Full 2022 BSA Gold Star Review | Ridden on real-ish roads

BSA 2022 Gold Star review

The wait is over! The new 2022 BSA Gold Star review is here and we spent all day on the new model at the Millbrook proving ground in Bedford

Details
Manufacturer:
Category:
Classic Motorcycles
Price:
£ 7000
Overall
Not rated

ONE of the most eagerly awaited modern classic motorcycles of the last ten years has landed, as the new 2022 BSA Gold Star is here, in the UK, and tested by us here at Visordown.

Now, it’s not so much the bike itself that is the eagerly awaited part – although with that name adorning the machine, it’s a pretty big part of it. It’s more about the rebirth of one of the most famous and best-loved British motorcycle brands, BSA.

The reborn BSA brand, still with an HQ in the midlands I might add, began the story of its 21st-century comeback with its most famous model, and a faithful replica of the DBD34 Gold Star. To look at, it’s almost identical to the original, in fact, take out the front brake rotor and radiator, and you’d be hard pushed to tell them apart.

But is the 2022 BSA Gold Star the full package, and as authentic to ride as it is to look at? We went along to the Millbrook proving ground in Bedfordshire to find that out.

2022 BSA Gold Star UK price, availability and colours

The new Gold Star is available in five colour ways and three pricing options, starting at £6,500 and rising to £7,000. Prices are +£300 OTR charges and bikes are going to be available mid to late August. You can register your interest now on the official BSA website.

  • £6,500 Highland Green
  • £6,800 Insignia Red, Midnight Black, Dawn Silver
  • £7,000 Legacy Silver Sheen (the bike with the most chrome)

2022 BSA Gold Star Review

This wasn’t my first taste of the BSA, having already taken the first bike to land in the UK up the hill at Goodwood for a smoky introduction – see below for that. And while the Festival of Speed gave me a very brief introduction to the new model, it could never be termed a full review. Pulling out of our base inside the Millbrook circuit, the BSA felt just as I remembered, with a relaxed riding position, easy-going delivery and light controls, although as the pace picked up, I began to get more under the skin of the Beeza.

2022 BSA Gold Star engine

Keeping it true to the DBD34, the heart of the motorcycle is a single-cylinder engine that’s peppered with features that are a nod back to its forefather. The engine casings, blocky barrel, and exhaust system are all inspired to look like they did on the original bike. Within that retro exterior though lies a modern-day motor, with 4-valves, DOHC, twin spark plugs, liquid cooling, and fuel injection. It’s quoted figures are 45bhp @ 6,500rpm, and 41lb-ft @4,000rpm.

Pulling out and onto the Alpine handling circuit for the first time, we get a real chance to stretch the legs of the new bike. The first impression of the engine is that it feels brisk, fairly eager to rev and weirdly smooth for such a big-capacity single. Progress isn’t earth-shattering, but you can hustle the thing from a standing start up to 75mph pretty swiftly. Progress north of this point is less swift, although as we found out on the high-speed circuit, the BSA will top 100mph – so it’s into the ton-up club!

The fuelling on the bike is nicely set up, with just a slight hesitation to rev when cold that soon disappears after a mile or so. The electronically operated throttle is nice to use, although with a slightly longer than optimum travel to it – bent wrists are required for top-speed! Like the throttle, the non-slip/assist clutch is lovely to use, with an extremely light action to it that sound make riding this thing around town a doddle – one finger was all I needed for most of the day.

The story does hit a problem when we get to the gearbox though. While it’s a very accurate item to use, with a modern feel to it, the ratios within are a little odd. First gear is very short, banging into the rev limiter at around 35mph, you also have to watch out for some rear locking if you knock it down into first aggressively into a corner. The gap between first and second gear is quite large, although the bike can still pull away in second without any fuss. In fact, for much of the day I completely ignored the first cog, finding it easier and brisker to simply pull away in second. Credit to the engine and torque delivery of the bike for most of that, although with such a progressive and slight clutch on offer, there aren’t many real-world scenarios where I’d foresee me need to slot it into the lowest ratio. Fifth gear is more of an overdrive, dropping the engine to around 4,500rpm at 75mph for easy-going motorway cruising.

