BSA Bantam Produced by BSA (Birmingham Small Arms Company) a former shotgun and airgun manufacturer, the BSA Bantam was first produced for these lightweight motorcycles just after World War II that all production records were broken and it was reported that thousands of people learnt to ride on the

in 1948. Fitted with a 125cc and then a 175cc engine, the Bantam went on to be produced until 1971. Figures for production vary between a quarter and half a million, though most agree a figure of nearer to half a million units made to be correct. The original Bantam model was built in 1948 with its three- speed unit construction engine; it came only in the colour mist green and was for export only. This motorcycle was, in fact, a German design and BSA designers converted it to Imperial measurements for manufacture in Birmingham as small motorcycles were becoming more popular in Britain. The Bantam was very economical, giving around 100 miles to a gallon of fuel. The early Bantam’s exhausts were ‘fish tail’ styled though this was later replaced by the more conventional cylindrical silencer. These early Bantam’s could average about 50mph and had good brakes for that period. There was such a great demand

Bantam. At that time Bantams were a common sight on British roads and were regularly used when delivering telegrams by the GPO or Royal Mail as they are known today. One thing BSA had not expected was the use of these motorcycles in competition events. By 1951, the Bantam was designed with an upswept exhaust to replace the earlier ‘fish tail’ design, with a plunger rear springing giving much more relief to the Bantam’s riders. BSA then released both a rigid and plunger motorcycle specifically for competition events.  In 1953 BSA changed the colour from mist green and released a new range of colours. With the Bantam being a popular use for commuting, a dual seat option became available. Modifications were made over the years and by 1968 BSA no longer produced its three-speed Bantam models but instead introduced a four-speed model until the Bantam was finally phased out in 1971.


The first all-over mist green Bantams were sold for £60 plus tax.

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