On Christmas Eve, my buddy Dave sent me an email with a link to Craigs List about a 68 BSA rolling chassis and some Triumph parts for $200. He wanted to know if I thought it would be worth it to pick it up for a winter chop project. Dave knew I have had a number of old Limey bikes over the years, and figured I could give him the advice he wanted. I told him if he had the $200 bucks to grab it if he could. The Beezer 650 unit motor/tranny is a sweetheart. With plenty of ass when it needs it, and while it isnt in the same class as a modern crotch-rocket, it will get you down the road plenty fast enough.
Talking it over with Dave at his place for Christmas dinner, I could tell he had some definite plans for what he wanted to do. If it wasnt on this, he was going to find something "cheap" for his first chopper build. Outside of maybe a Norton, I can't think of a better bike than an old BSA to chop.
I have told Dave many times about how my old 73 Beezer 650 Thunderbolt was about the best handling bike I ever had. Thats her in the pic above. While she isnt the sweetest looking bike I have ever had, but she was by far the best handling, in an almost psychic way. I have rubbed pipes and pegs on other bikes before, but J.C. is the only bike I ever ground the rubber off the END of a foot peg going around a corner and didnt go down. I still dont know how I did that one, but I remember it clear as a bell.
J.C. (short for Jupiters Child...hey it was the early 80s) had a front brake, but with the extended fork tubes, I never got around to adding a longer brake cable so for all intents and purposes, she didnt have a front brake. All that was there to try to stop that little speed freak of a bike was a stock BSA drum brake, which was better than nothing I suppose, but not much. Her shocks had been removed, and replaced with a one piece strut/sissy bar set-up so she had no rear suspension, but had a high backrest seat for the passenger.
I was running into Bremerton with the gal I was with at the time. Doing about 10-15 over the limit when I swung into the turn lane at the light just before the Navy Yard. As I did, the light turned yellow, and I knew there was no way I was going to be able to stop before it turned red with both of us on. Instead, I dropped it into 3rd and grabbed a handful of throttle, and went for the turn. Sitting at the red light heading back the other way were two eighteen wheelers, and as we leaned farther and farther over making the turn, all I could envision was sliding into and under them. The next thing I know, the bike is coming back up out of the turn, and heading down the road slicker than shit. When we got to where we were going, I noticed when I got off that all the rubber on the end of my left footpeg was ground away...we had made the corner by pivoting on the end of the peg.
I have always thought that J.C. had a guardian angel watching over us. That was only one of the many times she somehow had me be where I was suppose to be (instead of where I wanted to be), kept me out of trouble with the law, or go down in a bad accident. Just look at the pic up above. See how high up the footpeg is? To this day, I cant figure out how we ground the rubber off that peg and were still able to make it back out of the corner.
J.C. was by far my best hadling bike, and I am sure I will have to tell you some more of the stories down the road sometime.