1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Matchless Typhoon

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

  1. acotrel

    acotrel

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2012
    Not slagging off at fifties Matchless/AJS pushrod singles, I just know what they were. I'd much rather have a 500cc Ariel or BSA any day. The Typhoon was a major step forward, pity they did not continue, I'd really love to own one, or a 1963 650 CSR for that matter. I think it is really sad that the G50CSR was never widely available, what a great bike that would have been ? Would you buy an SR500 Yamaha in preference to one ? I think the British motorcycle industry never knew it's own strengths. They were too busy watching their competition. Why would anyone buy a bathtub Thunderbird in preference to a Bonneville ? Did Triumph think we might get our dresses caught in the spokes of the back wheel ?
    I've still got a lot of my old magazines from the fifties. Looking at the bikes in them is depressing - stuff you wouldn't give to a Japanese on ANZAC day ( or the 7th December, if you were an American ).
     
  2. Rohan

    Rohan

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2010
    The Typhoon was only a relatively minor variation of the G80CS bikes - that they'd been making for 10 years by then...

    Progress in British bikes may have been lamentable - but you have to remember that folks in those austere times wouldn't buy anything that cost a penny more than it needed to.
    Times have changed. Especially in 40/40 hindsight...
     
  3. daveh

    daveh

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2008
    Aco - don't be sad. Steve Tonkin will make you something even better: http://www.stevetonkinclassics.com/typhoon.html
     
  4. Rohan

    Rohan

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2010
    That would go nicely with his Seeley Commando in the shed....

    I preferred the TGA G50 powered trials type bike, for a japanese customer.
    Was a good magazine article on it, somewhere.

    [​IMG]

    Very similar, in concept, to the cammy trials (road enduro) bikes that AJS offered in the 1930s.
    About every other maker offered something similar, although not all ohc of course.
    Very big and popular form of competition back then
    (not a speed event, but a TIMED event, had to strictly obey speed limits).
     
  5. acotrel

    acotrel

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2012
    That Tonkin Typhoon, really does it for me. It is a real shame that a long production run of something similar did not happen. I sincerely believe that the Mk3 Seeley G50 was the best ever British single cylinder racer. Perhaps we could entice the Chinese to make them ? We could then buy them by the container load and sell them as commuters. If I was President of the United States, we would have some real fun.
    Thanks fellas, You have really brightened up my day, that is the most beautiful thing I've seen since I kissed my wife a few minutes ago:


    [​IMG]
     
  6. Rohan

    Rohan

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2010
    With some reliability improvements, you can buy them - they were called the XT500 !!??
    Yamahahaha sold boatloads of them....

    You can even buy a kit of bits to make it look like a G50.
    Come full circle ?
     
  7. acotrel

    acotrel

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2012
    Rohan, That is not quite the same. The XT500 is unit construction, so you cannot mix and swap gearboxes and clutches. It has a Japanese frame. It probably has a shorter stroke. It is a whole different concept, and it is a throw-away item. British bikes were totally rebuildable. Would you like to make crankcases for an XT500 ? It doesn't even start to give me an adrenalin rush. I look at that Seeley G50 of Steve Tonkin's and I immediately get the urge. I know exactly what it is , and I would really love to wring it's neck !! I just wish I was rich again - more lottery tickets needed.
     
  8. Rohan

    Rohan

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2010
    Maybe not for circuit racing - which you keep complaining (on and on and on) doesn't have a class or future.
    But XT500 and SR500 (and 400) are quite collectable these days. And quite rebuildable.
    Madass supplies some bits for them. ?
    Very popular bike to ride overland, at one stage, easily made the distance.
    Try that on your Seeley G50....
     
  9. acotrel

    acotrel

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2012
    Rohan, I appreciate the Steve Tonkin bike for what it is - a sixties cafe racer. I know it's a nostalgia trip, however I don't believe the Mk3 Seeley G50 was ever improved on. There are lots better things to race in modern classes if you like that sort of thing. To me that sort of bike is like comparing royal tennis with what happens at Wimbleton these days. Have you seen the videos of Dave Roper on the G50 on the IOM ? A modern superbike would make him look stupid, however what he is actually doing is the real deal. If you can do the 100 MPH lap on a G50 or 30M on the IOM, you have really achieved something. Try that on your SR500 or XT500 some time.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IcD_vdAAlMk

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qw9dpqdYdc4

    Have a look at his mate with the Seeley G50 in Part 2.
     
