The BSA Thunderbolt was designed as a touring motorcycle. A traditional air cooled 650 cc twin cylinder with a single large bore Amal Monobloc carburettor, it did not suffer from the same level of vibration as earlier BSA twins and could comfortably cruise at 70 mph (110 km/h) and reached over 100 mph (160 km/h) in road tests.The BSA development team decided to keep costs down by re-using the well proven single sided front brake from the BSA Gold Star and the same full race camshaft as the BSA Lightning. Fitted with 12 volt electrics, a Zener diode voltage regulator and twin coil ignition, the Thunderbolt sold well in the important US import market and with the 3.5-imperial-gallon (16 l; 4.2 US gal) fuel tank gave a range of 210 miles. From 1968 the Thunderbolt benefited from a number of minor improvements including a longer kick start to make starting easier and metal tank badges to replace the earlier plastic ones, which had a tendency to crack. An Amal Concentric Float carburettor dealt with the problems of fuel flooding experienced with the earlier monobloc carburettor, by having the float bowl arranged centrally around (concentric with, hence the name) the main jet to remove the sensitivity to fuel surge inherent in all the earlier designs. Production ended in 1972.
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