Mk 1 Faber framed BSA C15 "Otter"


Original build, and rebuild story, and test...


Photo Courtesy Malcome Kew...


The owner aboard the BSA Faber Mk 1 Otter in 2010......





My Mk1 framed Faber “Otter”, after rebuild.



BSA C15G type engine in Faber Mk1 Frame. (No1 “Otter”)

 OK... continuing on with the bike tests I promised, here is a brief history of the specification on this bike and how it rides.

 My Mk1 Faber framed “Otter” Was built in the year 2001,

 by Mr Hugh Freeman from Kenilworth Warwickshire.

The frame Kit was ordered on the 1st of December 2000. From Howard at Faber.

 And the invoice shows the frame was delivered on the 3rd of February 2001 total cost then £535 00. Including the footrests and stand. This must make it one of the first Faber “Otter” frames to be made for sale to the general public, as the press releases about the cooperation between Sammy Miller and Howard Fawkes on the return of the “Otter” frame, was only released in December 2000 and January 2001. And it seems that this frame was sold direct to Hugh, from Faber, and not through Sammy Miller. I can't find the frame number for this frame, as has you will see I had the frame powder-coated later, and I think this covered the number.

The BSA C15 G engine seems to have been rebuilt by a Mr Douglas from Coventry. Using a new conrod assembly from Britbits, and the barrel was re-bored by Coventry Boring to suit a piston supplied by Hugh, which seems to have come with a spare as well, from LH Vale Onslow. Another invoice shows that the Boyer Bransden alternator trials ignition kit fitted to the engine came from AJS Motorcycles, Andover. Engine bearings and bushes came from C and D Auto’s, near Redditch.


Anyway, the build of the bike seems to have been quite a speedy affair, as the invoices from Sammy Miller for most of the bits that were designed to be fitted to the “Otter”, alloy guards, seat, brake cable, and pedal, Kick-start (Terry Weedy), grips, twist grip, etc, are dated from February 2001 to June of that year, and it looks like Hugh got Sammy to spoke the BSA Bantam hubs that Hugh supplied, with alloy rims, the rear hub  was wider by 1 ½”  has was the “Otter” practice, but whether this was modified by Sam I don’t know. But he did supply the brake shoes and a 60 tooth +428 rear sprocket, chain, and a pair of Betor-Combe shocks with 50lbs springs, and a spare pair of 40lbs rated ones. These shocks are only 340 mm long and to be honest I think 360 mm are a better length on the "Otter".


This is just how the bike arrived in the yard. It was already a tidy bike.


One strange item that Sam supplied was a front exhaust pipe for a Tiger Cub, was this modified and put to on the bike to take the Terry Weedy alloy silencer. Perhaps Sam had not got the right bends for the BSA “Otter” frame in production at that time. But has you can see from the picture above, the bike had a C15T type exhaust front pipe fitted when we got the bike. Although it has been modified, and a small extra length added.

 There are also invoices from C and D Auto’s for various other cycle parts, and for bolts etc for the forks, that are BSA/Triumph T120 four stud type, along with the yokes. There is an invoice for a pair of 44643/10 tapered roller steering head bearings from BSI bearing Coventry. Also an invoice from Surrey Cycles for a Amal Mk1 626 concentric carb, and Venhill cables.

Anyway, the bike arrived with us sometime in 2004. Lee rang me and said that my brother had bought me a trials bike, what is it I said? Don’t know was the reply, it is black and has an alloy tank. Although I was ill at the time, I got over the next day, and found out that it was a BSA C15 engined bike, and I seemed to recognise the alloy tank as one that was fitted to a late BSA b50 Victor. But at that time although the frame seemed familiar, I did not realise what it was. The bike had seen some action but was in a pretty clean state. Apart from surface rust on some of the frame, and paint missing from some of the bronze welded joints.

 I hopped onto the bike and instantly fell in love with it, it steered like a dream, and the motor had loads of low down torque. And with me feeling really ill.

