text text
text
text
text
text
text
text
text
text
text
text
text
BSA BANTAM 175cc TRAIL BRONC - 1965

When BSA (Birmingham Small Arms) introduced the “Made for USA” Trail Bronc in 1964, the companies ads professed the Bronc was “Ideal for those who want to go wilderness wondering, for hunting trips, or just exploring off the beaten track!” and included a picture of the machine loaded in the back of a station wagon. The ads caption said “Fits your station wagon or car trunk!”

The BSA Bantam was based on the tried and proven 175cc 2-stroke engine machine that was initially introduced in 1948. Though the little 2-stroke was built in BSA's Birmingham factory, the actual design was a German design (DKW RT125) which was received as part of the World War II reparations. Similar designs knocking off the German DKW were also built by the USSR as the Moskva and by Harley-Davidson as the Model 125. Exact production numbers are not known but estimates range from 250,000 to 500,000 units that were produced by BSA from 1948 till 1971.

One thing BSA had not expected was the Bantams introduction into competition events. Owners modified their Bantams, fitting non-standard sprockets and wider handlebars. BSA responded with a trials model and later the Trail Bronc which was a stripped down version of the D7 Bantam that was introduced in 1963. Dunlop 300 x 19 tires, semi up-swept exhaust (BSA claimed it was free-flowing), high ground clearance, stripped down equipment which included no front fender, and an additional large trail-sprocket were standard equipment with this Bantam. Another feature that was a concession to off-road riding was the folding footrests. Power output from the 3-speed 175cc engine was a claimed 8 horsepower using premixed oil and petrol.

The Western USA BSA importer - Hap Alzina in Oakland, California had asked BSA to build this machine for the U. S. market. Though this seemed like a good idea, Yamaha introduced the YG1 80cc trailbike at the same time and Hodaka would soon introduce the Ace 90. Another factor resulting in poor sales was the BSA dealers focus on the much larger 500cc and 650cc 4-stroke machines primarily intended for street use. The result was many Trail Broncs sat in the dealer show rooms and some - like the pictured example, were never sold!


Images are property of The Early Years of Motocross Museum, ®2006