1942 BSA Airborne
1st Pattern Twin Seat-Tube Model
BSA Model 40 Saddle
Frame No R6387
I bought this good original 1st Pattern BSA Airborne from Colin Stevens in Canada, who owned it for many years as part of his personal collection. Colin was the first person to create an internet database on wartime bicycles. We’ve communicated for many years and I learned a lot from him, so I was very happy to obtain a machine with such good provenance.
The frame and forks had been repainted in blue many years ago by a previous owner (and silver paint on the chainwheel). You can see the original paint underneath in the photos below. The first task will be to patiently remove the rest of the overpaint.
Apart from the paint issue, the bike is in very good original condition, with original handlebar grips, BSA saddle, etc. A Bluemel’s pump is fitted, and one of the tyres is a ‘War Grade.’
As I’m sure you are aware, only 1000 of this model were manufactured, in 1942, as BSA’s first attempt to create a folding military bicycle light enough for use by paratroopers. It was introduced with insufficient testing – understandably a lot of equipment had to be rushed out under wartime conditions. The frame design with double seat tube proved too weak, so a subsequent model was introduced later that year with a conventional seat tube. The 2nd pattern is very common as nearly 70,000 of this later model were manufactured, and not many were actually used in combat. (The number of them advertised on ebay by optimistic dealers in the Arnhem area as combat bikes might exceed the actual amount used in combat 🙂
With a limited production run and its distinctive design profile, the 1st Pattern BSA Airborne is one of the most sought-after military bicycle models. It’s a wonderful conversation topic at any bicycle or military show or display, anywhere in the world. This rare machine is being sold at a very reasonable price, plus discounted delivery cost (free packing and only GB £100 for fedex door-to-door courier service anywhere in the world).
With not many surviving examples, this is a rare opportunity to grab one of these historic military artefacts and enjoy three interesting aspects of our hobby:
1. Presenting a rare historic machine at shows and displays
2. Riding a vintage bicycle to keep fit
3. Watching our investments appreciate in value …ie we can enjoy ownership of our treasures and make money too!