When I was seventeen I bought a bike just like this one. I loved this bike but it was one of the most contrary bikes I’ve ever ridden. I think that may have been a part of the charm, every ride was an adventure. It’s looks were killer in my opinion and the torque that single cylinder 250cc engine put out was astounding. Ever since then I’ve had a soft spot in my heart for big single road bikes.
Around a year ago I came across this picture of a Walmsley built bike based on the Matchless G.50 496cc single. I fell in love again. I absolutely think this is the epitome of a cafe racer but, alas, it’s a $40,000 or more bike and it isn’t street legal. It was built for the track and the engine went out of production in 1963.
This isn’t really a bike I could ever justify owning. So I made this picture one of the photos that cycles through as wallpaper on my computer and I just sigh every time it’s its turn to display.
A few months back I came aware of a company making bolt on parts that would convert a Suzuki S40 Boulevard into a cafe bike with nearly the look I’m looking for. The S40 is a cruiser bike so the rake is a little too long and the rear shocks are mounted a little too steep but other than that this conversion has promise.
RYCA, the company making the bolt on parts also makes a scrambler pipe for the S40 that looks a lot like the pipe on the Matchless. I just need to find a gas tank with lines more similar to my old Riverside or the Matchless.
Good S40s can be had for around $1500. Since I’ll be replacing the gas tank and a few other body panels I don’t need one that’s cherry so maybe I can pick a good sound one up for less if it looks a little rough.
If I ever build this bike the tank will be painted red and I’ll add the decal to the right to the tank. Y’all recognize that decal. Don’t you?