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I’ve had a dig through some old emails from my dad when he went into a bit more detail about the motorbike and I thought I’d share it here. It really gives you an idea of what a special motorcycle this is.
A nice close up of the front end.

A nice close up of the front end.

‘The Cylinder head is from a 350 Matchless or AJS, also 50’s, which with its smallish valves gives high gas speed at low revs, which is why it pulls like a train. Point is no one valued 350cc bits and pieces 15 years ago – they all wanted 500cc stuff – so these bits were cheap and relatively plentiful. A “proper” 500 alloy competition engine was worth probably £ 1500 and I built the whole bike, everything, for less than £600 as I recall. And got, with the crank/piston relationship a full 500 anyway. The 85mm stroke flywheels make it rev like mad if you want. Ignition is a Chec PAL speedway bike magneto which I converted to manual timing control with my home made (about 20 attempts) back plate to carry the points. Very Trick.

Gearbox is a standard Burman type fitted to millions of 50’s road bikes, but with lightweight Norton clutch and shock absorber. Chain cases made from bits of Villiers cases all welded up by a pal of John’s who welds up nuclear subs. John welded up the oil tank from alloy too.

Back wheel from a 1956 James road bike with new rim, BSA brake back plate and linings. Severely modified and rebuild-able rear shock absorbers. Front forks from some 1970’s obscure British firm, possibly REH, with again my modified internals and damping, front wheel from auto-jumble. The Petrol tank is made for choppers in the 70’s with a lot of welding up.

The motorcycle in it's natural state, covered in mud.

The motorcycle in it's natural state, covered in mud.

And so on. I can’t think of much else except that it was made to compete in Pre’65 trials which I did a lot, including some of the major national ones, and it was always accepted as being in the spirit of the game, even if not totally authentic. I can’t remember how much it weighs, except that I used to be able to pick it up, and its wheelbase is much the same as a Tiger Cub’s, which was reckoned to be the yardstick, if you like teeny gurly bikes.’

Read an earlier post about the bike here


I was digging through some old albums of my dad and I found this excellent picture of him scrambling on a Matchless motorbike. Does anyone know what it is?

My dad scrambling on an unknown bike

My dad scrambling on an unknown bike

It looks like a 500cc bike, but I could be wrong. The engine shape is pretty distinctive, so I’d imagine someone out there will know what it is.

It might be a G85 or a G50, but the exhaust loops around to the wrong side, but my Dad may have modified it. He was pretty handy in the workshop which you can read about here.

So can anyone out there on the internet solve this mystery?

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