BSA Motorcycles 1950s

Model changes each year for USA Super Rocket Models

The following model differences and model descriptions are based on BSA sales literature for standard items for Super Rockets from 1958-1963. Golden Flash, Royal Tourist, and other model A10 owners beware - specifications for these A10s were different in most cases than the Super Rocket (based on my literature), the following list below is specific to Super Rockets. This heading provides a summary of model changes with each year for USA model A10 Super Rockets. Warning: some UK specifications (such as those reported in books by Roy Bacon) vary from the USA specifications provided here. One day when I have lots of time - I will rearrange the following information in a table for ease in readibility

1958 USA Super Rockets
- No rubber dust covers on front forks
- Sapphire Blue tank with chrome panels and gold striping, round Super Rocket three rifle insignia, chrome fenders (also have 1958 literature indicating Rocket red tank with chrome side panels, and Rocket Red fenders, double gold stripping)
- Front fork outer sleeves not chromed
- Racing TT carburtor
- Alloy HC head
- Full width hubs with center-line brakes
- Twin exhaust pipes and muffler
- Jet black baked enamel frame
- front fender with rocket type ornament which was used on a portion of the 1958 Super Rockets to fill the number plate holes in the front fender. Front fender rear stay curved around fender.
- Super Rocket decal on tank top
- Magneto driven tachometer (hole in left corner of outer timing cover to allow connection of tachometer cable to tach drive)
- alloy primary chaincase with inspection cap and oil drain screw in front face of cover
- Lucas magneto with manual advance and retard
- Lucas gear driven generator, Lucas 7-inch diameter headlight incorporating parking light, tail, and stop light with reflector
1959 USA Super Rockets

- Racing type rubber dust covers on front forks
- Sapphire Blue tank with chrome panels and gold striping, round Super Rocket three rifle insignia tank badge, BSA Super Rocket decal with picture of rocket over earth on tank top,
- Black frame
- Chrome front fork outer sleeve, chrome wheel rims and spokes
- Alloy HC head
- Twin chrome exhaust pipes and Burgess type adsorption muffler
- Chrome sports type (non-valenced) fenders
- "Neater" tail light assembly, also has three rifle decal on top bracket of assembly
- All front fender stays attach to tabs (the rear fender stay no longer curves around backside)
- New big valve engine with enlarged inlet ports and valves, bigger bore carburetor, and higher compression pistons.
- Highly polished alloy brake plates
- Gear ratios 4.52, 5.47, 7.95, 11.67
- Primary drive chain 1/2 x 0.305" in oil bath
- rear chain 5/8x3/8" inch
- Lucas magneto with manual control of automatic advance and retard
- 7 1/2 inch headlight with pre-focus light unit and pilot light, with illuminated speedometer and electric horn - 12 amp./hr battery
- Dunlap ribbed 3.25 x 19" front tire, universal 3.50 x 19" rear tire.
- 8" front brakes, 7" rear brakes
- New control cable sleeves on handlebars
- 8.5 : 1 compression ratio
- Magneto cutout located in middle of handlebar close to the steering head damper knob
- Air control lever relocated to right hand side of the machine between the seat and the gas tank.
- Amal monobloc carb 389/31
- Champion N-3 spark plug
1960 USA Super Rockets

