The BSA Gold Star: A British Motorcycle Icon Returns in a Golden Flash of Class
The British left a mark on the motorcycle industry forever with companies like Triumph, Norton, and, of course, BSA. Birmingham Small Arms is back, baby. With help from wealthy Indian investors, this iconic British bike brand resurrected the BSA Gold Star, which looks as good as we remember it.
Is BSA making new motorcycles?
According to Cycle World, BSA joins brands like Norton and Royal Enfield, which were both saved from bankruptcy in 2020 by India’s TVS Group.
BSA is now owned by Classic Legends, the same folks who control the Jawa brand. Although an Indian firm controls the revived marque, BSA is heading back home with R&D facilities in the UK and plans to set up a manufacturing base near Birmingham.
While these new bikes look a lot like the classic ones, the new BSA has big plans for the future to bring electric power to the brand. But before we go any further into the future, we gotta take a look at the retro-inspired return of the BSA Gold Star.
The 2022 BSA Gold Star
Where most retro-inspired bikes go wrong is the engine. Making modern technology look like it was made in the ‘60s is a tall order. However, the BSA seems to have cracked the code. Despite being completely different internally, the 2022 BSA Gold Star’s 45-hp 652cc DOHC four-valve motor might be a far cry from the original 350cc and 500cc engines, but it sure as hell looks the part. However, being water-cooled, the radiator does break the vintage spell a touch, but the performance and efficiency are worth the slight break in aesthetic.
The BSA clocks in a 470 lbs, all fueled up and ready to roll. The Royal Enfield Interceptor is the BSA’s closest competition and weighs an extra 8 lbs. However, the Enfield pulls an extra 1.8 hp from its 648 cc thumper.
The new BSA Gold Star has some modern touches like a radiator and ABS, but don’t expect to find Bluetooth. The Gold Star is still a very traditional bike by all standards. The gauges consist of only two circular instruments to show speed, RPM, and a small LCD screen that shows some additional information, but nothing too fancy.
Despite the vintage class, this bike exudes, rest assured that it is built to comply with modernity, at least in the ways it absolutely needs to. Cycle World reminds us that this bike still has fuel injection, a radiator, and is Euro-5 compliant, has Brembo brakes and ABS, modern handling, and quality Pirelli rubber. Unfortunately, BSA nixed the kickstart.
Is the new BSA Gold Star any good?
As we said earlier, BSA is working to get back to its homeland, but the first batch of bikes was made in India. Considering the lingering effects of COVID on automotive production, the move to Britain might take the newly-Indian company some time.
From the throttle response to the gear changes, Cycle World’s tester expressed a bit of disappointing B+ sort of ratings. However, he mentions that once the bike moves, the throttle pulls nicely and tops out around 100 mph, just like the original Gold Star.
The engine is said to be “as friendly as a pub owner.” The tester mentions that the friendly (slowish) engine could make the BSA Gold Star a great bike for new riders. It’s small, relatively light, and delivers easy-to-manager power.
The review shows a cute vintage run-around with enough power to make you smile but not enough to stretch that smile out behind you. Let’s be honest, this new BSA isn’t going to attract the racers of the old days, but instead, folks who want to tap into that history with some semblance of ease and comfort.
Come through, BSA. We have been waiting for you.