BSA Bantam Series

 

 

 

Make Model

BSA Bantam Series: D1, BD1, D3, D5, D7, D10, D10 Sports, Bushman, D14/4, D/B175

Year

D1, BD1: 1948 - 63

D3: 1954 - 57

D5: 1958

D7: 1959 - 66

D10 (all): 1967

D14/4 (all): 1968 - 69

D/B 175 (all): 1969 - 71

Engine

Single cylinder, 2-stroke

Capacity

D1, BD1: 125 cc / 7.6 cub in.

D3: 150 cc / 9.2 cub in.

D5, D7, D10, Sport, Bushman, D14/4, D/B175: 175 cc / 10/7 cub in.

Cooling System Air cooled
Exhaust Single, stainless steel and chrome

Ignition 

D1, BD1: Wico-Pacy or Lucas

D3, D5: Wico-Pacy

D7: Wipac

D10 (all): Wipac with coil and 60W  Alternator

D14/4 (all), D/B175 (all): Wipac

Starting Kick start

Max Power

D1, BD1: 3 kW / 4 hp

D3: 4 kW / 5.3 hp

D5, D7: 5.5 kW / 7.4 hp

D10: 7 kW / 10 hp

D10 Sports, Bushman: 7.5 kW / 10.2 hp

D14/4 (all), D/B175 (all): 9.4 kW / 12.6 hp

Clutch Multi-plate

Transmission 

D1, BD1, D3, D5, D7, D10: 3-Speed

D10 Sports & Bushman, D14/4 (all), D/B175 (all): 4-Speed

Final Drive Chain

Front Suspension

Telescopic fork

Rear Suspension

D1, BD1 (1948-50): Rigid

D1, BD1 (1950-63): Plunger

D3: Plunger (swinging arm after 1956)

D5, D7, D10 (all), D14/4 (all), D/B175 (all): Swinging arm

Front Brakes

D1, BD1, D3 (pre 1958), D5: 4.5 in., drum

All other: 5 in., drum

Rear Brakes

D1, BD1, D3 (pre 1958), D5: 4.5 in., drum

All other: 5 in., drum

Wheels

D1, BD1, D3 (pre 1958): 19 in.

D1, BD1, D3 (post 1958) & all other modes: 18 in.

Top Speed

D1, BD1: 72 km/h / 45 mph

D3: 80 km/h / 50 mph

D5, D7, D10 (all): 92 km/h / 57 mph

D14/4 (all), D/B175 (all): 105 km/h / 65 mph

Colours

D1: Mist green

BD1: Black tank with chrome strips

D3: Grey, Black, Maroon

D5: Maroon or Black with Ivory tank panels

D7: Red/chrome, Blue/chrome

D10: Blue/silver, Polychromatic Blue/chrome

D10 & D14/4 Sports: Red/chrome

D10 & D14/4  & D/B175 Bushman: Orange/White

D14/4: Black, Polychromatic Blue with two tone tank

D/B175: Blue, Red, Black

Sources and Review Wikipedia, Sump Publishing

Riding the BSA Bantam

 But are they any use on modern roads?

Not a lot, if you want the truth. At least, the 125cc models aren't. It’s not so much that they don’t have the speed; they'll buzz along at a fairly steady 45-50mph under most conditions. But they don't have the grunt, acceleration or presence. To many drivers, they're all but invisible.

However, if you're tough and stubborn and brave and dedicated, you could yet travel tens of thousands of miles on a 125cc BSA Bantam and have a hoot doing it.

But for the vast majority of us (but by no means all of us), the 125cc Bantam, along with dozens of other 125cc British lightweights, has more or less come to the end of the road—save for the odd Sunday afternoon scooting around with whatever tribe you’re attached to.

Of course, if you live in rural Spain or France, or somewhere else where you can still find an empty stretch of tarmac, the piddly Bantam could be just the thing for zipping around the odd vineyard or dust bowl. But here in bumper-to-bumper Blighty, where people will murder you for another inch of highway, you’re living on borrowed time.

The 175cc bikes are different. These still have a fair amount of backroad zip left in them, and if you're not too heavily built, and are riding solo, you could use one of these for general commuting and for general days out. Just stay away from any fast roads and anything that looks like a headwind.

In good tune, they start easily and rev freely. The clutch is light and smooth, the brakes (when set up correctly) are good to excellent, and the handling is acceptable-to-good.

They're fairly comfortable too with everything within easy reach. And spares are everywhere, and reasonably priced.

We recently road-tested a D7 around the Kentish country lanes and had to be levered off the handlebars, such was the fun. And if you're used to lumbering four-strokes and haven't ridden a Bantam for a while, you might be pleasantly surprised at the sense of "liberation" offered by a decent little 175cc British two-stroke.

Keep in mind too that with the ever rising cost of fuel, and insurance, a 175cc BSA Bantam, returning around 70-80mpg, is about as cheap as practical classic biking is going to get.

Review: Sump Publishing