Friday, November 23, 2007

In the dustbin: Goffys '59 BSA A10

Via: Goffys Classic

"I bought this A10 from a chap called Paul Philips in Chalfont St. Giles in 1977. She was dismantled then but in fairly large bits, so I reassembled her with a respray in something like Golden Flash beige. All the tin ware was there so it went back more or less original. The speedo was missing as was the carb., so I fitted a concentric that I had laying around and as it ran so well it was eventually replaced with another, although larger 30 mm version.

Common knowledge has it that cheap cars killed off outfits in the early 1960s but by the mid 70s cars were still too expensive for many impoverished youngsters so cheap old British bikes were the way to go with a second pulling a chair to carry the washing, shopping and broken-down or non-running bikes. I had a Dommie Café racer with a single seat so something to carry the girlfriend as well was needed. One of my friends had an Ariel outfit, another an A10 and another made a living as a window cleaner around Marlow with a double adult sidecar on an M21."

"After the first winter I had to have a rebore done, as she was becoming very oily and smoky. I was disappointed to have to have it taken out to +30 as it wouldn’t clear on any less. I had no idea of the mileage, as there was still no working speedo, but one winter didn’t seem enough to wear out a top end. A clue was a persistent freezing carburettor whenever it was cold and wet; eventually I discovered that the rear wheel was throwing water and muck through a hole in the mudguard, past where the battery would have originally been (now in the sidecar) and straight into the bellmouth on the carb.! A filter was fitted and I have so equipped every other bike I’ve owned. Fork bushes and wheel bearings were frequently needed so I had a spare set of forks and a rear wheel that I would rebuild ready for when they would be needed. Every fortnight or so I would have to reset all the sidecar mounts and chains and sprockets didn’t last too long either. If I had ridden around gently all this heavy maintenance wouldn’t have been necessary, but I was often having to keep up with solos so she given a bit of stick.

The Dustbin fairing I picked up at Kempton Park autojumble for £20 and, although it had no fittings, was in good condition apart from a hole in the front about big boot size. I’ve mounted it using bonded rubber mountings, which isolates it from the engine vibration so it isn’t at all noisy. The down side is that the mounts allow flexing that has caused the gel coat to crack. Really gusty side winds can be interesting but generally it is a great improvement on when the bike was unfaired. Prejudice against fairings I can’t understand. Fit a well-designed fairing and the bike will be faster, use less petrol, and you will stay warmer and dryer. Also every post 1950s racing bike I’ve seen has a fairing so they cannot be accused of having no macho appeal. It makes the bike much bigger so takes up more space in the garage and the lock has had to be reduced so manouevering is more difficult. But the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, particularly staying dry.

Josephine was featured on the cover of the March 2000 edition of Classic Bike Guide and given a glowing write up by staff writer Steve Wilson - I think he was particularly impressed/amused by the shark's tooth design copied from a photo of an American WW11 Curtiss P40 fighter plane. Pictures of it have been seen in Back Street Heroes and other sundry rally features but this was the only time it's had a full article written about it. Fame and Fortune beckons!

Josephine is the most reliable bike any one could ask for. She starts first or second kick, doesn’t use much oil, does 60 mpg, handles well, stops OK (Triumph 2LS front brake) comfortable on a long run and keeps me warm and dry. What more could one ask for?

Age is beginning to take its toll on Josephene as much as me, and apart from special events stays in the garage. I've got a new cluster for the gearbox, which is all it really needs. I think I'll go back to a 28MM carb as although she's got plenty of power at higher revs she's a bit flat lower down. This combined with lowering the gearing will make it more suitable for squrting around the lanes near where I live."

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