BSA BANTAM - 'LITTLE WILLIE'
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My BSA Bantam D7
This is the ongoing story of a 1965 BSA Bantam D7 Super, manufactured by BSA Motorcycles Ltd, Armoury Road, Birmingham, and supplied to Hallets of Canterbury, where it was registered in March 1967.
'Wilhelmina' (answers to 'Little Willie'!) has been kept for the original purpose for which she was built - to be ridden as often as possible and has not been over-restored to win prizes!
What you see here is not only an example of Great Britain's motorcycle manufacturing heritage but also a reminder of that once-great, world-leading company: BSA Motorcycles Ltd
'Everybody's Motorcycle All Over The World!'
'Little Willie' on the road
Little Willie parked next to a field of golden
I try to use Little Willie, my Bantam, whenever possible - spring, summer, autumn and winter alike - although I won't chance it on icy roads as I certainly wouldn't want to drop her!
In the town where I live, the two of us have become quite well-known, as I like to show her off to the locals. Whenever I park her on the Market Place it's not long before someone comes to look or asks: "How old is your bike?"
Or says, "I used to have one of those - but weren't they green?"
"The early ones were," I tell them, "the D1 model, but the D7 Super were either sapphire blue or regal red..." (In fact, when I bought the D7 in 1991 it was finished in regal red, but after a few years I thought I'd like a change. And repainted it blue! Cheaper than buying another bike, of course!)
It really is amazing how much interest there is in old British motorbikes!
When people hear us coming along they will stop, turn and stare - and a big smile appears on their faces as we putter past!
"Pop, p-pop, pop, POP!" I love that exhaust, followed by a wisp of blue smoke, sometimes a bit more than that, of course!
I remember a time, many years ago, just after I'd bought the Bantam from Andy Tiernan of Framlingham, when I was pulled over by a police car on the A11. Little Willie was smoking well that day! I was taking her for an MoT at Rob Carrick's at Snetterton. I'll tell you about it sometime!
ENGINE: D7 Super; 174cc, single cylinder, two-stroke, with petroil lubrication.
Cylinder barrel: cast iron;
Cylinder head: cast aluminium alloy.
Standard bore x stroke: 61.5 x 58mm.
BHP: 7.5 @ 5,000 rpm.
IGNITION: Magneto ignition; Wico-Pacy Series 55/Mark 8. Output: Ignition and rectified d.c. for lighting and battery charging.
Contact breaker gap: .0015in.
Spark plug: Champion L-7; gap: .020in.
Timing: 1/16" before top dead centre (TDC)
Originally a twin-switch, coil-ignition model but, due to wiring problems, I converted it to single-switch magneto ignition.
CARBURATION: Amal Monobloc 375/31
Main jet: 140; pilot jet: 25; needle jet: 0.105;
Needle clip position: 2nd from top.
Pilot jet screw: one and a half turns out. (When new, but this may not apply now!)
Petroil mix: 24 to 1.
TRANSMISSION: The BSA Bantam models all have the same basic engine/gear unit with the gearbox an integral part of the engine assembly. The D7 Super is a 3-gear model, with wet clutch.
ELECTRICAL: Battery 11 amp hr, positive earth.
Lighting: headlamp bulb 6V 30/24W;
pilot light 6V 3W; rear/stop lamp 6V 6/18W.