This handsome machine now makes it possible for the cyclist, out in all weathers, to ride in perfect comfort and to preserve a clean, smart appearance. Its design, construction, and finish are the result of practical experience of all-weather cycling. As will be seen from the illustration, particular attention has been paid to the mudguards, which are provided with effective side wings. There are no plated parts to polish, and having rust-proof finish throughout, this model is quickly and easily cleaned with a damp cloth.
– BSA Sales Catalogue, 1918
1918 BSA All-Weather Bicycle
Model No 14D
BSA Three-Speed Gears
This beautiful 1918 BSA with 24″ frame and 28″ wheels was restored some years ago by my friend Dave, a longtime BSA collector from Bristol. Dave recently sold me his larger BSA’s: with advancing years and recovering from an operation, he fell off one of them this summer and nearly landed in the canal, so now he’s sticking to his 22″ frame bikes.
The bicycle is true to its original specification, with the exception of a rebuilt saddle top and its chaincase removed (common practice at the time, to make chain adjustment and rear tyre replacement easier). I’ve always admired BSA’s featuring all-weather mudguards, which were a very popular option at the time.
At the end of WW1, the cycle manufacturers took a while to get back to full peacetime production. However, BSA was in a better situation than their competitors, as their factories had been working flat out throughout the war, with the majority of their bicycles supplied to the military at home and abroad. As well as their military pattern machines, they sold many civilian models too.
On enlistment, officers were offered the opportunity to buy a bicycle on hire purchase – ‘Easy Payment Terms.’ Such arrangements had previously been offered by the companies themselves; but, due to the War, they were underwritten by insurance companies with government backing. Most of the major manufacturers offered similar schemes, and both military model bicycles and heavy duty standard roadsters in civilian trim – similar to the bicycle you see here – were available.
The 1918 BSA catalogue, reproduced in part on this page, includes the following notice, indicating the cessation of the hire purchase arrangements with the end of the War.
1918 BSA CATALOGUE
BSA THREE-SPEED GEARS
BSA CONSTRUCTIONAL REFINEMENTS