1938 BSA Triple Star
“The B.S.A. range for 1938 is unquestionably the finest range of quality bicycles ever offered the cycling public. And although that may seem a big claim to make – particularly in view of the many fine machines made by B.S.A. in the past – it is a true claim as you will quickly appreciate when you see the B.S.A. Cycling Annual. The new B.S.A. Triple Star and Gold Band models offer you the very latest in modern bicycle design, specification and finish.
The new Keep-Fit models are specially designed for men and women who appreciate the value of Cycling for health and fitness. And remember – B.S.A. Bicycles are acclaimed throughout the cycling world as the bicycles with the finest quality specification. Quality materials and quality workmanship ensure perfection in such vital parts as hubs, chainwheels, cranks, pedals and chain – perfection which means easy running and reliability.”
You have just read very earnest 80-year-old ad copy. After tuning up this bike and riding a lap of Bainbridge Island I’d have to agree that this is a really fine quality bike (way better than those lousy 1937 models!). I have no idea how this Triple Star spent the war or the subsequent decades but the Reynolds 531 steel tubing is rust-free and straight. The beautifully curved Russ fork handles nicely and offers a good amount of bump compliance.
The original owner must have been skeptical of the optional Cyclo twin-wire 3-speed derailleur and instead opted for the BSA single-speed coaster-brake hub. I’m not certain I would have made that same choice as a couple of gear options would have made hills much more tolerable when ascending, but controlling your speed is really pleasant on this bike with three very capable brakes on it. Most antique bicycles are a bit scary when the going gets a bit out of control…
In light of the “new” Gravel Bike category this Triple Star seems to have everything going for it. Remember, we’re talking the finest quality here. Like a lot of modern gravel bikes there’s a gigantic seatbag for carrying all of your stuff instead of racks and panniers. There’s a wide but shallow drop handlebar (and this one has a bell on it along with cork grips). This one forgoes the (not yet invented) front derailleur and multiple chainrings. Instead you get a simple single front chainring. It has 650b medium-width tires and fenders. Brakes that are kind of overkill. A Brooks B15 saddle. The Triple Star even comes with an integrated headlight!
This bike is for sale out of our museum collection. Hang it on a wall, ride it to the coffee shop or ride 100 miles on it at Eroica Britannia. Only $2500