Motorcyclist Archives 1966: BSA, BMW and MV Agusta

From the Archives: Motorcyclist Magazine February 1966

February 1966 Motorcyclist vintage magazine
This now-classic Triumph was featured in a road test and on the cover of our February 1966 issue.Motorcyclist Archives

New 600cc MV Agusta Debuts
At the historic (and still running) Milan show, there were a bunch of models released and some racer news worth noting. Of special note was the MV Agusta "Four" which was based on the factory racers from Team MV which had won 9 of the last 10 500cc road racing World Championships.

1966 Milan show
Breaking news from the 1966 Milan Motorcycle Show!Motorcyclist Archives

Unlike the racing machines, the version presented in Milan had been bumped from 500 to 590 cc. Like the racers, it was an inline four with twin gear-driven overhead cams and an integrated five speed. To make it more road-friendly, it had an electric starter and was shaft driven. The writer Mick Woollett speculated on the true reason for displaying this machine. He had seen an MV Four way back in 1950 at the show based on the road racing machine that had never been produced. He wondered if this was just another “show gimmick."

BSA 1966 ad
"Move up to a MAN’S motorcycle... Move up to BSA" was the message in this full-page ad from BSA Motorcycles.Motorcyclist Archives

Moto Guzzi also showed off a new and bigger machine. It was the 700cc Moto Guzzi V-twin which was based on a design originally developed as a police machine. It was not meant to be a racer but more of a fast tourer and held a lot of the attributes seen in the BMW R60.

1966 BMW honeymoon on motorcycle
The adventure motorcycle was born a long time ago. This couple’s honeymoon was 15 months riding from Europe’s North Cape to South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope.Motorcyclist Archives

FIM added a 750cc motocross class and the Rickman brothers planned to support a five-man team during the inaugural season. All will ride Rickman-framed 600cc Matchless powered machines.

1966 BSA Spitfire
A rundown of the model lineup from BSA. Pictured at the top of this 1966 page was the 650cc Spitfire Mark II Special which has arguably become the most commonly imagined BSA model today.Motorcyclist Archives

50 Principal Engineering Advances and New BSA Models Announced
For 1966, BSA announced a range of machines to cover all riders from road riding, competition, to off-highway fun. There were 50 principal engineering advances introduced across the whole line.

There were six twin cylinder models introduced in '66. They all shared the same basic engine so interchangeability was a snap. The mill was based on the twin that was first introduced in 1963 with some improvements. This made it easy for the rider and dealer to have what they need, when they need it.

Bare ass in 1966
Victory at any cost! The will to win was strong in Swedish rider Sven Wikander whose exposed backside did not slow him down.Motorcyclist Archives

Single-cylinder models included the new 441cc alloy engine based on the Victor motor and championed by two-time World Championship winner Jeff Smith. Also new was the two-stroke 175cc Flash with a completely new set of features including a sculpted tank and dual seat.

1966 Yamaha motorcycle ad
Yamaha teased readers to the "4-page Extravaganza In Color" that would grace the pages of Motorcyclist in the next issue.Motorcyclist Archives

Principal engineering advances included roller bearings on drive side, a new 12-volt electrical system for road models, a new heavy-duty clutch, new shift mechanism, new hydraulic mechanism on forks, new sport taillight, new electrical master switch, yale-type key, and the standardization of Gold Star brakes on all twins.

An interesting note to the modern reader at the end of the article stated, “Specifications may vary slightly between our Eastern and Western models.”

Snow cycle conversion
Looks pretty sketchy to us but the 1966 Snow-Cycle conversion kit would make any two-wheeler into a serious winter fun-maker!Motorcyclist Archives