BSA Gold Vase - Greatest Sports Model Ever

"Who?" I know what you mean. Apparently BSA made bicycles. If you're a Yank, you could be forgiven for never having heard of BSA, as they haven't had a presence in the U.S. market for a bunch of years, but they were a major player in England.

BSA stands for Birmingham Small Arms. They got their start way back in 1861, making guns. Unsurprisingly, a factory that made gun parts was pretty easily adaptable for making bicycle parts - you know, precision machining metal parts for long service life.

So, in 1880, BSA branched out into bicycle manufacture, with the Otto Dicycle, which looked like this....

Yikes. Perhaps BSA recognized that they could do better for themselves. Instead of building the kooky "Dicycle" for another company, they began making the more conventionally-designed "safety bicycle" under their own brand, later in the 1880s.

This led kind of naturally to building motorcycles under the Triumph brand, peaking in the 1950's and 60's. Later, when BSA got out of bicycles, selling off that part of their business to Raleigh.

Before they gave up on making bikes, BSA did make one of the best internally-geared hubs in history. Sturmey-Archer hubs were brilliant and nearly indestructible three-speed hubs that demanded nearly zero maintenance. They were on the best bikes back in The Fifties. You know Pee-Wee Herman's precious red bike? It probably had a Sturmey-Archer rear hub on it.

This ad proclaims the Gold Vase (the model pictured in the ad) as "The greatest sports model ever". Look at the size of that saddle bag. What did people carry around in 1950 when they were out "sporting"? You could put a loaf of bread in that bag... or a pair of shoes... or a pair of breadshoes.

Maybe you're feeling a little nostalgic for the BSA you had when you were a kid, and also English? Well, the Phil Are GO! Graphic Blandishment and Photoshoppery Brigade have harvested a couple of elements from today's ad and made up a shirt, which you can actually buy and actually wear, if that's what you're into. Maybe yellow's not your thing, or being a lady? Other colors and a bunch of different kinds of shirt are also up there, including man stuff. Here's the link.


Unknown said...

Barn find 1937 BSA Gold Vase, Cyclo Gears, Resilion Brakes, Celluloiyd covered Bars...A true barn find in original condition...

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