BSA Bantams Stop By for a Visit
Yesterday, we had the pleasure to meet these intrepid motorcyclists riding from Bluff to Cape Reinga on their small two-stroke BSA Bantams to celebrate the BSA Bantam Diamond Jubilee – 75 years since Bantams were first manufactured.
Bantams (125cc to 175cc) were made between 1948 and 1971 by the Birmingham Small Arms Company, and are arguably the most successful British motorcycle built, with over a quarter of a million made. Although designed as a going-to-work commuter motorcycle, two Bantams have been around the world – both ridden by women riders, one of whom was a New Zealand midwife named Joy McKean. Joy rode her Bantam round the world from 1955 to 1957. The riders made sure to stop by and visit her grave at Rangiwahia to pay their respects to a fellow intrepid BSA Bantam rider on their way past.
Although not a Bantam, we do have a BSA M20 497cc motorcycle on display in our WWII Home Front gallery. Have you seen it? 126,000 BSA motorcycles (mostly M20s) were produced during WWII, and were used by the New Zealand Army mainly for despatch work and traffic control. They continued to be used by our Army post-WWII up until after the Korean conflict.
Good luck and safe travels for the rest of your ride! If you see them on their adventure, be sure to give them a wave.