The new BSA Gold Star does have one absolute ace up its sleeve though, in that it’s almost completely vibe-free – especially good considering it’s a large capacity single! A slight buzz through the bars at a standstill disappears when you move off, and aside from the lovely ‘put-put’ of the exhaust, you’d be hard pushed to tell it was such a large capacity thumper. And while we are on the subject of the sound: it might not be the full, open piped clatter of the original, but I think it sounds bloody good. It’s just about loud enough for most people, and with one bike on the launch running no baffles, there’s even a little most rasp to be had by those that want it.

2022 BSA Gold Star suspension, brakes and handling

You get the impression that the buzzword at BSA is authentic. And it’s a theme that is carried over to the suspension, frame and handling. The front forks are perfectly in keeping with the style of the bike, and the coil-over shocks look period too. There is no adjustability at the front of the bike, and only spring pre-load at the rear – five steps. The ride quality is excellent, gliding you and the 213kg bike over bumps with about as much grace as a Citroen DS. Pushing on around the handling course and the bike feels like it’s just about getting near its limit. The handling is good enough to have you scraping pegs around bends, but mid-corner bumps will send a shiver down the bike’s spine, while ripples mid-corner have it dancing on its tiptoes. It’s not an unnerving sensation at all, and riders of old bikes will probably revel in this authentically classic trait.

The braking system features calipers from Brembo, and while it's not the most premium kit on offer from the firm, it works well enough. The front brake has a soft feeling lever, which could be down to pad compounds or slightly budget lines and the ABS was quite eager on all the test bikes I rode. Like the rest of the machine though, this isn’t a performance retro in the mould of the Thruxton, this is a proper retro machine. The rear brake is also a little bit soft and vague feeling, although on the tight and twisty city handling circuit it still came in handy when I needed to tighten up a turn.

The overall chassis package of the Gold Star though should be applauded, and not just for what it can do, but for whom it will be doing it for. BSA reckon that most future ‘Goldie’ owners will be between the ages of 35 and 45, wheeling the bike out for a trundle along the B-roads on a sunny Sunday. They don’t foresee this being a bought to carve apexes or set hairdos on fire – and with that in mind, I think it’s pretty much spot on. And it’s not just the way it goes. BSA thought long and hard about the look of the frame, and it's only when you see a DBD34 and the new bike side-by-side that you pick up how many similarities there are. From the sweep of the down tubes to the loop around the faux oil tank, there are a lot of touches and lines within the frame that will be very familiar to people of a certain age!

2022 BSA Gold Star comfort

The new Gold Star feels just like a classic bike when you climb aboard. As somebody that grew up around British-built singles and twins – BSAs, Nortons, and Triumphs – the riding position, layout of the controls, and even the feel of the seat are eerily reminiscent. You are kept in an upright position, and with the bench seat extending a long way behind you, there is plenty of space for larger riders to move about if needed. The seat padding on all the bikes I rode was nice and supportive, allowing you to get comfortable without making you feel disassociated from what was going on beneath. We can’t say for sure yet what the long-distance comfort will be like – stay tuned for the longer-term review for that – although it feels like it’ll be good enough for a couple of hours or more in the saddle.

2022 BSA Gold Star styling

While there are some beautiful touches on the new Gold Star, there are also a couple of elements that make me wring my hands and ask the lord ‘why’. While the headlight-mounted info-dial (housing the warning lights and so on) is a nice touch carried over from the original Gold Star, the switchgear is glaringly modern and screaming to be ripped out and replaced with some slightly more in-keeping hardware. That really is the only bit of the bike I truly dislike the look of though, and there is so much good stuff that the team at BSA have done. On the whole, we should probably all shake their hands and buy them a beer. Fair enough, the radiator is a continuity issue styling-wise, but air/oil cooling (as is done on some of the other modern retros) would have sucked even more power away from the machine, it’s a fine line that the team at BSA have had to tread.

