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Matchless Typhoon

Discussion in 'AJS & Matchless' started by worntorn, Jun 1, 2013.

  1. daveh

    daveh

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2008
    Glen - thanks for posting, but look what you started! :roll:

    The Typhoon in the auction photos looks great (as does the G50CSR). I am not at all surprised that such a rare and beautiful motorcycle would go for big money.

    Like you, I'd like to know more about how it goes. Did it have serious grunt or was it a soft old thing in standard tune?

    Slightly off-topic, but a guy over here races a G80 CS in a Rickman Metisse frame. It looks a handsome beastie. I must ask him what he's done to it and how it rides. I expect to see him at the next classic race event in a few weeks time and I will take some photos.
     
  2. Rohan

    Rohan

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2010
    AMC sold a lot of those G80CS and 18CS models over the years - and if you look in old race photos there are always a fair smatter of them about. Like GoldStar scramblers.
    And they feature in plenty of the results, so you'd have to think they were fairly competitive.
    The factory race guys certainly got plenty of wins too, over the DECADES.

    jampots (rear shocks) and their successors, and various alternative rear shocks always seem to come up in the discussions about them though, so that was one area that always needed attention - or upgrade. Apparently the damping tended to fade away after a while, and oil leaks were not unknown.

    Don Morley puts out a good Osprey book on "british motorcycle scramblers", goes through all the makes and models, and lists their history and strengths and weakness.
    Interesting reading, this was a more competitive market and race scene than road racing, in some respects - far more participants, at a factory level too.
    AMC had long strings of wins at some events, for years and years...
     
  3. beng

    beng

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2011
    There was not 50 G50csr bikes made, it was 25, that was all that was needed to make the g50 legal for AMA racing. In different years the AMA changed the number of bikes needed to qualify them as "production" bikes, one more tool they tried to use to favor certain brands, a tactic that eventually failed before the might of the Japanese factories who were able to turn out all the exotic multis and specials they needed at their whim.

    During the 60s Team Hansen had a few G50s painted white and orange that they ran up and down the Eastern USA. At one point Bob Hansen gave Rob Ianucci a list he had gotten hold of showing where every G50csr was sold in the USA and who it was sold to, enabling Ianucci to go around and buy up a large collection of G50 spares and bikes, including most of the ones with any important USA racing history like Albert Gunter's and Dick Mann's. You have to give Ianucci credit for having the foresight to chase these bikes down before anyone else thought to do it.

    Except for a hiccup of a few months in the early 60s when they tried to outlaw it when Dick Mann did really well with it, the road race chassis was an approved "accessory".

    Berliner had a lot of extra G50 parts in stock. Around 1970 a friend of Heinz Kegler bought a G50 road racer with a bent frame for a few hundred bucks, Heinz went into Berliner's stash and came up with a brand new frame, which is still on the bike to this day. Once the G50 was legal and the road race equipment was approved then there was nothing stopping anyone from racing the regular G50 roadracer in the USA except that parts became scarce for them and like all 4-strokers the Yamaha 250s and 350s made them obsolete after a few years.
     
  4. Rohan

    Rohan

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2010
    Roy Bacon "AJS & Matchless Buyers Guide" P116 says a batch of 25 were dispatched in Feb 1962, as 25 were required to meet American regulations.
    And on P120 says that a batch of 50 were built for racing in the US.

    Maybe more were sent than those initial 25 ??
     
  5. acotrel

    acotrel

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2012
    Here in Australia, a few people have made replica G50 engines. A pushrod single would probably require more effort. In any case I believe the later Matchless singles has a G50 type crank ? The 50s models had fragile crankpins, flywheels and rods . The CP gear box blew up easily, the drive on the oil pump was always a problem. Camshaft AJS and Matchless were around prewar (R7) . The fifties Matchless and AJS were simply cheapskate stuff that the mug punters would accept - compare them with the SR500 Yamaha and tell me why the British would not go broke ? That G50CSR is a beautiful bike, and it would not have cost much more to produce than the pushrod models.
    Another thing comes to mind. In the late thirties there was a model known as the G90 Matchless. It had the older style piston and rod in the engine. The frame was swinging arm however it had girder forks. also had a raised exhaust, and a map lamp on the tank. It was a competitor to the Empire Star BSA, however probably a better thing. They were discontinued after WW2. Another opportunity lost ?
    I think it is a real pity that AMC didn't solve their problems until the mid-sixties. The Typhoon was great, also the 650CSR twin was good after they solved its oiling problems, and difficulties with cam followers and rocker gear. If the G45 racer had been given the same treatment in the fifties, it might have been excellent.
     
