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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 17 February 2001
The key to enjoying your C15/B25, or your more robust B44 or B50, is to understand its limitations: both those dictated by design and those inflicted by age. Author Rupert Ratio (a.k.a. English design technology instructor Dave Smith) captures this up in his wonderful recent book, The Rupert Ratio Unit Single Engine Manual for BSA when he writes, "In owning one of more of the BSA Unit Singles, the approach which best promotes a trouble free and rewarding coexistence can best be summed up by the maxim:
Put it together properly, Look after it properly, Warm it up properly, Exercise it properly! But, accept its performance limitations - it isn't a big parallel twin, and it isn't Japanese!"
And, a wonderful and unique book it is, indeed. Smith has concocted a recipe of 1 cup shop manual, one cup restoration guide, a half cup of factory service tips, heavily seasoned the mix with suggestions based on personal experience, and sprinkled liberally with the philosophies of a long-time rider, and cooked up an equally tasty and nutritious dish for anyone who owns a Beezer unit single. The Unit Single manual starts with brief history of the machines, and then proceeds to chapters on rebuilding each element of the bikes' electrical and mechanical systems. (Note that the operative words in the title are "Engine Manual" - the book does not explore brakes, frame, wheels, etc.). Each chapter includes selections from dealer service sheets and the factory's and author's illustrations." Most importantly, the book takes into account a very important factors never touched in factory manuals, usually ignored by Chilton and Clymer, and only occasionally acknowledged by Haynes and Nicholson - that the owner/mechanic is unlikely to own factory service tools and must be resourceful in developing alternative means of coping with repairs. Rupert even takes this a step further, offering ideas for repairs by the roadside. For example, he suggests that when an unexpected electrical failure occurs during a journey, a pair of tire levers can be an effective means of prying an alternator rotor from the crank end. Speaking of alternators, here's an typical example of how Rupert's tips take into account the age of the machines, typical frailties of the components and that simple ingenuity can help the owner avoid a search for an expensive, or rarium or unobtainium spare: a common problem with alternators is the output wires breaking off. New wires can be soldered on, even if it's an encapsulated-type unit and the stubs of the old are barely showing. Using a utility knife or sharp chisel, he says, carve away the encapsulation material exposing the wire ends, and solder new wires in place. After routing the new wires through the stator laminations, re-encapsulate them with epoxy resin. The process is illustrated by a series of helpful drawings. I was particularly intrigued by the illustrations, charts and specs list that appear throughout the manual. Certainly, some of them we've seen before, (e.g. drawing of lining up pinion timing marks) but even there, Rupert ads notes from experience (the halftime pinion mark is often obscured by the lockwasher). Criticisms of the manual are minor, indeed. Rupert's writing is clear and detailed, unfortunately his artistic skills don't rise to the same level: while the factory drawings are typically excellent, his additions are somewhat primitive and, in one or two cases, a bit of a struggle to fathom. (Hint for Rupert: no artist myself, I've found over the years that even the most simple computer paint/drawing software - even the stuff that comes bundled with your PC/MAC) makes it easy to create effective illustrations of bike parts and repair techniques). By the way, perhaps the most common problem we've encountered over the years with virtually all BSAs of late '60s vintage isn't mentioned. Around 1969, BSA changed the dimensions of its needle and needle jet combinations. You've got to ensure that you've got the right components paired or the bike just won't run right. I learned this years ago from a factory service sheet which we've reproduced several times in this magazine. Both my A65 and B25 (both '69s) were mismatched and correcting the error made for a world of difference. The Unit Single Engine Manual isn't the only text you'll need to tackle your steed's care and feeding (nor is it intended to be) - you'll need a Haynes book for its detailed breakdown and buildup of the entire machine, and a spares book to show you in what order those gears, washers and bushings slide on the mainshaft (shoulda made some notes when you took the gearbox apart!). But, I wouldn't be without it. These words are clichéd, but they definitely apply: the book is a must for any C/B unit single owner. Oh yes, one complaint about this book: just what I need - another project. I haven't run my B25 in at least 11 years - it's languished in the back of the garage behind the snow blower, toy box, lawn spreader and a pile of roofing shingles while I I've been playng with the A10 and the Triumph Sprint. But, after reading this book, (Honey, the kitchen shelves and new sliding door to the deck may have to wait) I'm motivated to clear away all the junk and haul the bike into the daylight. When I do, Rupert's book will be sitting on the workbench.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 9 February 2003
A short and sweet review. This book tells you everything you want to know about your engine. It is clear, well written and full of excellent diagrams. It has technical and tuning tips for the more advanced BSA owner and stacks of useful help and advice for those new to the engine. This book is easy to read, at times amusing and will last longer than Old Bike Mart. You can't go wrong.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 27 January 2010
I've ridden a Starfire year round for 29 years and know it inside out. As
such I wasn't expecting this book to tell me anything new. But because it
has such a good reputation I bought a copy to see what the fuss was all
about. To my delight, it suggested checking a couple of things that in all
those years just simply hadn't occurred to me. And I'm confident they will
lead to better oil-tightness.

