1962 BSA Bantam

Widely used by AA Patrol Cadets

The BSA Bantam is a two-stroke unit construction motorcycle, produced by BSA from 1948 to 1971. It was widely used in the AA by Patrol Cadets in the early 1960s.

Over 250,000 were sold – some estimates place the number closer to half a million.

The original design of the Bantam came from a German bike, the DKW RT 125; plans for which were taken to the UK as part of war reparations. This fact was not made widely known until long after the demise of BSA and for many years the Bantam was widely thought to be a 'truly British' lightweight motorcycle despite the original DKW design being taken up by two other manufacturers including Harley Davidson.

The barrel is cast iron and the head alloy. The gearbox, initially three speeds but later four, is fed through a 'wet' clutch.

Ignition was of two types: a Lucas battery powered coil in earlier machines or a magneto by Wipac.

The early D1s had a flattened fish tail style exhaust. This was replaced with a more conventional round tube exhaust which ran at a higher level on trials and off-road models such as the 'Bushman'.

The AA's Bantam is currently on display at the AA head office in Basingstoke.

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6 October 2008