Up is John, with his 1967 BSA Thunderbolt
First of all, for those who may not be aware, the Thunderbolt (also referred to as an A65) is a single carburetted, air cooled, 650cc twin with 12 volt electrics made by BSA in the UK between 1962 and 1972. The engine produced about 46hp, had a four speed gearbox and the bike was fitted with drum brakes.
Q: Perhaps a bit of background to begin with?
A: This is my ex Roger, ex Tom “ride it like you stole it” (both are RMS members), 1967 BSA Thunderbolt.
Q: Why this bike?
A: (i) I’ve never had a Brit parallel twin. (ii) Tom was running out of bike space!
Q: What’s the bike’s history?
A: Roger restored it years ago, and Tom rode the wheels off it for a couple of years. It was getting a bit long in the tooth and needed a good seeing to.
Q: What have you done so far?
A: To Date:
I’ve stripped it to the frame, it has been sandblasted (at Consolidated Compressor), and powder coated (one of Elroy’s Saturday morning sessions organised by the RMS chapter).
I’ve gone through all the cycle parts – wheels, brakes, forks, steering head, swing arm etc, replacing as necessary and repacking all bearings.
Joe at RPM Services Ltd is sorting out the motor bottom end – mostly the timing side main bushing. He’s meticulous.
I’ve re-done the wiring and fitted that gorgeous 4 gallon tank – partly because Tom was always running out of gas, but if I’m honest it’s mostly because it’s just such a cool tank.
A very helpful chap in England checked out the Boyer and the Podtronic. I’d been a bit worried about the electrics – it was a sparkless T’Bolt when I got it, but it was probably just the wiring…
Q: What about parts availability for a 45 year old machine
A: Parts are pretty easy to get, but with some of the pattern stuff, it’s more like buying raw materials as it’s fair bit of work to get the parts to fit. It’s not like working on a Beemer or a Japanese bike.
I’ve found John (Motoparts in Edmonton) and Mike (Walridge Motors in Ontario) to be good, and willing to share their experience of what works and what doesn’t. Mike at Hooligans (an A65 enthusiast yet) kindly helped me out with some oil pump parts.
Q: Paint and bodywork?
A: The T’Bolt has all (gel coated) fiberglass tank and panels. We’ll see how they hold up
With any luck at all, we should be up and running this summer.