The BSA Pro Cycling Team
The Birmingham Small Arms Company (BSA) was established by 14 gunsmiths in 1861, encouraged by the War Office to develop efficient means by which to manufacture guns by machinery.
Success didn’t come easily, and as they sought new opportunities they began manufacturing bicycles in 1880, these BSA bicycles being the forerunners of the BSA motorcycles that the brand is best known for.
During World War 2 BSA bicycles introduced several innovative designs in response to wartime needs, including folding bicycles that could be carried by paratroopers.
1952 saw BSA establish a professional cycling team, using the design skills of Bob Maitland, a BSA draughtsman who was also an Olympic road rider to design their new line of sports bicycles.
Success came fast. In the 1952 Tour of Britain the BSA team won the overall team race and “King of the Mountains” classification. The team competed and won four further events that year and won eight the following season. Team riders such as Bob Maitland and ‘Tiny’ Thomas became household names.
BSA roadster and sport bikes naturally became very popular, but as with so many English marques, they were absorbed by Raleigh and eventually the name and the team was retired.
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