In the realm of motorcycling nostalgia, the BSA Gold Star of 2022 stands as a faithful tribute to its 1950s predecessor. This modern reincarnation pays homage to simplicity, eschewing the bells and whistles for a pure, unadulterated riding experience. With a 45bhp single-cylinder engine at its core, this retro roadster captures the essence of motorcycling’s golden era.
Modern Touches with Classic Roots
While inspired by the legendary BSA Goldstar DBD34, this new iteration incorporates contemporary conveniences. Features like ABS, fuel injection, an electric start, and an oil-tight engine cater to modern riders’ expectations for reliability and safety. The BSA Gold Star strikes a harmonious balance between old-school charm and modern functionality.
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Uncomplicated Riding Pleasure
The BSA Gold Star isn’t about setting speed records or conquering hairpin turns. Instead, it offers a straightforward and enjoyable riding experience. It handles with ease, exuding solidity and confidence while remaining quick when the need arises. Its impeccable finishing and a classic British soundtrack add to its charm. This is not just another generic motorcycle with a historic badge slapped on; it’s a thoughtfully crafted machine designed for both new and leisure riders.
In 2023, the BSA Gold Star was honored with the prestigious “Best Retro” award at the MCN Awards, cementing its reputation as a standout in the world of vintage-inspired motorcycles.
Ride Quality and Brakes
The BSA Gold Star boasts a tubular steel frame and a box-section swingarm, providing the flexibility needed for responsive cornering. It features conventional 41mm forks with shrouds, akin to the original design, and twin rear shocks with five-stage preload adjustment. The spoked wheels are fitted with Pirelli Phantom Sportcomp tires that capture the essence of the past while delivering modern performance.
The braking system is robust, with a single 320mm front disc and a twin-piston sliding pin Brembo caliper, along with a single-piston ByBre caliper at the rear. The bike’s handling shines through, making it responsive to rider inputs.
Dynamic Riding Experience
Our initial encounter with the new Gold Star was at Millbrook near Bedford, an unusual setting for a motorcycle test, but one that revealed its underlying capabilities. While its weight (213kg fully fueled) is noticeable, the Pirelli Phantom Sportcomp tires offer grip, ensuring the Gold Star remains obedient in spirited cornering. The front Brembo brake exhibits remarkable stopping power, although the ABS can be sensitive under aggressive braking.
However, on uneven tarmac, the ride quality can be somewhat harsh. Unlike some retro competitors that disguise their 18-inch front wheel as a 17-inch, the BSA feels slightly heavy in steering, particularly at low speeds. But remember, the Gold Star isn’t designed for raw speed; it’s all about the journey.
A Bike for All Generations
BSA’s target audience includes those who yearned for the original Gold Star in their youth, but they also aim to attract new riders. The bike’s iconic badge, classic styling, affordability, and A2 license compatibility make it an appealing choice for a wide range of motorcyclists. Its upright riding position is accommodating, even for taller riders, while shorter individuals will appreciate its lower seat height of 780mm.
Despite its weight, the Gold Star remains nimble and controllable at low speeds. Its ride may lack a touch of refinement, but the more time you spend with it, the more you’ll appreciate its simple, feel-good appeal. Riding the Gold Star is all about relishing its easygoing nature, distinctive soundtrack, and the admiring glances you’ll receive along the way. In the modern era, this single-cylinder gem still delivers the thrill of the open road.
Power and Performance
The heart of the BSA Gold Star is a 45bhp, 652cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine crafted in collaboration with Rotax and Ricardo engineering. This powerplant combines a smooth power curve with ample torque, ensuring an enjoyable ride across a wide range of RPMs.
The bike’s top speed is a respectable 103mph, while the speedometer reads up to 130mph. It may be in a relatively mild state of tune, but BSA hints at the potential for more horsepower in future models.
Externally, the engine pays homage to BSA’s heritage with cooling fins, curved engine cases, BSA logos, and a brushed stainless steel exhaust. The radiator may seem out of place compared to its vintage counterparts, but it’s a nod to modern emission standards.
Reliability and Build Quality
While the Gold Star is designed with affordability in mind, it doesn’t compromise on neatness, tidiness, and finish. Its long-term durability remains to be seen, but the backing of Mahindra, along with collaborative efforts with industry giants like Rotax and Ricardo, inspires confidence in its reliability.
Value in the Market
In a competitive market, the BSA Gold Star finds itself in a class with formidable rivals. The Indian-made Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 is a compelling alternative, offering simplicity and style at an affordable price point. Although the Interceptor’s price has increased since its launch, it remains a strong contender.
Other competitors include the Triumph Speed Twin 900 and Kawasaki W800, catering to riders seeking a blend of classic aesthetics and modern performance. For those seeking something truly unique, options like the Langen Two Stroke or Praga ZS 800 may pique their interest.
BSA, alongside Triumph and Norton, occupies a hallowed place in British motorcycling history. While many may not recall their earlier dominance, these three letters evoke an era of legendary motorcycles. BSA’s journey began in 1903, ultimately leading to the creation of iconic bikes like the Gold Star.
In 2016, the BSA name found a new home under Classic Legends, a subsidiary of the Mahindra Group. Developed by BSA’s UK team, the new Gold Star project began in 2018, overcoming delays caused by global events. The result is a machine that honors its heritage with meticulous attention to detail, from the classic badges to the beautifully rendered lines reminiscent of the original Goldstar DBD34.
A Nod to Tradition with Modern Touches
The Gold Star retains its vintage charm, complete with a chromed and pinstriped 12-liter fuel tank and an embossed Union Jack tag. Analogue clocks hearken back to the past while offering modern functionality. Switchgear may seem generic, but it’s functional, although care should be taken with the hazard switch placement.
The BSA Gold Star is currently available in Green (£6500) or Red, Black, or Silver with chrome tank sections (£6800). Additionally, there’s a £7000 ‘Silver Sheen Legacy’ version, paying homage to the DBD34 with chrome mudguards and mirrors, polished engine covers, white seat beading, and gloss black instrument surrounds, headlight cover, and footpegs.
In conclusion, the BSA Gold Star 2022 carries the torch of a storied legacy while embracing the demands of the modern era. It may not be the swiftest or most agile retro motorcycle, but it excels in delivering a genuine and uncomplicated riding experience. Whether you’re a seasoned enthusiast or a newcomer to motorcycling, the Gold Star’s allure lies in its simplicity, character, and the sheer joy it brings to the road.