1950 Matchless G80
How much fun can a 28 horsepower, 500cc one lunger be? When it’s a Matchless G80 and you have a vintage attitude…more fun than should be legal.
Most of us who have been riding motorcycles for any length of time, have ridden bikes that require all of your attention…NOW! Yeah, I know all about the adrenaline rush of 100+ horsepower and a motorcycle that is so responsive that if you shift the gum in your mouth from one side to the other, the bike turns! You spend all your time looking at the yellow stripe in the road and in your rear view mirror just in case there is a person in a car with red and blue lights flashing, wanting to have a talk with you. Kinda takes the fun out of your ride…well, maybe not, depends on your personality type. Before your insurance company, or bail bondsman, tells you slow down, think about changing your ride.
A while back I was visiting with a friend who had just acquired an old BSA 350 single in perfect running condition, well…not so perfect, but running. He did all the basics; new tyres, fluid changes, de-gunked the carb, cleaned all the electrical connections, looked at the brakes, and washed the bike…ready to ride. A couple of interesting things happened on that maiden voyage (maiden for him, not the bike). First, he scared the crap out of himself because he had never ridden a 50 year old motorcycle with drum brakes…”OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD, I’M GONNA DIE…” he didn’t die. Second, when he got home he couldn’t wipe the grin off his face for two days. This slow old motorcycle, in one day, taught him to enjoy the ride and the scenery. ” I didn’t know there was life under a hundred horsepower??!!” That old BSA is now his favorite ride. Did he get rid of his GSX-R1000? No…sometimes you still need an adrenaline rush.
I thought about this friend when I found this really nice 1950 Matchless G80 on ebay today. It is a really clean, unmolested and maybe unrestored, low mileage vintage British bike. These old Matchlesses were the stalwarts of the post war era British motorcycle industry. Low compression motors (because the petrol was so crappy at the time) made them easy to start and would let them chuff around at low speeds with no effort…perfect for just about everyone. So, here is one with only 2500 miles and, with a little general maintenance, will have you sporting that same grin my friend had for days to come. Click on the pic’s below for more info. This will be a great bike to ride, not stick in a museum.