Identifying a Matchless and AJS motorcycle

A series of guides for finding the engine, gearbox and frame numbers of your classic Matchless or AJS motorcycle.

The Matchless “Winged-M” logo

Ok, so you have a Matchless motorbike – the big “Winged M” logo on the petrol tank gave that away. Or is it actually one of the equivalent AJS badged machines? And what model is it? And is it original and correct for it’s year?

These were all the sorts of questions I was asking when I first got my Matchless G3LS home and it took some searching on a various websites before I was able to work out exactly what it was I had in front of me. But it’s not difficult to figure out exactly what make, model and year of classic motorcycle you’re looking at once you know where to look and what clues to look for. Of course it all gets a bit more complicated with ‘bitsa’ machines, but you still need to start somewhere!

So that’s why I’ve put together this series of article and guides, based upon my own experience and what I have learnt whilst trying to identify and date my own Matchless motorcycle. Hopefully you might also find this information useful too, so scroll down to navigate to the various articles in this section.

Frame (chassis) numbers

The first step for identifying your bike is to locate its frame (chassis) number and check this against the registration paperwork, so this article covers:

  • Where to find the frame number.
  • Variations in location between years.
  • Marks that are NOT the frame number!
  • The best way to view a feint marking.

Click to read article

Engine numbers

The next step is to locate the engine number of your motorcycle which is usually a little easier than finding the frame number. This section includes:

  • Where to find the engine number
  • Decoding the engine number.
  • Matching frame and engine numbers.
  • And much much more!

Click to read article

Gearbox numbers

The final step in identifying your motorcycle after confirming the engine and frame numbers is to find the gearbox number. This article covers:

  • Locating the gearbox number
  • Decoding the gearbox number.
  • Different model codes for gearboxes.
  • And much much more!

Click to read article

Identifying the year

In addition to relying on the basic engine and frame numbers, other clues can be used to identify the year of your AJS or Matchless bike, so this section discusses:

  • What clues to look for on your bike.
  • Parts that were changed between years.
  • Major differences between years.
  • Other useful resources to consult.

Click to read article

Download a free parts list

A copy of the original parts (spares) list for your particular year and model or motorcycle is an invaluable source of information for identifying your motorcycle and includes:

  • All part number listed for ordering spares
  • Checking parts are correct for the year.
  • Diagrams of all parts and components.
  • All available here completely free!

Click to read article

More coming soon!

This website is continually being updated with new guides and articles so make sure you come back regularly to read the latest updates.

  • Regular updates.
  • New articles and guides.
  • Even more photos.
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Coming soon!