1. For bicycles made of BSA Fittings by other cycle firms.
2. For the first generation of quality-made BSA bicycles (1910-1920)
HISTORY: BSA made Otto bicycles in 1880, followed by a variety of other bicycles and tricycles, until October 1885, when they decided to give up making complete cycles and parts to focus on Government orders for arms manufacture.
BSA started supplying complete bicycles only after 1910. The company’s annual report in 1908 had indicated more demand for BSA Fittings in the export market but a stronger demand for complete machines in Britain.
The first year’s models (1910) can be distinguished by a front mudguard without an extension. Subsequent years’ models had full length front mudguards.
There is no discernible difference between 1912-1918 BSA models, and there’s no consistency in frame numbers of this era to help calculate the exact year a BSA was manufactured.
BSA cycle production was high in the three years leading up to the outbreak of World War One, and the company continued to manufacture bicycles for the home market as well as for military use during the war. Their bicycles were made to the highest standards.
After existing stock was used up after the end of the war, BSA was forced to review their production techniques, and in order to maintain competitive prices, they no longer made bicycles of such high quality. With British export difficulties under wartime conditions, Japan’s cycle industry had grown to dominate the Asian market. With the end of the war, Japan was now serious competition for the British cycle industry. So, in common with other British manufacturers, BSA started producing cheaper bicycles to enable them to move into new markets.
The war had changed the role of the bicycle forever: it was no longer the preserve of the rich, used only for pleasure. Bicycles were now needed by the working classes too. Despite a shortage of many components after the war, with their large factories and consistent war production, BSA and Raleigh quickly made the adjustment to peacetime requirements to become the dominant cycle makers in the home market. Lower prices and good distribution networks enabled them to compete in the world market too.