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Bruce Main-Smith archive now available online

Looking for an ultra-rare workshop manual, parts list or brochure for your classic bike?

The National Motorcycle Museum (NMM) may have the answer. It has digitised its entire collection of Bruce Main-Smith titles, with over 5000 documents available covering over 300 motorcycle marques from Ascot-Pullin to Zundapp, stretching from the late 19th century right up to the 1980s. Parts manufacturers like Lucas and Amal are included, plus sidecar makers

Bruce Main-Smith (BMS) famously sold photocopies of out-of-print manuals and owners handbooks through the 1960s and ‘70s, amassing a huge list of obsolete titles which proved invaluable to classic bike owners and restorers. The man behind the venture, ex-motorcycle journalist Bruce Main-Smith, died in 2018.

Now this impressive archive is available digitally, ordered online on the NMM’s website, with pdfs emailed direct to the buyer. Need a 1965 BMW sales catalogue? That will set you back £4.03. A huge list of Triumph literature kicks off with a 1907 sales leaflet (£2.88) up to the final leaflet for the 1983 Bonneville (£4.46). Workshop manuals are mostly post-1940 only – interestingly, these were only produced from World War II onwards, as an aid to British Army workshops. The BMS pdfs can be ordered at

Jim Freeman, Chair of the BMF, acknowledged the BMS archive as a great resource for today’s classic bike owners: “This is brilliant. Anyone with a 1952 Morecombe Flagellator or whatever will be happy to pay a few quid for a PDF about their chosen beastie. I’ll be having a rummage myself! ”

Written by Peter Henshaw

Top image courtesy of National Motorcycle Museum