 Clubmans Junior TT Derek T Powell 4 1.52.57.8 80.17[23]
1954 Clubmans Senior TT Alistair King 4 1:45.36.0 85.76[24]
1954 Clubmans Junior TT Phillip Palmer 4 1:50.39.4 81.83[25]
1955 Clubmans Senior TT Eddie Dow 9 1:22:23[26] 70.73
1955 Clubmans Junior TT Jimmy Buchan 9 1:25:24.0[26] 68.23
1956 Clubmans Senior TT Bernard Codd 3 1:18:40.6[27] 86.33
1956 Clubmans Junior TT Bernard Codd 3 1:22:48.4[27] 82.02

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Chuckhawks.com Standard Bike Specs". Archived from the original on 9 January 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-08. 
  2. ^ "PearsonGoldStarBSA.freeserve.co.uk DBD34". Archived from the original on 18 March 2008. Retrieved 2007-01-09. 
  3. ^ "RoadRacerX.com Sidebar Fact". Archived from the original on 2007-10-09. Retrieved 2006-12-10. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Realclassic.com BSA Gold Star". Archived from the original on 30 December 2006. Retrieved 2007-01-11. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Jones, Rob; Trigwell, Ray. "BSAOC Year Listing". www.bsaownersclub.co.uk. 
  6. ^ Wilson, Hugo. (1993) The Ultimate Motor-Cycle Book p.69 1960 BSA Gold Star DBD34. Dorling Kindersley ISBN 0751300438 Accessed and added 2014-08-24
  7. ^ "BSA DBD34 Clubman Gold Star Buyers Guide & specifications". www.sump-publishing.co.uk. Retrieved 4 July 2018. 
  8. ^ a b "BSA DBD34 Clubman Gold Star Buyers Guide Part 2". sump-publishing.co.uk. Retrieved 4 July 2018. 
  9. ^ "History - BSA Gold Star Owners Club". BSA Gold Star Owners Club. 
  10. ^ "BSA Gold Star Daytona". .Motorcycle Specs. Retrieved 4 July 2018. 
  11. ^ "Retrospective: BSA A7 Shooting Star 500cc: 1954-1962". Rider Magazine. 8 July 2013. Retrieved 4 July 2018. 
  12. ^ Walker, Mick (2004). The BSA Gold Star. Redline Books. p. 191. ISBN 9780954435738. Retrieved 4 July 2018. 
  13. ^ "Engine & Frame Numbers by Year - BSA Gold Star Owners Club". BSA Gold Star Owners Club. Retrieved 4 July 2018. 
  14. ^ a b c d "BSA Gold Star Catalina Scrambler and Chuck Minert - 1959". Early Years Of MX. Retrieved 4 July 2018. 
  15. ^ "Historical Races - The Catalina Grand Prix". FastHouse. 12 April 2016. Retrieved 4 July 2018. 
  16. ^ "BSA B50 racing". www.b50.org. Archived from the original on 2 April 2012. 
  17. ^ "Sunzeri.com BSA B50". Archived from the original on 19 March 2006. Retrieved 2007-01-08. 
  18. ^ "classicmotorcycles.org.uk". www.classicmotorcycles.org.uk. Archived from the original on 24 July 2012. 
  19. ^ "Race Results - Isle of Man TT Official Website". www.iomtt.com. Retrieved 4 July 2018. 
  20. ^ "Race Results - Isle of Man TT Official Website". www.iomtt.com. Retrieved 4 July 2018. 
  21. ^ "Race Results - Isle of Man TT Official Website". www.iomtt.com. Retrieved 4 July 2018. 
  22. ^ "Race Results - Isle of Man TT Official Website". www.iomtt.com. Retrieved 4 July 2018. 
  23. ^ "Race Results - Isle of Man TT Official Website". www.iomtt.com. Retrieved 4 July 2018. 
  24. ^ "Race Results - Isle of Man TT Official Website". www.iomtt.com. Retrieved 4 July 2018. 
  25. ^ "Race Results - Isle of Man TT Official Website". www.iomtt.com. Retrieved 4 July 2018. 
  26. ^ a b Cook, R. A. B. (ed.). Motor Cycling Sports Yearbook 1956. Temple Press Ltd. p. 159. 
  27. ^ a b Cook, R. A. B. (ed.). Motor Cycling Sports Yearbook 1957. Temple Press Ltd. pp. 148–149. 

External links[edit]