B44 441 Victor Gallery
The BSA 441 Victor,
or Victim, depending on who you are, was introduced
in 1966 to capitalize on the BSA that Jeff Smith
won two back-to-back world championships.
Realizing that to produce a true race replica
of Smith’s bike would put BSA into more
dire financial straights, the boys at Birmingham
did the next best thing: they produced a motorcycle
that looked like the factory MX bike, but shared
none of its winning attributes, such as handling,
reliability or light weight.
One thing it did share with the factory race
bike was power. The production 441 was fast,
but that motor was housed in a 320-pound package
that flexed, bounced and tank-slapped its way
from one near disaster to another. Forks and
shocks were straight from the “street”
department of BSA, and had the dubious distinction
of blowing seals, sacking springs and other
nonsense that didn’t endear themselves
to going fast in the dirt. Rear shocks were
street Girlings that would fade on a busy bar
room door, and had a true operational life span
of around 2 hours.
It took a mighty leg to start the Victor, and
BSA saw fit to use a valve-lifting mechanism
that would sometimes stick, and wreck the top
end. The points wore like an eraser, with the
points cam supported by a tiny bronze bushing
that BSA offered no replacement for. If it wore
out, you had to machine one from scratch. Electrics
were handled by Lucas, with the fabled Zeiner
Diode/Alternator set up that caused more cursing
than a Bosuns Mate Chief with his crank stuck
in the zipper of his khakis. But wait, there’s
more…...With no air-box to speak of, large
mice could walk through the air cleaner without
bumping their heads, but the paper filter and
devious path the air had to take strangled the
A rather short wheelbase of 52 inches made
handling at speed nervous, and a whole aftermarket
industry sprung up around the Victor to make
it handle within reason.
One could spend hundreds of 1970 dollars on
new swing arms, shocks, forks, frames, etc.
and still have a motorcycle that no one wanted.
Resale value was a joke, and back in the day
one of these tricked out Victors could be had
for three hundred dollars all day long.
A British 32mm Amal monobloc or concentric
carb dealt with the mixing chores, and proved
to be a pain, with floats sticking and slides
breaking and getting themselves ingested into
motors. The usual Amal stuff.
|1967 BSA Victor 441
||The BSA 441 Victor was only produced for
four years, and was the last of a dying
breed. The boys at Birmingham never thought
their beloved double-knockers and long stroke
singles would be surpassed by anything from
Japan, and scoffed in their ale when Honda
or Yamaha was even mentioned. Sadly, it
was on bikes like the Victor that most of
us cut our teeth on, and why the Japanese
took over the industry so quickly.
|1967 BSA Victor 441
|1967 BSA B44 Victor Special
|1968 BSA B44 Victor 441 Enduro
|1969 BSA Victor Special AHRMA
||Air cooled, four stroke, single cylinder,
OHV, 2 valve per cylinder.
|1969 BSA 441 Victor single
|1970 BSA Victor Special
||B441 Trials Outfit.
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