Britain’s most popular bike: BSA A10 Rocket Gold Star
- 25 July 2017
The BSA A10 Rocket Gold Star was the greatest BSA twin of all time and one of the most popular bikes in Britain in the 1930s. It transported most people: BSA’s slogan was ‘one in four’, meaning one in every four motorcycles on the street was a BSA. BSA were correct in their estimation. So how did the flashy-sounding Rocket Gold Star become so popular? It actually started with the Triumph Speed Twin of 1937. This model set the standard for all British twins and BSA had to keep up. None did it better than the 1962-63 BSA A10 Rocket Gold Star (which Classic Motorcycle Mecca happens to have two of). However, the BSA A10 Rocket Gold Star didn’t come from the BSA design team, it was actually the result of an unusual request from a customer.
The Rocket Gold Star is an amalgamation between the single cylinder BSA Gold Star racer and the twin BSA A10 Rocket. It was put together by an incredible man called Eddie Dow, a Gold Star racer and specialist who produced a range of after-market components. One day he was asked by a customer to put an A10 Rocket engine in a Gold Star frame. Who knows what the customer was thinking, but it worked! Eddie began building more of them. He did it for a full year before BSA took over and produced 1,584 official Rocket Gold Stars, gloriously named after both of its original parts.
Advertisement for the BSA Rocket Gold Star
Rocket Gold Star Specifications
When the two models were put together, the engine’s compression ratio was increased to 9:1 and with the high-lift Spitfire camshaft it produced close to 50hp. This was powerful for the time. Even more power could be added with an optional two-into-one exhaust and free flowing Burgess absorption silencer. The Gold Star’s close-ration RRT2 gearbox completed the sporting powertrain package. The original Gold Star frame kept the 190mm front brake and quickly-detachable rear wheel. The result was a clubman’s sports bike that handled and stopped like a Gold Star but which accelerated faster, had the same 105mph (169kph) top speed and was much easier to ride – an amazing bike from a great British manufacturer.
1962 BSA Rocket Gold Star engine
Classic Motorcycle Mecca’s Genuine Rocket Gold Stars
Classic Motorcycle Mecca's 1962 BSA Rocket Gold Star
Another of Classic Motorcycle Mecca's 1962 BSA Rocket Gold Stars
1962 BSA Rocket Goldstar replica
Classic Motorcycle Mecca has one last Rocket Gold Star – with a twist. The Rocket Gold Star-specification engine is available in several sports models and a similar frame is used on late-model A10s. People in the know can relatively easily build a replica that is so close to the original that purchasers of Rocket Gold Stars must be careful. They might not be looking at a real example! This one is one like that: it has engine and frame numbers that are both from the correct series for a 1962 Rocket Gold Star, but it wasn’t originally constructed as one. Can you tell the difference between the real ones and the replica?
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