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Exhibitions > 1940

 

The BSA Airborne Bicycle

In 1880, the Birmingham Small Arms Company (BSA) began manufacturing safety bicycles, and excelled at producing precise metal parts at a relatively low price. The BSA Airborne was originally developed for the British Army airborne's forces. It was relatively light for the time, weighing less than 10.5 kg, and could be folded in two - enabling soldiers to parachute with it and reassemble it on the ground.

In contrast to the conventional diamond structure, the frame of this model was oval and made of parallel tubes, with the folding axis located at the center. The BSA Airborne was used between 1939 and 1945, and some 64,000 bicycles were produced during the war. It was used during the invasion of Normandy, as well as in the Battle of Arnhem. During the postwar period, the company continued to manufacture this successful model, without the folding option. Yet this new model did not succeed, since the military bicycles used during the war were sold with other military surplus equipment for $5, and were preferred by consumers. 

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