That's what this book is all about. It is a thorough and complete reference
and you are told everything to look out for and check - things that are
important but are not always obvious. It concentrates solely on the engine
which is a good thing as it is given the chance to be covered in sufficient
detail. Even if you are very familiar with unit singles and already have a (genuine BSA is preferable) workshop manual and parts book, it is still likely to be of help. If new to them, then don't hesitate - buy this book!

All credit to the effort the author has put into this book which quite
clearly reflects careful study and many, many hours in the workshop and out
riding on the road. An excellent book - 10 out of 10
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 24 December 2007
As this book is restricted to the engine only you will need other books to cover the cycle parts, but for the engine no other book is required. If only other books were published on other engines with the same level of detail and knowledge.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 23 August 2008
Having owned and repaired a couple of C15's in the distant past I bought this initially as a refresher.The book exceeded all my expectations being far better than any workshop manual.It's easy to assimulate detail on all engine variations coupled with the authors tips and experiences make this the most complete engine manual I have ever read.As long as you remember that this is an engine manual and does not contain information on the care and maintenance of cycle parts you will not be dissapointed.Highly reccomended!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 14 January 2010
Every unit BSA owner should have one of these. It is written by someone who likes the bikes and works on them. Yes it needs a new edition and yes there are a couple of errors but that is being picky-picky - it informative, authoritative, well researched and helpful and if you are working on a unit BSA for the first time in years, it reminds you of all the pitfalls and gives you the little snippets that make working on these engines a pleasure.
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on 14 February 2013
This book is written by someone who is probably the authority on BSA unit singles. It is not a Haynes style manual and does expect you to understand certain engineering principles (for example, it might say remove the head bolts - it does not give blow by blow photos) but concentrates instead on what might go wrong. Every special tool is described and often instructions are given on making your own (though only if you have access to a workshop). He also offers side of the road bodges when possible (or someone working on a tight budget). Tuning tips abound as long as you are brave enough to try them as they often involve metal removal so permanent.

If you are a fairly confident home mechanic then this book is perfect. It is also an interesting book just to read.

Shame it does not come with a BSA single to work on!
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on 29 March 2012
I have owned, operated and wrenched on motorcycles for over 45 years. I am a retired lawyer with with a passion fro motorcycles, not a mechanic by trade. I learned very early in my mechanical endeavors that you can't beat experience and the value of a detailed service manual. This book is both. Many service manuals are written for trained mechanics familiar with the specific bike, which can leave the uninitiated in a state of confusion. When I started reading Rupert's, I was please to find the author was speaking to me and my fellow enthusiasts. He offers first hand tips that you might get from a master tech looking over your shoulder. My BSA 441 VS is a first-time British restoration and I am sure the book will be well thumbed and smudged when I get into the engine. What a great resource.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 12 June 2014
I bought this to gen up on my recent acquisition above and whilst it covers the whole range,it has the information I need.
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on 25 February 2012
I own a bsa b50t and i have already solved 2 problem with information in this book they were backfireing and ooil leaking from the gear change. It is the first place i go to for information about the B50 engine. Money well spent.
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