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Old 05-15-2011, 12:31 PM   #1
dogmantra OP
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Fixing up a '68 BSA B25 Starfire

I don't know how regular this thread will be updated but I figure I should start a record of a project I will begin this coming week.

Last October I got my hands on a 1968 BSA B25 Starfire:





A buddy of mine is a realtor and was selling a home with this bike in the garage. The homeowner had been dragging the bike around for decades with the intention of having it restored but he never got around to it. The paper work that came with it showed that he has been steadily moving north, from San Diego up to Seattle over the past 30 years. It was pretty cool to see all the registration papers since 1972 or so. He had moved it from place to place even though the bike hasn't been on the road since 1979. I think his wife took the opportunity of selling this house to finally get rid of the bike as well. The PO finally agreed to let it go. I had a truck to haul it and $250 so it was mine.

It was last tabbed in 1980. Everything is there- it is as if the PO rode it into his garage in 1980, shut it down, removed the battery, drained the fuel, filled the oil, and left it. He claims that he did drain and replace the oil every so often. There are a few known bads:
  • It doesn't have compression but that could likely be a stuck compression release
  • The wiring is a bit dodgy (blinkers work, running light okay, no headlight)
  • The gas tank and oil tank are both fiberglass and each have small leaks
  • The spark plug is siezed
  • Kick start return spring seems dead
  • Broken left foot peg
  • Stuck throttle
  • No turn signals/no turn signal switch on the controls

You can see from the chips in the side cover that the bike was originally blue & white, a la:



I am not sure when/why it was painted this root beer brown. Personally, I like it root beer better than the blue/white.

I am a broke-ass middle school teacher so I won't be able to fully restore it. I'm going the route of "cleaning it up" and I'm going to do my damndest to only replace parts that will prevent it from running if not replaced. This is my first English bike (right side shift?!), first thumper, and first chain drive bike so there will be loads of new stuff for me learn.

I already scored a decent steel oil tank. I've got my manual and a new engine stand so it's go time. The next steps will be extensive documentation via camera and then disassembly. I'll clean everything up as I go and I'll try to post a few pics every so often- especially if/when I find something interesting. Hopefully the pics will be advance payment for the questions that I'll have all through the process.

If anyone has one of these or has some helpful experience/tips I'd love to hear from you.
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1968 BSA B-25 Starfire
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Old 05-15-2011, 01:23 PM   #2
Rob Farmer
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They were popular in the UK when we had the 250cc limit for learner riders.

I don't remember them having compression release.

Small article here http://www.realclassic.co.uk/bsa030211.html

The fibreglass tanks are a real problem with modern fuels. The ethanol breaks up the resin in the tank. You will need to use a ethanol resistant sealer (will cure your leak at the same time). I'm not suggesting you use these guys but there's some background info on the issues http://www.tankcareproducts.co.uk/ bit more here http://www.burtonbikebits.net/ethanol-in-fuels.htm

My mates got one that he bought thirty years ago. I've done some spannering on it over the years. It's currently looking a little forlorn. He's even got bars that match yours




Rob Farmer screwed with this post 05-15-2011 at 01:33 PM
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Old 05-15-2011, 02:08 PM   #3
caponerd
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$250 for a complete BSA Starfire. You did good.
Can't wait to see it finished.

Those are fun little bikes. I own its big brother, the Shooting Star 441. Same bike, bigger engine.

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Old 05-15-2011, 09:08 PM   #4
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Nice, real nice!
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Old 05-15-2011, 11:30 PM   #5
darmst6829
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dogmantra View Post
I don't know how regular this thread will be updated but I figure I should start a record of a project I will begin this coming week.

Last October I got my hands on a 1968 BSA B25 Starfire:


If anyone has one of these or has some helpful experience/tips I'd love to hear from you.

Did you get a title with the bike?

Dave
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Old 05-16-2011, 12:20 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by darmst6829 View Post
Did you get a title with the bike?

Dave
Oh yeah, title was clean and registration easy.
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Old 05-16-2011, 12:28 AM   #7
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I got one of those in a pile of parts- enough so that i could fit the whole bike in the back of my VW rabbit convertable. its a very simple bike, and easy to deal with- you can tear it down and put back together in about 4 hours- which is important because it needs it fairly frequently.

I ended up selling it because im 6'2" and 210lb- and it was not made for my big ass. still a very nice looking little bike. i did not go back to stock colors- but just shined up all that could shine up and painted the rest black. simple. looked good. frack if i can find pictures of it now though..
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Old 05-16-2011, 09:03 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by dilandau View Post
I got one of those in a pile of parts- enough so that i could fit the whole bike in the back of my VW rabbit convertable. its a very simple bike, and easy to deal with- you can tear it down and put back together in about 4 hours- which is important because it needs it fairly frequently.

