2022 BSA Gold Star review | A modern take on a true classic

honest BSA Gold Star review 2022_01


Price: £6,500-£7,000 | Power: 45bhp@6,500rpm | Torque: 40.5lb-ft@4,000rpm | Weight: 213kg | Seat height: 780mm | BikeSocial rating: 4/5


BSA, or the Birmingham Small Arms Company, was first created in 1854 by 14 Birmingham gunsmiths; it became a public limited company in 1861, but it was in 1878 that it began making cycle components. While other manufacturers were already using BSA parts, it wasn’t until 1905 that the first prototype motorcycle was built, though it didn’t get unveiled until 1910.

The original Gold Star was available as a 350cc or 500cc single between 1938 and 1963, but sadly, despite at one point being the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturer, in 1973 all production of BSA motorcycles stopped.

Now, in 2022, the BSA name is back on a bike, being purchased by Classic Legends Pvt Ltd in 2016. Never heard of them? It’s a subsidiary of the Mahindra Group, an Indian multinational that already owns, among many others, Peugeot Motorcycles, Jawa Moto, SsangYong Motors and Pininfarina.


The original BSA Gold Star is one of the true classic icons


While the BSA name will mean so much to so many, what matters now is how the new 2022 BSA Gold Star rides. And how much it costs. I’ve not been lucky enough to ride an original Gold Star, but I did spend more than a year with what will surely be the bike’s biggest modern challenger… the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650. That’s makes 47 bhp @ 7,250rpm and 38.4 lb-ft @ 5,250rpm, and costs from £6,039. It’s a parallel twin, rather than a single like this BSA, but it’s a classic British name that’s now owned by the Eicher Group in India.

I rode the new BSA at Millbrook proving ground for a total of about an hour on a variety of roads, from country sweepers to tight ‘city’ streets; these were un-registered bikes, but promised to be as close to production as possible. The only changes likely, I was told, will be very minor, like a tweak to the shade of paint on the red tank…


Pros & Cons
  • Great single-cylinder motor
  • Good value
  • Many faithful design choices
  • Suspension feels very budget
  • Brakes a little soft, with enthusiastic ABS
  • Some details could be better
honest BSA Gold Star review 2022_32


2022 BSA Gold Star Price

It’s inevitable that potential buyers will also be looking at the £6,039 Royal Enfield Interceptor 650, £9,395 Triumph Bonneville T100 and £8,499 Kawasaki W800. But they’re all parallel twins; in this engine capacity, the BSA Gold Star stands alone with its single-cylinder engine.

There are five colour-schemes available, with Highland Green being the cheapest at £6,500. Nudge up to £6,800 and you can choose the Insignia Red, Midnight Black or Dawn Silver models, each at £6,800. And for £7,000 you can have the Silver Sheen Legacy, which has chrome bars, mirrors and mudguards, and polished metal engine cases.

Royal Enfield has the advantage of a long-established economy of scale with its range, building bikes that are intended to cover a global market, whereas BSA says it’s launching first in the UK, then Europe, followed by the Americas, Australasia and the rest of the world.



Power and torque

Making 45 bhp @ 6,500 rpm and 40.5 lb-ft at 4,000rpm, on paper at least the BSA Gold Star has the edge on Royal Enfield’s Interceptor 650. In practice, without riding them back-to-back, I couldn’t tell you which is ‘best’, but in some ways the BSA delivers more than you’d expect of a big single…

BSA says that by focussing on the tolerances inside the motor using techniques such as Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM), the balance of the motor is close to the best it could be. Anyone who’s ridden large-capacity single-cylinders before will know that they can get pretty vibey, but it’s surprisingly well controlled on the BSA. Sure, leave it in too high a gear and it’ll feel like it wants to shake itself apart, but on the very tight twists and turns of UTAC Millbrook’s simulated city roads, leaving the BSA in second gear makes for a really easy ride, the bike pulling smoothly from low speed and requiring very little clutch or back brake.


honest BSA Gold Star review 2022_50


Of course, the impressive torque generated by one big piston also creates strong engine braking, and first impressions can be of a quite snatchy throttle response, but you soon grow accustomed to it.

