$6,900 2007 HONDA 450CC CRF450X 6
WA | Kms
JUST Bikes 04/07/2012
The early A7 parallel twin may not be on the top of many BSA collector’s wish lists, and certainly doesn’t have the same level of “fame” as the Gold Star, Rocket 3 or even the Bantam. That doesn’t matter to Stuart Cropley, though.
He loves the pre-unit A7 he bought back in 2008 and restored up to the condition you see presented here.
“She’s a 1948 A7 500cc, longstroke motor, side-by-side twin,” Stuart explained. “It was designed pre-war and brought out in 1946, as competition for the Triumph Speed Twin.”
Stuart’s also not fazed by any accusation that these early rigid frame A7s are primitive, jokingly describing the 1954 introduction of a swingarm rear suspension on the A7 as a “non-convenience”! While he liked the look of the rigid, there was also a more practical reason behind Stuart’s choice of an A7.
“I have to be careful what I get, because a lot of them are too high. I need something with the seat very close to the ground!,” he laughed.
Stuart’s first and only classic Brit project before the A7 was a 1955 BSA C11G 250 he’d had for more than thirty years, but only brought back to usable condition six years ago.
Purchased locally, Stuart conceded the bike needed a lot of work, but with his own mechanical skills, he was confident he could see the job through. Stuart wasn’t planning a concours winner, either, so that made the process a little easier, too.
“I do them up to ride, not to sit in the shed and get trophys,” Stuart said. “I think the front part of the frame is a year younger than the rear end, but it was a bit of a mismatch when I got it. The frame and the engine don’t match – on numbers. But these days, it’s very hard to get ones that do.
“I did all the paintwork and all the engine rebuild myself. polishing the aluminium. I (also) made two stainless steel mufflers for it, from scratch. They sound really good, too!,” Stuart added. “A big part of the fun of the bike was actually rebuilding it myself, bringing it back to its original state. Riding it’s the bonus.”
Considering it’s a rigid, Stuart said the A7 is fine to ride, but admits you do have to ‘pick your bumps’ when riding on rougher roads.
“It goes really well. It’s got plenty of torque in it – low down grunt – but, you know, it’s happy at 55 miles per hour all day. 60 miles an hour? You don’t want to do that too long if you want to look after it, but she’ll probably only do 70 mile an hour flat out.”
The A7 is as close to stock as possible, and Stuart has resisted the temptation to fit modern electronic ignition, but has added an oil filter “just to keep things going a little better for longer,” he explained. Despite being over 60 years old, Stuart didn’t encounter any problems. Thanks to the internet, all sorts of new, reconditioned and reproduction parts are available to suit bikes like Stuart’s, as well as a bunch of other British classics.
Fifteen months after he started, Stuart’s BSA was complete and ready to run.
“I got it on the road in, I think, about August, 2009. She got the ‘People’s Choice’ at the President’s Day for the BSA Owners Association, which was good.”
However, a couple of months later at the BSA National Rally in Victoria, the A7 suffered its first serious snag, when soft metal in the cam followers chewed into the cam, causing the engine to seize.
“So, once I had that fixed up – I forget the place in Sydney where I got the cam rewelded and ground - and new followers from Draganfly (in the UK), she’s been going sweet ever since. Done 6,500 mile on it now,” Stuart said.
Moving on to the subject of the upcoming Geelong Revival, Stuart managed to catch a few runnings of the Speed Trials back in the day, and is looking forward to seeing what sort of motorcycling exotica is going to come out of the woodwork, either for runs on the track, or for static display. Stuart will be busy with the latter, marshalling an anticipated 30 to 40 fellow members of the BSA Owner’s Club to make sure the marque is well represented at Geelong this December.
“I’ll be here organising all the guys. A lot of the guys in the BSA club will come down, if not to ride, then just for a look-see, and the show of old bikes.”
Being a longtime All British Rally attendee, Stuart knows there’s some weird and wonderful stuff out there, like the twin A10-engined drag bike that was at this year’s ABR, and hopes units like that, the EMU Empire Stars of Doug Fraser, and some other home-grown, Brit-inspired creations will be a part of the Revival.
“I’d quite like to see a lot of interesting older race bikes that you don’t (normally) see,” Stuart said. “See if they can come out of the woodwork. I mean, there’s race bikes in the shed that aren’t being used because they’re not road registerable. Hopefully we’ll see ‘em. Some Gold Stars whipping up the street that have been geared down!,” Stuart added.
When we asked if he’d like to run the A7 down the Ritchie Boulevard course, Stuart laughed.
“I wouldn’t be breaking any records! But yeah, it’d be a bit of fun!”
A revival of the famous Geelong Speed Trials, the JUST CARS GEELONG REVIVAL 2012 will take place this December 1 & 2. The event is expected to attract over 40,000 spectators and will also feature a special Classic Motor Show, club displays, special Revival Tour, live entertainment, markets, a Gala Dinner and more. For more information, visit the website – www.geelongrevival.com.au
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31st Anniversary of Southern Classic on October at BroadfordCome and experience motorcycle racing at
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Club Meeting Information: Regular 2-4 hour rides in SE Qld mountain areas
The club is open to owners of any model Harley Davidson manufactured between 1903 and 1965. The club has monthly rides to various locations throughout Victoria