SMITHS Gauges on Classic BSA Gold Star Motorcycle

SMITHS Gauges on Classic BSA Gold Star Motorcycle

For 25 years, between 1938 and 1963, SMITHS Instruments supplied the speedometer and tachometer for the classic BSA Gold Star Motorcycle.

At a time when the UK motorcycle industry led the world, BSA Motorcycles Ltd hand-built the Gold Star motorcycle at their factory in Birmingham.  At its peak, BSA was the largest motorcycle producer in the world and the Gold Star was the jewel in their crown.

In the 1950s, the BSA Gold Star was one of the fastest bikes on the road and the track.  Even the name Gold Star originated from speed when, in 1937, Wal Handley came out of retirement to ride the bike in a 3-lap race at Brooklands.  His fastest lap of 107.5mph earned the coveted 'Gold Star' pin and, thus, the BSA Gold Star was christened.

Although the design was almost outdated as soon as it was released, it was exceptionally popular with bikers everywhere.  They were produced with 350 cc and 500 cc single-cylinder four-stroke engines and had a 4-speed gearbox with wet multiplate clutch.

Through the decades the BSA Gold Star evolved and the models included:

  • YB32 released in 1948 with a 350 cc engine, followed by the ZB in 1949;
  • The 500cc ZB34 introduced in 1949;
  • 4 years later, in 1953, the BB34 and BB32 were released;
  • The CB34 and CB32 followed swiftly in 1954;
  • In 1955, the DB34 was introduced and the BB and CB models discontinued;
  • The 500 cc DBD34, with a top speed of 110mph, was released in 1956;

Production of the BSA Gold Star ended in 1963.

Throughout the history of the BSA Gold Star, the handlebars were always fitted with gauges designed and manufactured in the UK by SMITHS Instruments.  The gauges were all black-faced with white lettering and needles, and included a Speedometer and Tachometer (not sure if we supplied the Ammeter).

Presently, the National Motorcycle Museum is raffling a 1960 BSA Gold Star.  This was on display earlier this year at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

For more information on gauges for classic motorcycles like the BSA Gold Star, please contact us on:

Email:  [email protected]

Phone:  +44 (0) 1639 732200

Via the website


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Tags: BSA, BSA Gold Star, Goodwood Festival of Speed, Motorcycle, Motorcycles, National Motorcycle Museum

Categories: Case Histories

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