Seven Best Builds, AJS.


The Works AJS's and Gordon Jackson.


Photo Courtesy Deryk Wylde, ORR-e.


Although there were a lot of “Works” AJS builds in the rigid era that should be worth a mention, It is not until Gordon Jackson won the Scottish Six Days trial losing a solitary dab, and that famous Peter Howdle shot of the incident, that AJS trial machines were brought to a greater following by the public....

The lightweight machine, and the even lighter later model built by the competition staff at Plumstead (London), was a eye opening of what could be done to make a machine as heavy as the production bikes were, into a more compact arrangement of cycle parts, around what was and always will be a tall engine.

Brakes where smaller single sided, but still did the job, and the lowering of the rear subframe, and using smaller Girling suspension units, was a revolution in its self.

It is only a shame that the management were blind, stubborn, or both, because when suggested that they should make production versions of the “Gordon Jackson Replica” they just laughed and said, "don’t be stupid, people want more on a machine” not less!


Peter (Jock) Wilson.


Photo Courtesy ORR.

Jock built an AJS Trials bike that took the “Works” competition staffs ideas, and built a bike just has good. Working at Comerfords helped, as they were main dealers of most machines British. So Jock had a channel to get the parts needed.

This again was one of the most photographed machines in 1962, and set the trend for the future of the AJS trials mark.

More on this build later...


Maurice Hocking.


Photo Courtesy Deryk Wylde ORR-e.

Long after AJS had hung up its boots and shut the door of the factory.

Old British bikes lingered on for a few years, but most competition riders now wanted a then, modern fancy two-stroke to ride.

But a few chaps up Yorkshire thought it a good idea to set up a trial like the past, for the old British shall we say, bikes built before the mid sixties. So a New interest was now found for redundant machines.

And even a Series of these trials took off, and now riders old and new wanted to buy one of the relics of the past. And so started an industry in re-manufacturing or rebuilding these machines.

The problem was that parts were now scarce, and the only way of getting them was to re-manufacture them.

Maurice was the chief exponent at the start of this journey, and his gears are still worshiped today like the holy grail, and if it is a Maurice Hocking built engine or machine, you have something that is priceless and worth its weight in gold.


Peter Pykett.


Photo Courtesy  Bary De Long.

Peter worked for the Rickman Brothers,

as a development engineer, and built a lot of the prototype bikes up.

He also had an interest in the British trials bikes of the past, and was asked to rebuild an AJS for a friend.

The frame was broken under the steering head, and had been bodged as a repair, so being a frame builder with knowledge needed, and the tools to construct a New frame, this is what Peter did, and then like every good story, everyone wanted a Peter Pykett AJS trials bike. And like Maurice, if one comes up for sale now, you will have to re-mortgage.


Andy Bamford.


Photo Courtesy Dave Dawson. 

When Peter stopped making his machines, there was still a thriving market for these pre-unit machines as the trials series for them continued to grow.

Andy built himself a machine from the ground up with his own replica frame kit. And others wanted one of these frame kits too.

The late Len Hutty had his Matchless machine stolen, and went to Andy for a frame to build another machine, this also helped with sales of more frame kits around the world, as these immaculate builds were the ones to want.

Andy as far has I know has now stopped building these kits, but I will ring him and find out for you.


Jim Susans.


Photo Courtesy Ralph Brown. 

OK... I know that we have had Jim on the Ariel Builds...

But don’t forget Jim built over one hundred machines in a short time at “BikeCraft", and five of these were AJS trials bikes. Jim even went so far as having the correct castings remade for the swinging arm pivot etc.

Again these machines are now revered in their own right and command the same sort of respect as the original machines from Plumstead.


Shane Lockley.


Photo Courtesy,  eBay, Said to be a Shane Lockley built machine?


Shane has taken the AJS trials breed to another level, and although a lot would frown upon the three machines that he has built, as being “Specials” in the class of build, there is one thing you can say, the machines are an engineering work of art.

Not only the lightweight oil bearing frame construction, but also the total build. The engine for instance, uses a Jawa speedway crankshaft, running a Westlake connecting rod attached to a BSA B50 piston, and running in a barrel that Shane had a pattern made for, and then cast machined and linered.

The AJS copy-swinging arm was also constructed out of aluminum. Stainless exhaust alloy air box and NEB belt drive cover complete a spectacular modern machine...



There are others that should get a mention, like Mark Francis, and Ken Kendell for the superb AJS/Matchless engined outfit. But again Seven is Seven for Now.

Perhaps another seven later...




We have the Seven in my mind best builds of AJS above,

 and as I say Seven is seven.

 But to help these two guy's, on a mission as NEW frame builders,

I thought after receiving a email from Tim Hartshorne and Darren Cooper.

I would,

Include their modern take on the AJS competition frame on this page. as it seems appropriate.



This is the frame for the AMC engines.

 The complete kit costs £1860.


Photo Courtesy Darren Cooper.

Tim riding in the 2018 TALMAG trial.

 on his Classic Competition Components machine.

Fourth in over 300cc with rear suspension Class.(main)

after special test time. 0 marks lost.

Tim's phone number is 07936881748 give him a call.

Ariel frame on the Ariel builds page.


Just has a comparison to what Tim and Darren are building here below is a frame very simular built in the early ninties.


Don Brooks AJS frame...

Photo Deryk Wylde...

This is Phil Hall's Superb Don Brooks AJS...framed machine...




 This frame built by renown cycle race frame builder,"Don Brooks" and sold by Jim Susans.





Hi Charlie,


Thank's for the swift response.


I’m hoping to get some info / make contact with a Shane Lockley featured on your website?


Funnily enough that push bike built by Don Brooks that you have an image of, Was built for me in 1993.  I sold it in about 1998 after retiring from racing.  Its come full circle though as I’ve been annoying the current owner since seeing it on a retro website in about 2012.  I’ve just repurchased it and will be bringing it back to NZ in September to restore.


I now have 4 Don Brooks bikes of mine back ( he built all my racing bikes from about (1991-96).


Anyway, I always used to go watch him as a schoolboy, would stand in his garage for hours watching him weld & file my next frame.  


I distinctly remember him working on a AJS frame whilst he was making one of my frames, it used to frustrate the hell out of me as I wanted my bike finished for a National Squad camp in the Peak District!




I’d just really love to connect with this Shane Lockley, fill in some time-line gaps etc and generally just say hello?



Thank's again,




Photo Courtesy Deryk Wylde...


Here is Shane aboard that Don Brooks framed AJS Steven....

Note: steel under-tray that was part of the frame structure...



Another shot of the Don Brooks frame...



This steel tray is what defines a Don Brooks AJS frame, so I hope they have not been removed.....

Deryk Wylde..>>>

I knew Don Brooks well, even had one of his frames myself for a while, being far better built than the standard AJS unit, they had a welded flat tray under the engine, they were utterly dimensionally correct to the standard frame in terms of length, ground clearance and angles.




Seven More builds Later...