What we liked about the 2022 BSA Gold Star

  • Design cues from the original DBD34 are lovely
  • The riding experience is retro in some ways, thoroughly modern in others
  • Comfort seems to be very good

What we didn’t like about the 2022 BSA Gold Star

  • Switch gear is an eyesore
  • Front brake feel is vague – could likely be fixed though
  • Mirrors are buzzy at motorway speeds

2022 BSA Gold Star verdict

While a press test at Millbrook isn’t an ideal introduction to a model – sadly the team are stuck waiting for homologation data to arrive for the bike prior to registering them – it was enough to give us all a very good idea of how the little bike goes. And I’m happy to report it’s almost all good news. There are some slight niggles as mentioned above, and some of those can likely be fixed, others will just have to be lived with. Overall though, it’s a very honest bike. Honest to the brand, to the direction they want to go in, and, more importantly, honest to the original DBD34 in so many ways.

Will it walk out of showrooms when the bikes land in the UK in mid to late August? Almost certainly. One of the best pieces of news we got from the press test was the price of the machine, and with a £6,500 starting price, you can’t say that this reborn bike is anything but reasonably priced. It’s bang in the ballpark of the Royal Enfield 650, but more importantly, it’s a very different proposition. Its nearest single-cylinder competitor comes in the form of the Kawasaki W800, although the badge on the tank (and the £2,000 price difference between the two) should be enough to sway most people.

We’ll be getting one of the 2022 BSA Gold Stars on test as soon as the press fleet has landed, putting some proper real-world miles on the machine, and updating this page as that happens.

Stay tuned!

2022 BSA Gold Star specs

Engine

Liquid-cooled, single- cylinder, DOHC, 4 valves, twin spark plugs

Capacity

652cc

Compression ratio

11.5:1

Power

45hp@6500rpm

Torque

55Nm@4000rpm

Transmission

Five-speed

Cooling

Liquid

Brakes front

Single 320mm floating disc, Brembo twin-piston floating calliper, ABS

Brakes rear

Single 255mm disc, Brembo single-piston floating calliper, ABS

Suspension front

41mm telescopic forks – non-adjustable

Suspension rear

Twin shock absorbers with 5-step adjustable preload

Weight

Dry – 198kg / Wet – 213kg

Fuel capacity

12-litres

Claimed economy

70mpg

Front wheel/tyre

36-spoke alloy/100/90-18 Pirelli Phantom Sportscomp

Rear wheel/tyre

36-spoke alloy/150/70-R17 Pirelli Phantom Sportscomp

Wheelbase

1,425mm

Seat Height

780mm

Rake

26.5 degrees

Price

From £6,500 OTR

Pics – Gareth Harford/Stuart Collins

Video – Woodcote Events / Aran Lamond, Ben Treston, Sophia Burke

For more information on the new 2022 BSA Gold Star, head to: www.bsacompany.co.uk

2022 BSA Gold Star review from the Goodwood Festival of Speed

VISORDOWN got the chance to try out the new 2022 BSA Gold Star in front of a sell-out crowd at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. Toad took to the Hill in an attempt to get the all-new model on to the livestream – here’s how he got on!

The Goodwood Festival of Speed is one of the biggest and most prestigious dates in the UK motorsport calendar. Since its launch in 1993, it’s brought together the most important machinery and the biggest names from the world of two and four-wheeled motorsport.

And this year the 1.16-mile drive that leads to Goodwood House played host to little old me, as the chance was offered to ride a selection of motorcycles, including the all-new and much-awaited 2022 BSA Gold Star.

Having already ridden up the hill on Thursday on a Triumph Rocket 3, you’d have thought the nerves associated with taking part in the event would have been slightly diminished. I can honestly say that is not the case. With nearly 100,000 people at the event and countless more viewing the livestream on YouTube, the tension begins to build as soon as the order is given to gear-up in preparation for the run.

