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  • The Knuckless

    My friend Bob turned me onto this motorcycle last summer and I was able to get it bought a few months ago. It has been sitting for many years. The bike originally was created and ridden on a ranch in eastern Oregon sometime in the late 60’s then it was stored in a hanger in Omaha for at least 40 years possibly longer. It was obviously ridden in its current state for a quite some time judging from the baked and caked on oil, dirt, rocks, and grease. I thought I would share it here on the AMCA Forum and see what everyone else thinks. The motor is a 1947 FL, the chassis and transmission are all 1952 Matchless G-80. One thing I have noticed is that the original creator(s) didn’t do any modification/damage to the original components unless necessary. The motor is untouched and appears to have never been apart with no wrench marks on any of the fasteners. Motor number and bottom numbers are all unmolested and the bottoms match. I have cleaned the carb (M-35) and bubble tested the inlet and removed and sealed it then retested it. Gave the cylinders a good soaking with Marvel Mystery Oil. They were running off the left tank only with the crossover line cut, pinched and soldered. Right tank looks like new inside. I placed a small battery in the battery box and checked it for spark at the plugs which are original factory type Champion/Harley #3’s. It didn’t take much to get it started and running. Smoked pretty good until the Marvel burned out of it. The rear cylinder smokes a little still. I managed to free up the transmission and it does shift, and I can find neutral but the case looks like it’s been repaired at least once. Managed to take it for a ride around the lot here at my shop which was very interesting and a little scary at the same time. I’ll have it at the Sunshine Chapter’s AMCA Meet in New Smyrna this spring if anyone wants a closer look.
    Here’s my question. What would you do if you owned it? Preserve it as is? Part it out? Build a 47 in some configuration?
    Thanks in advance for your thoughts and opinions.

    Knuckless 1.jpg



    Attached Files

  • #2
    I'd leave it like it is.

    Comment


    • #3
      Keep it as is. Run it, Love It. Maybe think about wiring up headlight, tail/brake light and street tire.
      VERY Cool bike. MORE PICTURES Please.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Jerry Wieland View Post
        I'd leave it like it is.
        There's nothing wrong with adding lights and an aircleaner, Jerry!

        ...Cotten
        AMCA #776
        Dumpster Diver's Motto: Seek,... and Ye Shall Find!

        Comment


        • #5
          Another vote for making it a reliable street runner. Very cool piece of history. More pictures please
          AMCA #41287
          1982 FXR - being restored to original
          1979 FXS 1200 (1340) nearly done
          1998 Dyna Convertible - 100% Original
          96" Evo Softail self built chopper
          2012 103" Road King "per diem"
          plus 13 other bikes over the years...

          Comment


          • #6
            I say keep it like it is and was used, a period dirt bike. I find it humorous that Mr "don't ruin history" wants to change it....hypocrisy at its worst...
            Robbie Knight Amca #2736

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            • #7
              Pictures
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              This gallery has 4 photos.

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              • #8
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                This gallery has 2 photos.

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                • #9
                  Very cool, what to do with it all depends on your situation in my opinion. Do you want or need a knuckle street bike, do you have a place to ride it as is, do you just want to look at it and share the history of it with others? Thanks for sharing.
                  Bob Rice #6738
                  End of the Line TW'88

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                  • #10
                    "I'd leave it like it is."
                    "I say keep it like it is and was used, a period dirt bike"

                    I agree that it should be left in it's current condition. But if it's something that's going to get ridden much the transmission will need attention.
                    Too much motor for the gearbox design? I suspect they rode it hard from the looks of it. The G-8- was a 500cc rig. and that box has been repaired at least once.
                    Shifts hard while on the table not running, then its very balky once its running. Any Matchless guys lurking here? Seems like 1 down is low and I can find a nuetral above that and it will go into 2nd but what I've read regarding this type box that is backward. Low should be up.

                    Then we have this to consider.

                    "Very cool, what to do with it all depends on your situation in my opinion. Do you want or need a knuckle street bike, do you have a place to ride it as is, do you just want to look at it and share the history of it with others?"

                    Bob hits it right on it's head for me. Who doesn't need a knuckle dirt/street bike? I figure its a perfect swapmeet riding bike and a great way to share it.
                    As for looking at it....I've been staring at it for weeks. But then the financial considerations seem to always enter into it.
                    You do not have permission to view this gallery.
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                    • #11
                      Riding that would just be pure fun.

                      Dont sweat the gearbox. It looks a standard Burman CP.

                      http://files.pantherm100.webnode.es/...otorcycle).pdf

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                      • #12
                        I see advice to keep it as a rider. If you don't have the land to use it on or you don't much favor off-road riding then it'll sit for a while longer unless you can make it road legal and are able to register it. Meantime, if an HD frame, fork, and sheet metal manage to cross your path sometime then you could build it into a Knucklehead (ignoring "correctness") that you can hopefully register and ride. My 2 cents!
                        Pisten Bulley is Harry Roberts in Vermont.

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                        • #13
                          For what it's worth, I converted my 1976 Yamaha RD400 race bike to street duty in order to sell it. It had a CDI ignition with no lighting coils. Rather than change that, I installed an LED bulb in the stock headlight reflector, and mounted a modern LED brake and tail light to the rear. I wired it up to a small 12v alarm battery as a constant loss system, with no charging. The LED light wasn't very bright, but it lasted a few hours on the battery and was enough to register the bike. I told the buyer what I did and he wasn't concerned, as he wasn't planning to ride it at night either, it was just a toy.
                          AMCA #41287
                          1982 FXR - being restored to original
                          1979 FXS 1200 (1340) nearly done
                          1998 Dyna Convertible - 100% Original
                          96" Evo Softail self built chopper
                          2012 103" Road King "per diem"
                          plus 13 other bikes over the years...

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I wish I had that thing, I'd be rooting around in the snow right now!
                            Robbie Knight Amca #2736

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              As Harry said, if you have a place to ride it, that would be great. If you just want to look at it, I do that with a few of my bikes so enjoy it. However, we know, that you know your stuff, so I think that is why you are curious what AMCA members would do if it belonged to them. If you love it the way it is, and don't want another project; leave it alone. If you have the connections, the money, the time, some correct '47 parts to throw at it, the energy, and the lust for a big project. . . . Tear it down and start the adventure. Personally, I love a new, and big project. In your case, the payoff is a 1947 Knucklehead !
                              Eric Smith
                              AMCA #886

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