I ended up selling it because im 6'2" and 210lb- and it was not made for my big ass. still a very nice looking little bike. i did not go back to stock colors- but just shined up all that could shine up and painted the rest black. simple. looked good. frack if i can find pictures of it now though..

I'm 6' 3"/220# and have owned my 441SS since 1996. I've had it on a couple of rides over 100 miles, but usually limit it to short loops in the country on Sunday afternoons. I don't find it to be uncomfortably small, even though I dwarf the thing when I glance in shop windows as I'm riding by.

Fact is, motorcycles have just gotten bigger over the years. /2 BMW's look even smaller than these, yet I take trips every summer on my R69S.
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Old 05-16-2011, 12:37 AM   #9
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Wow, you've done well, very very well.

The problem with buying even old dungers of that vintage over where I am is people want rediculous prices for them, regardless of condition.

Ex girlfriends grandfather had 3 of the beasties, plus another two bikes worth of spares scattered through his garage. One of the runners was the bike he got as his first bike, in the late 40's.

There are plenty of clubs and i imagine forums/googlegroups or yahoo groups on the subject of your interest. I wold recommend you hunt some of them down.

I would especially recommend you hunt down a vintage/brit/BSA club located reasonably close to you and perhaps join up. The magic words you'll be looking for in their newsletters are "swap meets".
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Old 05-16-2011, 10:09 AM   #10
Rich B
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Amazing how many B25's seem to still exist....

First thing you should do before dismembering the poor little 250 is invest in 3 books: Rupert's Ratio Manual for the Unit Single, Factory parts book P/N ? (strangely, don't have a P/N for a 68 book, check fleaBay for a reprint), and Factory Service Manual P/N 00-4136. Those can also be found on fleaBay or from one of the Brit Bike parts dealers.

If you don't already have a set, buy a set of Whitworth wrenches and sockets. Sometimes they can be found cheap at yard sales. Nothing worse than destroying original hardware The threads will be mostly CEI or BSC. Lots of 26 tpi.

One of the best things you can do to a B25 is add a return line oil filter. They are cheap, your engine is not.

No compression release on a B25. Chances are the exhaust valve is stuck open or the rings are not seating.

When sorted, fun little bikes. The engine is a bit revvy, the handling is very good for the vintage.

I spent 10 days riding a Victor Special in the UK and Isle of Man. My fat ass (6'4") and packing my worldly possessions I needed while there. The B44 has a lot more grunt than the B25, but not much faster. I would do it again in a heartbeat, the unit singles are fun bikes
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Old 05-16-2011, 12:41 PM   #11
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also the TR25 is the same bike if you are looking for parts etc- just the triumph badges and some body work differences as far as i know.

re- big people on small bikes: i think it was the power not the actual size of the bike that tipped the scales- i live in an urban area where speed, and the ability to get on freeways and such matters. i used the money from its sale to get something that could handle freeways, and i cant regret that.

if i was still up on oregon with backroads and dirt etc, id have kept it- put some knobbies on and been all about it.
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Old 05-16-2011, 01:02 PM   #12
Rob Farmer
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There's a parts list with original B25 numbers here, cross references with appropriate Triumph nos as well Link
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Old 05-16-2011, 03:44 PM   #13
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Bitchin bike, and they are fun to ride albeit slow....very slow. But who cares!? they are a ton of fun!
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Old 05-16-2011, 05:44 PM   #14
dogmantra OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Farmer View Post
There's a parts list with original B25 numbers here, cross references with appropriate Triumph nos as well Link
Sweet link!
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"Being shot out of a cannon will always be better than being squeezed out of a tube. That is why God made fast motorcycles, Bubba...." -Hunter S. Thompson

1968 BSA B-25 Starfire
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Old 05-16-2011, 04:25 PM   #15
caponerd
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dilandau View Post
also the TR25 is the same bike if you are looking for parts etc- just the triumph badges and some body work differences as far as i know.

re- big people on small bikes: i think it was the power not the actual size of the bike that tipped the scales- i live in an urban area where speed, and the ability to get on freeways and such matters. i used the money from its sale to get something that could handle freeways, and i cant regret that.

if i was still up on oregon with backroads and dirt etc, id have kept it- put some knobbies on and been all about it.

As mentioned, the B44 has a lot more grunt than the B25.
Mine had the added "benefit" of a B25 engine sprocket and primary chain, (25 tooth vs 28 tooth) which I installed not knowing the difference. I put mine together from boxes which included parts from a TR250 and the B44SS, and just grabbed the best looking sprocket out of the boxes. Didn't bother to compare sizes. It wasn't until I bought a replacement primary chain that I discovered the problem.
I surprised a few Bonneville riding friends with my ability to keep them in sight as they tried to get away from me. Pretty impressive acelleration, and top speed was 95 mph. It was undoubtedly spinning its guts out at that speed.
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