Whatever Happened To: Matchless Motorcycles

Modern V-twin Planned From Reborn British Firm

You’re looking at the first rendering of an all-new bike set to carry the historic Matchless name, which has already been re-established as a clothing line by the Italian Malenotti family—Anglophiles better known for restoring the Belstaff clothing label to prominence. The Malenottis aren’t merely the money behind Matchless; head-of-clan Franco Malenotti also designed the new bike.

This image is an unofficial leak, so there’s no solid information about the machine yet. The pictures, however, reveal several interesting details. The chassis appears similar to Confederate designs, with a billet aluminum rear section bolted to a separate, tubular front frame and a modernized, leading-link “springer” fork up front. The rear shock is under-slung to keep the area under the solo saddle as clean as possible.

The engine appears to be an S&S Cycle X-Wedge V-twin, a sensible choice for a low-volume bike since it won’t be tarred with the image of having “borrowed” the engine from a bigger manufacturer, while still being a 50-state-legal powerplant. The rear cylinder head is reversed to place the exhaust at the front and achieve parallel curved header pipes that make the bike stand out from the rest of the V-twin crowd. Presume a 117ci displacement producing around 100 rear-wheel horsepower.

Wide tires and twin headlights preclude a totally retro appearance, while floorboards and rearset pegs both give two distinct riding positions. Brakes are likewise unusual; front and rear discs with covered enclosures give the appearance of drum brakes. Details of production plans or any actual launch are still unknown at this time, other than the stated intention to make low-volume and exclusive—therefore expensive—motorcycles.