BSA 1924 2 ¼ HP Lightweight “Round Tank” 249cc side valve frame # B6708 engine # B 6958
In January 1924 BSA stunned the motorcycle market by introducing a lightweight motorcycle that cost less than forty pounds, an absolute bottom price. The machine was designed in such a way that it could be mass produced. The 249cc engine was reliable and easy to maintain, it was economical (ca. 120 mpg) yet powerful enough to give the machine a comfortable cruising speed of some 35 mph, more than adequate on the 1920s roads. In the first 12 months of its existence some 15,000 machines were sold and in its entire production run of about five years some 35,000 Lightweights found satisfied customers. The typical cylindrical strapped-on petrol tank gave the model the nickname “Round Tank”, although 1927 and 1928 models had more modern tapered petrol tanks. Thousands were used as utility bikes for government agencies such as the Post Office, which employed them as bikes for telegram deliveries. The little machine had 24 inch wheels, a two-speed gearbox and a mechanical oil pump and its compact size and low riding position because of the sloping top tube made for great riding stability. Two independent brakes were fitted to the rear wheel, one operated by hand, the other by foot. A sensible detail was the width of the mudguards; they were a full six inches wide and gave excellent protection. Titch Allen describes and enthusiastically tests a 1924 Round Tank in the First Vintage Roadtest Journal.
The machine we present has been restored and was part of a private collection. She is in excellent condition throughout and comes with Miller acetylene lighting. A Round Tank is a very pleasant and practical vintage machine to ride but scarce on the ground nowadays.