THE NEW 1949 MATCHLESS G80
1949 was the first year for the Matchless G80S, the company’s top-line 500 single, the addition rear suspension. Typical of British bikes of the era, it used pushrods and a small bore/long stroke (undersquare). The new bike also had a new frame with a swing arm rear suspension, and “Teledraulic” (telescopic and hydraulically damped) front forks. The rear suspension was straight off of one of parent-company AMC’s other motorcycle brands. Velocette already had a swing arm suspension setup which used two vertical shock absorbers called “Candlesticks” because they were so thin (they only held 50cc of oil). The design and development work already done by Velocette, it made sense for AMC to use it again on the 1949 Matchless G80.
MATCHLESS G80 DESIGN
Because of the poor quality of the petrol (gasoline) in the UK at the time, British car and motorcycle manufacturers alike produced engines with relative low compression ratios. The 1949 Matchless G80 had a 5.9:1 compression ratio. It used hairpin valve springs, changed over from the used of conventional coil springs on wartime models. In typical British fashion, the timing gear was on the right side of the engine, and the primary chain and clutch were on the right, driving a 4-speed constant mesh gearbox which was shifted with the right foot.