G2 restoration - Opinions

Information relating to the Matchless G2 or AJS Model 14 250cc Lightweight
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DimgJa
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Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Dec 24, 2019 3:18 pm
Location: Viseu PORTUGAL

G2 restoration - Opinions

Post by DimgJa »

Hello all,
A brief introduction:
My name is not DimgJa of course but Paul. I am Dutch and own a 1954 G80S since 1978. In those years I lived in Amsterdam and drove regularly to the south of France, and also once to Scotland. After emigrating to Portugal in the early nineties (my wife is Portuguese) the bike remained stored. In 2020 I retired and last summer the Matchless resumed it's plonking life again in the beautiful Portuguese countryside. In an amazing way it resumed life after 39 years of standstill. But that is another story.

The G2
Last August a lovely 1959 G2 came my way. After a few days I made a short test ride to the village garbage bin and back, using only first and second gear. It sounded very well but I didn't want to push it climbing mountains (there is nothing else beyond the garbage bin), and also had to spare my behind because there is no seat.
The gearbox happily leaks at standstill as soon as it is topped up, but the PO - whom I trust - claims that he never had problems with the gears except the kick not coming back. He had bought the bike in the early eighties and had transformed it into something groovy, stripping it almost bare including the chainguard. He must have been a bachelor at the time and I was lucky to find a NOS chainguard.

Your opinions
The bike looks lovely and I might not be getting it completely back to originality. Here I need your opinions, what would you do?
Leave the Honda forks on? They are much better than the original and the brake is splendid... or mount a teledraulic?
And the rear shocks? Leave them on, or find Girlings?
So far it has been impossible to find a left-hand toolbox, nor an early buddyseat. If those prove impossible I might fabricate a toolbox of polyester, that might pass unnoticed.
And maybe use a Lycett saddle instead? Never seen a G2 with a saddle, but nevertheless...
And what about this air filter, would that be original? Happy that it is there anyway, on my G80S there is none.

I will take my time preparing a restoration some day, in the mean time doing research, sorting things out and chase parts. That has become very costly after Brexit, risen tranport prices, customs clearance services and paying VAT two times, all this even on secondhand stuff, all togeher effectively doubling the cost. And delays up to 10 weeks!
Looking forward to hearing your ideas.
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raffles
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Posts: 559
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 1990 12:00 am
Location: NORTHAMPTONSHIRE UK

Re: G2 restoration - Opinions

Post by raffles »

Hi Paul yes the bike is far from original but so what .I would fit a seat(the club may still have some lightweight seat bases)
and just use it and enjoy it.To restore it would mean a financial outlay that would allways far outweigh the value .
So yes play with it and have fun
Tony
Rangy65
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Posts: 377
Joined: Tue May 07, 2013 11:35 pm
Location: LINCOLNSHIRE UK

Re: G2 restoration - Opinions

Post by Rangy65 »

Hi Paul go with what you have. The front brake will be a massive improvement on the original. The club does stock complete seats part number 044284 or just the seat base 044284A if you want to do you own thing with the styling or just save money. I like the air filter looks similar to a competition one so keep it. I have seen left side tool box panels on ebay recently - i my experience its the right hand side that difficult to find as it is the tool box. the left side is more of a fixed cover. Most parts for the gearbox are available from the club should you wish to fix the leaks ( seals & gaskets probably) but if you're not bothered by the leaks and its working fine just remember to keep it topped up. The shocks on these bikes were unique and the design was to clear the original chain guard. if you don't have the original chain guard you can fit aftermarket shocks as long as the overall length and bushes are correct. I fitted Betor Trials shocks to my bike - they come in different lengths and spring weights are are good value. I think i made up some sleeves to fit the bushes as of course every thing is metric these days. Good look with what ever you do and post some more photos with the changes.
Regards
Steve
DimgJa
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Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Dec 24, 2019 3:18 pm
Location: Viseu PORTUGAL

Re: G2 restoration - Opinions

Post by DimgJa »

Hello Steve,
So now I find out why the PO removed the chainguard - he fitted the Honda shocks. And I was so happy with the NOS original chainguard I bought from AMC Spares! That will probably not fit without some magic. Will these Betor shocks work with the original chainguard?
The leaks I find annoying so one day the gearbox will have to be opened, also necessary because the return spring of the kick schould be replaced.
As for the seat, I am not sure if I need the early type or the latter type, there seems to be a difference in length.
Thanks for thinking with me,
Paul
dodger
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Posts: 213
Joined: Sat Jan 01, 2000 12:00 am
Location: HAMPSHIRE UK

Re: G2 restoration - Opinions

Post by dodger »

Hi Steve,
You need the early longer seat with that early petrol tank.
Laurie
DimgJa
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Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Dec 24, 2019 3:18 pm
Location: Viseu PORTUGAL

Re: G2 restoration - Opinions

Post by DimgJa »

Hi Tony,
I agree with you that a full restoration is not viable, much less so as I will have to add up 100% to the price of any part delivered here.
But, since it is necessary to add a lot of parts anyway, my idea is to return at least some originality by using original parts. Like handlebar, toolboxes, number plate holder, tail light, etc.
Unfortunately it is true that the lightweight seat(base) from the spares scheme is the long version while I need the short one for '58/59 models - the bike is from May 1959 and has matching numbers.
If someone would have the measures and design of the short bottom plate, with those I might make one myself, it would not be expensive to have it upholstered here.
Regards,
Paul
KRM
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Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Oct 06, 2020 10:32 am
Location: Berks, UK

Re: G2 restoration - Opinions

Post by KRM »

Hi Paul,
I think it looks great as it is and a single saddle would set it off well.
However what you do so much depends upon your own vision for the bike. If it’s truly to restore it back to factory spec then go for it and to hell with the cost; it’s a hobby. Parts are available albeit a lot harder and more expensive for you. But to be honest pretty much any restoration will cost more than the machine is going to be worth financially, but that isn’t the point for many. Having said that I probably wouldn’t choose a G2 as candidate for a full restoration but the bike is with you. I’ve restored mine from a box of bits and it was fun but expensive.
The bike is easy to work on, and there is plenty of expertise around to help. Whatever route you take I’m sure the G2 will provide a lot of fun and that’s what it’s about.
DimgJa
Member
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Dec 24, 2019 3:18 pm
Location: Viseu PORTUGAL

Re: G2 restoration - Opinions

Post by DimgJa »

Hello KRM,
Yes, this G2 is being a lot of fun, right from the start.
I am inclined to a partial recovery to original only. Though I am deeply annoyed at the ridiculous extra cost caused by Brexit, the cost in itself is not a real problem. It feels like being manipulated by people who fuel populist ideas – just to fool people and rob them I'd say. While it is of course wiser to spend the money for a restoration to a bike that would yield a higher end value than a G2, I had no choice because the bike chose me and not the other way around.
I consider the bike refreshingly different, and it would be nice to maintain that while recovering a part of the originality and diminishing the Honda effect. So I think about keeping it red, maintaining the alloy mudguards, fixing as many original parts as possible, like toolboxes, changuard, shocks, numberplate holder, a teledraulic, small parts, centre stand etc.
To solve the seat problem I might get a saddle first, it would probably look nice. When another solution presents itself one day I'll have to decide...
Best regards,
Paul
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