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Memorable Motorcycle BSA B.40 350

Friday, August 7, 2009
Memorable Motorcycles - BSA B.40 350
The BSA B.40 may be remembered by some with rose-tinted glasses, but Melling's recollections are far less appreciative of the British design.
It must be something to do with age. When I was a young man, I was so much more tolerant of incompetence. If politicians made huge mistakes - and British politicians were world class in the 1970s when it came to ineptitude - I shrugged my shoulders, smiled weakly - and went racing.
When another new regulation was brought launched in an attempt to ruin my life, (take a bow Ralph Nader) I shrugged my shoulders, smiled weakly - and went racing.

If airlines lost my bags what could I do? I still had my helmet as hand luggage so I borrowed a set of leathers and yes, you’ve guessed, stayed sane by going racing.

Now, perhaps because I race much less frequently, my intolerance is growing: with fruitcake politicians who invade countries because God gives them instructions so to do; with faceless bureaucrats who want to regulate us into mindless acquiescence; with incompetent airlines who put profit before customers - and with the latest crop of young journalists writing about classic bikes.

Take the BSA B.40 featured in this story for example. I’ve just read a story written by a barely post-fetal journalist singing paeans of praise to a similar machine, as if it were a cross between Valentino Rossi’s current MotoGP bike and Agostini’s 1967 World Championship winning MV “3”.

The truth is that the B.40 was, and is, a dull, poorly engineered, lackluster machine. The fact that it might be a beautifully restored, lovingly maintained and 45 years old does not alter the evidence. The bike was a disgrace to what, at the time, was one of the world’s leading motorcycle manufacturers.

So, let’s have a look at the truth regarding BSA’s middleweight flagship. First, it is important to remember that cost cutting was the golden key at BSA. Forget quality of product, or long term investment, the shareholders wanted immediate profit and not long term stability. Does that ring any bells with General Motors’ current crisis?

Memorable Motorcycles - BSA B.40 350
The B.40's small Single was oversized for its gearbox and clutch.
In 1958, BSA had launched the all new 250cc C.15 model. In truth, it wasn’t a bad little bike by the fairly low standards of the day. Its four-speed, push-rod engine was cheap to make and riders of the day were content with a non-destructive cruising speed of 50 mph and the potential of maybe 70 mph if you were desperately keen.

Just as important was that sensible riders - and C.15 owners were invariably sensible - could coax 80 miles, or even more, from every gallon of gas. This meant that a week’s commuting to the factory where you worked, plus a trip to the canal for a Sunday fishing trip, could be achieved for a couple of dollars a week. The 1950s were simple times and C.15 owners had simple needs.

That the C.15 didn’t handle particularly well, nor did it stop or have lights which were anything better than the lumen output of an arthritic glow-worm mattered little. The C.15 was made by the mighty BSA and was one of the best 250s available.

Now move on just a single year and the landscape is changing so very, very rapidly. “Pops” Honda brought his team to the Isle of Man TT in 1959 and the won the team prize at the first attempt. By 1961 the young Mike Hailwood had provided Honda with its first TT win riding a double overhead cam, twin-cylinder, 125cc machine which revved to 13,000.

So, in the same year that Hailwood screamed Honda’s technical masterpiece round the TT course, BSA’s reaction to the wave of fresh, innovative Japanese engineering was typical. Spread the butter a little more thinly on the bread and cut costs.
Memorable Motorcycles - BSA B.40 350
While Honda was innovating with new design concepts and racing to success, BSA plodded along with its B.40, squeezing the last cent out of its original C.15 platform.

So, the C.15 was bored out from 67mm to 79mm and the 343cc B.40 was launched, now boasting a yawn inducing 20 hp at 7,000 rpm. Inevitably, as a cost saving measure, the gearbox and clutch, which was already fragile on the 250, was retained. The bottom half of the engine was also incapable of taking full power usage so BSA’s fix was to reduce the compression ratio to near side-valve levels of 7:1.

Whilst the Japanese were busily introducing neat, light twin-leading shoe brakes on their bikes BSA stuck the dull, inefficient, cast iron, single leading anchors on the B.40.

The suspension was equally basic with only compression damping on the front forks and no adjustment whatsoever on the rear shocks. Hey, save a few cents and damn the customer!

In fact, the styling of the B.40 told the whole story. The bike looked like the overweight, conservatively dressed, near pensioner that it was. It was ridden by dull, careful, devoted BSA customers who were way out of step with what we, as “The Beatles” generation, wanted from a bike.