The motor has a limiter just over 7,000rpm, so it’s surprising to see the rev counter going all the way up to 10,000 rpm, but the spread of torque is fairly consistent from around 2,000rpm. Peak power occurs about 1,000rpm before the limit, and if you want to hit top speed you’ll be using most of the range. As you should expect, the engine isn’t the quickest to get up to speed, but it’s has the right feel and character for a machine of this type.


honest BSA Gold Star review 2022_02


Engine, gearbox and exhaust

Some might baulk at the radiator tucked behind the BSA Gold Star’s front wheel, and it certainly stands out against an engine that’s cosmetically similar to the original machine, but the only way to reach the performance levels it has from a motor like this is to keep it cool. On our ride, at about 29°C with plenty of open space around us, the cooling fan kept kicking in, so air/oil cooling would almost certainly have seen the power and torque drop significantly. It’s not making a lot more than the Royal Enfield, which doesn’t need a radiator, but remember that the Interceptor is a parallel twin.

It can’t really be stressed enough how the BSA is defined by its single-cylinder motor – which is based on the Rotax 650 – and it was wise of the company to make this move, given that it’s such a unique selling point. To have made it so relatively vibration free is impressive, and paired to the five-speed gearbox it’s well suited to the style of machine.



The BSA Gold Star is not a racer, but claims in the press briefing of it ‘hitting the ton’ and references to the ‘ton-up boys’ who used to race from the Ace Café in my dad’s era (he was a Gold Flash owner), are justified given that, on Millbrook’s high-speed bowl, while we were under strict instructions to not exceed 60mph anywhere, I did accidentally find myself well back from the lead rider, so had to go flat out to catch up. The BSA pulled well to an indicated 95mph or so (the needle gets pretty shaky from about 70mph) before I had to back-off after catching them up. This was on the bottom lane of the bowl, so just like a normal road really, and I happened to have left the GPS speed app on my phone running in my pocket, which showed 90.9mph.

The little Gold Star had more to give, and though fifth is designed as something of an overdrive, the bike was still pulling, so yes… it’ll hit the ton. Just don’t expect to get away with doing it under the seven arches and up to Neasden anymore!

The exhaust sounds fine for a Euro-5 compliant bike, the distinctive throb of a single being good even with the baffles. You’ll not be able to poke these out with a broom handle, but there is decibel killer in the rear that’s only held in with rivets that I’m pretty sure some people will naughtily end up drilling out and replacing with nuts and set-screws.


honest BSA Gold Star review 2022_44


2022 BSA Gold Star fuel economy

BSA claims 70.6mpg for the Gold Star, which should see the 12 litre tank deliver 187 miles before it runs dry. There’s no economy gauge on the neat double-dial clocks, so without the opportunity to fill the bikes up ourselves, it’s impossible to say how accurate that is. Royal Enfield claims 67.3mpg for the Interceptor 650, and during a year or so of ownership, I averaged 61.3mpg.



Handling, suspension, chassis and weight

Weighing 213kg, the BSA Gold Star is only 4kg lighter than Royal Enfield’s claim of 217kg for the Interceptor 650, but it feels a much bigger difference. Maybe it’s the fact that the Interceptor leans a fair way over on its side stand, but that felt a lot heavier to move around than the Gold Star.

The tubular steel chassis was developed by British engineering company Ricardo, with unadjustable Gabriel (an American suspension company with manufacturing in North America, Mexico and China) forks and preload-adjustable shocks carrying Excel rims.

It’s the suspension that I have the most criticism for on the Gold Star, feeling very under-damped and bouncy, meaning it can get quite unsettled in bumpy bends.

