Ever been given something you just can’t get rid of? If we’re talking about a pottery pig or another set of wind-chimes then that’s something of a tricky situation. But as there’s no such thing as ‘too many motorcycles’ then being given a C15 is hardly a trauma, now is it?
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Paul Russell’s C15 came gifted to him from his Uncle John, to celebrate Paul’s 17th birthday — and we’re far too polite to say how long ago that was. But it was in 1970-something, to give you a clue!
‘I did about 11,000 miles in its first year,’ says Paul; ‘changing the oil every few weeks and boiling the chain. It’s always run on cheap supermarket oil.’ After then spending many years in the shed, the C15 was dragged back into service to take advantage of the road tax changes. It’s been re-sprayed in Parson’s Parspeed paint, has had forks seals and swinging arm bushes replaced, and an earth lead fitted from the headlight to the frame. The job’s been finished with a pair of mirrors and a Triumph front brake. So how does the Ceefer run, all these years later?
BSA C15 stuff on eBay.co.uk
‘Hand on heart,’ promises Paul; ‘I can safely say that this bike has never broken down. Never failed to start. Never even misfired — honest! It’s been totally reliable, partly because I don’t thrash it. Originally I was young and impressionable and fell for its classic lines, clean and smooth engine, and the exhaust note. But although physically it’s too small for riders over 6-foot, otherwise it’s OK. Next year I plan to tidy it up with new chrome, a rebore, new top end and to sort out a stripped thread in the timing cover. And either the seat foam needs replacing or I need to go on a diet!
‘Like all British bikes the C15s are fragile but after a good rebuild, with regular oil changes, a sympathetic owner who doesn’t thrash it will have a reliable oil-tight machine.’
PEOPLE TO SPEAK TO
Cheap supermarket oil: False economy?