Largely made of the same bits of metal as it was 60 years ago

Here’s the starting point: Halfords connectors aplenty, and the ammeter held in by White Tac

My version uses a custom ammeter retaining clamp, hot glue as a backup, and insulation on the ammeter and light switch terminals

Ignition switch location had already been decided by a previous owner. Then old one was kaput, so this is the new one. The 10mm bolt that holds the reg rec backplate had to be machined to make space

Marcus’s BSA A50 Royal Star

We’re on a bit of a run of Brit bikes at the moment. This lovely old thing had begin to fry its loom and was generally not doing much in the electrical department.

Marcus declined my tempting offer of adding indicators. He just wanted it to work.

As with every old British bike, building the loom was the easy bit. The real work was the two days before, which involved solving all the usual electrical issues that bedevil a 60 year-old motorcycle. To take a few examples: replacing the vibration-raddled headlamp shell, fitting an ammeter and warning lights in said shell, mounting the battery securely, replacing the antique coils with 6V versions for the Pazon ignition, fitting and timing the ignition, rebuilding the tail light, mounting the reg rec, mounting the new ignition switch, rewiring the handlebar switch, and plenty more.

It might sound massively tedious, but I love messing about with old BSAs. And anyway, if you don’t make sure everything works perfectly then a new loom won’t help much.

Most of the new goodies came from the obvious place: Goffy Electrical. The Pazon ignition deserves special praise. You stick it where the points used to be, and time it statically using the points mark on the alternator rotor. Then you wheel it outside to fine-tune the timing with a strobe. In fact the bike fired up first kick, and the timing was spot on already. Not often that happens.

We came across two issues: first, Marcus had bought a new LED headlamp bulb, but it would only provide main and dip together for some reason. I suspect the location hole in the bulb collar isn’t accurate enough. Second, charging was a measly 13.2 volts with the lights off. That’s a classic case of a demagnetised rotor. The cure is to fish off the primary cover, fetch the rotor off and replace it with a new one. Marcus has it lined up as his next job.

Modern batteries are always smaller than the originals, which means they need a new mounting system

The Pazon fits in place of the points with the wires tucked out of the way thusly. Fun fact: you need a slide hammer to fetch the old advance/retard rotor off

The ubiquitous biscuit tin switches work well. I sling the little brass screws and solder the wires directly to the terminal posts

Charming, well-worn and hilarious to ride at up to 60mph