Motorcycle enthusiasts are a sentimental bunch of people. We caress our rides as if they are a human being, and obviously, time and again we personify and relate them to our personality. We feel connected to various motorcycles many of which come from a different era and don’t exist anymore.
People who admire vintage or classic motorcycles have probably got their emotional meter a notch higher. It’s like they go back in time astride their decades-old motorcycle and want to remain there. It is nostalgic and in many cases, allows people to reconnect with their roots. For every one of us, though, it is just exciting to see what were some of the most popular and successful motorcycles of the past.
We came across one, it is named the Golden Flash and it is made by BSA. Look at this motorcycle and you’ll know that it was made to compete with the Triumphs and it indeed was. The BSA Golden Flash, codenamed A10, was made to take on the Triumph Tiger 100. It was designed by Bert Hopwood who had earlier worked at Ariel, Triumph and Norton. Hopwood had previously designed Triumph Speed Twin and Norton Dominator, both very popular motorcycles of their times.
The name Golden Flash is given because BSA sold it in the bright metallic golden colour in the US market. BSA is an abbreviation which stands for Birmingham Small Arms and it is reflected in a logo on the engine casing cover and on both side covers.
Golden Flash – Sounds like the Superhero Flash at his Prime
The gold colour of the Golden Flash was a huge hit in the US market and outsold Triumph’s Speed Twin and 6T Thunderbird. Not just that, the motorcycle was a pretty decent performer as well with a top speed of over 160 km/h.
Earliest Golden Flash came with either rigid frame (no suspension at the back) or with the plunger suspension (which means no swing-arm). Naturally, it was soon upgraded and replaced by conventional swing-arm and twin shockers at the back for overall much-improved ride quality and handling.
The Golden Flash we rode was the latter version with proper front and rear suspension and flawlessly finished in the metallic gold. Its owner, Mr Rahul Manthalkar, was insightful and enthusiastic to share his experience and information about this classic motorcycle. We are extremely thankful to him for being such a sport and sparing his time for us. And we would say that it would be a stroke of luck if we find something like this on OLX because owners of these machines do not really intend to sell them.
Parallel twin air-cooled engines were most famous and sought after back then and so the Golden Flash had a 650cc Overhead Valve engine of this configuration. It churned out around 35 BHP of maximum power at 4,500 RPM and the motorcycle had a dry weight of 170 kg, good enough for a quarter mile drag in less than 16 seconds. Pretty fast (Flash) for its time!
This motorcycle remained in production from 1950 to 1961 and made quite an impact in the industry. It is one of BSA’s finest productions and is also often regarded as a tourer since it had decent highway manners. We, on the other hand, had a great time learning about this motorcycle, how its mechanicals work and it was truly a unique experience looking at it up close and observing all the fine details it still has.