  10. acotrel

    acotrel

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2012
    Rohan, If you want to see real road racing, get yourself on the grid with a whole field of only two valve air cooled 500cc single cylinder bikes - no two strokes or multis. You might discover something about your own abilities. It is not rocket science to run a road race class like that, and have a truly level playing field.
     
  11. daveh

    daveh

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2008
    Aco - You have given us a good insight into what motorcycling was really like for you and your mates in the 50s, while I was still in short trousers.

    You nailed it - the G50 Tornado stirs the soul. It is evocative, beautiful, purposeful; it begs you to ride it. I rode and worked on hundreds of Japanese bikes from the classic era and, leaving aside pure race bikes, none of them come close to doing that. Forget practicality, you'd want this for your favourite roads and to come back with a satisfied grin on your face, a carpet of bugs on the headlamp, the fins pinging as it cools in the quiet of the evening. And look forward to doing it again the next day. :D

    As to running a field of only air-cooled, two valve 500cc singles, that is what the Lansdowne Series does in the UK: http://www.lansdowneclassicseries.com

    Dave
     
  12. acotrel

    acotrel

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2012
    Dave,
    The Lansdowne Series is the last remaining vestige of real road racing on the planet. I will never be able to go there and participate unless I win a lottery - I wish ! If we had banned two strokes from racing against Manx Nortons in 1963, the world would be a better place now. I enjoy a good two stroke race, however even that does not happen any more. I recently sold a very good TZ350G, because the racing provided for it did not justify the costs of participation. It is a bloody crazy world, and it pisses me off because it could be so good with a minor change of mindset.
    P.S. That Seeley G50 café racer gives me a real buzz. Everyone should own one ! When I built my Seeley with the commando engine, I really wanted the G50 motor. However same problem - it would have ended up in a class where it would be competing with two strokes, and that is not what it is about. Mixed grids of bikes of different technologies are a real turn-off. You see better racing on the freeways.

    If you have a look at the Lansdowne racing on Youtube, you will see the guys have only the barest differences in relative speeds, and it is all about rider skill. If you win in that situation you have really proved you are the best (especially if there is an ace in amongst them). And that actually means something to me. These days in Australian historic racing , the kids want the easy win - 'bigger is better' - I don't believe that they know how to have fun. A short while ago it was available in the 125cc two stroke racing, I used to watch it and get scared for the guys doing it.
     
  13. acotrel

    acotrel

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2012
    Dave, About the 50s. Talking to you guys takes me back. It was an entirely different world. We had very little money, and we knew not much about anything. Motorcycling and hotting up bikes in particular was a big passion, and I still have that vice. It still keeps me relatively sane. I love this forum, it helps my memory of the good times when went to dances and the movies , shagged beautiful women, and outran our mates on bikes as well as the cops. I'm sorry that we oldies haven't left a much better world for you, however I wouldn't go back to the 50s, even though I think we've seen the best of everything.

    Have you seen this ? , it is fairly accurate and gives some idea of what we were like :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvWBXHRIauA

    This clip makes me want to cry. I'd love to find even just one of these characters if I had that Typhoon Seeley G50 :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvLSBvUI ... =fvwp&NR=1
     
  14. daveh

    daveh

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2008
    Aco, I would not go back to the 70s either, even though I had a lot of fun and few responsibilities back then. The appeal of classic bikes for me is not about living in the past but enjoying them for what they are - beautiful pieces of machinery which have style and character, built by real people. I used to have an unrestored E Type Jag Roadster (XKE), which I shared with two other friends until I sold my share very recently. I wasn't that interested in the 60s, when it was built, it was just a great car to drive around in. What struck me was that it was the kids who would stick their heads out the window at traffic lights to remark on the car, even though they didn't have a clue what it was or when it was made. I see a Norton 650SS or Commando in the same light as an E Type - they have a timeless appeal that spans the generations.

    Thanks for the clips.
     
