Become a Member: Get Ad-Free Access to 3,000+ Reviews, Guides, & More

1956 Matchless G9

1956 Matchless G9
500 Twin

Matchless Motorcycles cut their teeth on the depressed British home market, depressed both before World War II and after. They did good business selling reliable single-cylinder bikes to commuters who used them as their only means of transport to and from work. But things were changing in the marketplace. American was fast becoming the largest market by far for British motorcycles, and US riders wanted a very different motorcycle than the British rider did. Britain is an ancient land with tiny streets, congested cities, and very little open space, and their bikes were sell suited to this environment. American, on the other hand, was vast, with wide, long roads that begged to be driven fast. Americans wanted power and speed. Triumph was making a fortune on their 500 Speed Twin and almost the entire industry followed suit with their own 500 vertical twins. Triumph introduced their first vertical twin, the 5T Speed Twin in 1937. Everyone else followed after the War. BSA was next with their A7 in 1946. Norton launched their Model 7 500 twin in 1949. Matchless introduced their own 500 twin, the G9 in 1949 also. In AJS form, it was called the Model 20, but other than paint and trim was mechanically identical to the Matchless G9. They were solid, well-built bikes that unfortunately never sold in the kinds of numbers that Triumph or BSA were enjoying at the time. In 1956, they punched out the 500 G9 to 600cc and called it the G11 (and AJS Model 30), then punched it out again, this time to 650cc, calling it the G12 (and AJS Model 31).

1956 Matchless G9 SPECIFICATIONS

Model designation
Years of production
Engine type
Bore & Stroke
Compression ratio
Fuel system
Spark plugs
Oil capacity
Power output
Primary drive
Gear shifting
Final drive
Frame type
Front suspension
Rear suspension
Front brake
Rear brake
Front tire
Rear tire
Dry weight
Fuel capacity
Top speed
1956 Mathcless G9
Air-cooled OHV vertical twin
498cc / 30.4 ci
66mm X 72.8mm
1- Amal 376/6 carburetor
Lucas K2F magneto
Lucas 6-volt, 12 Ah
KLG FE80, 14mm thread
Dry sump
2.5L / 5.3 US quarts
33 HP @ 6,800 RPM / 24.3 kW
Multi-plate, wet
4-speed constant-mesh
Right foot
Single downtube, double cradle
Swing arm w/2 shocks
SLS drum
SLS drum
3.25″ X 19″
3.50″ X 19″
55.25″ / 1403 mm
400 lbs / 181 kg
4.5 US gal / 17 L
85 mph / 137 km/h
Black, Red