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1952 BSA MC1

1952 BSA MC1

Simply coded MC1, BSA's prototype 250cc racer of the early Fifties bristleswith progressive technical features. Its engine has a near-horizontal single cylinder with twin carburettors and four radial valves operated by two bevel-driven overhead camshafts. The whole machine is low-slung and extremely compact, even with a huge seven-gollon fuel tank. The steering head layout for the leading-link front fork is unconventional and the monoshock rear suspension predated its widespread adoption in racing by 30 years.

The radical MC1 was created by two of the postwar British Industry's best-known engineers, Bert Hopwood and Doug Hele. In 1950, Hopwood, then BSA's chief designer, sjetched out a high-performance 250cc single. His aim was to meet the challenge of Continental products and to lay foundations for a new generation of larger BSA sports models. Hopwood passed the project to his assistant Hele, giving him free rein to finalise design and conduct a development programme.

Three engines were built and aprototype lapped the Motor Industry Research Association's banked test track at 104mph without streamlining. Reigning 500cc champion Geoff Duke took interest in the project and was given a test ride in the winter of 1954. He was greatly impressed by the MC1 and his association with it led to fevered speculation that BSA was about to enter the international racing arena.

Knowing that BSA bosses would expect nothing less than total success, Hopwood veoted a road racing programme because he felt the machine was insufficiently developed to guarantee victory in the Isle of Man TT. He saw the MC1 as the basis for advances sports roadsters but sadly, the company's senior management did not share his vision.

  • Engine - 248cc (70 x 64.5mm) aur-cooled ohc four-valve single, 10:1 compression ratio, two Amal carburettors
  • Transmission - Chaion primary drive, dry multiplate clutch, four-speed gearbox, chain final drive
  • Chassis - Tubular double cradle frame, leading-link front suspension,monoshock rear suspension, drum brakes
  • Power - 32bhp @ 10,250rpm
  • Dry weight - 248lb (112kg)
  • Top Speed - 110mph