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Just Because …

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I wanted to post this photo. It is a picture of a bike that caught my attention several years ago while surfing the internet. Something about it. I think it is a “BSA Regal” manufactured Gold Star. After the death of the original BSA, BSA Regal began making bikes that looked much like the original singles manufactured by the old British marque.

The principal difference between the old and new Gold Stars is the use of a Yamaha SR 500 engine in the BSA Regal version. Perhaps sneered at by collectors as a mere replica, I think it is beautiful, and I would love to have one in the garage.

Is there a certain motorcycle, or even a photo of a motorcycle, that you can’t seem to get out of your mind? Chime in below.

82 Comments

  1. Mr. Edge:

    Thank you for your site and your work in general. I find your wirting and reviews among the most enjoyable and informative anythwere. My note is a few days off of this post. But, your writing, and this post are worth a comment.
    As I go into my sixties, my riding preferences and style continue to evolve, as it has the entire forty-five years I have been riding. I ride much more now, more slowly, more in town. And, I am happy with a smaller displacement bike that is simpler. I have begun to long for gentler, simple, well designed bikes, and those I have tried and come to like have more in common with the bikes I began with in the late sixties, not unlike the BSA Regal in your post. I lmiss my 1978 SR500 very much. But, the new SR400 kick start is more than I want to deal with at 60. I have begun to think I might sell my beloved and reliable BMW K75RT for a Kawasaki W650 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kawasaki_W650). I have acquired a 1980 Kawasaki KL250 A3, which I have partially restored, and it is my daily rider in town now (Portland, Oregon). I got that – as I longed for a Kaswasaki BJ250 Estrella (http://www.kawasaki-estrella.com/html/english.html), not sold by Kawasaki here – similar to a KZ 250 of the early 1980’s. It would seem that all or some of the Japanese brands might have to ability to step up to the plate and produce, perhaps, a whole “retro” sub-brand. Your posting has me believe there might be a market. There is with me. I know, I would buy a W800, or a BJ250 – if Kawsaki would only import them.

  2. Ron H. says:

    Hodaka Super Rat

  3. kjazz says:

    The bike that is taking up space in my brain these days is RSD’s BMW Concept 90. What a gorgeous set of lines using a timeless motor/drive train.

  4. takehikes says:

    Triumph Hurricane X75

  5. rg500g says:

    If I had not owned BSAs for about 45 years (mostly singles with a ’71 A65L in the shed now) I’d be wowed. There are just too many of the real deal still available at reasonable prices though. Yeah, the mechanics are primitive, electrics dodgy, frames can be al dente, but you can still do some pretty interesting things with the B50 engine and the ‘how tos’ are on the Internet. Carburetion, ignition, lubrication, cams, pistons, valves, etc. are all modernized or modifications known and competition tested, and once you go through about $750 or so on the engine (if you start with a good runner) you’ve got a pretty reliable motor that won’d disappoint or leak all over the garage floor, and it’s a REAL BSA at half the price easily. I really wish I still had my OIF B50 SS. I never messed with it while I had it, unaware of the MX mods and other hop-up tricks, and it would be a blast to tart one up today. My Lightning is dead on reliable (but I went through it thoroughly) even with the Amal Mark 1 Concentrics) and I honestly trust the thing to not die on the side of the road. It’s not a car sawed in half lengthwise like my BMW K1200, but I don’t worry about notifying my spouse before I go for a ride. That was not the case for the RG500 gamma I owned. OY, on that bike you didn’t know if you were going to get bitten, sodomized, or both. Either way you certainly were never bored…

  6. bad Chad says:

    I am going to agree with Dirck 100% on his choice. This bike, at least in this pic looks to be about as close to perfect in its proportions, and balance as can be possible. It all looks just right.

  7. Tommy See says:

    441BSA Victor and the Yam SRX 600. I miss those machines and loved the soul sounds. Sad that singles are not in like those old days.

    • Tank says:

      I wonder how well the SR400 is selling? The price and the lack of electric starter might not help.

  8. mariner says:

    1960 velocette Venom…500 hi camshaft single, made all of 38 hp…smooth for a single but a cantankerous machine with 6 volt Miller electrics…love / hate relationship…but was my first love…and showed me freedom all over England

    • Mike says:

      Friend of mine had a Venom way, way back when we rode them like they were intended without regard to “collectability” or anything else.

      My Goldie was one of the X roadracers I owned over the years and had more hp than the Venom ….but that was not a guarantee of coming home first.

      Of course there were more than a few times neither of us or just one….made it home….stranded along the road due to some mechanical issue, but ohhhhh how great it was when they both ran great.

