1963 BSA A65

NEW MODELS
The 1963 BSA A65 was, of course, the second model year of the new unit construction BSA twins, the 500cc A50, and the 650cc A65, which had replaced the very successful pre-unit A7 (500) & A10 (650) in 1962. BSA was very conservative in the new machine's configuration, as was their style. The 1962 BSA A65 Star was joined in 1963 by a tuned version (higher performance), the 1963 BSA A65 Rocket. In 1965, the Rocket sprouted 2 carburetors & became the '65 BSA A65 Lightning.

1963 BSA A65 ENGINE WORK
As would be expected from any second-year model, following such a major engine redesign, there were teething problems. It was more of a complete redesign actually, with virtually no shared components with the engine it replaced, unlike Triumph who carried the crankshaft, cams & entire top end over from pre-unit to unit in 1963. The new BSA twin really was new, and there was much to learn. Early A65s used a bushing to support the crankshaft on the timing side, and the oil that fed the crankshaft ran through it. While not as much of a problem on the underpowered 500cc A50s, it proved to be the Achilles Heel of the more powerful BSA A65. It would wear out quickly, which would starve the crank, and thus the big end bearings, for oil, ultimately leading to a catastrophic engine failure, usually in the form of a broken connecting rod or a broken crank or both. The pre-unit A7 & A10 also used a similar bushing on the timing-side main, and it too was known to be an area of weakness. So, why did BSA do it? Cost-savings, no doubt.

1963 BSA A65 & A50 VERY SIMILAR
BSA, in an another awkward attempt at saving money, built two bikes, in two different displacement classes, out of one bike. The 500cc A50 and the 650cc A65 were essentially mechanically the same in every respect with the exception of the pistons, cylinders & heads, and the front brake. The A50 had a 7-inch SLS & the A65 had an 8-incher, another crude attempt at saving money that made no sense at all. Despite the A50 being down on power, when compared to the A65, it weighed virtually the same, and needed just as much braking power to stop it, at any given speed.

1963 BSA A65 FAILS TO LIGHT FIRES
Even by 1963 standards, the BSA A65 was looking pretty staid & conservative. This is the year Triumph introduced their exciting new line of unit-construction 650 twins & they were selling like hotcakes. But BSA's new unit twins failed to excite buyers. Not even as well as the pre-unit models they replaced. The market that they had been built for, the same market that BSA had built its entire business on, the cost-conscious commuter, was going away, and being replaced by people who saw motorcycling as an exciting lifestyle. The new Triumph line certainly fit the bill, and so did all these wild new Japanese bikes that had just begun flooding the marketplace. Would BSA respond, and make adjustments? Not hardly. It was business as usual, building the same bikes they always had for the same type of buyer, whether he still existed or not.

1963 BSA A65 - STEADY DEVELOPMENT
Either way, BSA continued to develop & refine its unit construction twins, and they steadily got better & better, the A65 turning into a very fine motorcycle.

1963 BSA A65 SPECIFICATIONS

A65 Star Twin

A65 Royal Star

Engine type

Displacement

Bore & Stroke

Compression

Carburetor(s)

Ignition

Engine output

Primary drive

Clutch

Gearbox

Ratios, overall:

1st, bottom

2nd

3rd

4th, top

Final drive

Frame type

Wheelbase

Seat height

Ground clearance

Suspension, front

Suspension, rear

Brake, front

Brake, rear

Tire, front

Tire,rear

Fuel Capacity

Curb weight

Standard Roadster

Premium Roadster

Air-cooled OHV vertical twin

654cc

75mm X 74mm

9.0:1

Amal Monobloc, 1-1/8"

Breakers & coils, Lucas

38 bhp @ 5800 rpm

Triplex chain

Multi-plate, wet

4-speed constant-mesh, right-foot shift


11.1:1

7.18:1

5.13:1

4.35:1

Chain

Welded & brazed lug, full double cradle

54"

33"

7"

