There are three recognized models of the Sunbeam motorcycles manufactured by BSA between 1946 and 1957.
Trying to determine whether a Sunbeam is 'as it left the factory' or in 'concourse' condition is an inexact pass-time for the reasons detailed below.
However the model pages list the standard differences which can aid identification.
The Sunbeams were produced in an age when 'production line' style manufacturing was not as uniform a process as it is today.
Nowadays all motor manufacturing tends to produce identical homogonised vehicles, but that simply was not the case with Sunbeams.
Distinctive differences exist between the models and early and later bikes, however if the factory had run out of 'improved' or standard pieces then other 'old' or 'wrong' parts may have been fitted in the factory.
These cases may have involved fitting any available parts, whether they came form the same model or not.
Additionally many Sunbeams had production modification retrospectively fitted to older bikes to help retailers sell them.
Because the bikes are all now more than fifty years old, all but a very few machines will have been altered or improved during their lifetime, especially those being ridden and used.


square s7

Sunbeam S7

Produced from December 1946 until April 1949, approximately 2100 manufactured.

Distinctive features:

  • Available in black only

  • Plunger style front fork suspension

  • Stubby 'Lucas MC45' dynamo

  • Inverted handlebar control levelers and 'clean' handlebars (no wires)

  • Cantilever seat suspension

  • Small circular rear light (this changed during production, from a rear light only to a rear light with brake light combined)

  • Blue tank badge with 'Sunbeam' in white

  • Cigar shaped exhaust

  • Fat aluminum carburettor cover or round bell type

  • Horn mounted on the front part of the frame above the dynamo

  • Fat tyres

  • No side stand

  • Balloon tyres

  • Rippled petrol cap

  • Tax disk holder in the front suspension fork shroud



Sunbeam S7 Deluxe

Produced from Spring 1949 until 1956, approximately 5500 manufactured.

Distinctive features

  • Available in 'Mist Green' (some were supplied in standard BSA colours, especially to Canada and USA)

  • Sunbeam designed front suspension, shares no parts with BSA

  • Normal 'Lucas MC45L' dynamo

  • Normal control levelers

  • Cantilever seat suspension

  • Tank badges blue on early bikes, and yellow later

  • Cigar shaped exhaust

  • Flat pressed steel carburettor cover

  • Horn mounted on the frame behind the rear brake pedal

  • Balloon tyres

  • Side stand

  • Normal main stand

  • Flat petrol cap

  • Tax disk holder in the front suspension fork shroud



Sunbeam S8

Produced from Spring 1949 until 1956, approximately 8300 manufactured.

Distinctive features

  • Available in Black or polychromatic grey (some were supplied in standard BSA colours, especially to Canada and USA)

  • Conventional BSA type front fork suspension

  • Normal 'Lucas MC45L' dynamo

  • Normal control levelers

  • Spring mounted three point attachment seat

  • Tank badges blue on early bikes, and yellow later

  • Aluminum cast exhaust with art-deco styling

  • Flat pressed steel carburettor cover

  • Horn mounted on the left hand side of the frame behind the rear brake pedal

  • Conventional tyres

  • Side stand

  • Normal main stand

  • Flat petrol cap

  • Plain fork shrouds


Finding Sunbeams


The fellowship magazine and this web-site often get requests from people hoping to locate machines loved, lost, but never forgotten.
The Fellowship will do all it can to put past owners back in touch with their old bikes, or at least aid them in there search for Sunbeams lost.

The Sunbeam Owners Fellowship has been running for over 40 years, from it's formation the Fellowship has periodically compiled
a register of it's members bikes.
As such, we have amassed a large collection of Sunbeam ownership data.
Additionally all the 'beams in attendence at the annual rallies over the past ten years have been logged.
Between the members we have a comprehencive catelogue of information published on Sunbeams, including feactures, articles, photos and adverts.
If all the paper work fails to locate your bike, then our collective memories will be racked to see if anyone remembers your Sunbeam visiting an early
rally other event.

