The humble BSA Bantam never looked like this! While the 150cc engine is the same at that which powered hundreds of thousands of Bantam commuters, postie bikes and farm bikes in the post-WWII years, everything else on the bike shown here is bespoke.
Currently on display alongside 100 other motorcycles at ‘The Motorcycle: Design, Art Desire’ at Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA), this bike is the product of the creative mind of Craig Rodsmith. Dubbed ‘Corps Leger’ (‘light body’ in French), it was created for American collector Bobby Haas and followed Haas’s purchase of another Rodsmith creation – a Moto Guzzi with a dustbin fairing and turbo engine upgrade – for his ‘Haas Moto Museum’ in Texas.
The name came from the extensive use of lightweight aluminium used for the body and disc wheel covers. On the former, cutouts allow for steering travel, while on the latter, the white rubber button-tread tyres lend this creation a vintage, board track racer look.
Rodsmith’s finesse doesn’t stop at sheet aluminium, though, as the frame, swingarm and wheels (including the hubs and rims) were also scratch built by this talented American craftsman. In fact, the engine is one of the few “bought in” components on Corps Leger and choosing it for this project was inspired by a BSA Bantam that was Rodsmith’s first bike.
While it was built primarily as a design exercise, Corps Leger does run and stop, as a drum brake has been incorporated into the rear sprocket. However, that wafer-thin saddle looks anything but comfortable!
The Motorcycle: Design, Art, Desire is now open at Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) and runs to 26 April, 2021. To purchase tickets, go to: qagoma.qtix.com.au
For more information and exhibition updates, along with details on GOMA’s COVID-SAFE plan, go to:qagoma.qld.gov.au
Source: Bobby Haas and the Haas Moto Museum
Photo: Grant Schwingle