And this might just have been the most important run for the little Gold Star of the whole weekend, as Sunday’s proposed 6:20pm start time would mark the final activity on the hillclimb course, effectively closing the 2022 event. Speaking to the team from BSA it was clear that the little Gold Star hadn’t quite got the airtime it had deserved during the event, although when running in the same group as a supercharged Triumph Bobber, you can kind of see why.

‘So, will it do a burnout then?’ I ask David from BSA’s PR team. ‘Likely not, the ABS will cut in!’ was his reply. It was from there that I knew to get the Beeza onto the big screen, we’d have to get a little bit creative. A couple of minutes later and the seat was off the bike and while inspecting the internals of the machine, we’d accidentally lost the fuse that controls the new bike’s ABS system. It’s still missing, and if found return to Visordown or BSA…

After some practice burnouts in the holding area prior to the run, the scene was set for the BSA’s big moment in the limelight. I placed myself and the bike last in the queue of road bikes to run up the hill. That way I can pull the bike up outside the front of Goodwood House and give it the berries, hopefully, that’d be enough to get the new Gold Star at least a little bit of airtime.

Once the nod is given to take off up the hill, I pin the little 650cc single off the line. I’m surprised to say it actually feels a little bit quicker than its 45bhp would have you believe. While the engine looks as though it could’ve been plucked from the production line back in the 1940s, within its classic-looking casings it’s all-new. Twin spark plugs, DOHC, and modern fuel injection mean the throttle response is crisp and progress brisk. After a few hundred yards, Goodwood House looms into view, and a surprising number of fans are still lining the haybales looking to enjoy every last drop of the action. I snick the bike back down into first gear, pull up in front of the house and hang all of my body weight over the front end of the bike. Slipping the clutch, the bike ploughs forward with its front wheel locked. Disaster! “Come on, don’t f**k me over now!” I mutter into my lid angrily. After the first failed burnout attempt, I wedge my RST boots under the footpegs and do my best to lift the rear wheel of the bike to try and instigate some kind of smoky excitement for the remaining fans.

BINGO - it works. With the rear wheel now spinning in first, I hook second gear and pin the throttle, taking my left hand off the bars to give a little wave to the assembled fans. It seems to have worked, a ripple of applause and cheers makes its way through the crowd, and I just hope it was enough to get the attention of the dozens of TV cameras that line the hillclimb course.

Once the run is done, I trundle back down to the paddock area to see if we’d made it onto the live stream – result; we had. The cameras might not have captured the entire burnout (I knew I should have held onto it for longer!), but they did capture the hazy aftermath, and then followed myself and the little BSA for the remainder of the run. Happy Toad, Happy BSA team, happy family watching at home.

What is the 2022 BSA Gold Star like to ride?

Look, I’m not going to claim this is some first ride review, but even a mile on the new 2022 BSA Gold Star did give me chance to get a feel for the new bike. It seems like a thoroughly modern machine in some respects and very retro in others. The controls are feather-light, just as you’d expect from a 2022 machine, although the riding position and feel of the 652cc thumping single-cylinder engine both have a distinctly retro vibe to them. It’s a vibe that continues with the clocks of the bike, with the upside-down rev counter and speedo looking perfectly in keeping with this retro homage. With nine corners on the course, I also got a chance to test the handling of the new bike, and it’s a similar story to the engine. With the tall single-cylinder engine dominating the machine, it’s never going to be the fastest turning machine on the planet, although it is a sweet-handling little bike. The chassis feels nicely taut, with plush but not wallowing suspension that allows you to have some fun in the turns while not being jarringly stiff. All in all, it feels nicely put together and very well set up.

Styling-wise I think the 2022 BSA Gold Star is spot on. It’s authentically put together, with lovely design touches inspired by the original motorcycle, and to the casual observer, you’d be hard-pressed to know that this wasn’t an original bike from the 40s, 50s, or 60s. It really is only missing a kickstart and carbs, the rest of it is very much in keeping with the period.

2022 BSA Gold Star full review incoming…

Stay tuned to Visordown in the coming weeks, as we’ll be riding the new BSA Gold Star on the UK press launch a little bit later this month, we’ll update this page as and when it happens.

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