      But the best part for me was there were no Harleys that could keep up in the twisties and actually anywhere else back then.

      Sidebar: The local BSA dealer never had a Goldstar to sell …same for parts ….so I had to have a pre-paid account with Pride and Clarke in England for parts. Three week turn around, but far better than the alternative!!! Of course this was not certain either because the BSA Goldstar factory shop manual I bought was far from accurate. Were parts readily available in England for your Venom then? What years did you have your Venom?

      Goldstars were very rare back then in the states and not popular as being just too rawdy and difficult…. most preferred the 650 twins. There were plenty of Goldies at the AMA National dirt track races though….and even a few G-50 Matchless variants, one which Dick Mann rode and won or was near the front.

      Indeed as you said….love hate relationship, but as I look back now to 50 years ago…. there is nothing remaining but the love part.

      One thing I think we both would agree on….. the BSA Regal is no Goldstar or Venom!!!! Take the period tank away and its shallow capabilites and intent are totally exposed!!!!

  9. Randy in Atlanta says:

    If I could only have six “classic” bikes

    Kawasaki A7 350 Avenger
    Norton Commando (Black and gold tank, of course)
    Gotta agree on the Honda GB500
    ANY Rob North tuned Triumph Trident
    Although way underpowered, I’d love to have the new Royal Enfield Continental GT
    And a Ural 2-wheel drive sidecar unit.

    I think I could find a bike in there for whatever lust the day brings.

    • Provologna says:

      OMG those Avengers were awesome! Just the right mix of chrome, black, and color. Tank deep maroon wine red w/chrome side covers, yes?

      Oh the good ole days, checking the oil injection tank level by removing the plastic black cap and taking a peek inside (no sarcasm).

      Hey, no one mentioned the 60s Honda CT90. Yellow or red? While we’re dreaming, I’ll take one of each. Remember the dual rear sprockets, standard size and larger one for heavy trail duty?

      Honda’s Super 90 in black wasn’t a bad ride.

    • Mike says:

      Randy

      You might enjoy this video and exhaust note of a vintage late 60s/early 70s BSA Triple road racer at Spa. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oeMx3-vNUlw

      Stay with the video now… as he runs off the track at the first turn….then proceeds to pass most of the other vintage bikes after that.

      60s/early 70s Triumph and BSA road race triples………..my vote for the best motorcycle exhaust note ever.

      Friend and I had “fake: press passes and got meet/talk to all the racers at the Loudon AMA National Roadraces back then….Gary Nixon on the Triumph 3 was impresssssive!

  10. Rich B says:

    I have seen the BSA Regal bikes, they are nice looking….but very simply, they are not a Gold Star.

    See my link, that is a Gold Star. An uncompromising bitch of a motorcycle that absolutely demands your undivided attention. And is the most fun I have ever had on a street legal motorcycle. This motorcycle was not then, and not now, for the faint of heart or those not willing to give their undivided attention to this motorcycle.

    Yea, love my Gold Star…..and respect the hell out of it….

    [IMG]http://i834.photobucket.com/albums/zz264/bucherr/bike%20stuff/7B4AB91B-E40A-4B0B-B844-06283C34186F_zps1hc6ddbh.jpg[/IMG]

  11. richard says:

    guzzi v11….sexy beast

  12. RD350 says:

    As an old school Yamaha man, the bikes that light me up are the 1975 RD350b, the 1984 RZ350 Yellow/Black Roberts rep, the SR500 and my current project, the 1986 SRX600 Super Single!

    • Tom K. says:

      I think the prettiest of the bunch was the RD400 Daytona in white, but I would have liked to see an RZ350 in person, I might change my mind. Something amout the aroma of Yamalube in the morning….

      • Kagato says:

        I second the Daytona 400! I also love the standard model KZ550, don’t see them much.

        • Tom K. says:

          You’re correct, and a similar bike was the Yamaha Radian – it had a very compact, “clean” look to it, one of the better examples of a UJM, along with Honda’s Nighthawk 750 – bikes that just looked “right”.

  13. Provologna says:

    Trumpet Tiger original red tank
    ’77 Suzuki GS750, GS850 cylinders/top end, metallic blue w/gold and baby blue stripes, spoke alloy rims
    ’79 CBX black, OEM sport kit, ’78 cams, Denco 6-1 exhaust, carbs finely jetted

    Is this asking too much?

  14. ChrisRR says:

    A ’68 Suzuki T500. Big two stroke torque along with that old 60’s japanese look that i like

  15. Randy in Nebraska says:

    I would love one of these built on the current fuel injected 400cc platform. In my opinion, that would be a awesome blend of classic looks and easy-to-start reliability. Bring it on!