  6. Rohan

    Rohan

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2010
    AMC sold a mighty lot of those ohv 500cc G80CS and 18CS compy bikes - and had a big success rate with them.
    Not to mention the large factory teams that AJS and Matchless fielded with them, quite separately it must be noted.
    AMC were the worlds largest motorcycle manufacturer there at some stage.
    To call the largest and most successfull manufacturer anything else is just plain nonsense and ignorance.

    And the crankpins weren't fragile as long as the 2 piece factory ones were used, it was owners using the cheapskate 1 piece ones that caused problems.

    OHC motors were in a whole another league, it cost more than the average house to own one back then - check house prices against a new one. !
    OHV were far cheaper to manufacture, back then, although these days the difference is probably barely significant.
    AMC did produce those 'Cadwell' versions of the ohv, now why they didn't appear as a regular competition version could be debated....
     
  7. worntorn

    worntorn

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2006
    Kinda fun when these threads take on a life of there own. Even if we end up mostly talking about g 50s rather than Typhoons. I fully understand this, given my ability to turn any discussion into a Vincent discussion. :mrgreen:

    Glen
     
  8. Rohan

    Rohan

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2010
    Before you've even mentioned ohc Vincents, we're surprised that 'someone' hasn't already posted here that they are just rubbish....
     
  9. acotrel

    acotrel

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2012
    Vincents are lovely. My brother is currently building another historic speedway outfit, and that is lovely. I rode a solo one with as full race motor on methanol years ago, and wondered w here all the urge was coming from. Rohan, I don't know where all those compy Matchlesses went. I've only ever seen one fifties model, and two sixties models in Australia over the last fifty years . And I've only ever seen one 650CSR, it was ridden by a NSW cop who booked us on the way home from Bathurst races in about 1963. It is a real pity, because I believe that AMC actually finally fixed their silly problems, and produced decent bikes towards the end .
     
  10. acotrel

    acotrel

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2012
    I think that in Australia, many of us don't know what a Typhoon is, and believe it is the same as the fifties Matchless and AJS singles. If you found one somewhere, it probably would not cost too much, unless the owner was really switched on - pretty rare here, but the knowledgeable are about. My friend restored a compy Matchless years ago and still has it, for some reason I think it is a 600.
     
  11. Rohan

    Rohan

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2010
    The bulk of the (later) compy bikes all went to the USA.
    Don't folks in the UK have to buy one from the US if they want to see one.

    Towards the end, Matchless used Norton motors !
    But you believe right, Matchless did solve their crankshaft problems = went to a better grade of metal.
    That centre main bearing was also sorted out, but by all accounts the Matchless motors were never quite as fast, or as smooth, as a Norton...

    This is of course referring to the twins.
    Compy singles were fairly strong from the early 1950s, when they went to all alloy motors and bolt-through cylinder heads - and would give Goldys etc a run for their money. Especially the later shorter stroke versions.
     
  12. gtsun

    gtsun VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2009
    This thread is fun but also painful, when I was in my late teens at the end of the 70's a pal came by to tell my roomate & I of a bike sitting in a neighbors back yard and the elderly lady wanted it gone. He said it was a Harley her husband rode and judging by how long he'd been gone we guessed it was from the 20's or 30's.. She wanted $100.00 so we broke the land speed records getting there and found a 1955 AJS single, complete with the Jam pot shocks etc. We had it running that day and loved it. Wish I knew more about it but sadly my friend died in a bad crash when he combined a 750 Triumph with the excitement after the speedway races and too much beer with a high speed freeway overpass. We gave the bike to his father who had owned a Triumph/Norton shop for years & wanted to restor it. I never saw it again as he lived a long ways away but I sure liked that little thing, I think it was a 5 or 600 but don't really know.
     
  13. acotrel

    acotrel

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2012
    My reference to the Matchless twin was about the 650CSR.. A friend still owns a G45 racer, and fixed it's cam follower problems by using the mid-sixties parts. I believe the 650CSR was a decent bike, however I've never seen one for sale in Australia. The early 500 twin had some severe problems. I can remember trying to help a friend to stop the thackery thwack in the rocker gear, and the hole in the conrods for the sizing pin was sheer idiocy - that is where they used to break.
    Any BSA B33 is a far superior bike to any fifties AMC pushrod single. A Goldie makes them look really sad, however a Typhoon is worth having.