Most of the other experienced journalists, and the influencers, on the launch seemed happy with it, and maybe it’s my weight, but the BSA seemed quite inaccurate in some bends, and keen to run a little wide if I made a mistake.


honest BSA Gold Star review 2022_59

A combination of my weight, and a dip at the bottom of a hill in a bend led to the frame bolt touching down


It’s important to stress that this isn’t a bike that’s likely to be pushed to its limits on the road, and also that in my riding group at least, there were others going more quickly around turns than I was, but there’s no denying that the lack of quality damping can see the BSA get unsettled, and even deck out a bolt on the frame in bumpy turns at the bottom of a hill. A skilled rider can hustle this bike very quickly, as people like Adam Child showed, but an average one might begrudge the budget feeling a little more.

The slightly more on-off nature of the single cylinder engine might influence the way it rides, but the Interceptor 650 certainly benefitted from a set of excellent value hand-made Hagon shocks, and I expect we’ll see options from the Essex-based company for the BSA too, very soon.


honest BSA Gold Star review 2022_03


2022 BSA Gold Star brakes

Seeing Brembo brakes front and rear on the BSA is encouraging, as are braided brake lines, but they’re surprisingly soft in use. That may well be a conscious decision to ensure a less aggressive feel for new and returning riders, but when braking hard, especially downhill, they can leave you wanting a bit more.

I also noticed that the ABS on the front was quite eager to engage; it’s a smooth, gentle pulse, but one that reduces braking force a little earlier than I’d expect. Again though, for less experienced riders – particularly on wet, greasy city roads – this could be a benefit and it only shows up under heavy or panicked braking.


honest BSA Gold Star review 2022_36


Comfort over distance and touring

Millbrook covers more than 700 acres and has an incredibly diverse (and sometimes frankly terrifying) range of roads on it, but it’s still only a few miles for each lap. We rode it many times and experienced a very fair representation of typical UK roads (especially as I aimed for any potholes I could find), but we couldn’t get a real idea of what it’d be like to spend several hours in the saddle.

That’s not what this bike’s designed for though; it’s something you’re more likely to enjoy a couple of hours at a time on. And for that it’s fine, though I would say that the bench seat is on the firm side…



Rider aids and extra equipment / accessories

It’s a shame there’s no centre-stand fitted to the BSA Gold Star, which is of course great for basic chain maintenance, but a USB-A and USB-C charger is included as standard on the left of the bars (unfortunately looking very much an after-thought). There’s also a DIN power socket on the left, just aft of the oil tank cover.

The seat is released by pulling the left cover off to reveal that oil tank, then tugging a wire loop. There’s no security to this, but there’s also no space under the seat for storage anyway. It does make getting to the Yuasa YTX14-BS battery easy though.

The petrol cap is locked with the ignition key, the cylinder nestled under a rotating (and nicely branded) swivel cover. And of course, ABS is standard.



BSA told me that it’s working with a ‘very high quality’ accessories manufacturer to provide a range of optional extras, but so far we’ve just seen the great-looking panniers, a tank bag, some engine bars and a fly screen. There will also be a very attractive clothing range, which is being made by Merlin.



2022 BSA Gold Star build quality

The 2022 BSA Gold Star is a good-looking bike with some clear design cues from the original machine of more than 70 years ago. The USB charger jars a little, but you could remove it, then the halogen headlight and twin-dial clocks looks good. Small LCDs in the two dials give fuel capacity on the right, two trips and the odo on the left. Set into the top of the headlight are the idiot lights in a neat round display.

The Brembo brakes and Excel rims add to the feeling that this bike is made using quality parts, but the switchgear really lets it down, feeling – and looking – very plasticky. Other plastic parts – like the electrics cover behind the engine – have visible mould lines that spoil the illusion of a classic, while stickers on the engine casing don’t echo the quality feel of the filler cap. These weren’t mentioned as pre-production items, but it’d be great to see them laser-etched or something on the bikes that are expected to go on sale around August / September 2022 in the UK.


Some paint details could do with a little improvement before release


Some questions also remain over the paint finish on the tank, with some bikes showing slightly rough edges where masking had been removed, and the potential for paint to chip away here (not that I picked a tiny bit off with my nail on one, honestly). One bike also had a vinyl coachline on the tank that overlapped itself by about 5mm.