  16. My2cents says:

    Honda GB 500
    1982 Suzuki Katana 1100
    Suzuki GS 1000 Cooley
    Honda RC 30
    Harley-Davidson XA
    Indian 741
    Indian 841

  17. pigiron says:

    1967 BSA single carb Thunderbolt 650 with buckhorn bars.

  18. bikerrandy says:

    I think my 2000 MuZ 660 Tour single is beautiful and is the best handling bike I’ve eer ridden, 1 or 2up. It only has 48hp but more can be had and it carves up corners like you can’t believe! Also is comfortable for long 800 mi. day rides.

  19. Blackcayman says:

    I emailed you one of mine…because I don’t know where to link to it online to share it here.

    Maybe you could share a few that you receive in a follow up post…

  20. KenHoward says:

    For me, nothing beats the looks of a bike with an air-cooled single or twin cylinder engine in a standard frame. My first loves (from a distance, at a young age) were all the British twins of the ’60s – and the wonderful sounds they made! I wonder how well the new Norton bikes are selling?

    • Randy in Atlanta says:

      I’m right there with you , Ken. Let’s see the engine. 650 twins are perfect engines for any pallet. Although I admire the 69 Honda CB750, I don’t think it should have been named Motorcycle of the Century. The Bonnie (and it’s predecessors) was the most popular motorcycle in the world for decades and for good reason. It’s historical significance is
      unquestionable. And people forget that it weighed an incredible 375 lbs.
      Give me that engine and that weight with FI and superior suspension and brakes and watch how fast I whip out the checkbook.

  21. TURBOMAN says:

    GTS 1000 a work of art!!

  22. Mike says:

    Way back in the 60s…..there was a kid in Eastern Ohio (Ahia) that lived near the river and intentionally bought a well worn marginally street legal 1956 BSA Goldstar X- Daytona Roadracer.

    Let’s be honest…..this BSA Regal, the GB500 or SR500 are no Goldstar….they were in fact better in almost every respect, but lacking in what that young kid wanted then….. character, exhaust note, brutal personality and yes performance of a real deal road racer model that Mike Hailwood might have rode very early in his career.

    But more than anything that Goldstar roadracer bought respect and fear from every Harley owner in the area after they realized their only view of this bike would be the tail light disappearing in the distance at speed in the twisties. All this combined (more or less, depending on the day) to trump the actual daily trauma and frustration of owning that Goldstar road racer and of course as not a fast learner….a few Goldstars after that!!!!

    I test rode a GB500 when the prices of new ones at the dealers hit rock bottom and declined the buy. If only it had maybe 20+ more hp, if only it was not so close to perfect, if only I had never owned those Goldstars long ago that always came home first on the tight stuff while all along dodging coal trucks and coal dust on the roads.

    That kid is long gone now….replaced by a 71 year old still wanting a 80+ hp single that would put the hurt on most bikes in the tightest of the twisties mile after mile, yet be reliable and of course have the looks of a G-50 Matchless.

    Only if …..Honda had made two GB500 models or and Yamaha two SR500s back then….a stock one…..and a few race replicas capable of actually winning a Gold Star or for those that wanted to share what I had back then on the streets while riding the Goldie…..time after time, day after day! Only if …indeed!

    Final point ….capturing just a few design cues of the Goldstar is one thing, but I think the goals for such a bike should a weeee bit higher.

    Thanks Dirck for taking me back ….just one more time.

    • azi says:

      80+ hp single? Is that even possible?

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        Only if you consider shrapnel in your leg to be part of the “character” experience.

        • azi says:

          Mike’s retro dream machine might be technically possible though, with a more reasonable HP goal. KTM Duke engine (70HP at the crank), a trellis or double cradle frame made of premium chromoly steel / titanium, some serious forged spoked rims, and hand hammered aluminium bodywork. Cartridge forks and multi-rate dual rear shocks. It would be a very nice thing to ride, but I doubt much pocket change left from $40000 with the fab work labour costs.

          Alternately, he could buy an off-the shelf Norton Commando instead for slightly less money to scratch that itch:)

      • Mike says:

        Thank you for your comments….surprised the only negative or issues was the 80hp single statement I made.

