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May 1, 2011 Bikes No Comments

The BSA Star Rider

My first proper attempt at resurrecting a bike. When I picked this thing up it was a pile of grease and rust. A lot of hard graft later and it’s a very cool looking machine.

The frame, wheels, cranks and chainring are the original pieces. This is a BSA (Birmingham Small Arms) classic, a vintage throwback to the days of the English three speeds. It weighs a ton. Yet bikes like this were built to last. According to the Sturmey Archer Dynohub, it was made in June of 1978, so it’s less than a year younger than me, and with proper care it will be around long after I’m gone.

Nicely lugged steel frame with a truly gorgeous headbadge, which had unfortunately lost most of the paint before I got to it. Still it looks very vintage now with it’s bronzed colouring. The detail on the top of the fork is pretty interesting too and gives it a very classy appearance, as does the BSA lettering on the chainring. I had to strip the frame back to the bare metal and give it a respray and lacquer as the paint job was badly peeled.

The best bit is the Sturmey Archer three speed dynohub. It’s heavy as hell but still shifts smoothly and having three gears offsets the weight of the bike. I had to replace the trigger shifter with a new model, but it works well. Three speeds is more than enough for London cruising and the lights front and back are hooked up to the dynamo. Note that being a dynohub, it won’t slip in the wet like bottle dynos do. And the front light I added is pretty cool too. Gives it a kind of steampunk or locomotive look perhaps.

I finished it off with some nice touring pedals, a Brooks B17 leather saddle, which itself is in top notch condition, cream Schwalbe tyres, and North Road handlebars with cork grips, giving it that classic English path racer look.

Please note that the rims, while not rusted, were discoloured so I gave them a spray and lacquer. There’s some evidence of this still on the braking surface although it will just wear off with normal usage of the brakes, leaving the normal surface underneath.

Frame: Lugged steel, made by BSA

Size: 57cm (top tube centre to centre), 57cm (seat tube centre to centre)

Wheels: 26″ x 1 3/8

Gears: 3 speed Sturmey Archer Dynohub ’78

Dropouts: Horizontal

Brakes: Caliper front and rear

Extras: Brooks B17 saddle, cork grips, front and rear dyno lights

 

Written by james