This bike has the later 1958 engine (actually stamped as a 1958 Matchless G80S) and an AMC four speed gearbox. The kickstart on it did fold, but it was an old Japanese one, and by the way it folded, didn’t give much swing on the kickstart. I decided to find an original style AMC kickstart, part number 04-0434.
An old one would have been ideal but they are as rare as hens back teeth. New British made ones were £150 plus when I looked…ouch. A bit of digging on a popular internet selling site beginning with ‘e’ and ending in ‘Bay’, revealed that most pattern kickstarts came from …you guessed it…China. Intelligence sources revealed that they weren’t too good, but that if I could find one made in Taiwan, they were good. It is a different sovereign country, although Chinese president, Xi Jinping, is convinced Taiwan is still part of China. I do however, have something made some years ago which has printed on it: ‘Made in Taiwan, Republic of China’, so who knows.
I bought one which came complete with rubber and included postage for £43 from eBay seller Bridge Road Motorcycles, eBay seller ID ‘bridgerdmotorcycles‘. It looks and feels very good, although it is a tight fit on the spline shaft…when the weather is warmer, I’ll remove it again and pry it open a little before refitting. I suspect the chrome is quite thick, making it tight on the splines.
It did give me a bit more swing but the engine would still not fire up. I checked the plug which was OK, but I could only get a spark with the plug out and a good swing on the kickstart. The spark wasn’t startling even then, so I think I have a weak magneto at this stage. A Lucas N1 is fitted, with manual advance and retard. I have procured a later Lucas SR1 and a fine auto advance / retard mechanism. I happen to have the correct timing cover on the bike already.
The SR1 has a really good ‘meaty’ spark, but the bearings sound dry as a stick and the cover is the wrong one. I’ll give the magneto a light refurb and put it on the bike when the weather is somewhat warmer.