BSA Bantam diesel special

July 2015


Yanmar clone engine | Comet torque converter




Over the years, we've seen a lot of weird things done to BSA Bantams. Chops. Bobbers. A cafe racer or two. A number of very proud rat bikes. One with a Honda engine. Another with a Suzuki engine.




But we can't remember having seen a diesel BSA Bantam, which makes the above example our first. It came our way via a Sumpster named Rod from Chorley in Lancashire. Presumably he's got a surname, but we haven't got a hold of that yet.


No matter; it's his motorcycle that we're interested in (no offence, Rod), and this is a very interesting motorcycle. The engine displaces 125cc. It runs on chip fat. It returns around 180 miles per gallon. It has a V5C (overseas Sumpsters read: registration document). It's classed as a historic vehicle. And it doesn't need an MOT (Ministry of Transport test). So there's little to do but ride it and show it off.




The engine is a Chinese Yanmar clone (complete with electric starter). It cost just £275 and weighs around 59lbs.



Some folk will scoff at this one. But we like this motorcycle plenty—and you've got to admire the man's persistence, stubbornness and ingenuity in simply getting the bike finished. Or as near as damn it. These things always look easy when they're done. But as any bike builder will tell you, this humble Bantam represents hundreds of hours of sweat and graft, a lot of very smart thinking, a lot of scabbed knuckles, and probably a few gallons of midnight oil (possibly chip oil).


More to the point, this BSA Bantam looks like very practical transport and will carry a rider from London to Edinburgh (just shy of 400 miles) for about three-and-a-half gallons of diesel (or chip oil).


Top speed? We don't know, but we're guessing around 35 - 40mph, depending on the gearing and the wind shear.


The build cost target was £1,500. But Rod broke the budget and spent £1,991, which isn't bad. We know from working on our own projects, especially when prototyping, how easy it is to rack up the costs.




This BSA Bantam diesel special is running a Comet Industries torque converter. Think of it as an automatic clutch.



And if building the bike isn't impressive enough, Rod has also documented the project and has built a website to share the experience. So okay, his site has the odd spelling and grammatical error, but it's still good work, and we recommend you take a closer look.


Rod is now looking for a buyer for the Bantam, not because there's anything wrong with the bike or because he's tired of it, but simply because he needs a trike. So if you're interested, get in touch and make a bid. But don't be cheap. You'll save a fortune on fuel, and if you live long enough you'll get your money back sooner or later.


Note that the link below appears to be dead. But we've left it (disabled) in case you want to try and make contact for yourself.


— Dexxion


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