Matchless G85 CS


Make Model

Matchless G85 CS


1964 - 69


Single cylinder, four stroke, SOHC


497 cc / 30.3 cub in.

Bore x Stroke

86 x 85.5 mm

Cooling System

Air cooled

Compression Ratio



Gear driven oil pump


Single, right side

Fuel System

Amal GP, 1-3/8 in. carburetor

From 1967: 932 Concentric carburetor





Maximum Power

30.2 kW / 41 hp @ 6500 rpm



Final Drive

Chain, 7.46


Duplex frame


1445 mm / 56.9 in.

Front Suspension

AMC fork

Rear Suspension

Swingarm, twin shocks and coil springs, oil dampers

Front Brakes

Drum, 7 in.

Rear Brakes

Drum, 8¼ in.


Steel, wire spokes

Front Tyre

3.00 x 21 in.

Rear Tyre

4.00 x 18 in.

Fuel Capacity 

9.1 L / 2.4 US gal


When production resumed in 1946, and respective ranges were by now almost identical, both marques listed trials, scrambles and racing models, albeit Ajay had to "make do" with a 350, the 7R, while Matchless filled the more prestigious 500 Class with the G45; in this instance AJS getting the better bargain! Both brands fostered their fair share of off-road "aces": Hugh Viney, Geoff Ward, and Gordon Jackson are but three on the AJS side, while Matchless signings included the Ratcliffe brothers, Basil Hall, Brian Stonebridge and Dave Curtis.

The firm's beautifully constructed "works" machines bore only cosmetic resemblance to their over-the-counter offerings; hand-built in the comp shop at Plumstead Road the team machines incorporated many special parts, and had motors that were the envy of main rivals BSA. Nevertheless an AMC "works" scrambler didn't suit everyone; looking back only three riders were fully capable of harnessing these machines, namely Ward, Stonebridge, and Curtis, for even the factory bikes retained the less than perfect handling characteristics of the standard G80CS-series production machine. It goes without saying that all three members of AMC's factory Scrambles Team were immensely strong!

As sold to the public the stock model G80CS was very overweight compared with a "works" bike, or a standard Gold Star, nor did it handle as well but they were reasonably quick and reliable. Factory bosses unfortunately were so remote from press and customer criticism inasmuch the G80CS continued in production from 1956 to 1965, during which time it received a minimum of modifications and/or improvements.

Finally in 1966, and believed to have been triggered by the popularity of BBC TV's Grandstand Scrambles, the penny dropped. In what was an unprecedented reaction AMC introduced the G85CS, a genuinely new model with a purpose-designed frame, alloy fuel tank, ultra light hubs, and a set of cycle parts requiring no further modifications. Less than 200 were built for sale, but thus mounted, Vic Eastwood, Chris Horsfield, and Dave Nicol enjoyed many successes.