BSA BANTAM – 175cc – 1954


The BSA Bantam 175cc, specifically from around 1954, holds a special place in motorcycle history as a popular and iconic model from Birmingham Small Arms Company (BSA), a renowned British manufacturer. Here’s a detailed exploration of its specifications, manufacturer design, legacy, and interesting facts:


  • Engine: 172cc (later 175cc) air-cooled single-cylinder, two-stroke engine.
  • Power: Approximately 6.3 horsepower.
  • Transmission: 3-speed gearbox (later models had 4-speed).
  • Frame: Lightweight tubular steel frame.
  • Suspension: Telescopic front forks, rigid rear suspension.
  • Brakes: Drum brakes (front and rear).

Manufacturer Design:

The BSA Bantam was designed to be a lightweight and affordable motorcycle, primarily targeting entry-level riders and those seeking economical transportation. Its simple two-stroke engine and lightweight frame made it easy to handle and maintain.


  1. Popularity: The Bantam was incredibly popular, not just in the UK but globally, due to its affordability, reliability, and practicality. It became one of the best-selling motorcycles of its time, appealing to a wide range of riders including commuters and young enthusiasts.
  2. Versatility: The Bantam’s design versatility allowed it to be used for various purposes, from daily commuting to light touring and even racing. Its compact size and maneuverability made it ideal for navigating urban streets.
  3. Cultural Impact: The Bantam played a significant role in post-war motorcycle culture, providing affordable mobility to a generation that needed economical transportation options.

Most Interesting Facts:

  1. Military Service: The Bantam was also produced for military use, known as the WD Bantam, and was used by various armed forces for dispatch and reconnaissance duties.
  2. International Production: BSA licensed the design to various countries, leading to production in places like India (as the BSA Bantam D1) and Germany (as the DKW RT 125), further expanding its global influence.
  3. Evolution: The Bantam underwent continuous development throughout its production run, with improvements in engine performance, frame design, and features to meet evolving market demands.


The BSA Bantam 175cc holds immense historical and cultural importance as a symbol of post-war recovery and mobility. Its legacy includes not only its sales success but also its impact on subsequent motorcycle designs and its enduring popularity among collectors and enthusiasts.

In summary, the BSA Bantam 175cc remains a revered example of classic British motorcycle engineering, valued for its simplicity, reliability, and significant role in democratizing motorcycling for a global audience in the mid-20th century.


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