Matchless G80

"G80 CS"


Make Model

Matchless G80, G80C, G80 CS, G80S


1946 - 66


Single cylinder, 4-stroke, pushrod


498 cc / 30.3 cub in.

Bore x Stroke

82.5 x 93 mm

Cooling System

Air cooled

Compression Ratio

1946 onwards: 5.9:1

From 1956: 7.3:1


Dry sump with external oil tank


Single, right side

Fuel System

Amal 27 mm carburetor





Maximum Power

21 kW / 28 hp @ 5600 rpm



Final Drive



Duplex frame


1397 mm / 55.0 in.

Front Suspension

G80L: Teledraulic fork

G80: Girder fork

Rear Suspension

G80: None, springloaded saddle

G80S : Swingarm, springloaded

Front Brakes


Rear Brakes



Steel, wire spokes

Dry Weight

177 kg  / 390 lbs

Top Speed

126 km/h / 78 mph

Source Wikipedia


In the early 1950s, the most popular British four-strokes were still pushrod singles. The Matchless G80 is typical of this era. The earliest G80 is sometimes referred to as a G80L, the L signifying "Teledraulic" forks, rather than girder forks.
The magneto on an AJS was in front of the cylinder, and the Matchless magneto was behind. A design originating in the 1930s, the Matchless was updated with a spring frame (swingarm) rear suspension in 1949, becoming the G80S. The suspension was a vast improvement on the bouncy rigid rear end but wheel travel was limited.
AMC had adopted Velocette's twin-shock swingarm rear suspension design for its top models. Vertical shock absorber units were introduced in 1949. The initial "Candlestick" shocks held only 50 cc of SAE 20 weight oil. Leak prone, they were replaced by the "Jampot" shocks in 1951, and by Girling shocks in 1956. In 1957, AMC switched from Burman gearboxes to their own make.


The leaky pressed-steel primary chain-case first appeared on AMC machines in the 1930s. In 1958 an alloy cover primary chain-case became available.
The motor was released with a compression ratio of 5.9:1, because of the poor quality fuel available in the United Kingdom immediately after the Second World War. In 1949 the hairpin valve springs were back, after the use of conventional coil valve springs in wartime engines. By 1951 the G80 had an alloy cylinder head and the barrel fins now went all the way to the base on competition models. The compression ratio was increased to 7.3:1 in 1956.


G80R "Sawn Off Shotgun"

Low compression meant that it was easy to kick-start and was more flexible at low revs. The earlier long stroke version might not quite reach 80 miles per hour (130 km/h), but it could trundle along at less than 20 miles per hour (32 km/h) in top gear. It also gave good fuel economy.
Model variations
The 500 cc "long stroke" G80CS was produced from 1951 through 1955. In 1956 it was replaced by the shorter stroke, larger bore models that used the same numeric codes. The bore of these early G80CS's was 82.5 mm (3.25"), while the 1956 through 1966 “short stroke” (final version) models had a bore of 86 mm. The C is for Competition (Scrambles) and the S for Suspension (not a rigid rear frame).
Matchless also made a 600cc version of the G80 called Typhoon. The bore was increased to 89mm while the stroke was increased from 85.5mm to a whopping 96mm. 125 bikes were reportedly made and almost all of them were sold in the USA. There was a road model with lights and a competition model without lights. The engine prefix code was TCS on these bikes.
Engine numbers usually start with the year of production, followed by model designation, and completed with the production number of the motorcycle.