BSA’S sport­ing sin­gle can be a brute to kick­start. But there is a ray of hope for those with dodgy knees – fit an adapted Yamaha elec­tric boot. Here’s how...

Classic Bike (UK) - - Contents - WORDS AND PHO­TOG­RA­PHY: PHILLIP TOOTH

How to fit an elec­tric starter to a BSA Gold Star. It’s good for your knee

As the po­lice re­port later recorded, I was rid­ing a Nor­ton Dom­i­na­tor on a straight stretch of road when a car pulled out from a pri­vate road and crashed into me. I flew over the bon­net and ended up ly­ing in a pool of petrol be­cause the al­loy tank had burst. When I got my breath back, I wig­gled my toes and fin­gers, noted that my shoul­der ached and my right knee hurt like hell... and was dragged away from the smok­ing Domi in case it caught fire. Po­lice, two fire en­gines and an am­bu­lance with paramedics ar­rived to clear the mess and scoop me up.

So there I was, ly­ing on a blan­ket while the paramedics cut off my clothes, when the car driver walked up. She had ob­vi­ously been think­ing about how to avoid blame. “You were trav­el­ling so fast that I didn’t see you,” she said, af­ter tak­ing the cig­a­rette from her mouth. I wasn’t in the mood for talk, but took the oxy­gen mask off and replied: “If you didn’t see me, how do you know how fast I was trav­el­ling?” The po­lice­man had to turn away to sti­fle his laugh­ter.

Four years later and my knee is still giv­ing me prob­lems, so I have to look af­ter it. But there’s a DBD34 Gold Star in the garage that I love rid­ing. Bring­ing the Goldie up to date with an elec­tric starter had to be the an­swer. And that’s where Phil Pear­son and John Ed­wards (bsagold­ come in. They de­signed a con­ver­sion us­ing a Yamaha starter mo­tor that works per­fectly, but is so un­ob­tru­sive that you have to get down on your knees (or one good knee) and look un­der­neath the pri­mary chain­case to see any sign of the mod­i­fi­ca­tion. The £1495 kit can be fit­ted to any Goldie, B31 or B33 with an al­loy chain­case.

Fit­ting is straight­for­ward, as Phil Pear­son Ju­nior demon­strates. A sim­ple wiring di­a­gram is sup­plied with the kit. Be­cause the Yamaha starter mo­tor is for a 12-volt neg­a­tive earth bike, the BSA’S six-volt Lu­cas dy­namo has to be con­verted to gen­er­ate 12 volts by in­stalling the new reg­u­la­tor, and the po­lar­ity of the field mag­net changed to pos­i­tive earth (this is a sim­ple op­er­a­tion that in­volves con­nect­ing the neg­a­tive ter­mi­nal of the bat­tery to the chas­sis and briefly touch­ing the pos­i­tive lead of the bat­tery to the F ter­mi­nal of the dy­namo so that you see a small spark – re­peat­edly ‘flash­ing’ the F ter­mi­nal a few times will change the dy­namo field mag­net to the cor­rect po­lar­ity).

Af­ter a day in Phil’s work­shop my Goldie was ready. I turned on the petrol, pressed down the choke lever on the Mikuni – an­other sen­si­ble mod­i­fi­ca­tion – and re­tarded the ig­ni­tion. Then I squeezed the lit­tle valve lifter lever to the han­dle­bar and hit the starter but­ton. The en­gine spun over quickly, I dropped the valve lifter, and my DBD34 fired im­me­di­ately. Easy.

I’m go­ing to miss go­ing through the time-hon­oured rit­ual of kick­start­ing this most sport­ing of Bri­tish sin­gles. But I’m sure my knee will thank me for it.

The kit comes with ev­ery­thing you need, in­clud­ing all gas­kets

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