It’s happened again…whilst browsing social media, I often take a look at interesting motorcycles for sale. In late June 2023 I came across a lovely 1934 Matchless D5, fairly local to me, that had come up for sale. The owner was selling it as a result of health issues, as had the chap he bought it from.

1934 Matchless D5

I made my first trip north to see the bike, check it out fully and decide if it needed to follow me home. The picture on the right is one the seller sent me…it’s a lovely motorcycle.

The seller was one of the nicest people you will ever meet and we chatted for some time. Having checked the bike over cosmetically, we got the bike running and continued checks.

A few issues were evident, the back brake was binding, the clutch was dragging and the gearbox would not select gears properly; the two it did select seemed to be in the wrong place. Oil was also dripping from the area of the cylinder head gasket too. The seller had only run the bike once in the almost three years he’d owned it, and he’d never ridden it. I don’t believe the previous owner had ridden it either. After hiring a small Ford Transit van from Tyne Valley Van Hire, I went to pick the motorcycle up a few days later.

Spares are hard to find for most pre-war bikes, but I’m hoping this one will be relatively straightforward to make reliable and roadworthy. It had been fully restored by David Anderson around 2015, with the engine having been done by Chris Odling in 2014.

The back wheel will need to come off, as will the primary chaincase outer cover. Hopefully the gearbox issue can be resolved without having to remove the gearbox from the frame.

A 1934 Matchless D5 is very much a bike for looking over hedges on country roads; I’m looking forward to it.