These paint details though are something I do think are likely to be ironed out on the full production bikes; I was told that the red would be a slightly different shade, so it’s not unreasonable to assume that the overall finish will be refined as the first bikes hit our shores.

A dealer network expected to be at least 20 strong by the end of this year should be able to offer support if needed, and the bike has a two-year, unlimited mileage warranty.

The intention was for BSA to produce the Gold Star in the UK using globally-sourced parts, but Ashish Joshi, CEO of Classic Legends and Director of BSA Motorcycles told me that Brexit and Covid had put that on hold. You can watch the interview in the video below, but when I asked if there were still hopes to build the bike here, he told me that the company was actively seeking a factory site, and that it would look to move the current dedicated production line from India to Britain to do that. He told me that he didn’t expect prices would increase if the bike was made in this country as there are already unfavourable costs involved in sending brakes from Italy to India, for instance, then back to the UK.



2022 BSA Gold Star verdict

Bimbling, pottering, whatever you want to call it, the 2022 BSA Gold Star is proud of the fact that it’s designed for relaxing rides in the country as much as it is for taking advantage of that torquey single-cylinder motor to carve through city traffic.

BSA appears very passionate in its goal to get more people onto motorcycles, and it was said several times that they don’t mind whether it’s on their bike or someone else’s, they just want to get newcomers, and those who used to ride many years ago, back out on two wheels.

When it comes to classic styling at a very low price, Royal Enfield still has the edge with the Interceptor 650, but BSA has been very canny in producing the only single-cylinder bike of this type in this capacity bracket. It’s great that there’s now an alternative to Royal Enfield, and with a solid HQ growing in the UK, many quality parts and the backing of one of the world’s biggest automotive groups, the Gold Star looks set to be a huge success…


Riding impressions and interview

We spoke to Ashish Joshi, director of BSA Motorcycles to find out more about BSA’s plans


2022 BSA Gold Star spec

New price

From £6,500 to £7,000



Bore x Stroke


Engine layout

Single cylinder

Engine details

Liquid-cooled DOHC twin spark plugs


45bhp (33,500kW) @ 6,500rpm


40.5lb-ft (55Nm) @ 4,000rpm

Top speed



5 speed, chain final drive

Average fuel consumption

70.6mpg claimed

Tank size


Max range to empty (theoretical)


Reserve capacity


Rider aids



Tubular steel

Front suspension

41mm telescopic forks

Front suspension adjustment


Rear suspension

Twin shock absorbers

Rear suspension adjustment


Front brake

320mm disc, Brembo 2-piton floating caliper

Rear brake

255mm disc, Brembo single-piston floating caliper

Front tyre

100/90 R18 Pirelli Phantom Sportscomp

Rear tyre

150/70 R18 Pirelli Phantom Sportscomp




n/a (LxWxH)



Ground clearance


Seat height


Kerb weight



Unlimited miles / 2 years

MCIA Secured rating

Not yet included




Looking for motorcycle insurance? Get a quote for this motorbike with Bennetts bike insurance


honest BSA Gold Star review 2022_01


What is MCIA Secured?

MCIA Secured gives bike buyers the chance to see just how much work a manufacturer has put into making their new investment as resistant to theft as possible.

As we all know, the more security you use, the less chance there is of your bike being stolen. In fact, based on research by Bennetts, using a disc lock makes your machine three times less likely to be stolen, while heavy duty kit can make it less likely to be stolen than a car. For reviews of the best security products, click here.

MCIA Secured gives motorcycles a rating out of five stars, based on the following being fitted to a new bike as standard:

  • A steering lock that meets the UNECE 62 standard
  • An ignition immobiliser system
  • A vehicle marking system
  • An alarm system
  • A vehicle tracking system with subscription

The higher the star rating, the better the security, so always ask your dealer what rating your bike has, and compare it to other machines on your shortlist.