Telescopic fork, hydraulic damping

Swing arm, 2 Girling dampers

8"SLS drum

7" SLS drum

3.25" X 18" Dunlop

3.50" X 18" Dunlop

2.4 gal (US models); 4.8 gal (UK & export)

406 lbs


Check out these BSA BOOKS

BSA - THE COMPLETE STORY


BSA MOTORCYCLES: THE FINAL EVOLUTION


HISTORY OF BSA MOTORCYCLES


BSA: ILLUSTRATED MOTORCYCLE LEGENDS, by Roy Bacon


HOW TO RESTORE YOUR BSA ROCKET 3 & TRIDENT


CHILTON’S BSA MOTORCYCLE REPAIR & TUNE-UP GUIDE


BSA SINGLES 1945-1963 GOLD PORTFOLIO


BSA SINGLES 1964-1974 GOLD PORTFOLIO


BOOK OF THE BSA - OWNERS SHOP MA NUAL, PRE-WAR


BSA 350, 441 & 500 SINGLES, UNIT CONSTRUCTION 1958-1973


BSA CLASSIC MOTORCYCLES


BSA & TRIUMPH TRIPLES: GOLD PORTFOLIO 1968-1976


BSA UNIT SINGLES: COMPLETE STORY


BSA A7 & A10 TWINS, 1957-1962, by Haynes


BSA A50 & A65 TWINS: ALL MODELS


ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF BSA MOTORCYCLES


BSA TWINS A7 & A10 1946-1962, GOLD PORTFOLIO


THE BSA GOLD STAR


MAINTENANCE MANUAL FOR BSA M20


SECOND BOOK OF THE BSA 500 & 650 TWIN 1962-1969


BSA PRE-UNIT SINGLES WORKSHOP MANUAL, by Haynes


TRIUMPH TRIDENT & BSA ROCKET 3 WORKSHOP MANUAL, by Haynes


BSA BANTAM WORKSHOP MANUAL 1948-1971, by Haynes


BSA UNIT TWINS, THE COMPLETE STORY


BOOK OF BSA SINGLES & V-TWINS 1936-1952


RUPERT RATIO UNIT SINGLE ENGINE MANUAL, BSA & TRIUMPH


RUPER RATIO, EVERYTHING BUT THE ENGINE, BSA & TRIUMPH


BSA A50 & A65 TWINS 1962-1973, Haynes Workshop Manual


BSA GOLD STAR & OTHER SINGLES, by Roy Bacon


BSA MOTORCYCLES SINCE 1950,BR>

BSA UNIT SINGLES OWNERS WORKSHOP MANUAL #127, 1958-1972, by Haynes


BSA TWINS 150 & 165 GOLD PORTFOLIO, by RM Clarke


ILLUSTRATED BSA BUYER’S GUIDE, by Roy Bacon


BSA BANTAM, by Owen Wright


BSA PRE-UNIT TWINS, by Mick Walker


BOOK OF THE BSA OHV & SV SINGLES - 250cc 1954-1970


BSA TWINS & TRIPLES, by Roy Bacon


TRIUMPH & BSA TRIPLES: THE COMPLETE STORY


BOOK OF BSA TWINS, ALL 500 & 650 1948-1962, by Floyd Clymer


BOOK OF THE BSA OHV & SV SINGLES 1945-1954: 250, 350, 500 & 600


BSA BANTAM BIBLE, ALL MODELS 1948-1971


WHERE BSAs DARE: BSA’s 1952 ISDT GOLDS & MAUDES TROPHY


ILLUSTRATED MOTORCYCLE LEGENDS: BSA, by Roy Bacon


BSA BANTAM ESSENTIAL BUYER’S GUIDE


BOOK OF THE BSA BANTAM


BSA 500 & 650 UNIT TWINS, Clymer Repair Manual


BSA COMPETITION HISTORY


BSA MOTOR CYCLING ANNUAL, 1937, Kindle






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