  15. wakeup

    wakeup

    Joined:
    May 1, 2013
    I'm with aco here. The BSA cast iron motors were much better than the "ordinary" AMC motors. Fill them up with Gold Star bits run them on methanol and they are very good. One of my old friends used to race a B33 in classic races here and did quite well. He was chuffed to bits when he beat a "proper" racing 500, I can't see a pushrod AMC single going that well unless it was a 500CS. I had a 1953 AJS 350 which was a lovely bike to ride, but it wouldn't pull the skin off a rice pudding, and it handled like a sack of spuds.
    I also had a 1957 Triumph T100 which was a beauty, and transformed after I bent the forks (hit a large dog) and replaced them with the forks, front wheel from a late '60's 650. After that it handled quite well.
    I also had two Gold Stars, a BB34 and a DB32. The BB34 was a really good road bike, with scrambles cams it would pull from idle to about 6500rpm. The DB32 was faster than the BB34 but not as nice to ride, mind you a big GP carb, and racing cams probably had something to do with that!
    When I was first married I got a 650CSR AJS with a single seat Steib on the side. It would do almost 100mph with my wife in the chair. Brakes were awful though. Great fun going round roundabouts sideways though!!
    I almost ordered a Seeley Condor in the '70's, but sadly couldn't justify the cost, that Tonkin replica also does it for me. Just about the ultimate road bike I reckon.
    As an alternative a Matchless Typhoon would do it for me!! I don't remember seeing anything like them in the UK in the '60s though, apart from those used in competition obviously.
    cheers
    Wakeup
     
  16. Rohan

    Rohan

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2010
    The trouble with Aco's wonderful memories is that they are too selective though ?!?

    What about small journal Triumph cranks that come to bits, including rod big ends.
    Or BSA or Triumph or Norton lugged frames, that separate into more than one piece.
    AMC frames were remarkably crack and break free, it must be said....
    BSA rigid and plunger frames and all iron B33 engines weighed a ton, and were pretty crude in the handling dept.
    CP gearboxes were also used by Ariels and Panthers and Vincent (singles), they seemed to do OK. ?
    There was a progression of clutches to cope with bigger and bigger outputs.
    Turnip and BSA and Norton clutches notched their clutch centres, do we just ignore that ?
    AMC Teledraulic forks had a lovely soft action to them, if only that could be said of other makes of forks. ?
    An AMC motor with all CS bits in it and bolt-through alloy top end goes just like a G80CS - or a Gold star.
    You could just buy a CS to begin with, and be competitive right off. ?
    Cammy Nortons and Velos and 7R and G50 were renowned for being fussy, and leaking oil and loosing bits along the way, do we just ignore these foibles ??
    Including those TT and GP carbs with no idle function....

    This reminds me a little of something the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) did in the US in the 1950s.
    They bought half a dozen cars out of Dealer showrooms, ran them in as recommended and used them on the road for a while.
    Then put them on a Dyno, and ran the engines flat strap.
    The average engine life doing this was 7 minutes. None of them did more than double this.
    Until recently, the publication was on their website, but recently it has become pay only.

    Ah, wonderful days.
    It was all good fun though, and par for the course ?
     
  17. wakeup

    wakeup

    Joined:
    May 1, 2013
    Rohan said.....

    "The trouble with Aco's wonderful memories is that they are too selective though ?!?"
    Aco should answer this. I don't think they are(selective that is).

    "What about small journal Triumph cranks that come to bits, including rod big ends."
    Presumably that's why they introduced the "big bearing" cranks. I'd call that development. There are very few companies that get things 100% right first time.

    "Or BSA or Triumph or Norton lugged frames, that separate into more than one piece."
    I agree, lugged and brazed frames belong in the 1800s and on a bicycle.

    "AMC frames were remarkably crack and break free, it must be said...."
    as it happens, of the two AJSs I've had, one, the 650CSR had a broken frame tube, mind you it was attached to a sidecar. One of my most scary memories is seeing Bill Ivy on a "factory" AMC 750 (Atlas engine/gearbox in AJS/Matchless cycle parts,....maybe G15??) at the 500 mile Production bike race, the one time it was run at Castle Combe. Seeing Ivy STANDING UP wrestling this thing around a very fast corner lap after lap put me off my food for a long time.

    "BSA rigid and plunger frames and all iron B33 engines weighed a ton, and were pretty crude in the handling dept."
    Quite right. However don't forget that the BSA swinging arm frame became available in the early 50s (52 or 53?) This was a frame that some considered equal to the featherbed, whether it was or not, the BSA swinging arm frame did handle very well.

    "CP gearboxes were also used by Ariels and Panthers and Vincent (singles), they seemed to do OK. ?"
    Seemed to do OK at what? Promenading sedately around the suburbs maybe.

