Classic Transfer
A Bantam Story


The BSA Bantam, one of the Birmingham Small Arms Company’s most successful machines ever manufactured. Based on a prewar German DKW, this simple lightweight two-stroke was a roaring worldwide success for BSA. 1948 is the year it all started with the Rigid Frame Bantam D1. Featuring a 58mm stroke with 52mm bore, it produced a 123cc modest engine and 3-speed gearbox. For the novice motorcyclist, this distinctive and small capacity machine was the perfect first choice.

By the end of 1948, the U.K.’s General Post Office (GPO) started purchasing thousands of Bantams and using them as cost effective and economical transport for their telegram delivery service.

You would often see these little red roosters on streets and pavements all over the country. They were finished in the famous Post Office Red. Featuring King George VI royal crest on the tank, GPO transfers on the Legshields, BSA Garter Rifles on the toolbox, Pilled arms on Rear No. Plate Bracket, Tyre pressure transfers on the mudguards and some fitted with a first aid box.

Later versions had Queen Elizabeth II’s crest on the tank instead and a revised Garter Rifles as BSA changed their company name from B.S.A. Cycles to B.S.A. Motor Cycles Ltd in late 1953.

By the 1950s the model began to evolve, now offering a plunger frame, and larger capacity models, BSA aimed to compete against the sea of Villiers two-stroke rivals. It wasn’t too long before riders were looking for more power and so their focus turned to increasing their engines capacity and this first came with the 148cc Bantam D3. Available in two road options and competition models offering either rigid or plunger frame with heavier front forks on all D3 versions.

By late 1957, it was back to the drawing board for the design team in the never ending race to increase engine capacity. A failed attempt at increasing a longer stroke which resulted in stronger torque but terrible vibration lead to the solution, a plan to increase the bore size and a re-design of the bottom end. The result was the D5 (Major) with an engine displacement of 174cc and top speed nearly of 60mph.