    [​IMG]

    I wish ! !

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Rohan

    Rohan

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2010
    Wow, you are throwing a lot into the mix there !
    The B33 used an all iron motor and plunger frame for YEARS after the CS motors were all alloy and spring frame, was a slow old heavy road bike compared to a winning scrambles bike. As was the goldie - eventually...
     
  15. acotrel

    acotrel

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2012
    Rohan, I only know what happens when you try t o get performance out of those bikes. A 1956 B33 is far superior to any fifties AJS or Matchless pushrod single. And it doesn't have a hinge in the middle and a weak gear box.
     
  16. Rohan

    Rohan

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2010
    A B33 is 'superior' to anything ???
    No disrespect to B33 owners, weren't they the grey porridge of the motorcycling world ?

    Last G80CS I saw was disappearing up the road at a vast rate of knots.
    Probably more than a B33 would even know about.
    e.g. just for example
    [​IMG]

    You said earlier you hadn't seen many G80CS bikes. That is becoming evident.
    These things had a winning competition history that goldstars envied....

    Wasn't it the Vincent that was said to 'have a hinge in the middle'. ??
     
  17. acotrel

    acotrel

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2012
    The earlier AMC singles had that alloy block to which the swing arm was attached - the bearings were too close together so that any wear had a large effect at the rear contact patch. Years ago we used to hot up those old bikes . We bought a factory race cam from Rod Coleman for an AJS 500, it broke the crank pin almost immediately. For the B33 there were two types of race cam available in Europe. One of our local aces had the 1958 version of the Goldie cam, but would never sell them to others (only the early one). We imported a set, and the bike was extremely quick, and did not destroy itself. The AJS was quick while it was going, however you wouldn't want the stupid problems. I will guarantee that the fifties compy Matchless has steel fly wheels and a pressed up big end ! The normal street bike was rubbish, especially the CP gear box, and the oil pump drive.
    About Vincents - if the pivot and fork bearings are tight, and the dampers under the seat are set correctly, the bike usually handles very well. A mate of mine was chucked onto his head off a Vincent at 70 MPH, when it grabbed him by the throat.
     
  18. Rohan

    Rohan

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2010
    Oddly enough, I have a kit of parts to build an AMC frame with that alloy swingarm pivot.
    Doesn't seem any worse than period Triumph or Norton or BSA parts.
    Burman CP box likewise.

    You seem to be either wearing rose tinted glasses - or none.
    With nothing inbetween.
    40/40 hindsight in action, yet again...
     
  19. acotrel

    acotrel

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2012
    We broke plenty of AJS etc. Burman CP gearboxes. It was the first thing we used to change. I believe the box in the Ariel Square four was a stronger version Burman ? Have you had a look at how the pivot is mounted in a swinging arm BSA frame ? Triumph swing arm frames used to flex, however nothing like the Matchless/AJS frame with that alloy block. When Triumph 650s became unit construction, they handled as good as a featherbed. Pre-unit Triumph was bad, however they could still be road raced. The only really successful 500cc Matchless pushrod engined bike I can remember in the fifties used a manx frame and was set up to pull hard. We used steel flywheels out of the Ariel Red Hunter. We did not know about the 500cc Jawa /ESO speedway engines back then - it could have been a vastly different story. ( we have always been allowed to use methanol fuel, that is why our early riders did so well in Europe - they were used to the speed.)
    Have you ever heard of Neil Street who used to mentor the Australian riders in the Poole speedway club, in the UK ? His daughter married Phil Crump the international speedway champion? Most of the fast Jawa engines in Australia were built by him. And a few are still being used in featherbed historic racers here. The two valve Jawa engine is far superior to any British pushrod motor.

    We did not know about this bike ! :

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    That engine with a return oil pump in a Gold Star BSA frame would be a very good go.
     
  20. Rohan

    Rohan

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2010
    The Burman CP gearbox ended production in 1951 - it was a 30's design.
    So no surprises there - for road use, they did what they were designed for. ?
    The Triumph unit frames were likewise 20 years later in design, so no surprises there either.
    Matchless didn't stick with the same gearboxes forever, nor the same frame designs, they moved on too, like everyone else.
    The AMC box that came out of improving the CP box, and then the B52 box, became what was eventually used in the Commando !

    Slagging off stuff with 40/40 hindsight, again ???
     

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