Tagged: 650cc

Stuffing BSA A65’s

So it’s the day before Thanksgiving as I write this and I am starting to starve myself so that I can be super gluttonous tomorrow. In that light I decided to see how may BSA 650cc A65 I could stuff into one post.

The A65 650cc twin had grown to be in 1962 out of the earlier A10 and was offered up until  1970, with the pinnacle of development being the 1969 Spitfire. Along the way a touring Thunderbolt, an all around Lightning, the Scrambler Hornet were all based on the A65, with only the state of tune and accessories being different. What I was able to find today on offer is something for everyone.


From the Seller of this 1965

This bike was put away running a few years ago, I think the exhaust isn’t original, and the handle bars definitely are not. I’ve made my best effort to make this bike run, The points have been changed, I discovered the choke was set to half on one side of the engine probably to make up for one of the carbs being dirty, the ignition switch wasn’t making contact inside of itself so I jumped it to make it think it was switched on, I had the choke cables on a pair of pliers to choke it in hopes of getting it started


This from the Off Road A65 seller, short and sweet

This is a really nice Firebird, new paint, new exhaust, new concentric carbs, runs excellent, beautiful bike.


Claims to be the Best A65 Thunderbolt and priced to prove it

“This is an awesome bike! It is without a doubt the nicest English bike that I have ever owned.  The “Condition” is outstanding.  It is beautiful, and runs great! Very Cool and Rare bike guys.” It is great shape for a 43 year old bike. I have not even detailed it!  It definitely does not look, or ride like a 43 year old bike. It starts quickly, and runs very well. “I was told that it is not restored, and the miles are accurate.” (I have in writing his stating this) I can not confirm the mileage.


From the Seller of a very nice Lightning

The bike is in excellent mechanical condition. The engine feels amazingly taut and fresh. It has instant and strong power, and is in fine tune. The clutch is excellent and it shifts through gears faultlessly. Brakes, suspension, and all electrical, with the exception of the ammeter, work flawlessly. The frame is straight and true, and tires are very good, not at all hard and have plenty of tread remaining. It is a true pleasure to ride. It feels bright and fresh and a more modern feel than most.


Another Short and Sweet, letting the picture tell it all

This motorcycle was in nice shape when it was torn down.

Parts missing:  Carburetor and cylinder jug, exhaust system.


The BSA A65 is a motorcycle that gave you the choice. You could Tour, be sporty, go off road, or chop it. There were other brands that came out of Britain at the time, but the BSA had, and will continue to have a following, both long time and new. BB


1952 Triumph 6T Thunderbird

The reason that I am highlighting this 1952 Triumph Thunderbird 6T is because I have the exact bike. The problem with my bike is that it is currently in 5 boxes of small parts, and 5 or 6 other large parts. Oh, and some of the large parts are broken, and some of the small parts are busted, and there are many missing parts. If there is a term below basket case, it would describe what I don’t have. This  complete bike is now on eBay and I am wondering if I will have anything that looks like this in the 4 years I am expecting to put mine together.

From the seller of this complete bike

This particular example on auction is possibly the most original and preserved early Thunderbird not in a museum. Paint, chrome, etc is all original and in extraordinary condition for its age. I am only the third owner, and as you can see in the pictures the bike is still accompanied by the original bill of sale, toolkit, tire pump, owner’s manual, etc. … The original SU carburettor, unique to this model, is less fickle than I have found the more common Amal Monoblocs to be (and there’s no tickler; this is actually an old britbike that doesn’t get petrol on your finger). The sprung hub rear suspension in combination with the sprung saddle makes for a comically bouncy but comfortably non-jarring ride. Riding this classic always puts a smile on my face.


As the seller points out the SU type MC2 is unique to Thunderbirds and this year had a unique “eye hole” in the seat tube that lead to the air cleaner/filter. The SU was often removed and replaced, so finding this still with the bike adds to its value. The other rare item is the sprung hub, a devise which did not go down in history as a good idea, but having springs inside the hub assembly itself was an interesting solution before the swing arm was introduced to Triumph in 1954.

More from the seller

There are a few non-original parts. The second owner, who bought the bike from the estate of the deceased original owner in 1991, replaced with NOS parts the wiring loom and some rubber parts such as handgrips, footpeg rubbers, tank mount bushings, etc. (He included most of the original parts in a box when I picked up the bike…But overall the bike is remarkably original and preserved, and surprisingly reliable


The Thunderbird was another bike which was developed to please the American Market. Triumph already had the 500cc Speed Twin and T100, but Americans wanted more, and in 1950 the 6T 150cc and gained 8hp to 34hp at 6500rpm. The American model even received more compression the the home market, with 8.5:1 CR ending up on our shores, and 7.0:1 staying back in Britain. The 650cc were offered in pre-unit construction until 1963, and after word the united engine and transmission Thunderbird was offered until 1966.

This Triumph Thunderbird is very original, and has great patina, something that is getting top dollar these days. They are only original once, and this one still is. If you are able to put in a winning bid to get this bike, you will have great company of Thunderbird riders. The main Triumph importer of the time tried to keep their motorcycle out of a biker gang movie in the day, but in the end Marlon Brando was able to throw his leg over a Thunderbird and launch the iconic American Motorcycle Rebel while riding British Iron. BB

1983 BMW R65LS

For Sale: 1983 BMW R65LS

When BMW released the R65LS, it was really a remarkable styling excercise. Based on the staid (and slow) R65 series, the LS model added twin disc brakes up front, a sharp bikini fairing, model specific seat and tail section, painted snowflake wheels and model specific matte black exhaust. The rest of the bike was pure R65. Although no faster than the base model, the R65LS looked the part for a sport bike, and came with a substantially higher MSRP.