- Finish: Tank is now bright Chinese Red with large chrome panels and new style tank transfer, frame is black.
- New tank badges - 4 gallon tanks now fitted with new stream-lined oval tank badges. 3 gallon tanks (standard on Western models) have round badges with 3-rifle insignia. All badges are of 3-dimension lucite plastic material, Tanks are also fitted with new design knee grips.
- Tachometer and speedometer now mounted on a twin bracket (as opposed to single bracket on earlier models)
- new style improved style dual seat with lower saddle position on Western model
- Same rubber dust covers on front forks
- Improved rear brake (repositioned brake operating lever and improved brake cam action give powerful braking with less pedal effort)
- Cable adjusters now fitted at the handlebar end of both brake and clutch cables
- New clutch adjustment access opening (a large diameter plug is now fitted in the primary drive of all BSA twins, making clutch spring adjustment quick and easy)
- New oil level and drain plug (all twins now have a oil level check and drain plug fitted to the bottom of the primary drive case). Oil level in primary drive may be accurately checked or completely drained without disturbing other parts
- New tachometer drive - A neat, new tachometer drive is now taken from the front of the timing chest, entirely eliminating the former right angle drive
- New style fenders - An almost entirely new, self supporting, heavily chromed, valenced-type, semi-bobbed front fender is fitted to all twins. The forward brace (stay) is eliminated for a neater look and to offer more protection from road splash and the rear stay now extends over the backside of the front fender. A neater rear fender brace is fitted to 1960 twins.
- Larger Amal Monobloc carburetor - to add performance
- New dip switch and horn fitting - a neat new ring-type fitting on the left handlebar now incorporates horn button, dip switch, and magneto cut-out, eliminating much external wiring
- Longer fork nuts - A longer threaded portion on fork top nuts now allows for space taken up by windshield mounting brackets when fitted.
- Alloy HC head
- Twin exhaust pipes and Burgess type mufflers
- Transmission: BSA 4 speed gearbox with positive stop foot control, gear ratios 4.52-5.47-7.95-11.67, multi-plate fabric lined clutch, primary chain 1/2" X 0.305" running in oil bath chaincase with double cam cush drive on engine shaft; rear chain 5/8" X 3/8". Totally enclosed chaincase standard on Western model, optional on Eastern.
- Ignition and lighting: Lucas magneto with manual control on handlebar and separate chain driven 6 volt C.V.C. dynam; 7 1/2 inch diameter headlamp with prefocus light unit and pilot light. Stop and tail light incorporating rear reflector, 12 amp/hr batery, sports type headlamp mounting

1961 USA Super Rockets

- New "357" full-race camshaft: Gives high lift, more dwell, and instant-closing valve action making for peak performance
- New 140 MPH (pre-1961 models had 120 MPH) Speedometer on twin mount
- New, improved regulator on rubber anti-shock mount
- Improved tachometer cable
- New clutch with solid forged center and bonded linings running on heavy duty roller bearings
- Ignition and Lighting: Same as 1960 except for 140 MPH speedo, new waterproof end-cap on Lucas Magneto, and new battery (??)
- Primary chain and rear chain same as 1960
- Improved frame - stronger at vital points
- Same rubber dust covers on front forks
- Sapphire blue tank with chrome panels and gold striping,tear drop stream lined badges on 4 gallon tanks, round badges on 3-gallon tank (uncertain if they have 3 rifle insignia or BSA over star insignia as on 1962 models)
- New, larger capacity air cleaner with Amal Monobloc carburtor
- Alloy HC head
- Twin exhaust pipes and muffler
- Chrome sports type (non-valenced) fenders
1962 USA Super Rockets

- Same rubber dust covers on front forks
- Same fenders as 1961
- Deep luster, brilliant, red, metallic tank with chrome panels, tear drop streamlined insignia on 4-gallon tank (Eastern Models), round badge on Western model 3-gallon tanks with BSA logo over star on insignia (no longer 3 rifle insignia)
- black frame
- Same speedo and tachometer as 1961
- Improved self-energizing brakes
- Improved engine main bearing: Hoffman heavy duty sprocket side roller bearing
- Streamlined inlet ports
- Racing valve springs: crankshaft drive supported by special hi-duty variable valve springs
- New micro-babbit connecting rod bearing
- oversized inlet valves
- Same "357" full-race camshaft as 1961
- 1 5/32" Amal monobloc carburtor with same large capacity air cleaner as 1961
- Alloy HC head
- Improved fork stop
- Chrome hand rail standard on western model
- BSA 4 speed gearbox with new quick acceleration gear ratios 4.53-6.00-7.94-13.04. Sprocket combination, 21 tooth engine, 43 tooth clutch, 19 tooth gearbox, 42 tooth rear. Same clutch, primary chain, and rear chain as 1961
- Ignition and Lighting: Same as 1961
- New power jet exhaust system for a better extractor effect, to lessen backpressure, and increase horsepower optionally available, has special cross-over exhaust header with new Power-jet glass packed muffler
- Chrome sports type (non-valenced) fenders
- 357 Full Race Camshaft
1963 USA Super Rockets

- blazing metallic red enamel tank (4 gallon Eastern with tear drop badge, 3 gallon with BSA over star badge insignia)
- Improved free flow exhaust system: new improved low back pressure mufflers
- more chrome (no listing of where)
- Appears to be very similar to 1962 model (I have limited information on this year Super Rocket)

I encourage anyone with additional information about model changes to contact me (Email to danielboss at