MOTORCYCLE NEWS - MAY 17, 2017
NEW BSAs TO BE BUILT IN ENGLAND STARTING IN 2019
For some background on this story, read the articles below on BSA's acquisition by Indian tractor-giant Mahindra in October 2016. Anxious to expand their reach into the mainstream motorcycle market, Mahindra announced that BSA
will have its own R&D center in Britain, just like the other classic British marque they own, Royal Enfield
. Rumor has it they plan to build the bikes in Britain by model year 2019. Building them in Britain instead of India will play better with the high-end buyers they want to attract from Europe and America.
BELOW: The BSA Victor 355 concept.
MOTORCYCLE NEWS - MARCH 31, 2017
CLUBMANS SHOW CALLS IT QUITS AFTER 30 YEARS
It was announced at the recent Clubman’s All-British Weekend motorcycle show in San Jose CA, the 30th Annual, that it would be the last. Billed as ‘the biggest all-British motorcycle show in the West”, the ‘Weekend’ consisted of the indoor show at the Fairgrounds in San Jose CA on Saturday, and an all-British ride through the Santa Cruz Mountains out to the Pacific on Sunday. This year that fell on March 25 and 26. The Clubmans has been the product of a lot of hard work on the part of the BSA Owners Club of Northern California (BSAOCNC
) for these past 30 years. Now their venue, the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, are closing, and the core group within the club who have been doing the heavy lifting all these years are now getting tired and look at the loss of their age-old venue as a blessing. Many heartfelt thanks go out to them for their hard work and dedication over 30 years of great Clubmans Shows. It’s been a great ride.
A RAY OF HOPE?
There are rumblings from within and outside the club of reviving the Clubmans Show at a new venue next year, and possibly in a new form. Nothing has been decided, but a new ‘core group’ is working on plans for future Clubmans Shows in the San Francisco Bay Area. As the demographic of the British bike enthusiasts grows older, a new generation must be ushered in or Brit bikes will fade from view much like Model T Fords have done. Some feel the Clubmans Show in a huge market like the Bay Area represents a golden opportunity to expose classic British motorcycles to a much broader and larger audience than past shows have ever been able to achieve. We’ll keep you informed as this story develops.
For the complete story, go to our page on the Clubmans All-British Weekend 2017
MOTORCYCLE NEWS - MARCH 26, 2017
MAHINDRA BUYS BSA & JAWA - NEW BIKES IN 2 YEARS!
Indian industrial giant Mahindra is not just famous for being the world's largest tractor company. They also build cars, boats, airplanes, and yes...motorcycles. In a spooky way, it kind of sounds like BSA's resume in about 1960 when they too were at the top of their game. But so far, their motorcycle efforts have been confined to scooters and lightweight commuter bikes, designed for Third World consumption. However, they have just made it abundantly clear that they have aims for the upper end of the motorcycle market. Flush with cash from their very successful business portfolio, Mahinda has been on a buying spree, for motorcycle companies. Not just any, but those with heritage, a name worth reviving. In particular, old British brands were preferred because they are so revered in India and other former British colonies. BSA made perfect sense, which they bought for a measly 3.4 Million Pounds in October 2016. Now they have also acquired the Czech motorcycle firm JAWA. Mahindra owned-subsidiary 'Classic Legends' now officially owns BSA and JAWA, along with a majority stake in French scooter maker Peugeot.
Mahinda plans to utilize it's Italian-based technology center, where its Moto 3 line of lightweights was designed and engineered, to a new line of BSA on JAWA motorcycles within an ambitious 2 years. That seems almost impossible to accomplish, but who knows? Mahindra has proven itself to be formidable and resourceful. One thing is certain, the market they intend to occupy will be the upper-end, higher-priced 'lifestyle' niche. They have stated that the bikes will be classic in look and character, while being thoroughly modern mechanically.
MOTORCYCLE NEWS - JANUARY 30, 2017
MECUM'S LAS VEGAS AUCTION SMASHES ALL RECORDS
For the past 26 years, every January, Las Vegas was THE place to be for the motorcycle faithful to be. MidAmerica Auction Co., a family-owned auction company pioneered the Vegas auction way back in 1990 and built it up from a one-day event all the way to a 3-day sale in their final year, 2014. Last year, Ron Christensen sold MidAmerica to classic car-giant Mecum Auctions. This is their 2nd year in Vegas, calling it the 26th Annual Mecum-MidAmerica Vintage Motorcycle Auction, and they've already kicked it up a few notches. First off, Mecum took the motorcycle display area to a much bigger space within the enormous South Point Hotel & Casino, allowing them to actually spread out the nearly-1,000 bikes.
ABOVE: This is just one of two rooms this size + more bikes in the auction arena.
LAS VEGAS IS A BIG SUCCESS FOR MECUM
Mecum's 2017 Las Vegas auction broke all previous records. They sold $13.7 Million in motorcycles over 3-1/2 days of non-top, high-energy selling, for a 92% sell-through rate, unheard of in the motorcycle auction business. Both numbers smashed all previous records throughout the Vegas Auctions' 26-year history. Get the complete story and pictures of both the Mecum Auction
and the Bonhams Auction
, along with some other cool stuff.
MOTORCYCLE NEWS - JANUARY 28, 2017
LOTUS BUILDS 100 MOTORCYCLES!
