BSA 441 Victor – Heart Thumping

(first posted 3/10/2012)   Yes, sexy girls played a major role in BSA ads in the late sixties (we’ll have to do a survey of them sometime), but in this case, the bike gave me at least an equally predictable hard on (what didn’t at sixteen?). There was something about the BSA Victor 441, from the first time I saw it in a bike magazine: a big single cylinder, one upswept chrome side-pipe, that yellow/chrome peanut tank, the knobby tires, the girl. The Victor was a fairly newish concept, and one that soon took the country by storm: the dual-purpose bike, capable both on and off the street. It embodied everything I wanted in a bike then, never mind the girl.

Jeff Smith won the 1964 and 1965 500cc World Championship on specially-prepared BSA 441 singles, and the company decided to cash in on the publicity, perhaps sensing that there was a new market to exploit. Appearing in 1965, the production Victor 441 soon became a hit, both in enduro and street version. By 1968, it was BSA biggest-selling bike. The big thumper pounded out all of 30 hp, but the kind of torque two-strokes could only have wet dreams about.

Anyway, the Victor was the object of considerable MMing in my teens, and when Woodstock producer Michael Lang drove one over the (still virgin) pastures in the movie, the Victor’s popularity was cemented further as the cool bike of the moment.  I’d still like one; nothing like feeling the power pulses of a big thumper.