The bike was styled by Hans Muth, best known for his work with the fully faired BMW R100RS and the sharp-edged Suzuki Katana. There is a little of that Katana in the front fairing, but the look is still unique. BMW claimed that the fairing reduced front end lift by 30% – but journalists of the time wonderened aloud if front end lift was ever a problem for the little R65. Too much power was never an issue, although this boxer – like all the airhead boxers before it – did its best work on the open road.

With “sportier” (read: narrower) handlebars, the heavy R65LS takes a bit of effort to turn in. Chassis is what you would expect from BMW – reasonably comfortable but far from knife-edge handling. Suspension travel is adequate, but there can be a handful of shaft drive effect (the rear of the bike will rise under throttle and drop when the gas is chopped) if the rider is not careful. If you can put up with the odd way a BMW leans when you blip the throttle at a stoplight and you don’t mind the throbbing boxer twin on the highway, maybe this is the BMW for you.

From the seller:
1983 BMW R65LS

Engine runs great, bike rides great

New Odyssey battery ($115)

43029 miles

Tires in ok condition, some cracking but not bad

Marzocchi rear adjustable shocks

4 in tear in seat, covered with tape so it doesn’t get larger

Tool kit missing

Everything operational

The R65LS was a limited model run; in two years it would be gone. It was not the major seller that BMW had hoped, and thus it remains a unique and somewhat rare model. When properly serviced, an R65LS will make a suitable mount for in-town commuting through multi-day sport touring – as long as the “sport” part is not taken GSX-R seriously. The motors are very reliable and extremely robust – the mileage on this example is no cause for worry.

The side panels on a stock R65LS are not color coded, so these have been painted. Also, the new battery is a nice addition but I doubt it fits properly in the space provided. The R65LS takes a very specific battery size; use of a non-standard size will work, but precludes the use of the under-the-seat storage tray. Besides those nits and the obious seat tear, this bike appears to be in reasonable condition for its age. The upgraded rear shocks are a nice addition over the stock units.

For your chance to own this unique piece of (relatively recent) BMW history, click the link and jump over to the auction. For the price, it will be hard to find a better way into the world of BMW – and you can do it with a limited number, unique ride at that! Good luck to both the seller and the buyer!


Don’t call it a Ducati: 1987 Cagiva Alazzurra

For Sale: 1987 Cagiva Alazzurra 650

The Italians have a certain style that seems to captivate the enthusiast. They also have a manner of procedure and nomenclature that befuddles everyone who tries to follow along. This bike, this company, and this piece of corporate history are perfect examples of style and confusion rolled into a beautiful design.

Cagiva was a producer of mopeds, scooters and small offroad bikes. Formed by legend Giovanni Castiglioni, the company name is what is known as a portmanteau: a blending of multiple words into a single name. In this case, Cagiva takes its name from the founding father as well as the region where the company was born: CAstiglioni, GIovanni, and VArese (this is similar to how BIMOTA is named). Originally started as a metal manufacturing concern in the 1950s, Cagiva did not turn to the motorcycle world until the 1970s.

The Alazzurra is one of the more confusing bikes produced in the modern era of motorcycling. Long considered a form of “badge engineering,” the bike started out as an engine deal – namely the Ducati 650cc Pantah engine – and comprised a Ducati engine married to a Cagiva-designed and branded chassis. And while Cagiva and Ducati were separate entities when the Alazzaurra was first introduced, one was bought by the other by the time this 1987 bike was introduced. Confused yet?

Cagiva, lead by Giovanni Castiglioni, actually purchased Ducati in 1985. That same year the company also completed a buyout of Moto Morini. Two years later Cagiva added to their holdings by purchasing Husqvarna. Meanwhile, they continued to market in the US under Cagiva, failing to understand the strength of the Ducati brand in America.

If we are to follow the story to its natural conclusion (i.e. to the present day), Cagiva purchased the rights to the MV Agusta name in 1991, sold off Ducati and Moto Morini to US-based investment firm Texas Pacific Group in 1996, restructured under the MV Agusta banner in 1999 (MV Agusta now holding rights to Cagiva and Husqvarna), were acquired by Harley Davidson in 2008, and in late 2010 after HD poured millions into MV Agusta in terms of production facilities and clearing the books of debt, Giovanni Castiglioni stepped in and bought his old company back. Ironically, Ducati has also been resold (private firm Performance Motorcycles SpA), and is now Italian owned once more.

From the seller:
Up for auction is a 1987 Cagiva Alazzurra 650. I am selling this for my Dad who is selling his collection. The bike has 1,667 Miles on the odometer. It has been fully serviced within the last 200 miles and is ready to ride now. The service included all of the mechanical maintenance as well as New Tires, POR 15 sealed the inside of the gas tank, Powdercoated the frame and wheels, all of the bodywork newly painted (except for the tank), and new BUB exhaust pipes.

This seller has offered many classic and rare bikes on eBay as of late – somewhere in Michigan there is an awesome collection slowing being parted out. Thankfully, there is a video of this particular bike running:

That is a classic Ducati sound, and those BUB pipes sound awesome. The bike is not stock, has had some re-paint work done, and has had other modifications that one can only find out by talking to the seller (for example: do the lack of belt covers simply make a statement or indicate other modifications below the surface?).

The value of an Alazzurra – the closest thing to a “real” Ducati you could purchase in the US during the early 1980s – is downright reasonable. This particular gem, with only 1,667 miles, is currently sitting at $1,000. And this is a no reserve auction! With a capable chassis, Marzocchi suspension and the legendary Ducati L-twin desmo powerplant, this is a classic that begs to be ridden. For more information, pictures and info, . Good luck, and tell ’em you saw it on CSBFS!