 My state of health got no better that autumn, so it was decided that a good idea would be to strip the bike down and get the frame powder coated, as I could just about cope with that, if I took my time.

 Every part from the bike was labelled, has my head was not up to remembering a lot at that time. I seem to remember the frame returning from Redditch Powder Coaters, just after Christmas 2005, and it took me until Easter that year to rebuild it. The extent of work needed on any of the parts, was the bracket on the underside of the alloy sump shield that was loose from the bolt holes wearing, fortunately a man came along to demonstrate a pulsed mig alloy welder, so the shield was promptly handed to him to weld.

 With the bike back together, I practised on it several times, and still did, up until recently, but my health problems have always stopped me from competing on it.

Then with the Classic Trials Show being organized, it was suggested by Mick Andrews and Alan Whitton, that it would be a good idea to have a day out up at Mick’s garden, to try and get Lee to ride a trials bike, The Mk1 “Otter” was the chosen mount. And the bike and Lee performed admirably all-day and again at the Classic Trials Show.



Lee getting a trials lesson from Mick Andrews..


How does the bike ride?


Well it is an easy ride with the power smooth throughout the range, and no spitting or coughing like some, the 626 carb is mounted on a ¾” plastic manifold extension and seems to help with the steady flow of power. The gearing could be slightly on the high side, but with the power from the motor this probably helps to create grip, and has I have witnessed only last week, helps the bike bounce over rocks and shale.

One disadvantage with the Boyer Bransden ignition is that you have to get the motor rolling over with the kick-start before it will fire up, but once you have the technique starting is easy.

Plus’s to me about the MK1 Faber frame is that it uses two separate plates to mount the footrests, these bolt on with the swinging arm spindle bolt over identical plates, and in the event of damage can easily be replaced.


As you may realise by now this is the bike that is now in the Isle Of Man for Stuart  and Brian to ride, until the Faber Cub  and the new Bantam is ready.


Lee at Play.



And by the end of the day the lad looked as if he had been riding a Classic "Britshock" BSA "Otter" for years...



Just pose the bike I said... Are well!



I am trying to persuade him to ride the OOTC at the moment. Then we can do a full page about how that bike performs.



I will place the reports of the trials in the IOM that Stuart  and Brian ride in below here and some pictures if he sends some. Anyway Good Luck with your rides  fellas.



Wow, this picture Say's it all about the Isle Of Man!!


Could you get a section with a background as good as this anywhere else in the UK?

Well I know Scotland! But you can never get a ride there?



Really Brian! at your age!!!



There you go, I knew you would over cook it.

Take it easy Fella.


Stuart at Play. Bimms field, IOM...




Brian has just done a couple of alterations to the bike.

The throttle cable run from the carb was not good and kept getting trapped under the fuel tank.

Problem was solved when Brian rang his mate Dave James at J-J Cables in Lighthorn Warwickshire .

Dave made him a cable up using a bend that he uses for the Vincent motorcycle,  this has made a much better run on the cable. And I can't see why we have not done this before.



Also the fork stops did not reach the frame correctly, which was also causing the problem with trapped cables, so Brian rectified that fault too.



More later.

This is what I general fit to the BSA-Triumph four stud forks now as you know.

This bolts into the two 5/16 UNF bolt-holes in the bottom yoke with two 30mm long spacers.

But Brian has made a couple of angle brackets to fit onto the bottom yoke pinch bolts to do the same job for now.


Update later..........



The bike has been back with me for the past twelve months -plus, and sat in my engine shed.

I am just about to ready the bike along with the C15T, for Stuart to ride in a few of the BMCA trials.

The thought was to convert the bike to the same specifications as the rest of the Otter collection bar for the Original  Foster one, by fitting a Yamaha Ty front wheel. But if I do this it is unacceptable for the BMCA trials rules.

I am tying with the idea of fitting a Ariel Leader front wheel that will work and meet the rules...

So it has been a long time stood, and needs to see a trials section again. Watch this space..........


The we get the Covid thing....And still going...