BSA Motorcycles 1960s

Today in Motorcycle History

BSA Trail Bronc 175cc 1965

When BSA introduced the Trail Bronc in 1964, the company advertising in the United States proclaimed the machine as "Ideal for those who want to go wilderness wandering, for hunting trips, or just exploring off the beaten track!" and included images of the Bronc loaded in the back of a station wagon. The advertising caption read "Fits your station wagon or car trunk!"

Based on the BSA Bantam 2-stroke which had been under development since shortly after WWII, the lightweight was adapted from the German DKW RT125 which BSA had obtained rights to as part of the World War II reparations. DKW derivations were also built in the USSR and by Harley-Davidson as the Model 125. It is estimated that as many as half a million BSA Bantams were built by the Birmingham firm from 1948 until the early 1970s.

Birmingham Small Arms management was taken somewhat by surprise at the humble Bantam's introduction into competition. Young owners modified their Bantams, changing the gearing and handlebars. The factory responded with a trials model, followed by the Trail Bronc, a lighter version of the D7 Bantam 175 which had been introduced two years earlier. Fitted with 300 x 19in tyres, high exhaust, folding footpegs, increased ground clearance and anything deemed non-essential removed to save weight - including the front mudguard.

Claimed output from the 175cc 3-speed engine was 8 h.p. running on premix fuel.

Built for the US market at the request of Hap Alzina in Oakland, California, the BSA importer for the Western states, the Trail Bronc did not fare well as it was up against the Hodaka and the latest Japanese lightweights.

Production ceased in 1965.

Source: The Early Years of Motocross Museum.