The B.40 was saved from death by a thousand boring cuts by a huge military order. What the armed forces wanted was a dull, plodding workhorse which could be ridden by the most incompetent squaddie without killing himself. In this role, an up-rated B.40 did rather well - and made a ton of money for BSA.
Memorable Motorcycles - BSA B.40 350
"The bike looked like the overweight, conservatively dressed, near pensioner that it was. It was ridden by dull, careful, devoted BSA customers who were way out of step with what we, as “The Beatles” generation, wanted from a bike."

Now here’s the sting in the story. Take a beautifully restored BSA out for a gentle ride through the summer scented English country lanes and it really is a magical experience. Duff, duff, duff, duffing along at 50 mph, the B.40 is very unstressed. There is ample time to stop gently, so the incompetent BSA brakes are never challenged and who is going to be so unreasonable as to hurl a 48-year-old bike through corners? Only a motorcycling philistine.

Which brings us back to the start of this polemic. Stick a baby journalist on a B.40 made 25 years before he was born and you will, almost inevitably, get a rose tinted report. So, a round of applause to Motorcycle USA’s management for publishing classic bike stories which tell the truth - in all its gory detail!
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Comments
arking   January 19, 2013 09:58 PM
About time for some honesty in motorcycling journalism; something that the still wet behind the ears teeny bopper brigade are not known for. In 1970 I purchased my first new bike,a BSA B40 Roughrider; engine and frame number HCB40 489M if I remember correctly, after a succession of a 150 cc CZ, A Speed Twin Triumph and a G11CS Matchless. I was attracted by the low compression (7:1) and the modest power output of 17 hp,thinking that this was a bike that should last me for many years, as it was made by BSA and they should have known how to build a bike after all these years. How wrong could I have been and why didn't I listen to others? About three months after taking delivery, which was delayed by non working stop/tailight, the gear box decided to spit open and I was lucky to get home in top gear. (I didn't know what had happened). It was over six months before the distibutor repaired it and I got it back. When I did I marvelled at the dupliccation of the engine number; it was an exact replica of the original. I found out later that I had been given one half of the crankccase and where they joined under the cylinder there was a step of about .012" and the cylinder would have been cocked over to one side as a result. The original crankcase (and engine number) had been reused. No new gaskets or seals were used either. Then while riding over one hundred miles from home along a country road at night the motor just stopped. No noise and it still turned over, but no compression. The top of the piston had parted company with the skirt and of course stayed on TDC. I pushed the bike under a culvert, marked the spot and managed to get a lift to where I could get home very early in the morning where I collected my van to retrieve the bike. I was able to locate the culvert and found I could not push the bike up the steep bank of the creek, so I engaged first gear and took it up on the kick starter. The drive dogs on second gear chewed themselves off frequently, leaving only top gear. I did replace the low standard ratio gear cluster for that used in the 250 models and inverted the selector plate so the pedal was one up and three down and it was much nicer to ride. The burnt out valves were replaced by modified VW valves and cured that problem. But I was never able to cure the problem of the kickstarter quadrant and the pinion it meshed with from turning themselves into metal dust. I did beat the pathetic excuse for a spline on the gear selector shaft which rounded itself off after a very short time by fitting a scotch key between the shaft and the pedal. It looked crook but at least it was better than BSA's effort. I persevered with that bike for over twenty years and would say fifteen of those years were spent in the shed. Packard cars used to have a saying "If you want to know ask the man who owns one". The same could be said abot Pommy bikes of the sixties and seventies. Ask someone who rode them every day, especially in a hot country like Australia where log distances were travelled. BSA deserved to go broke and I can have no sympathy with their Managment or Quality control or Engineering departmens. There was no standardisation of fasteners on this bike; some were 26 tpi BSC system, some were UNF system, it seemed like they knew it was going to Australia so they put into it whatever they swept up off the floor.
lotus7   April 22, 2012 10:56 PM
As the owner of ex military B40's, I find the military B40's with their over engineered (B50 bigends, filtered oil,B44/50 gearboxes, roller and ball main bearings), low compression but revvy motors and competition derived frames (military b40's use Victor frames) so much more reliable,smoother, easier to service and far nicer handling than my Honda's, Kawasaki's and Suzuki's of that era.

Not only that but my wife says that I always come home with a huge smile after riding on our country roads on what she calls my "friendly" motorcycle, the B40.

