BSA Motorcycles 1920s

BSA 1929 S29 500cc Sloper

1929 BSA Sloper
Estimate: $12000 - $18000


The history of BSA predates the motorised age considerably. Its roots go back to the time of King William III who, in 1692, attempted to improve the fire power of the army by drawing up a contract between the Board of Ordnance and five Birmingham gunsmiths. This ‘contract’ continued for many years and, on 7 June 1861, the Birmingham Small Arms Company was formed, by 1863 a factory had been built at the Small Heath site on the outskirts of Birmingham. In 1880, the company started to make cycles whilst retaining the ‘Piled Arms’ symbol that had become known throughout the world. Whilst rival factories pursued racing success to ensure popularity, BSA concentrated on producing well priced, good-quality machines in volume in order to enjoy the economies of scale. Announced in August 1926, the Sloper was introduced in 1927. With its overhead value cylinder angled forward, the Sloper’s low rakish looks were in tune with the times. With a wet sump, saddle tank and a 90-degree value angle, the S29 was absolutely up to the minute. Producing 18hp, capable of delivering a respectable 120kph and priced at 47 pounds, the Sloper was an immediate success and what it lacked in speed it made up for in style. Selling over 80,000 units, the BSA Sloper proved to be a company favourite and suggested that the public’s aesthetic eye was maturing. The S29 laid the foundations for what was to evolve into the fabulously aggressive and well-balanced BSA ‘Gold Star’.

Image and text courtesy Webbs Auction House NZ

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