Tuesday, November 3, 2020

The Ariel Pixie

 Another British motorcycle industry might have been, the Ariel Pixie.

The Pixie was Val Page's last design and envisaged to be a 75cc ohc machine, a direct competitor to the Honda 90 that had scared the captains of the British motorcycle industry so much. BSA top brass are nowadays derided for watering down Page's design to a 50cc ohv engine and that is held as the reason that the Pixie was a sales failure but the real reason is far wider than that. Honda succeeded because they had new state of the art machinery capable of pushing out C90s manufactured to very fine tolerances in their thousands. Not only this but Honda had a huge market in Asia right on their doorstep. BSA on the other hand were producing bikes on outdated machinery and selling to a limited market of the former Empire and the States. It didn't matter at all what fantastical world-beating design came off the drawing board the sad reality is that when it came off the BSA production line it was always going to be more expensive and less reliable than a Honda Cub. If Honda themselves had licensed BSA to produce the Cub on the BSA production line it would have probably leaked oil and had reliability issues.....

Disregarding the above the Pixie is a cute little machine and for my eyes the styling is right. They are now something of a rarity and the production run was short - 1963 to 1965. This particular brochure is dated 1962, presumably printed in time for the Earls Court Motorcycle Show held in November.

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