Chris
stanovich   October 2, 2011 05:51 PM
I rode a B40 in the early 80s when it was my only form of transport - used for everything from touring to battling through the London traffic and getting to college through the snow, as well as occasional mild off-roading. Mine was an ex-Civil Defence version, c. 1965, with the uprated crankshaft and (I think) higher compression ratio, which meant it could be wound up to an indicated 80mph while still averaging 90mpg. It was totally reliable, simple to work on, dead easy to handle and fun to ride on twisty lanes (though something of an adventure at night due to the feeble 6v electrics). In my view a slightly updated version would give the Indian-made Enfield a run for its money, though I must admit I won't be swapping my W650 for one anytime soon.
steve -old brits rule  November 28, 2010 01:10 PM
after owning over 4o different jap bikes over the years i have just bought my first brit bike (a bsa b40)and i have to say yes it was poorly made with piss poor build quality but the bike has something that most of my jap bikes did not have and that is soul it is like it is alive(well when its running )i love it and hate it at the same time i can not see me getting rid of this bike but i will be keeping a jap bike (an suzuki sv 650 at the moment)just to be on the safe side see my bike on you tube titled 'bsa b40 my dad (video by hodgmeisterpro0209)'. (yes i am the idiot without his helmet!)
Thierry Marc -The old feud is live again  September 12, 2010 06:57 PM
Dear Frank, I am the proud owner of a B40 ex-Military currently riding the bike outside Rangoon on the roads of Burma. I am 52 and like many others of my generation I do enjoy the peaceful rides that my bike has to offer. Actually here in Burma you cannot find roads without potholes and filled with crowds of careless pedestrians, animals, bicycles, cars etc so the max speed is 20mph or so.. What saves me is the loud sound of my beesa.. pom-pom-pom-pom!! Your article reminds me of when I was a young bloke of 17 or so. My big brother used to ride a Kawasaki 900 and I can clearly remember the condescending comments he used to make about these British bikes... exactly as yours but 35 years later!! Two entirely different generations with opposite visions of looking at the World... Actually, I do like brit and Jap bikes. I have owned 2 Yamaha XS650 and a Honda 650 Four and now ride a new Bonneville. But the B40 is really the one I enjoy most. Thierry
Shane -Every brand had its rubbish bike  July 13, 2010 12:58 PM
What is interesting though is sometimes that rubbish bike can now be rarer to find than the ones everybody deems the best.. go to any bike show and you see all the top of the range classic bikes and everybody has one and the same models for show ... how absolutely common it makes them .. yet you will see groups of people all huddled round the ugly duckling bike as the star of the show mainly because they were trashed and treated with contempt so there are now less of them. They invoke loving memories with the lookers. It was maybe the first bike they rode as it was affordable until you progressed to more of an image enhancing bike whether it be another brit yank or jappa ... Actually park an old dunga( rubbish )like a b40 next to the latest jappa or harley and see which bike gets the real good look over .. it is basically the nostalgia of times past and what used to be .. I find in riding, that old bikes like these have a soul not like modern machines which do what you want of them and are reliable to the point you dont have to love and nurse them .. old bikes, yes, are like elderly relatives needing constant checking and nursing but thats having a soul. If she breaks down thats the next story you get to tell around a few drinks with fellow enthusiasts .. Riding classics will always get a respectful slow nod from modern bike riders as they pass you on the opposite side of the road whether you are on a top of the liner classic or a dunga .. the B40 has its place good or bad. So what if she was a bad bike .. 20-30 years from now when we are long gone some young fella will have one and be loving it because its old and unique with all its quirks and it will still be getting the looks no matter how derided it has been .. cheers Shano ( an old Journo )
DAB -Long term B40 ownership  April 16, 2010 01:40 PM
Having owned a B40 since 1980 I feel I can speak with some experience of the model. When first acquired I was a student looking for cheap transport and something "different" from the Hondas and Yamahas in common circulation at the time. This role it fulfilled admirably, but mixing with like-minded classic enthusiasts on G9s, Commandos, Tridents, 650ss and the like, I ended up thrashing it until the crank pin in broke. This did not stop the engine running though and I was able to limp home to the safety of my parent's garage. There it remained whilst I acquired a TR6 for daily transport and later became a "box pilot" like everyone else. Eventually I got around to fixing the engine and got it back on the road. But with a growing family it was again relegated to the garage. Then a few years ago (having reached a "certain age") I suddenly felt compelled to feel the throb of those 343ccs once more. This involved new wheel rims and spokes, a recovered seat, refurbished carb, but not much else was necessary. My perspective on it now it that it's such a therapeutic experience to cruise the country lanes on it at 50 to 55mph with the occasional blast up to 70 plus. Also it’s so DELIGHTFULLY AGRICULTURAL with only one of everything and so easy to work on. Having had to recently deal with problems of modern cars with their on-board malfunctioning electronics and computers, it's so refreshing to be able to look at a B40 wiring diagram with only half a dozen circuits on it. OK, so it didn't satisfy the boy racers in the sixties, but then it wasn't meant to. Nor was it a tired concept at the time - the C15/B40 unit was developed into the B44, B50, CCM etc, Another advantage of the B40 is that it's a 250 enlarged to 350cc, rather than a 500 reduced to 350cc, as so many Brit singles are. Therefore it's lightweight, responsive and under-stressed as a result. The other delightful thing is the reaction it gets from almost everyone ranging from young kids to those in their 70s and 80s. A bright red, black and chrome B40 just seems to strike a chord with so many people, especially in the Midlands of the UK, it being BSA's home territory.
john lappage -mr  February 24, 2010 02:53 PM
hi fellow bike lovers (friends)i just brought a 1961 bsa b40 the bike was restored by a very careing engineer with no expence spared, 4 years ago. the bike has done approx 1600 miles since and has stood for the last 3 years outside, i got it home changed all oils and petrol and a battery ,i turned the engine over without the sparkplug in untill the oil flowed up the feed pipe,4 kicks and she fired up,the engine sounds so sweet i could not believe my ears, after a few minutes and a slight carb ajustment she was ticking over like a new bike ,dun dun dun dun dun dun dun and i could go on forever ,i found out the bike was registerd at a local bike shop 49 years ago and the shop still mots bikes.i went to ask about an mot for the bike and to my amasement the man who sold the bike was still at the shop retired now but what a coincedence,the bike has brought me so much pleasure, it rides so much better than i expected it to,its faster than i expected , and sounds brilliant,its a real crowd puller i paid £500 for the bike and ive had two genuine offers of £1200 & £1400,i wouldent sell it for £2000.it makes everone smile , in short everone has there own opinion and reasons for that opinion my b40 has made me very happy. has anyone got another one i can buy please, ps im keeping my gsxr 1000 k7 and my 1200 bandit for comfort and fun.
im 50 this year had bikes most my life and was a bike mechanic since 1976, look out for my bike in the bike mags after the mot 50 years lol
john l4ppj@hotmail.com































