The BSA B50 was the last in a long line of successful machines from the Birmingham works, and marked the end of an era. It was manufactured for two years between 1971 and 1973, when the BSA marque left the forecourt leaving only Triumph and Norton to represent the once great British motorcycle industry.
Following success on the track, the production B50 displayed innovative features which manifest themselves in the form of Oil in the Frame technology, improved swinging arm adjustment, beefed-up engine, box type (waffle) exhaust, electronics contained in a single removable pod and better stopping power.
The design was radical, and it did not go unnoticed by the Japanese who in short order manufactured both small and large bore single cylinder street scramblers - typically the Yamaha XT250/500 and Honda XL250/500 of the mid to late 1970s.
The BSA street scrambler was available in 250cc and 500cc versions. The European models were available with 3 gallon steel tanks, whereas for the American market a smaller 2.5 gallon alluminum tank was standard. The bike was also available in Trail and Scrambles versions. By this point in the history of BSA most of the production was aimed at, and subsequently exported to, the United States. The Japanese had all but taken the English market and the sewing machine era had dawned, so called because the throaty boom of the British exhaust note had been replaced by the relatively quiet Japanese models. It was not uncommon for riders of these machines to swap the silencer for a short megaphone to increase the exhaust decibels, and hence their presence.
The Japanese onslaught into the British motorcycle market resulted in few of these BSA beauties seeing the English roads, though it well-loved in the Scandinavian countries.
B50SS - GOLD STAR 500 Specification
500 cc Single Cylinder OHV Engine
Alloy Head and Barrel
Welded Frame with Oil Containing Top Tube
Upswept Black Finish Exhaust
A Gold Star 500 won the 500cc class in the Thruxton 500 miler*, and the Barcelona 24 hours* and won the Zolder 24 hour Race* outright. A tough no-nonsense street scrambler which is as much at home off the road as on it. The Gold Star 500 has an extremely rugged race-proven frame, a willing 4-stroke power unit giving tremendous torque at low rpm - the right power at the right time. New colours for 1972 with polished front forks and hubs gave the machine a very attractive appearance.
*Entered by Mead & Tompkinson of Hereford, England and ridden by Nigel Rollason and Clive Brown.
See also 1971 B25 B50 Catalogue
Source: Adapted from a page at the Cedric Norman Archive