BSA Gold Star – Singularly Pleasurable

The world of motorcycling has been submerged under a Tsunami of nostalgia for many years now. Arguably as far back as the 1990s and the launch of the first significant ‘retro’ bikes, such as the Kawasaki Zephyr range

As the demographic of motorcyclists has collectively aged we seem to have an increasing desire for bikes that hark back to what we perceive as simpler, happier times

Part of the Come Back

The new BSA Goldstar is aimed at that market slot. It’s almost as if the collapse of the British motorcycle industry never happened.  You can go out and buy new bikes from Ariel, Brough-Superior, AJS, Triumph, Norton, Royal Enfield and now BSA.

Ok so in the most part they come from factories all over the world, China, Thailand and notably India, but it shows the strengths of the brands that they have been so successfully resurrected

The new BSA Gold Star has been causing quite a stir hacking back as it does to one of the true legends of British motorcycling. It was with great anticipation that I set off for my first ride on an example. Has the legend being honoured or defiled?

Is it True to the Legacy?

Well it depends on your point of view. There is a school of thought that original was a very sporting bike, at the front of the pack back in the day, more akin to a R1/6 or GSXR of its time. So the new model should be in that spirit, modern and sporting. Then there is the more popular view that it should dial in to the look, feel and pace of traditional ‘Brit-bikes’, but with modern conveniences. No I don’t mean it should have toilets, rather it should be easy to use, ride and reliable

The boy is back in town

So, is it Any Good?

I am happy to report that it meets the traditional brief beautifully. As I made my way along some  typical British A &B roads through some truly beautiful Worcestershire countryside, it felt completely in tune with its surroundings. This kind of running is the new Gold Star’s ‘happy-place’. The surprisingly perky 45bhp, 652cc water cooled single provides enough pace to enable the rider to enjoy the sweeping nature of these typically British roads.

Water-cooled and emissions friendly, the engine still very much looks the part

The suspension is simple and effective. I didn’t bother checking for adjustments and setting. I just hopped aboard and rode away.  In fact the ride comfort in particular is good. The bike is composed and very controlled at the pace I was riding, hovering in and around the national speed limit. I love the Pirelli Phantom tyres. Not just for the grip and feel they yield, but they look great too. I remember many a big Japanese superbike having these fitted back in the day. Brakes are again, simple, effective and with a good feel at the lever.

At Ease With Life

This is just what the bike is made for: No particular place to go and no rip snorting hurry to get there. Just ride in a flow in unison with your machine. Take in your surroundings, the sights, the aroma, the feel. Then rock up at a local pub, cafe or bikers hang-out for a cuppa and butty. The perfect way to spend a day, especially when the sun is on your back.

Just head to a Country Pub. What’s not to like??

Build quality on the example I rode seems good. Evenly applied deep paint, lustrous chrome and neat castings and mouldings. All better than the Mash 400 I tried a few years ago. I would say its comparable to the other big player in this market place, the Royal Enfield Interceptor.

Looks are convincing in isolation, especially when viewing the right had side of the bike: The exhaust flows down and back in true Gold-Star manner. For future updates I’d point the chaps at BSA towards the other side of the bike. In addition the integration of the radiator needs a little more work

Some good details

Cool Clocks

I really like the simple analogue clocks, that sweep, just like the original, across the lower halves of the dials. Quirky and kind of cool. Bit weird at first, but you soon get used it. I also like the nod to the old Brit-Bikes where the circular warning light pack was integrated into the headlight pod, where often an ammeter or some such would reside.

Forget the Past?

So have BSA pulled off a fitting tribute to the original ‘Goldie’? Having never ridden the original it is hard for me to definitively say. No it doesn’t emerge from a factory in Small Heath, Birmingham (as an Aston Villa fan this makes me happy). Yes the engine does have its roots in a 90’s BMW F series Rotax unit. However none of this matters.  The new Goldie, is an enjoyable, good looking bike that is an easy-going pleasure to ride.

The Beezer would be the perfect foil to your modern gizmo laden sports or adventure bike. For days when all the fhaff that goes with those bikes is rather tiresome. You just want to ride, find a nice place to stop and have a chat with likeminded folk, while the sun glistens gently off the bike’s paint and chrome. Perhaps you have a traditional old British bike and don’t want to be tickling carbs, kick-starting a big single and performing running repairs. Or maybe you are one of the new generation bikers who just love the look and vibe of a traditionally styled machine. It ticks all those boxes

For £6500-7000 (March 2023) it represents a good value way to get your yourself onto a stylish enjoyable machine. Get yourself down to your local dealers, try one and maybe come back with a piece of the action

Words and pictures: Tony Donnelly