1969 BSA Lightning
Price: $7 800 ≈ €7174 ≈ £6154
Item location: Sussex, Wisconsin, US
Seller notes: Please view the 100+ photos, 10 minute video, and other extensive info to get a clear idea of how nice this BSA Lightning is
For your consideration is this very presentable and very original 1969 BSA Lightning. It is engine and frame matching, has a clean title, has had $1,800 worth of recent maintenance (2019), and is road worthy! Please view the 10 minute video, the 100+ photos, and extensive info below to get a clear understanding of the condition of this Lightning. I would classify this Lightning as a super nice attractive original rider rather than a flawless example to sit in one's living room. I am willing to work with out of state and out of country buyers and have this motorcycle shipped. Buy with confidence and see my 100% feedback.
If you are looking at this listing you are probably familiar with the BSA lineup and Lightning model. For those not familiar, the Lighting is one of BSA's higher performance motorcycles of the era as evidenced by its dual carburetor head, higher compression for the era, and style. One of its competitors and comparable machines from the era would be the Triumph Bonneville. For many, 1970 is the last “awesome” year of the Lightning as in 1971 it was redesigned and very different looking among other changes. These late 1960's A65s (Lightning, Thunderbolts, etc.) are excellent bikes, have many of the kinks worked out from earlier years, and in my opinion are the best looking of the breed, thus the 1969 model year is a great choice!
The video contains a walk around with commentary, cold start, and riding footage. Please excuse the sound on the riding footage as the microphone does not sound great. Notice that it runs and rides great and without issue. Copy and paste or click the link to view.
The 100+ photos show the overall condition of the Lightning, close ups, some wear pointed out, and receipts. It looks as good in person as it does in the photos. Copy and paste the link or click to view.
This BSA Lightning is a very presentable machine in terms of design and condition. It obviously has been well taken care of, preserved, and maintained. From about 5 to 10 feet away the bike essentially looks flawless. The paint is rich and glossy, the chrome shiny, and black parts properly black. The detailed BSA enthusiast upon closer inspection will see some minor wear, aging, and patina here and there. None of the “patina” is excessive or distracting from the presentation of the Lightning. The most significant thing in my opinion is on the left side muffler there is some battery acid staining in the chrome. The header pipes look to be original and present well. The rear springs have a bit more oxidation to them. The remainder of the chrome on the bike is impressive. The tank chrome is near flawless! It is very straight minus one small ding on the right rear side of the tank which should be able to be removed by a paintless dent repair specialist. The inside of the tank is exceptionally clean! The fenders are in impressive condition. The top sides show little to no aging and the undersides are exceptionally clean as well, not rusty. The headlight shroud, headlight mounts, levers, and other trim is in impressive shape for the age. The wheels are in very nice shape with a few spots of oxidation. The engine primary cover and timing cover are in great shape, fairly reflective, and could be polished even further if one wanted. The carbs, proper finned rocker cover, head, engine case, and remainder of the engine all is presentable and could be detailed even further if one wanted. There are absolutely no broken cooling fins nor repaired ones. The paint is what I understand to be proper for the year. The paint is kind of a candy metallic reddish orange. It looks to have been a quality job. Upon detailed close inspection there is some surface cracking in the finish due to age but it is not distracting from the overall presentation of this bike. The finish does have a great color, is still glossy, and has some depth. The tank emblems are nice showing some minor aging. The headlight is the proper Lucas headlight. The rear taillight housing and lenses are in great shape and without cracking. The gaiters are the proper style for the year (thicker at the top/bottom and without clips) and excellent, not dry rotted. The foot peg rubber is in nice shape. The speedometer and tachometer present well. The seat is in nice shape with no rips or issues. The frame paint overall looks real nice. I am not 100% sure if the frame has been repainted or not but it looks good as does the front lower forks. The rear subframe (under the seat and by the rear fender) is fine but could use a repaint if one really wanted. The metal clips that hold the cables to the frame I am assuming are original style. The grips are from what I understand to be original style and are in great shape.
As mentioned this Lightning is largely in original specification and looks to be well preserved original in most aspects. It is a super presentable rider that is plenty nice to take to a show or club event to show off, to ride and enjoy, but not impeccable enough to to worry about getting a stone chip on. The odometer shows 12,000 miles which seems accurate to the presentable condition. If you are looking for a really presentable rider, this Lightning should meet your needs cosmetically.
This BSA is extremely well sorted and rides excellently! Out of all of the British bikes I have had it is the most oil tight! Only a little dime size drop comes out of the crankcase breather hose. The rocker cover, head gasket, primary, base gasket, and etc. are not leaking at all which is impressive. This is a hop on and ride machine that recently received $1,800 worth of maintenance. Quite often it can be started in one kick, otherwise two or three kicks. The carbs are the proper original Amal concentrics. The primer/tickler looks a little smaller where you push it which if I remember correctly is evidence pointing these to being potentially original to the bike (newer ones have a larger button to push). The carbs feel to be adjusted, jetted, and synched perfectly. They were rebuilt in 2019 (new jets, gaskets, needles, new floats, adjusted floats, etc.). The slides move up and down great and do not stick. The bike idles great and right away on its own without the choke, The bike feels strong at all RPMs and at every throttle opening. It does not stumble, sputter, or hesitate. She pulls quite impressively above 6,000 RPM. It seems the timing is set spot on due to how well this engine runs. The valves were recently adjusted. Air filter elements are new as are the spark plugs. There are absolutely no odd noises from the motor, it sounds great. The exhaust is a bit on the quieter side so if I were keeping it I would consider replacing the mufflers for cosmetic (due to the battery acid stains on the left one) and auditory reasons. The header pipes are the proper style for the year with the balance pipe and most likely original to the bike. The transmission shifts excellent and without issue. Neutral can easily be found. The clutch is new as is the clutch cable (2019). The tires are brand new (2019), the wheels are balanced, and tube clamp things also installed. She rides real nice and smooth down the road. All of the fluids were changed as well (fork, engine oil, primary, gearbox). The electrics on this bike are great as well. The battery is new (2019), the harness is in good shape, rectifier looks good, and I put a multimeter on the system to make sure the stator/alternator is charging, which it is. The sparkplug wires are Champions which may be original and I believe the fuel petcocks are the proper original ones as well (they are a bit difficult to open and could be lubed). I make a point of running the fuel out of the carbs on my bikes at the end of each ride so the carbs do not gum up. The tachometer and speedometer work great! They do not bounce around like I have seen on other bikes.
There really is nothing standing out needing to be addressed mechanically. At this point it is hop on and ride and do normal yearly maintenance like fluids. A word of advice to first time vintage British bike buyers: Unless it is proven to you with receipts or riding videos, whatever vintage bike you purchase, if you plan to actually ride it, have the expectation of needing to spend countless hours sorting out a bike due to neglected maintenance or poor choices by prior owners. With this machine, that is not the case as can be seen in the start up clip, riding clip, and per the maintenance receipt, it is well sorted and ready to go.
This really is a well sorted machine that one can just hop on and ride. It is in mainly original factory spec, is in impressive shape for being 50+ years old, and very presentable. The late 60's Lightning is one of BSA's most highly desirable models. The addition of matching engine and frame numbers and an actual clean title are important as well. Ride and enjoy this Lightning as it is or do little things here and there to take it up to the next level.
Serious buyers are welcome to contact me with any questions or to arrange to see this Lightning in person. I do not mind working with long distance buyers (out of state or out of country) and have had many cars/motorcycles shipped overseas in the past.