    "There was a progression of clutches to cope with bigger and bigger outputs."
    If they hadn't changed them people would complain that they were too big and heavy to start with. If they didn't change them people would complain that they were not up to the task.

    "Turnip and BSA and Norton clutches notched their clutch centres, do we just ignore that ?"
    No

    "AMC Teledraulic forks had a lovely soft action to them, if only that could be said of other makes of forks. ?"
    No, in many ways they were the best early British telescopic forks.

    "An AMC motor with all CS bits in it and bolt-through alloy top end goes just like a G80CS - or a Gold star."
    Never having seen one (G80CS) being used I wouldn't know, maybe they were all exported to the colonies. However didn't BSA Gold Stars pretty much cause the Clubmans TT to go away because it had become a "one make race"??

    "You could just buy a CS to begin with, and be competitive right off. ?"
    I don't remember seeing a G80CS on the road in the UK, at all. However there were lots of Goldies

    "Cammy Nortons and Velos and 7R and G50 were renowned for being fussy, and leaking oil and loosing bits along the way, do we just ignore these foibles ??" Certainly not. Road going cammy Nortons and Velos were derived from pre war engines, and very exclusive/expensive. Again in the 60s and 70s I don't remember seeing an Inter on the road, apart from the odd special event. Maybe one or two KSS Velos, they were a better bike anyway. 7R and G50 were seldom seen on the road. After all they were racing bikes. However a friend had a G50 with lights on in the early 70s

    "Including those TT and GP carbs with no idle function...."
    Just imagine the complaints about putting an idle function on a racing carburettor.

    "This reminds me a little of something the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) did in the US in the 1950s.
    They bought half a dozen cars out of Dealer showrooms, ran them in as recommended and used them on the road for a while.
    Then put them on a Dyno, and ran the engines flat strap.
    The average engine life doing this was 7 minutes. None of them did more than double this.
    Until recently, the publication was on their website, but recently it has become pay only."
    I'm not surprised

    "Ah, wonderful days."
    In retrospect they were very interesting, but I wouldn't want to repeat them. There was an awful lot of Grey Porridge (any side valve, all Panthers, all Francis Barnett, all James, 350 and 500 pushrod Norton singles) with the occasional star (Velos, Goldies, Rocket Gold Star, 650SS, Atlas maybe, late model Bonneville T120R)
    "It was all good fun though, and par for the course ?"
    Good fun certainly, but par for which course.....reliving youth course??
    cheers
    wakeup
     
  18. daveh

    daveh

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2008
  19. Rohan

    Rohan

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2010
    CP boxes were leftovers from the 1930s, with grease lubrication and spindly little shafts.
    They were obsolete by 1951, when they were replaced.
    Racing them seems an exercise in silliness ??!!

    G80CS were sold as scramblers, and were competitive as such.
    Goldies could be had as scramblers or amateur road racers, or road bikes.
    No match for a pukka 7R, or G50 when they eventually appeared.
    (Why did it take AMC 10 years to bring out a 500cc version of the 7R ??)

    Now that comment I do not understand. ?
    All the race cars I've met or seen will idle, more or less.
    Non-english race bikes will idle...

    Having several (project) pushrod Norton singles, can't see that they are different in any substantial way from BSA singles of the same era. ?
    Iron motors and plunger frames were all considered boat anchors even in their day - but still made capable get-you-around bikes.
    These days, these cruiser behemoths have taken over this role, sort-of ?
    And ES2's with some serious tweaks are capable of beating an older good manx these days, so are not without potential.

    We iz straying from Typhoons here somewhat though.
     
  20. wakeup

    wakeup

    Joined:
    May 1, 2013
    Yes quite right, drifting that is.
    Some of the senior management in English companies, especially motorcycle companies was dreadful though, especially in the 50s and 60s. It was Donald Heather, the big white chief at AMC who said that "Motorcyclists like tinkering with their bikes on a Saturday". Lady Docker who was involved with the management at BSA had a gold plated Daimler, the stories of mismanagement are legend. Then there was Edward Turner mostly at Triumph, whose (very) limited technical ability was grossly overpowered by his ego, bombastic and intimidating nature. Having said that England, in the 50s was a pretty bleak place for the ordinary bod.
    The fact of the matter is, that there was little if any money available for new developments, either because of incompetence or gold plated cars.
    Having said all of that I could certainly find room in my shed for a road equipped Typhoon, a Seeley Condor, or an original 650SS.
    cheers
    wakeup
     

Share This Page