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Matchless 500cc G85CS – 1966
4-Stroke Scrambler

Too little (or possible too much), too late. That could probably be said about the Matchless G85CS Scrambler. As one of the last models of Matchless to be made, it was the last (and best) attempt by the British to build a 4-stroke scrambler capable of beating the light-weight 2-stroke machines that were dominating the European Scrambles scene.

It’s easy to see the Rickman brothers influence in the design of the frame. The G85 was a duplex design with lightweight forks, machined front hub, magnesium rear hub, and as many lightweight fiberglass and aluminum components as possible utilized. Though Matchless claimed 291 lbs, actual weight was nearly 320 lbs, much heavier that the 2-stroke competition.

The G85CS looked and sounded magnificent, but was not particularly fast and when combined with the weight, missed the mark.

This is one of my favorite motorcycles! Lovingly restored by British specialist Don Harrell.

Images are property of The Early Years of Motocross Museum, ®2006