AJS 125cc Cadwell
14th June 2016
125cc | Learner legal | 2016 | £1,998 | 7.1kW
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If you're an older rider, particularly an older rider of classic motorcycles, the initials "AJS" emblazoned on the petrol tank of this bike might well draw a tear from your eye; and not the right kind of tear. But if you're a newcomer to biking, you'll probably take this machine at face value, which is exactly what we're trying to do.
It bears absolutely no relationship to the motorcycles as once produced by A J Stevens & Co of Wolverhampton, West Midlands. But then, all the classic AJS machines built since 1931 had little or nothing to do with the Stevens family except for the name on the tank.
Why? Because in 1931 the London-based Collier brothers (founders of Matchless) bought AJS, lock, stock and barrel and founded Associated Motor Cycles (AMC). Matchless and AJS were the core brands. And later, models from these two marques were all but identical except for the livery and badges. That meant that AJS was simply a badged-engineered Matchless.
Associated Motor Cycles went bust in 1966 and Norton Villiers (NV, later NVT) inherited the name. For almost a decade, the AJS brand was dormant, and then Fluff Brown, previously the competitions manager at AJS, bought the name and rights from Norton-Villliers and began selling spares for the reasonably successful AJS Stormer that NV had helped develop. Soon, AJS also produced a range of motocross and trail bikes.
Fluff Brown's son, Nick, joined the company in 1987. By 1998, AJS was selling the Chinese-built Jianshe Coyote-80 motorcycle. Since then, the firm has been growing and steadily adding to its range of bikes, and it makes no apologies for the Chinese engineering which, as the company is keen to point out, is only as good or as bad as the market demands, and AJS feels that its own products are good.
Enter now the AJS 125 Cadwell, evidently named after Cadwell Park racing circuit. This learner legal 125cc, 4-stroke, OHV air-cooled single produces 7.1kW of power at 8,500rpm. Starting is electric or kick. The engine is derived from the long established 1st generation YBR Yamaha (that engine is currently in use in four other AJS bikes). The exhaust is stainless steel. The brakes are disc front and rear. The weight is said to be 248lbs (113kg). Maximum speed is a claimed 60mph. The warranty is 12 months parts and labour. And the suggested retail price is £1,998.
We think it's a handsome little bike, and in our youth we would have committed murder to get our hands on a machine like this. We can't speak for the build quality because we haven't yet seen it up close let alone ridden it. It's due in stock in a few weeks (i.e. by the end of June 2016). But if we can get astride one after that, we will.
AJS has approximately 40 dealers in the UK of which around 20 will be taking stock of this motorcycle. It's suitable for 17-year olds taking a CBT or riding on an A1 licence.
So is it better to keep that AJS name going, thereby putting new riders on the road? Or should the AJS name be consigned to history? Either way, the choice isn't ours. But at Sump, we're happy to see this brand continue for another generation. Good luck to 'em.
For more details, call Nick Andrews on: 01264 352712 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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