        Let me correct this w ….the path to a 100hp single exists

        >>>>>>

        The reliable 80hp single…..myth or fact

        1. The 2015 KTM 690 Duke which is available now in America has 68hp. Part way to 80hp ….

        2. The 2012 KTM 690 European Junior Cup bikes weighted 308lb and had 78hp ran thousands of road race miles with no reported “shrapnel in the legs.” See all our prior discussion here on this 78hp single.
        Link >>> http://www.motorcycledaily.com/2012/01/european-junior-cup-identically-prepared-308-lb-78-hp-ktm-690-dukes/

        3. Of course there already is a 102hp single…..
        Link >>> http://thekneeslider.com/ducati-v-one-twin-to-supercharged-single-conversion/

        >>>>>>

        Forget a 80hp single ….the path to a reliable street legal 100hp single in my view is simply a larger engine version of the Ducati 549cc mono motor configuration. Yupppp….an all new 850+cc single with the balance of a V-Twin.

        Link to view this amazing motor configuration >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ducati_Supermono

        >>>>>>

        Sidebar: Honda Marysville, Ohio motorcycle assembly plant
        Meeting: Meeting with Shoichiro Irimajiri

        I asked him if a 100hp single was possible….he thought for a while and answered that Honda could do this in his view, but would not due to the companies view of the marketing role of four stroke singles at the time. He did state that many high hp singles were developed as part of new multi-cylinder engine design process.

        >>>>>>

        So there you have it……the path for a 100hp…. 338.38lb sort of street legal 850+cc single = the Ducati 549cc mono motor configuration…..made in 1993…it can be done!!! With a turbo….maybe 140hp. ..

        Anyone want to bet pink slips on a run in the tight mountain roads of WV against this bike at 100 or 140 hp?

        All aboard

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          Hey! The comment was a joke… not negativity! My go-to ride gets underway via a 55hp 650 single. 80hp? All I really have to say to that is, “Yes, please!”

      • Lenz says:

        It’s possible – the 500cc GM speedway racing engines will make 75hp – 80hp with a single carbie but they run 14 – 17 : 1 compression ratios, highly developed cylinder heads, massive rods and cranks AND run methanol. The long track speedway 500cc engines will make close to 100hp with 2 carbies. They are formidable beasts …. so is the maintenance program

    • todd says:

      I am happy with the meager output of my GB500 since keeping in front or leaving people behind on most roads is not about power but how the bike is ridden. There is nothing better than when people that have been chasing you ask how much horsepower you have. “Um, about 35 at the wheel.”

  23. George Catt says:

    The plastic pig Honda CX 500 has become a canvas for the custom crowd. Google cx500 and click “images” for mny beautidul examples.

    Another fave, destined to never make production due to the untimely death of the originator:
    Bernard Li’s Vincent.

    http://cyrilhuzeblog.com/2010/04/21/four-vincent-concept-models-to-be-auctioned-at-bonhams’-quail-lodge-motorcycle-auction/

  24. Louis says:

    1984 Nighthawk ‘S’. In blue. Beautiful bike!

  25. Bob says:

    Godet Egli Vincent.

    Maybe the most beautiful piece of machinery ever produced, to my eyes.

    http://www.theworldofmotorcycles.com/zoom_norvin_egli-vincent.html

  26. Ricardo says:

    I own a 1985 Cagiva Alazzurra 650 (Ducati engine), is a great bike, very nimble, agile and fast enough to put a grin on your face. But the model is mostly unappreciated since is when Cagiva owned Ducati for a few years, so the Ducatisti don’t care much about this jewel. BTW I also own a ’05 999 awesome bike.

  27. holmes says:

    I’d love a Honda CX500 Turbo

  28. Nobade says:

    Looks a lot like my 2001 Kawasaki W650 – still the best street bike I have ever owned.

  29. Denny says:

    Suzuki Gt-750 “Water buffalo” done with Omar’s Cafe kit. Painted in blue and white with expansion chambers! Yeah baby!

  30. Tank says:

    I once saw a standard style bike with a ninja 650 motor on the internet. I don’t know if it was a prototype or a Japan only bike, but it looked really nice.

  31. Tommy D says:

    I remember when Cycle World posted the picture of the Ducati 916 on the cover. I didn’t believe it was a real production bike until I read more about it. What a stunner! I have a 2000 996S in the garage. I feel the same way every time I look at it. Track day next Tuesday with her!

  32. mickey says:

    Change the tank and the pipe and it’s a Gold Star dbd34

    • mickey says:

      Btw I have my modern retro, a 2014 Honda CB1100 dlx. Great motorcycle. All the great looks and none of the hassle of riding a true retro.

    • Mike says:

      Mickey, Mickey, Mickey………..pleaseeeeee x 1 trillion

  33. Starmag says:

    Too bad this clone doesn’t have the two best styling bits of an original BSA, that is, the bump stop seat and the whole side of the tank chroming with those huge sun tank badges like the Gold Star it’s attempting to copy. Gold Stars are iconically beautiful, no doubt.

