1969 BSA Lightning
A fan of our sister site Rare Sports Bike For Sale sent us a link to something they had just picked up, a fully restored 1969 BSA Lightning. Now there is something about an original bike, but when you see the pictures of this restored BSA (and video) you can appreciate a brand new vintage motorcycle.
From the seller
This 1969 BSA Lightning is a highly correct and matching numbers prize-winning bike that has been restored to an extremely high standard. It was restored in 2011 and only ridden a few hundred miles since then to get it sorted out mechanically. I bought it from an absolutely meticulous britbike collector in Massachusetts, who also happens to be a priest! He built his beautiful parish with his own hands.
From what the previous owner told us, the bike was owned by an elderly and very detail-oriented collector who “grew up with a caliper in his hands” because his father was a machinist. From what we were told he had the bike completely restored, both mechanically and cosmetically. Don Hutchinson did the paint, which is absolutely incredible and show quality. He did the paint for Jay Leno’s lightning as well, and is known as one of the few British paint experts around. The mechanical restoration included everything, all wiring, full motor rebuild, etc. As you can see from the photos, the bike is highly detailed and the chrome and brightwork is beautiful. The only things we can fault on the bike cosmetically is a small chip on the right hand side cover where the kickstart lever hit, and an abrasion on the gearbox by the shift lever. There are two small scrapes on each muffler on the bottom, as pictured. Other than that, it is extremely hard to find any faults with the bike.
Mechanically, this is by far and away the best riding Lightning we have been on. It starts on one or two kicks always. Shifting is smooth and precise, and braking is linear and strong. The motor is incredible, very strong, as you can see from the video. The bike wears brand new Dunlop K70s in original size, and we just installed a fresh battery. The 1969 is considered to be the best year for the Lightning because of the far more powerful twin leading shoe front brake introduced in that year. If there is a better A65 Lightning around, cosmetically and mechanically, we can’t find it.
The BSA lightning was based on the A65 power plant first offered in 1962. Like most manufactures BSA offered the A65 at different performance and price points, with the Lightning being the 2nd most powerful in the line up. Above the Lightning was the Spitfire, and from what I have read, it really spit, and popped, and was hard to start, but went like stink when going. The Lightning, with its dual Amal generated 49hp, and with its close ratio gear box gave great acceleration. The Lightning was also dressed up with more chrome then the other A65 models. The pictures of this 1969 BSA Lightning show this very well. BB