The Matchless G-85 CS

The Matchless G-85 CS was a fine, handcrafted  off-road only scrambles racer built to a  higher standard than any previously sold to the general public through the dealerships.
It had less standard Matchless components on it than anything this side of a G-50 road racer! The Example shown appears to be completely original.
As trim as they were, these bikes were not overwhelmed with brute horsepower and  did weigh a good deal more than  rapidly improving two strokes they ran against.
The G-85 is the direct predecessor of the P-11 Norton, which has basically the same frame. It is commonly reported that the P-11 was born as a result of the west coast distributor installing a 750 Norton twin in a G-85, sending back it to the factory with the instruction "build this".
The frame was bronze brazed Renold 531 (that's Brit  for Chrome Moly) in a design clearly derived from the Rickman Brothers' popular and successful Metisse;  The front forks  appear standard; the front hub has the cooling fins removed giving it a unique appearance even though the weight saved amounts to ounces at best!  The rear hub and brake plate are "Elektron" magnesium alloy items of G-50 road racer derivation.  Foot peg hangers, rear brake lever and so on all also fabricated from tubing rather than cast.  
The bike came with a fiberglass fuel tank and sidecovers.  The alloy  oil tank was a very complex shape, welded up from sheet.  At the time, the Brits were said to have welded items like this with oxy-acetylene, a tricky process at best;  TIG welding (aka Heliarc) was  not yet common.  Perhaps the least practical feature is the 1 3/8" AMAL GP carbureter, which has tight inner clearances that don't get along amicably with grit and dust.  A big dell Orto pumper or AMAL Concentric would be a better choice for anyone serious about riding one of these and enjoying it.  The ignition is by Lucas magneto, and these generally gave adequate service.  Yes, they did have that ridiculous stubby front fender.  The primary chaincase is an alloy version of the '50's "clamshell".
Exactly how many of these were built and how many survive today is a question we can't answer;
We can say firsthand that they were sure fun to ride!

Thanks to  Ray MacDonnell for the photo shown here.

 Next: Bob Allen's G85 Pics

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