DIY BSA: 1959 BSA DBD34 Gold Star

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Photo by Phillip Tooth
Peter Rosenthal's 1959 DBD34 Gold Star.

1959 DBD34 Gold Star
Engine: 499cc air-cooled OHV single, 85mm x 88mm bore and storke, 8:1 compression ratio, 40hp @ 7,000rpm
Top speed: 95mph (est.)
Weight (dry): 380lb (173kg)
Fuel capacity/MPG: 5gal imperial/6gal U.S. (22ltr)/45mpg (est.)
Price then/now: $985 (est.)/$12,500-$20,000

Ask any classic bike enthusiast to name his or her all-time Top 10 motorcycles, and the BSA DBD34 Clubman’s Gold Star is sure to be high on the list. It’s the ultimate café racer, a 110mph projectile with clip-on handlebars, a handsome chrome fuel tank and a GP carb that looks as if it’s big enough to swallow a sparrow.

And it goes every bit as well as you’d hope. Riding a Goldie on winding roads while making the most of that close-ratio gearbox is pure magic. First gear will take you to 60mph, and you can hit 90mph in second and 105mph in third. But it’s not all about speed. The DBD handles so well that you can chuck it around effortlessly. No wonder BSA’s single dominated the Clubman’s TT. And no wonder so many riders want to own one today.

Dreams and reality

Like so many good things, a Goldie comes with a hefty price tag. “I dreamed about owning a DBD34,” says Peter Rosenthal, the owner of our subject bike, “but I thought there was no way I would ever be able to afford one.” When he was 17 years old, he was riding his 50cc Kreidler and stopped to help the owner of a Goldie that had broken down. Peter called his father, who came and collected the DBD34 and its owner. Back in the Rosenthal garage they discovered the problem — a holed piston caused by a weak mixture and too much ignition advance. This wasn’t going to be a quick fix, so Peter had time to take a closer look at his dream bike. It wasn’t a sparrow being sucked into the racing Amal — it was Peter.

Order the November/December 2017 issue of Motorcycle Classics to read more about the 1959 BSA DBD34 Gold Star. Contact Customer Service at (800) 880-7567 or contact us by email

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