    I bought a 1978 SR500 brand new and gave it a big Mikuni, a cam, and a Supertrapp which allowed it to pull wheelies into second, but it still didn’t sound as good and wasn’t as fun as the pristine blue 1977 RD400 with chrome chambers it replaced.

    Here’s couple of my fav’s:

    http://www.samurider.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/wh0071-2.jpg

    http://s841.photobucket.com/user/Lupella/media/1979%20Honda%20CBX%20Red/4_zps9094d509.jpg.html

  34. Gary says:

    Easy one, an early to mid seventies Benelli 750 sei in the brown color. A gorgeous bike. Next would be the ’72 or ’73 Triumph X75 Hurricane. Both gorgeous bikes that should have done better. Runner up would be a 84 to 88 Kawasaki Voyager 1300 six. Way beyond it’s time.

  35. azi says:

    Kawasaki ZR1100 Zephyr. Big K were at least a decade early with the retro craze.

  36. clasqm says:

    Harley XL1000CR “Cafe Racer”. I keep toying with the idea of buying an XR1200R and a Jewel Racer conversion kit …

    The original Ducati 750/900 SS remains another entry in the list of “Bikes I should have owned but never did”

    But when I was sixteen years old, every Sunday saw me with my nose pressed against the pane of the local bike dealer’s display window, lusting after the most expensive production motorcycle in the world, the Starship Enterprise, also known as the BMW R100RS.

  37. Alex says:

    …any Egli-Vincent. Achingly beautiful engine, pipes and bodywork..

  38. Felix says:

    Kawasaki “BigHorn”! Good looking bike.

  39. Trpldog says:

    850 Moto Guzzi LeMans – bought it brand new at Laidlaws HD in 1976. Center-punched a Chevy with it. Wish I still had it. Sigh.

  40. Gary says:

    I had an SR500 when I was in college. GREAT bike. I rode it every day, all the time. It was my only transportation for four years. It was jumped, crashed, wheelied and put away wet. Never gave me a bit of trouble. It even had a safety device that prevented me from riding after too much booze: a kickstarter, combined with healthy compression. No electric start.

    That was a fantastic bike, at a fantastic time in my life.

    • Mike says:

      Another great feature the SR500 had…

      Ice cream stand or restaurant ….super smooth, almost semi polished concrete. Parked my SR facing the facing the door, say 8-10 foot away

      Bet anyone that if I left the SR running and on the kickstand ….it would “walk” over to the door all by itself and be there waiting for me after we all got done eating

      Won lots of money on this

      >>>>>>

      The DBD34 BSA Goldstar 500 single could not do this….it would not idle!

    • Blackcayman says:

      I too had an SR500 and have fond memories of the many miles I rode on it. It came to me with a SuperTrapp megaphone that made it sing; there was no stealth mode on that bike!

      I bought it for $500, rode it for three years and sold it for $400.

      Sure it had it’s limitations being a single, but I love riding it everywhere.

      • Mike says:

        Yuppppp…..same here!!!!

        Mine was a 1978….same mods as yours plus Michelin…. “PZ2s” if I recall that correctly. I put a sport fender on and junk reworked G-50 seat and had a set of lower handlebars made …plus Ferodo racing pads up front.

        Top end was 86.353mph…slightly down hill of course.

        Friend of mine had an RD350 which would go a bit faster, but nothing…and I mean nothing….would go into a tight turn at speed deeper under hard front and back braking plus motor braking via downshifts than that SR….plus motor out faster.

        Now of course you and I know if there was a longist straight away after all the heroics in/out of those turns……the SRs and us were toast some of the time.

        So what happend to your SR

        Great bike, great fun…..thx for your reply.

  41. MGNorge says:

    Funny you should ask, for me it was the late 60’s BSA Lightnings – http://www.classicandracebike.co.uk/autoclass/stock-images/06ms122tyd/ww561e6xyl/0sjvugu4vu.jpg

    And Norton Commando 750 Roadsters – http://www.classic-british-motorcycles.com/images/72Norton-Commando-ylo-L.jpg

    Got close to buying the Norton in ’72 but never made it happen. Don’t see much of BSA these days but restored Nortons show up from time to time and I still have to stop and gaze over them.

  42. rene says:

    The original H-D XLX Iron barrel Sportster with the matte black pipes. It was raw and beautiful.

  43. al says:

    BSA 441 Victor Special..Triumph TT Special, and maybe the BSA Rocket Goldstar..

    • Mike says:

      Mini fave just for me…please let’s try to never mention the BSA 441 in the same sentence as a Triumph TT Special or BSA Rocket Goldstar

    • todd says:

      I had a B50 “Gold Star” and still have a B50MX. I always considered the B50 a Gold “Plated” Star.