The BSA Lightning was the British firm’s attempt at an all-around streetbike, slotting between the Spitfire and Thunderbolt. At the time, it was one of the fastest motorcycles available – able to top hit 108 miles per hour, and it’s one of the lasting legacies of Birmingham Small Arms, as just a few years later, the Japanese invasion of reliable motorcycles would put BSA out of business.
The Lightning sold for just $1,305 back in 1967, and the 53 horsepower 654cc parallel twin engine was powerful enough to be a rival to the Triumph Bonneville. BSA owned both companies at the time, and tried to differentiate them in the market by selling Triumph as performance-minded, while BSA was sold as being more reliable and a better option for daily commuting. Motorcycle Classics has a great comparison between the Lightning and the Bonneville, read it here.
The BSA Lightning also enjoyed some fame as a minor vehicular star in the Bond movie, Thunderball. A Lightning with a full fairing destroys a villain’s car with rockets – check it out here on IMCDb.
This specific BSA Lightning is a numbers-matching, prize-winning bike that was restored in 2011. The seller (Angus at Northeast Sportscar, one of my favorite sellers on eBay thanks to the excellent descriptions and quality of photos) says it’s the best riding Lightning he’s been on. Cosmetically, it looks great, with only a few minor faults – a small chip on the right side cover, and an abrasion on the gearbox. What a beautiful example of a classic bike.
Find this BSA Lightning for sale in Brooklyn, New York with bidding up to $8,000 and the reserve not yet met