i
Jim -Mr.  February 1, 2010 07:29 PM
Frank, I can agree only on one point in your irreverent review of the BSA B40 Star. That is that is was a “poorly engineered” motorcycle for its time. Japan had alleviated several of the riders concerns including oil leaks, features, and reliability. However, at that time if you wanted a real motorcycle, with looks, feel, and thumper vibrations, you could only relate to BSA, Triumph, and Norton. My first bike was a used BSA B40 paid for and shared by another enthusiast. It was an affordable venture and well worth the price. Sure it eventually needed rebuild, an experience that taught me valuable engineering lessons. I still have that bike after 43 years of ownership, awaiting my restoring it in my retirement. Nothing you could say could change my opinion, or the opinions of others that praise this bike. Your opinion as related it this article is completely off-base, and quite frankly much too late to have consequence. I think your premise in writing this article was an attempt to avoid yourself from becoming dull.
a barely post-fetal journalist -Frank Frank Frank Frank  January 9, 2010 02:43 PM
Oh Dear chap. Surely you Frank, even in your motorcycling twilight, must understand that when you vent your unquestionable knowledge, when you spout it on the internet even us barely post-fetal bike journos will get to read it. And then want to disagree. The bike in question could have been a gold-plated Bakelite pony, it really doesn't matter. I suspect that whoever wrote the piece was writing it for a target audience of which you're probably not sat in the front row of. 'Cos you're all wrinkly and that. When somebody looks back at something that was around long before they were born, of course they are going to have a different opinion of it to those that experienced it first hand. We young 'uns get to appreciate the heritage, get excited about what might have been and pontificate on the simple beauty of something that performs in a completely different way to something built in our time. We're all allowed an opinion Frank, right or wrong. And it's wrong of you to chose such a tenuous way in to a piece when it's the young journalists doing a job that you can't do becuase your hips might explode. In the same way that I'm envious that you were around to witness the birth of rock and roll and the invasion of Japanese motorcycles, I get the feeling you're envious of the younger generation and all the pleasures that we get to enjoy, like not being a cranky old twit and not getting over excited about riding round a car park in Manchester. Grow up Frank, swap your bi-focals for a set of rose tinted numbers, the view might not be as bad as you think.
Malc -Telling the truth!  December 30, 2009 06:08 AM
Well, I think Frank is just telling the truth, and of course many dont like that! Politicians need to be kept tabs on, and have a kick up the arse when needed, they will take our bikes from us if the "keep out of politics" brigade have their way. All you need to do is nothing, they'll do the rest, thats gauranteed, then of course we can all cry when it's too late! Yes, I love classic bikes I dont have any other type, they are sometimes rubbish, they really are, but I love em anyway! Painting a rosy picture to try and lure the young into the "classic scene" (whatever that might be), is a very bad tactic I think, if by such tactics they take the plunge expecting only joy, they'll soon realise that there is a lot of drawbacks with such bikes, and may well say stuff that, never to return. But, if theyve found their way into loving and wanting to own old bikes via their own curiosity, when such as we chug by, or are parked somewhere attracting a crowd, and by this means get the bug, no future problem will move them. I never had a B40, but had a C15, and mine was rubbish, very unreliable, but, I did love it! Malc.
Phil Baker -Reply to Wolfgang  November 28, 2009 12:17 PM
Hello Wolfgang.
This is the link to the webpage you need:- http://www.bsaownersclub.co.uk/Engine_Frame.html
I'm not sure you have a B40, sounds more like an M20.
Anyway I hope this helps.
All the best
Phil
Wolfgang Weinmann -Who can help  November 22, 2009 06:16 AM
Hello,

