AJS & Matchless Owners Club

East Suffolk Section

John P’s 1960 350cc G5 Lightweight

I bought my 350 G5 Lightweight a year ago from Kettering Classics. I went there to view a Matchless 500 single – they had two – but both were in a condition that would require a lot of work. Don’t they all? What I was after was a bike to ride straight away with the minimum to do. I had a model 18 in the late 60’s. I started very young,  (LPV 432, sold it to bloke in Ipswich, whata mistaka to maka. Anyone know of its whereabouts now?), so an AMC machine was obviously what I was after.
However this G5 caught my eye “a very, very,Matchless 008 very nice lightweight” said the advert. And I must admit it did look in good condition. A few kicks later it fired up and after a ride the deal was done. A trip back next week with a man with a van and back it came.
After a few days in my garage that’s when the obligatory oil leak or two and odd bodge or three became apparent. But aren’t they all like that?
So, off with the seat and side panels, replacing dodgy wire crimps, check plug and points, chain tension, oil levels (what idiot designed a gearbox with the gears at the top?) and tyres and away I go. Or so I thought. After a decade or four the knack of starting old singles had escaped me. Will it start before my knee gives up? Fortunately it did, the bike start that is, the knees were already dodgy. Japanese electric starts seem so much easier.
From my recollections of keeping bikes running and legalish in my long distant past I recall that anything that was cheap and worked was acceptable, no matter the source. I never wanted a museum piece, I wanted a bike with character to ride, and if some bits are not standard I can live with that.
But I do enjoy riding it, an AMC single brings back a lot of memories.
I have to just remember to avoid the dual carriageways and bear in mind it’s fifty one years old. Not as old as me, but some would say better looking and carrying the years better.