Q&A: Brian Castillo’s BSA M20


brian castillo, bmx, bsa m20, british, motorcycle

Anyone who frequents Brian Castillo’s Instagram has surely taken notice of his unique “old-timey” motorcycle. It’s hard to overlook. I’ve seen it enough times to want to grill him about it, so keep reading to learn about Brian’s OTHER bike.

Let’s talk motorcycles. Have they always been an interest of yours outside of BMX?

Not really, oddly enough. I always just stuck to bmx as my main “hobby” and was always kinda hesitant on getting on a motorcycle. Just knowing myself and knowing I’m a bit immature when it comes to anything motorized, I never really wanted to go that route but I always appreciated everything about them.

Also hearing the horror stories about motorcycles always seemed to keep me away and hearing that quote, “It’s not if you crash, it’s when you crash.” I guess sooner or later you gotta face your fears and take it slow. That’s where I’m at today at least.

So… I follow you on Instagram and I’ve always taken notice of this sweet old-timey war looking motorcycle that you’ve got. What kind of bike is it?

It’s a 1939 BSA (Birmingham Small Arms) M20 that was a British military motorcycle during WWII.

Are you into wrenching on them?

Kinda but I’m definitely not the Fonz that takes apart his motorcycle blindfolded on my living room floor. I just got a new bike and did everything I wanted to it and haven’t touched it since. The BSA being my first older bike, I don’t know if I wanna keep it all original or do the full restore.

How did you acquired this bike? Is this type of bike a “needle in a haystack” situation? Seems like a good find.

I got it through a buddy that never really got it in great running condition. I wasn’t looking for a bike or anything like that at the time either. I saw it in his backyard and was drawn to it and had to have it. He originally got it off eBay from a guy in New Zealand. I don’t know too much back story on the bike before then though.

Did it take much work to get it running?

Not really. Just the usual cleaning off the cobwebs. It was literally sitting in a backyard for years and hadn’t been kicked over in a long while. Other than cleaning out the tank, going through the carburetor, new cables and a lot of cleaning it wasn’t a lot of work to get it back to working condition. Once I got it running, it’s been a workhorse. The thing turns over no more than two kicks and hasn’t died on me yet during my rides. It amazes me every time the thing starts up that easily.

Do you have certain places you like to cruise the bike?

I only cruise it an hour out from where I live but I do have some good twisties that I take her out on. Like most older British bikes, the thing leaks oil like crazy and I don’t want to push her too hard. It also has a top speed of 40-45mph on a good day or downhill, haha. That said, it does feel like I’m doing 100mph though, the fucker shakes, rattles and pops!

Given that the bike looks like it should be in a museum, does it get much attention when you’re out and about?

Yeah, a lot of guys give it the thumbs up or some head nods. I imagine it would get a lot more attention if I drove it more on busier streets but I just go local. I only take it to the ideal twisty road near me and just putt around, I don’t get too much attention.
Since it only does 40mph, people go nuts when I’m in front of them on the 2 lane road. That’s probably the most attention that I get, haha.

Are there any negatives to owning a bike like this?

Oh yeah, parts are only found in the UK or on eBay. You really have to search high and low for speciality parts from vintage British motorcycle shops. The shops that do have what you need in the States rape you on prices. The bike is a tank and so far has been fairly reliable though.

Do you own any other bikes and do you plan to get more?

I did get a new Dual Sport Suzuki but what’s funny is that I still prefer to putt around on the BSA than take the new bike out. I totally can’t explain how or why farting around doing 40mph is much more fun than riding a new bike.

I’d actually love to get another BSA M20 and do the full restoration on it. I’m hesitant to ruin the nostalgia WWII feel that is still with the bike I have now.

Thanks Brian! Anything you’d like to add before we wrap this up?

Thanks for the interview! If any of you guys know of anyone selling a BSA M20, hit me up. You can also follow my pics on Instagram at #bsam20 or @briancastillo

bsa m20, british, motorcycle, brian castillo

  • Povah

    That bike is sooooooo sick !!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/scott.towne.9 Scott Towne

    So good! If you restore this you’ll get a punch in the balls! It’s perfect.