1914 BSA Territorial with WW1 Military Fittings

BSA On War Service

 

During the 51 years of its existence the Birmingham Small Arms Company has had to face and overcome many difficulties and has formed a close acquaintance with mighty national and international problems in its dealings with Governments. Its progress, from its inception by a combination of a few individual gunmakers to its present world-renowned position, has been marked by a continuity of sound principles with the happy direction of far-sighted, broad-minded and progressive business men. And well it has been so. For all those problems and difficulties of the past faded into mere nothingness before the appalling situation disclosed on that memorable day in August 1914, when war was declared between England and Germany.

– ‘Munitions of War: A Record of the Work of the BSA Company During the Great War’

BSA was the world’s leading supplier of military bicycles. Prior to 1910, bicycles were supplied as fittings only, to be assembled locally. With international orders, this avoided import tax. Australia, for example, published guidelines as to how rough the imported parts must be in order to qualify for import tax exemption. The Australian bicycle and motorcycle industry was founded on BSA Fittings, so BSA parts were the most common to be found in Australian bicycles. When war was declared, BSA bicycles were supplied to Australian soldiers by the British government. You can see a typical example in the photo below.

1917 bsa oz

1914 BSA Territorial with WW1 Military Fittings

24″ Frame

28″ Wheels

(Now sold)

 
 BSA bicycles were supplied worldwide before and during the Great War. As you can see in the photo of Australian cyclist troops, BSA supplied bicycles for the War both with and without military fittings.
 
When war was declared in August, 1914, cycle companies converted their roadster bicycles into military bicycles. I converted this BSA in the same way. The paintwork and specification of this bicycle suggests it’s a BSA Gent’s Roadster Model 3A (the ‘A’ suffix denotes a freewheel with two ‘rolling lever brakes’). The Roadster features nickel handlebars, fork crowns and wheel rims, and was priced at £8 15/-.
 
A rear carrier, rifle clips and tool bag would have been added. The inflator pump was relocated from the seat tube to the top tube, so as not to foul the lower rifle clip. The ‘Territorial’ illustration illustrates 2nd pattern open sided rifle clips. A roadster was thus transformed into a military model. BSA described it as the ‘BSA Territorial’.
The BSA appears to be an old-time restoration. The paintwork and box lining are in good condition, as is the nickel throughout. This machine is featured in the book ‘BAD TEETH NO BAR: A HISTORY OF MILITARY BICYCLES IN THE GREAT WAR’ – on page 167 (Chapter 22: Coastal Defence) and page 259 (Chapter 38: Birmingham Small Arms).
 

 

 

 

BAD TEETH NO BAR: A HISTORY OF MILITARY BICYCLES IN THE GREAT WAR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1914 BSA CATALOGUE EXTRACTS