Letter from America

I am a fan of old bikes, though I don’t have anything older than the 1960s. Most of my ownership has been Japanese street bikes, but I have owned Enduros too. I’ve owned an OSSA and currently have three Yamaha 250/360 two-stroke off-road bikes, including a 360 I’ve owned since 1972 and used as a commuter, an enduro racer, a hare-scrambles bike and an off-road playbike.

One of my friends, whose parents owned British dealerships going back to the 1950s, and who raced successfully, as did his four brothers, has a history with BSA. I’m including an ad which ran in USA motorcycle magazines showing two of the brothers, surrounded by their trophies, and featuring two race bikes.

The racers are Tom and Norm Robinson of Spencerport NY, USA. Norm is in front of his BSA 250, and Tom is in front of his BSA Hornet.


Fast forward many years. Tom operates his own machine shop, and Norm with his girlfriend operates a restaurant in western NY. Both still have deep interests in motorcycling, and they have many old bikes. Tom was able to track down his old BSA Hornet which has been restored and updated with more modern brakes, wheels and suspension. Classic bike fans may recoil in horror, but he has all the OEM running gear and they could swap it over at any time.

Here is the ad and some photos of the bike as it is today. Yes, it’s the same bike as in the magazine ad. They used to add some identifying strikes into the frame in an inconspicuous location, and when he located the bike, he looked for, and found, those punched-in characters.

So, how cool is that? A bike they originally owned as a BSA dealer, which was successfully campaigned, and which later returned to their ownership.


I also included a photo or two of Norm’s BSA Gold Star which he restored, and exhibited at ‘Riding into History’ in St Augustine FL in 2018.

Last is a photo of one of my bikes, a 1993 Yamaha V Max with 10,000 miles, bought from the second owner, and which needed repairs consistent with long periods of being idle. All work was done by me, and it runs well now, with help from my friend Steve who is a shop owner in Dania Beach Florida.

Philip Bachers –Letter from America

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