'65 BSA Thunderbolt 

Creating a cool custom bike isn't about deadline. It's about vision. This is how Ed Kubiez and Jesse Bassett saw it...


Jesse Bassett's Gasbox | Custom BSA | 650cc | Cleveland, Ohio 

Engines are, of course, the beating heart of any motorcycle, and the 650cc BSA A65 engine is a great looking power unit. However, it took us a long time to see it that way. Here at Sump, we're mostly Triumph people, but we own and ride other bikes too, including an old BSA M20 sidevalve, a Norton Commando and more recently a Matchless G80 and a 350cc Velocette MAC (these last two bikes in fairly large pieces).


Triumph engines, we think, are still the prettiest, and most of the other engines fitted to the bikes in our modest collection rate about the same as each other in terms of looks, but perhaps with the Matchless slightly ahead of the pack. And we love the design of the Royal Enfield Bullet engine, not that we've ever owned one.


The BSA A65 engine, however, has until fairly recently always struck us as a perfectly "worthy" bag of bolts, but just ... well, dull. We've said that before once or twice. And that's usually our default position. Worthy, but dull.


And then, without warning, another cracking BSA A65 rolls into our field of vision and our eyes go straight to its heart and we wonder all over again why we keep overlooking these 650cc twins. That was the position a few years ago when Jesse Bassett, from Cleveland, Ohio, USA contacted us with some snaps of a bike he'd built. Jesse runs a motorcycle building business called Gasbox. Did we want to feature his custom BSA A65 on Sump? We said we did, and you can see that bike if you click the link you've just passed.



And then, a few weeks ago Ed Kubiez, also from Cleveland, Ohio, USA contacted us and sent us some snaps of his A65 Thunderbolt custom and asked if we wanted to see more and maybe share the bike on Sump.


Naturally, one look was all it took. And naturally we could see that Jesse Bassett's hand had been at work here (but okay, Cleveland, Ohio was a handy clue).


This bike is, for us, about as pretty as they come. It's lightweight, economical in design, and beautifully finished. So okay, the lack of a front brake leaves something to be desired if you're planning to use it in any kind of anger. But if you've got suitably empty roads in your neighbourhood, a controlled trigger finger and reasonable eyesight, you can ride forever with only a rear stopper, especially with one such as this that appears to have plenty of bite.


But it's that engine that does it for us. It's all BSA, but it's been polished like a jewel and perfectly detailed, and it reminds us that the A65 motor, when treated right, is up there with the best of them. Listen to what Ed Kubiez has to say about his Gasbox wheels...






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