The yellow motorbike revived

Many years after parting with his last, lamented M21, Mr Wilson is once more a contented soul.

Sometimes, the classic motorcycle planets do appear to align.

Looking back over a lifetime’s riding, of all the British bikes I had owned, I found the only one I really regretted having let go a dozen years before, was my gloriously ratty old BSA M21 600cc side-valve.


That may seem perverse; yet the slow-but-steady single had proved to be the ideal, satisfying tool for thudding around our local Oxfordshire lanes.

It had also been good for long trips. Sean Hawker, its rebuilder, similarly mounted, and myself took the Furthest Travelled award at the 1996 Shetland Islands Classic Show, completing a 1500-mile round-trip without missing a beat.

Always an easy starter, and being long on rust and short on chrome, the M21 had happily lived outside, beneath a lean-to.


Read more in August’s edition of TCM

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