Baby Arms: 1966 BSA Victor

When I say BSA you think of the quintessential post-war British motorcycle, the air-cooled vertical twin.  But, BSA also produced triples and singles as well as the little known 10 cylinder bike.  Find this 1966 BSA Victor for sale in Novato, CA for $5,000 via craigslist.

Contrary to the ad author, the BSA 441 Victor was powered by a 441cc air cooled single, putting out around 30hp.   The Victor had a top speed of around 85 mph, but due to a weak bottom end that was meant for a 250cc bike if you probed the limit too often, you got to visit your dealer in search of new big end and main bearings.  Oh, and the clutch and gearbox are fragile too.  However, the seller of this bike was able to coax it over 2 million miles.

Even starting the Victor was something that was daunting.  You can see why the British bike industry was killed by the Japanese.  According to the owners manual:  First gently tickle the carburetor – but don’t use too much gas or you will wet the plug and the motor will never start. Bring the piston up to top dead center on the ignition stroke; engage the valve lifter; ease the piston over TDC just a fraction; take a long swing at the kick starter and, once the bike fires, catch it on the throttle – but only with the merest whiff of gas or again, you’ll flood it and you are back to no start.

Or just buy a Japanese bike and push the electric starter button.

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Gianni is Daily Turismo’s Pacific Northwest correspondent and Taco enthusiast.