I bought an old B40. But the strange is that the bike is build 1956. The code is 56BSAML00111144 and the frame nr. 1144. But I only read of B40 of the sixties. So I dont understand.

Because the bike mus be build new I need a BSA forum which is frequently used. Who knows one?

Best regards

Wolfgang Weinmann
S Berguem -BSA B.40  November 21, 2009 07:57 PM
I just stumbled on Frank's review on the B.40 and found it enlightning and sincere!
I was offered a 1961 350cc for my birthday. This old bike was sitting exposed to the element (extreme heat & cold) in the high California desert for almost 30 years. With the help of Century Motorcyles in San Pedro, CA, this bike came to life within 3 weeks. You won't believe the grin on my face everytime i ride this honest to goodness beauty.
We tend to forget that some pleasures in life don't need to be sophisticated and perfect...riding motorcycles is one of them.
I do commute to work and travel on my BMW K1200RS but riding my new old BSA gives a basic pleasure that i have lost while riding a sophisticated bike. So please keep classic bikes alive and no matter how poorly they perform compared to nowdays machines, they do offer us basic & sincere pleasures.
Ride Safe



Phil Baker -I was that 'Incompetent Squaddie'  October 9, 2009 08:40 AM
What the armed forces wanted was a dull, plodding workhorse which could be ridden by the most incompetent squaddie without killing himself. Thanks Frank for that phrase. This incompetent squaddie passed his test on one of these wonderful machines in 1977. Went on to become an acomplished motorcycle rider, instructor & examiner.The B40 was and still is in many cases a robust workhorse, when treated with respect and some basic maintainance would go forever, unlike the over-engineered japanise machines of the day. (I owned honda's 400/4 F1, 750/4 K6,750/4 F1, 750/4 Sealey & Cb900F2C) Maybe it wasn't the best built bike in the world, but it holds a place in every incompetent squaddies heart that learnt to ride on one, and used one in the course of his duties. if it was so bad why is it so sort after now? In fact, I'm looking to by one now to replace my Beamer. Now there's an idle bike!
Phillip Lott -well said  August 12, 2009 02:15 AM
I agree...lets talk bikes. I had both triumphs and ducatis in the 70s and I remember what a ordeal it was to keep them running. Not to mention there was no internet so the idea of sourcing parts was pathetic..Anytime you needed a part you would have a real scavenger hunt. AND WE LIKED IT!!!
KP -Rantings of a ghost?  August 12, 2009 01:30 AM
Yeah, so what if the 'barely post-fetal journalist' sings odes to the Beesa. It's old hoots like you who seem to ward away youngsters from the world of classic motorcycling. Guess what, with the way things are going, be prepared to take that bike to your next life, gramps. That's because there probably won't be anybody out there who's going to want to take it for free, let alone part with any dough to buy it. Walk to any classic bike rally, and nearly everybody is post-40 years old. The only youngsters around seem to be unhappy to be there, as if they have been dragged to some place they don't want to be. It's like this, the more you shoot down young people's views on something, the less interest they're likely to develop. Owners at these meets seem to have been placed on pedestals by the Gods of motorcycling themselves and approaching them with a genuine query is pointless. Owning a classic motorcycle needn't be expensive - not everybody has to own a Vincent to call himself a classic motorcyclist. Many of these old timers are cheap to run and fun to keep on the road. I'm happy plodding around on my WD motorcycles and I love them. I don't own any exotic machinery, sorry, none of Rossi's bikes in my garage and not even a bolt off the Great Hailwood's machine in my box of favourite things to boast about. Sure, these motorcycles don't move or stop like the new Jap machines, but that's the whole point, don't you think? You might scald with what I have said but the fact of the matter is that I wasn't born in the era you were, I love my classic bikes as much (if not more) as any fervent classic bike enthusiast would and I'm all of 26 years old. I might be younger than you sir, but I'm definitely not inferior. On a parting note, I really opine that if the British motorcycle industry that went bust ever had a voice, it would reek of your tone. I respect the fact that you might have seen the past, but I am here to bear witness to the future. Ride safe sir.
