BSA Lightning Scrambler

BSA Lightning Scrambler

Today, we have a scrambler version of one of our favorite bikes of all time: the BSA Lightning. The Lightning was produced from 1965 to 1972 by BSA (Birmingham Small Arms Company), intended mainly for export to the US market as an “all-around sports machine.” It sat between the single-carb BSA Thunderbolt, which was intended more as a touring machine, and the higher-compression Spitfire.


The 652cc parallel twin produced a respectable 52 horsepower, and the 395-lb machine was good for 108-112 mph. It also looked like a dream, and a gold-painted, fully-faired, missile-laden Lightning was featured in the Bond film Thunderball (1965), ridden by British Gran Prix rider Bill Ivy, disguised as a blond Bond girl.

The Baby:  BSA Lightning Scrambler

BSA Lightning Tracker

Today’s bike comes to us from Maurizio Merlo, an Italian native living and working in Johannesburg.  Nicknamed “The Baby,” this ’73 BSA A65 Lightning is a triumph in understatement.  Maurizio mainly subtracted components not necessary to ride the machine, and added details here and there. Of his design philosophy with this bike, he says:

“Less is more…I took out everything not strictly necessary to ride the bike.  The result is in the pictures.”

Spoken like a true artist, Maurizio!


The fenders are from a 1970 KTM Penton, as are the vintage number plates.  The low-profile, quilted seat streamlines the lines of the bike, and matches superbly with the leather tank cover.  The retro tracker tires give the bike a desert sled look, which Steve McQueen himself would surely appreciate, and the leather seat bag is a nice touch.  Overall, this is a beautiful, minimalist build, and we love it!

BSA Lightning Scrambler





One Comment

  1. What handle bars is he using here? Correction, BSA is Birmingham Small Arms, FYI. Cheers

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