Post Sale Update: After being relisted multiple times, this Lightning sold for $3,500 on eBay.
The BSA Lightning 650 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. Fitting the middle of the product range, the Lightning’s 53 horsepower were still plenty enough to get the bike above 100mph when needed. This was one of the last models BSA pushed out in an effort to combat the Japanese motorcycle invasion, competition that was cheaper and often faster. Unfortunately, it didn’t work, as BSA would be out of business around 5 years later.
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 650 has been with the current seller for 10 years, and while he/she hasn’t ridden it much, it’s claimed that the bike starts easy. The electronics have been covnerted to solid state, and the only issue seems to be that it needs new tires.
Find this BSA Lightning 650 for sale in Boise, Idaho with bidding up to $2,475 and the reserve not yet met