Frank Melling -Thank you for your comments  August 9, 2009 01:44 PM
Thank you for taking the time to comment on the BSA story. Your feelings, positive or negative, are most valued. In brief, here are my thoughts in answer to your comments. First, bikes and politics are inextricably linked. At present, Government advisors in Sweden, Norway and Britain want ALL bikes banned because they pose an unacceptable risk to the user. Note the exact recommendation. Ban all bikes – race reps, dirt bikes, cruiser or classics. Now tell me we shouldn’t be politically active. To answer Dave’s question, I probably ran out of meds when I was eight years old. This was when I was thrown out of Cub Scouts for trying to re-organise the group on more efficient lines. For some unknown reason, the Cub Scout Leader objected. I have managed to avoid being a team player; a compromiser for the greater good or moderate influence ever since. Perhaps one day I will grown up - but I very much hope not. Finally, BSA B40s are rubbish. They were utter rubbish when they were made and are simply 60 something year old rubbish now. Having worked with BSA, and stood alongside a skilled and dedicated workforce brought, literally, to tears, by the ineptitude of BSA management I have the right to be angry at the suicide of the British bike industry. At the time Soichiro Honda was in overalls stood alongside his engineers to make the best motorcycles of his generation, the owner of BSA was driving around in a gold plated Daimler burning the company’s assets. That’s why I was angry at the time – and that’s why I remain angry now.
Dr Ron -BSA BOMBSHELL  August 8, 2009 06:20 AM
Frank, I'm with you all the way. Thanks for HONESTY in journalism, don't let the "forever miserable" critics get to you! I owned a Beeser single, it sucked constantly...I was so glad to get my hands on a Yamaha 305 after that. It restored my faith in motorcycle integrity, innovation and RIDER MINDED factories/engineers. Today I own a brand new BMW K1300GT, immensley evolved, cutting edge in every way! Thank-you BMW for INTEGRITY in designs as well as production and warrantees. Hang in there Frank and tell it like it WAS!
Ralph Nader -Mike could be right....  August 7, 2009 11:34 AM
In late 1974 I made the U.S. governmant enact safety laws to standerize motorcycle controls so bike thieves would not endander themselves or others when they made their getaways on unfamiliar models. Crash rates for stolen motorcycles went down nearly 1.75% the year following the enactment of Senate Bill 639, better known as the Motorcycle Control Standardizaton Act of 1974.
Dave -Chill dude!  August 7, 2009 11:11 AM
Take it easy Frank. Did you run outta meds? The brakes didn't need to be great on this bike. They work. How much did gas cost back then? Fifteen cents a gallon here in the States? I guarantee it did not cost a couple of dollars, or is it pounds, in gas a week to run this thing. The light sucked. So what? How fast are you gonna go at night anyway? Non adjustable suspension? I'll give you a hint Frank, drive around the potholes and or SLOW DOWN! Did you ever think that the "barely post-fetal journalist singing paeans of praise" for this bike either 1)had nothing better to write about 2) is not a cranky old cooch like you or 3)has a couple B.40's sitting in his garage and wants the prices to go up? Oh yeah and think of all busineeses here in the good ole U.S. of A. that have been or are being saved by Pentagon contracts?
Dan -Frank Melling... political analyst?  August 7, 2009 10:50 AM
Frank, when I visit this site I want to read about motorcyles. Please keep your politiacal opinions to yourself. Keep the rants out of the motorcycle articles. You are the "Memorable Motorcyles expert". Stick with what you know.