1911 BSA Light Roadster
Brooks B83 Saddle
BSA were so successful as a company selling cycle components that they did not need to make and sell complete bicycles. Their components were made to a consistently high standard – just like their rifles, supplied to the government – so cycle builders all over the world were able to build their own frames with BSA parts.
But by 1909 the company could no longer ignore market demands, and they announced their new range of complete BSA bicycles, to be sold for the 1910 season. Below you can see an illustration from ‘The Boy’s Own Newspaper’ showing the new BSA Roadster, which was offered in a variety of options.
The standard offering was a fixed wheel machine with 26″ wooden wheels. According to the catalogue: ‘Steel rims can be fitted in place of Wood Rims, if desired. The standard design is with 1 inch drop in top tube, but if ordered with 28 inch wheels it is supplied with horizontal top tube…’
Standard frame sizes were from 21″ to 27″. The Heavy Roadster was offered with a 28″ frame, but for a Light Roadster to have a 28″ frame required a special order.
Also standard for the ‘Model 10’ was an Eadie Coaster Brake with rim brake at the front. But two BSA rolling lever brakes (as in the example featured here) were available at no extra cost.
The phrase ‘lightweight bicycle’ is a generic term describing machines of the thirties. But manufacturers of quality bicycles were constantly experimenting with lighter tubing to bring down the weight of their production roadsters. Triumph and Rudge-Whitworth made a feature of their lightweight roadsters, but most other makers’ bicycles at this time were considerably heavier. At only 20lbs, this BSA Light Roadster is equal to any of its competitors.
It’s rare to find such an early BSA, as most early models were ‘BSA fittings machines’ using BSA parts. This one is doubly rare because of its frame size, and would be a prize in any enthusiast’s collection. It was restored around twenty years ago and has a replacement BSA headstock transfer. It was recently serviced, is in excellent order and it’s ready to ride.
I do not have a 1910 BSA catalogue, but you can compare its features and components from the 1910 BSA Fittings catalogue further down the page, and its model specifications from the 1914 BSA catalogue extracts. For example, you can see the pedals are 1910 spec, rather than 1914.
1914 BSA CATALOGUE
1910 BSA FITTINGS CATALOGUE
QUEENS’ PARK ENTRANCE, BRIGHTON