1949

BSA launched the first post-war Gold Star but it wasn’t a 500. The original Goldie was based on the 498cc Empire Star but the ZB32 Gold Star was based on the 348cc B31 so this was a Goldie 350, complete with teles and optional plunger rear suspension. It was primarily designed as a competition mount.

The Royal Artillery formed a motorcycle display team and mounted them on Matchless G3s (later replaced by BSA Gold Stars).

The first motorcycle appeared with the Honda name on the tank: the 3hp, 98cc D-Type Honda Dream.

The FIM established the World Motorcycle Road Racing Championships, initially with six rounds and classes for 125, 250, 350 and 500cc. The opening round of the new series was the TT.

This was the year that the new breed of 500cc vertical twins grew to 650s, primarily for the Stateside market. Triumph was first out of the gate, followed by BSA, where Bert Hopwood redesigned the Val Page ‘longstroke’ A7 as the A10 Golden Flash.

Moto Guzzi supercharged and streamlined one of its 250cc racers, bolted on a sidecar andworks rider Cavanna piloted it along the Milana autostrada at better than 209km/h (130mph).