Project Description


Markie Says: “Good old solid British Army bike with super low miles”

BSA B40 WD British Army bike

Just by luck – if you call it luck, one Saturday morning I came across this on a sales site and it was only 5 miles away, if it had been further I wouldn’t have bothered. I ummed and arred and thought it’s only round the corner so made contact. They replied and I went for a visit, it started but was messy and needed a good clean up.

The thing that sold it for me was – it was original with only 4400 miles on it, just how I like my bikes.

How it started I have no idea but it did! When I stripped the carb the float was full of what I can only describe as – umm not sure maybe solidified chip fat. The joys of modern fuels, the jets were so blocked even the ultra sonic couldn’t clean them! So by luck I found a new old stock Army WD Amal carb, still wrapped up in grease proof paper and the original box! Yes it cost a fair bit but was worth it.

If you look pass the mess and damaged petrol tank and over paint everything was good to keep as it was. Okay there was a cable or so snapped and it leaked – easy jobs! Yeah you always think that and an easy job turns into not an easy job, which leads into another easy job, that leads into more – not so easy jobs.

I made new nylon lined friction free cables and cleaned and tidy things as I went. I bought the odd part that was missing which wasn’t much. But it’s a typical British bike not finished with wobbles and movement in bushes and pins, so made new bushes and made the odd nut and bolt.

The tyres were shot so replaced them with period looking off road tyres – but made in Germany! Says it all really.

It had been dropped and the tank was damaged, so that was removed, stripped and repaired. We had the original paint matched by our paint supplier and the rusty areas were cleaned and over sprayed to make it look tidier with rattle cans. I suppose this is what these days you call a sympathetic restoration!

When it was dropped the foot peg had gone into the clutch cover and was repaired with arildite. So I rewelded that and cleaned it back up and semi polished it to look factory.

The frame work hadn’t been touched previously but looking at all the screws on the side casings some bodger had been into the engine. I can’t stand screws all mushed over so I replaced them as the casings were off to cure the leaks. As the casings were apart I replaced all the internal damage the last owner had done. Some new bearings, clutch parts, chain, seals and gaskets and a good check over and repair where the screwdriver had parted the casings in the past. Leaks, badly working cables and bodged electrics do my head in, the paint can look old – but it’s got to work!

BSA used oddball BSW screws to what we use on the Lambrettas, so we’ve stocked up with a selection for the other British bikes in our collection and have them listed on the webshop as these are hard to find. Whilst it was all apart – sort of, the wiring was cleaned up and an electronic ignition fitted, new battery and tidied up and got all the electrics working as they should be.

All this is time consuming, I only get chance once a week on my fun Fridays where most of the day has been making tools and parts for it. It’s now all done, up and running and loving it. It’s a bike to ride around, do a bit of off roading, visit a museum or cafe and use it.

Next to a Lambretta – the BSA B range is one of the best bikes to restore, parts are easily available and lots of models have interchangeable parts and plenty of people sell them and there is lots of information for them. If your wanting a bike to restore – I’d recommended them over obscure bikes where parts are hard to find with no information.