While this is nothing new, it was new to me, and it may be to you also. In 2014, 100 of these drop-dead gorgeous Lotus C-01's were built at a price of $137,000 new, with 200 horsepower and weighing in at just 398 pounds. They were designed by Daniel Simon, the same guy who created the Lightcycles in the "Tron" movies. This particular bike ran through the Mecum Auction
in Las Vegas, in January 2017, bid to $110,000, but failed to meet the seller's reserve. Get the whole story of the futuristic Lotus C-01
MOTORCYCLE NEWS - DECEMBER 27, 2016
INDIAN TRACTOR GIANT MAHINDRA MOVES INTO MOTORCYCLE BIZ
Mahindra is the world's #1 tractor company, a true industrial giant in their own right. And the Indian company is not just big in tractors. Mahindra & Mahindra makes cars, trucks, electric vehicles, military vehicles and equipment, electrical generators, scooters and now motorcycles. They recently purchased 51% of Peugeot Scooters then moved aggressively into the scooter business, now also producing a full line of Mahindra scooters for the Indian home market and other import markets. From there, they evolved into building light motorcycles, the largest of which is the 300cc Mahindra Mojo. Obviously, these bikes are cheap, and meant to fill the pressing need for basic transportation in the Asian subcontinent.
ABOVE: The 300cc Mahindra Mojo.
MAHINDRA BUYS BSA
It's no secret that Mahindra has been itching to break into the motorcycle business. They've launched their own Moto3 team, and have cultivated partnerships and other close relationships with BMW and KTM. British brands are huge in India and always have been, perhaps a remnant of Imperial rule. How the tables have turned. Once-proud British brands Land Rover and Jaguar are now owned by Indian car maker, Tata Motors. Madras Motors bought Royal Enfield
back in 1970 and has been producing Royal Enfield Bullet 500 singles ever since. Mahindra has wanted to buy a prestigious British motorcycle brand for some time now, and was in negotiations to purchase Norton
, but backed away from the deal when BSA
became available. Mahindra is rumored to have paid £3.4 million ($4.1 million) for the rights to the name, having purchased it through their subsidiary Classic Legends PTY, LTD.
ABOVE: Mahindra has a full line of cars, light trucks and SUVs. This is the Mahindra TUV300.
MAHINDRA'S PLANS FOR BSA
Again, British brands of anything
are highly desired in the Indian home market and surrounding export markets. But a British prestige brand
could also have appeal in Europe and America. Rather than start from scratch with a new name, they wisely chose to buy a top-shelf brand with a premium image and reputation. Norton would have filled that role nicely, but Mahindra felt that BSA would be even better. BSA of course, had a brilliant reputation for building great bikes like the Gold Star
, the 650cc A10 twin
, the unit-construction A65 650 twin
, and the Rocket 3 triple
that spanned decades. At one time, BSA was THE largest producer of motorcycles in the world, and actually owned Triumph, Ariel, and Sunbeam. They also produced cars, trucks, agricultural equipment, military vehicles, power stations, heavy trucks and more. (Scroll up to the top of this article as read the description of modern-day Mahindra. It sounds strikingly similar to BSA's resume in 1960.) All of this conspires to make BSA perhaps the biggest motorcycle brand that could be purchased. Mahindra's plans have not been fully revealed as of yet. But they are expected to engineer a full line of totally new, modern motorcycles, both street and off-road/dual-sport, to serve both the European and American markets. Some may be retro-styled to look like classic BSAs (although they were never known for their stunning looks), very much like the new Hinkley Triumph Bonneville. Perhaps Mahindra sees themselves as sort of the Ducati of classic British brands, fairly low-volume, very prestigious, and commanding premium prices. Of course, they plan will probably not involve building the bikes in the high-wage, union-friendly UK. They will almost certainly build them in India, where labor is cheap, and they are well-established industrially. Either way, unless they totally blow the design, engineering and/or production of the bikes, this all adds up to very good news for classic British motorcycle fans everywhere. Stay tuned as this story develops.
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WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE BRITISH MOTORCYCLE INDUSTRY?
EARLY DAY IN THE BRITISH MOTOR CYCLE INDUSTRY
BRITISH MOTORCYCLES OF THE 1960s & 70s
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THE BRITISH MOTORCYCLE STORY
BRITISH CUSTOM MOTORCYCLES: THE BRIT CHOP
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WAR BIKE: BRITISH MILITARY MOTORCYCLING 1899-1919
BRITISH CAFE RACERS
BRITISH MOTORCYCLES SINCE 1900
BRITISH MOTORCYCLE DIRECTORY: 1,100 MARQUES FROM 1888
A-Z GUIDE TO BRITISH MOTORCYCLES FROM 1930s to 1970s
CLASSIC BRITISH RACING MOTORCYCLES
CLASSIC BRITISH MOTORCYCLES: ROAD BIKES 1950s-1970s
BRITISH FORCES MOTORCYCLES 1925-1945
HISTORY OF BRITISH BIKES
FLOYD CLYMER’S CATALOG OF BRITISH MOTORCYCLES
BRITISH CARS & MOTORCYCLES
BRITISH MOTORCYCLES FROM THE 1930s, 1940s & 1950s
MOTORCYCLE MUSEUM TOUR, BRITAIN
GREAT BRITISH MOTORCYCLES OF THE 1950s
GREAT BRITISH MOTORCYCLES
AN ANTHOLOGY OF EARLY BRITISH MOTORCYCLE TRAVEL LITERATURE
BRITISH MOTORCYCLES OF THE 1930s
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BRITISH SUPERBIKES: THE FIRST 10 YEARS
GREAT BRITISH MOTOR CYCLES OF THE FIFTIES
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Last updated 5/17/17
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