Going Slow, With Style: 1953 AJS 18S

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1953 AJS Model 18S
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AJS initials cast into magneto cover are a nice touch. Engine castings are nicely done and polish up well.
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1953 AJS Model 18S instrument panel
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Although this one seals fairly well, a mild oil leak from the pressed steel primary cover is the norm.
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1953 AJS Model 18S
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AJS initials on the rear fender: Remarkably, this bike still wears its original paint.
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Owner Don Johnson isn’t afraid to give his AJS regular excercise. “It’s not fast, it’s not powerful, it’s just pleasant to ride,” Don says.
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1953 AJS Model 18S

1953 AJS 18S

Engine: 498cc OHV air-cooled single, 82.3mm x 93mm bore and stroke, 6.26:1 compression ratio, 18-25hp @ 5,400rpm (figure varies by source)
Top speed: 80-85mph (est.)
Carburetion: Single Amal 89B
Transmission: 4-speed, chain final drive
Electrics: 6v, magneto ignition
Frame/wheelbase: Single downtube steel cradle/57.25in (1,454mm)
Suspension: Telescopic forks front, dual shocks rear
Brakes: 7in (178mm) SLS drum front and rear
Tires: 3.25 x 19in front and rear
Seat height: 31in (787mm)
Fuel capacity: 3.6gal U.S. (13.6ltr)
Weight (dry): 386lb (175kg)
MPG: 40-50mpg
Price then/now: $400(est.)/$4,000-$8,000

“Motorcycling is one of the most economical and pleasurable modes of transport. It is our sincere wish that every AJS owner should obtain, from his mount, the service, comfort and innumerable miles of low-cost travel that we have earnestly endeavored to build into it.”

— From the 1953 AJS maintenance manual

Once upon a time, there were people who liked slow motorcycles. People whose sole transportation was a motorcycle, and who expected their motorcycles to get them to work, rain or shine. They wanted a motorcycle that was reliable, sipped gas and could be repaired in the back yard. Speed was optional.

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