After many years of supplying top quality fittings worldwide so that local builders could make their own machines, BSA started making complete bicycles in 1910. The point of BSA ‘Fittings Machines’ was that they could be tailored to a customer’s individual needs and that the fittings were half the price of a ready-built machine. But such was the demand for the company’s top quality products that more than enough customers were content to buy a BSA bicycle at full price.
Compare the 1910 illustration of the BSA assembled from ‘A’ Pattern Road Racer Fittings, above, with BSA’s Road Racer below, sold as a complete machine. The only difference would appear to the the transfers (decals) and BSA’s style of box lining.
It’s impossible to date BSA bicycles from this era with accuracy; Fittings Machines are even more problematic, though this style of chainwheel was introduced in 1908. BSA frame numbers are not consecutive, and no records are held (apparently destroyed in German bombing during WW2). 1912 is my best estimate. If the example featured here was BSA’s own machine, fitted with an Eadie Coaster, it would be Road Racer ‘Model 5A.’
1912 BSA Road Racer built from ‘A’ Pattern Fittings
22″ Sloping Top-Tube Frame
Standover Height 32.5″ drops to 31″
Nickel ‘F’ Pattern Handlebars
BSA Handlebar Grips & BSA Rubber Pedals
BSA Front Rim Brake with Short Pull-up Lever
Eadie Coaster Rear Brake