Obviously, whilst we are happy to help you trace your 'beam, The Sunbeam Owners Fellowship will not give out private information on new owners etc,
without their express permission.

Selection of some Sunbeam data

Date..............Model.......Frame #...ENGINE #..COLOUR
03/09/1948.. S7.............S71505....S71712.....Black
11/10/1948.. S7.............S71799....S71799.....Black
14/10/1948.. S7.............S71560....S71833.....Black
21/10/1949.. S8.............S81222....S81610.....Black
23/11/1949.. S8.............S81384....S81384.....Black
11/01/1950.. S8.............S81656....S82299.....Black
13/03/1950.. S8.............S82107....S82779.....Black
21/03/1950.. S8.............S82284....S82933.....Black
24/08/1950.. S8.............S82659....S84396.....Black
01/01/1951.. S8.............S83744....S85703.....Black
13/02/1951.. S8.............S84107....S85979.....Black
21/02/1951.. S8.............S83688....S86131.....Black
20/09/1951.. S8.............S85022....S88140.....Grey
23/11/1951.. S8.............S85545....S88585.....Black
19/02/1952.. S8.............S85880....S89422.....Black
16/06/1953.. S8.............S87232....S810902...Grey
23/12/1953.. S7de Luxe S77186...S712436...Green
18/06/1954.. S8.............S87772....S812783...Grey
10/09/1954.. S8.............S87844....S812811...Grey
08/03/1956.. S8.............S88450....S813648...Black
25/05/1956.. S7de Luxe S77865...S713762 ..Green
...................S7.............S71163......S71163.....Green USA

The Sunbeam Owners Register (c)1969 Sunbeam Owners Fellowship

If you have had a 'beam in your life and would like to see if it's still out and about, in use - still being apprecaited or lost forever - we'll be glad to help you.
Please drop us an email to Rotor with 'Find My Beam' in the subject title address on the Contact Us including as many of the following as possible:

  • Model
  • Colour
  • Registration number
  • Frame number
  • Engine number
  • Photo
  • Date first seen
  • Date last seen
  • Area last seen
  • Selling details
  • Any other helpful/distinctive/interesting history

 Buying Sunbeams

This Section is intended to be a useful guide to buying Sunbeams. 'Buyer beware' is the key term.
However, be aware you are being preached to by the converted: Buying a Sunbeam, in any condition, at any price will undoubtedly improve your life...
This guide is intended to help you find the right bike for you.


  • Auto Jumbles

    Sunbeams and parts do turn-up at auto jumbles. The large jumbles normally have auctions too, in which you might find a Sunbeam in need of a home. The advantage of real-world auctions (over ebay), is that you can kick the tyres, see the bike first hand before you bid. There is an auto jumble bring and buy at the annual Sunbeam rally, and occasionally whole bikes will be for sale at the rally.

  • On The Beam

    The Sunbeam Owners Fellowship magazine carry's for sale and wanted adverts. Buying from a fellowship member ensures you are purchasing from someone who has had access to the wealth of technical knowledge the members can provide. There is no guarantee this knowledge has been applied to their bike, but at the very least membership shows some interest in finding out more about their machines.

  • Stewart Engineering

    As well as supplying spares Stewart Engineering will normally help you find a bike too. Sometimes they will have complete bikes to sell 'in stock'. They will also have contacts, or details on who might have a Sunbeam for sale.

  • ebay

    With a low cost to the seller and a large pool of potential buyers, ebay is becoming an increasing popular place to sell anything. When considering an ebay purchase, you have photos and a description of the machine to inform you of its condition. Also take advantage of the 'Ask the Seller' function, to answer any questions before you bid. In experience ebay is a good place to sell, but not so good to buy as you are bidding against potentially many interested parties, especially so for the rarer items.

  • Bike Magazines

    Classic Bike, Real Classics, motorcycle news, Motorcycle Mechanics etc all carry classified adverts.

