Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Renew Britannia: British Cycle Supply

You might say Mark Appleton was on the ground floor when British Cycle Supply was formed. His first job in the motorcycle industry was sweeping floors at the Eastern Canadian Norton importer back in 1973. A few years later, and as the old British brands dropped out of the market, he traveled across Canada buying out dealer inventories, eventually taking over the full remaining parts inventory from the Norton importer, as well as that of the retired Canadian importers of Triumph, BSA, and Ariel motorcycles. He eventually ended up with a warehouse full of parts in Nova Scotia and one in New Jersey.

Today BCS employs 12 people, and as a major parts vendor for British bikes, BCS enjoys a relationship with a variety of parts manufacturers; supplies of new old stock and used parts obviously couldn’t last forever. BCS relies on hundreds of reputable companies worldwide for new touring, high-performance, and custom parts for British bikes from the ‘80s back to World War II, with quite a few items going back further than that.

Appleton says BCS’s wholesale department supplies dealers worldwide. In addition, the retail department also supplies individual riders who wish to do their own work. With a coast-to-coast dealer look-up tool on its website, BCS makes it easy for riders of British iron to find a shop nearby that can help them with major problems or routine service.

BCS has proprietary components, too. For instance, their braided stainless rocker-feed lines are produced to their specifications by Goodridge, and supplied complete with 100 percent stainless fittings, as well as bolts and copper washers, ready to bolt on in place of the less-reliable stock plastic lines that have been known to burst, draining the oil tank and blowing engines.

Appleton says his company will email its huge, detailed price guide and parts-number interchange list in PDF format to anyone who needs it. If customers don't already have the correct illustrated factory parts book or service manual for a British bike they’re working on, BCS can provide that information in printed form for most pre-1988 British bikes; that same information is available on DVDs, too.

“We strongly recommend having this information before ordering any part or working on a bike,” Appleton says. “Our BCS Worldwide Catalogue with general parts and accessories is no charge to download from our site, but it is not a substitute for the specific parts book.”

Finally, the bottom line—literally: BCS accepts all credit cards, PayPal, COD in North America, or money orders. The company ships worldwide, too.—Dain Gingerelli

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