having a blast

A Long Time Coming

Years ago, I was able to pull a 1971 BSA B50 SS from my Uncle Ron’s open air barn in Iowa. The barn had a few dozen “parts” or “project” bikes in it. Uncle Ron had recently passed away, and like a lot of his estate, the barn o’ bikes was to be auctioned off. I got to pick the barn first, and I decided on the BSA. I wanted to save it and have something to remember my uncle by. I also pulled a 1982 Fuji road bike from a shed that I quickly restored and still have today.

This BSA is largely my introduction to motorcycle building, but I’m not new to motorcycles or their maintenance. I got my first dirt bike when I was 10 or 11 years old, a beat up 1975 Honda XR75 that was previously my cousin Daniels, Uncle Ron’s son. I loved that motorcycle. I rode it all summer long. I grew up just off Second Street in town, which meant I could see gravel roads and farmland from my back yard. And that’s where I’d ride it. Gravel roads, ditches, and the best place ever, the gravel stock yard at the company my dad worked for. That little motorcycle could go anywhere and do anything. I outgrew that Honda and I bought a Yamaha IT250 when I was 14 with money from my first job.

So, this BSA B50 SS is my opportunity to learn how to build a motorcycle. It sat unused, I’d guess, for 20 years or so. Since 2013, when I collected the motorcycle and began disassembling it, it’s sat in bins, boxes, and tubs. That’s 8 years or so. Some progress was made between 2013 and 2015, though. The top end of the engine has been rebuilt. The tank and fenders have been stripped and primed. The frame and some parts have been painted. Almost all of that work was done with my dad, who’s got some experience with that type of thing. I’m going at it alone now, but will have him as a reference if I need some help.

All of my workshop preparation is largely to get myself a suitable, clean, organized place to begin working on this motorcycle build.

So that’s where I’m at. Lots of work to do and lots of time to do it. No rush. But something to keep my idle hands from wandering and something to keep me out of trouble.