    • private sellers
      Prices can range from sensible to silly, the adverts are normally short, maybe with a small photo, so you are likely to have to arrange a viewing before purchasing.
    • traders
      Most magazine advert prices for traders seem to over-price Sunbeams. For the extra money they are normally provide a cosmetically better bike, and some form of redress (if it goes wrong shortly after purchase). Which if you are not confident in judging the technical soundness of a Sunbeam, could be a premium worth paying.

Which model

Refer to the Sunbeam S7, Sunbeam S7 Deluxe and Sunbeam S8 pages to be able to differentiate between the models.

  • The original Sunbeam S7 seems to get higher prices than the other models. Fewer were produced. With the inverted leavers some people consider them the purest Sunbeam, the closest realisation of Poppes vision.

  • The Sunbeam S7 Deluxe is the more affordable wide tyred Sunbeam, it has the presence of the S7, but parts are easier to source. The stock colour of green is either something you like or you don't. If you love everything except the colour; paint it any colour you care for (assuming not an original condition beam).

  • The Sunbeam S8 is the least pricey of the models to buy, as more of these were produced, therefore more are found for sale. It could be argued the least pure of the three models, or the farthest evolution of the ideas. Whichever, it is still a Sunbeam and therefore endlessly better bike than any other marque.

What condition

  • Basket Case

    If you are going to completely rebuild your new Sunbeam, then the condition of the parts is probably secondary to the completeness of the bike. During a basket case rebuild you should be expecting to replace all the wearable parts, so all you need to check is that all the big and expensive parts are present and usable. As a rough guide consider the following as big and expensive parts:

    • Frame
    • Forks (especially S7)
    • Engine
    • Rear-drive
    • Seat (especially S7)
    • Exhaust (especially S8)
    • Mudguards
    • Distributor
    • Wheels (especially S7)
    • Tool box

    That's ten items, therefore for each missing item take a tenth of what you would be prepared to pay for the complete bike. If you are going to replace all the wearable parts during the rebuild, budget for around £500, assuming you a buying new parts. Tinware repairs and resprays should be the only other significant cost, assuming you are rebuilding the bike yourself.

  • Runner

    If you are looking to buy a running machine, then the internal health of the engine will be the biggest area of interest. Check how easy the bike starts, the exhaust emissions may indicate oil burning and therefore engine wear. If the current owner has been ridding and maintaining the machine, they may have Stewarts invoices for replacement wearable items, or should at least be able to tell you when the last major engine maintenance was completed. If the seller claims work has been carried out by Stewarts, ask to see the receipts.

  • Pristine

    As for runner, but in addition, check for replacement fibre glass air filter cover, mudguards, tool box. Ensure all the model differences are right on this age and model of the bike.

Kicking the tyres

It is impossible to provide a comprehensive list of checks to ensure you are fully aware of the road worthiness of a Sunbeam before you own it and complete some miles on it. Here however is a list of checks you may be able to perform to gauge a better idea of the condition a Sunbeam:

  • To verify the electrics are OK, check the battery is charging when the engine is revved.
  • Hold the back wheel and try rotating the dive shaft, any considerable play could indicated a relatively expensive rear drive replacement needs investigation. Also check for lateral play by pushing the shaft into the housing, more than 1/2 inch movement may require further investigation.
  • Most Sunbeams leak oil, check for signs of excessive oil leaking from the engine. Even the best cared for engine may weep a little oil, some owners are happy to top-up oil leaving the engine from every pore.
  • Check the machine starts and re-starts OK.
  • Take the bike for a run and go through all the gears.

Price guide

This is a guide only, it is intended to help potential purchasers. It has been based on current (2014) British prices. Some Sunbeams still get dragged out of sheds and sold for £250, some are advertised for sale, well above the price ranges stated below.

Model Basket Case (complete) Runner Pristine
Sunbeam S7 £1,000 - £2,000 £4,000 - £5,000 £6,000 - £7,500
Sunbeam S7 Deluxe £500 - £1,500 £4,000 - £4,500 £4,500 - £6,500
Sunbeam S8 £500 - £1,000 £2,250 - £3,500 £4,000 - £5,000