The Vincent; The Best?

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A couple of the periodicals have articles about The Vincent and it occurred to me that our beloved Commandos have many of the same qualities and are maybe even better. the fact that both are highly regarded by a loyal following and are just smashing to look at really makes me wonder. So what about it, to those of you that may have had the opportunity to own or ride both, what is your take on this? How does the Commando stack up against a 40k quid Vincent (I know they also sell for more or even less but just for discussion I had to toss out a number) or is it pure legend that fuels the lust for Vincents?
God knows there are motorcycles much more rare than a Vincent that sell for less (anyone seen a New Imperial lately?) what is their enduring appeal and are there any current offerings that kindle the same magic, say a Ducati or Guzzi or maybe even a Hesketh?
I doubt you lads will be objective but lets hear it straight away.

Scooter :D
 
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The Vincent was King of the Road in the early 1950's. When most of the others were 600 ccs or so, the Vincent was 1000.
It blew the wheels off its competition.

Named after its designer/chief engineer, Phil Vincent, it wasn't the easiest bike to maintain. Phil was an interesting guy and had some rather odd ideas.

It leaked oil all over the place, mainly from the external oil lines (all in copper).

By the time the Commando came along, the Vincent was out of production, though Phil was still around. He tried to convinve us all the his space-frame, monoshock swing arm was the only "proper" way to go.
 
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I think the Vincent is considered the 'Holy Grail' of British bikes because of what it did, when it did it.

The Black Shadow was a 150mph bike in a day when few cars did 100mph. Like many Brit bikes, the Vincent had quite a few 'peculiarities', but overall was a wonderfully engineered machine, that cost too much to build. HRD/Vincent stopped building bikes in 1955, but parts are still available.

For me, I think the ultimate British production bike would be:
1920s - The Brough Superior SS100
1930s - The Ariel Square IV (1000cc)
1940s - Vincent Series 'C' Black Shadow, Norton Manx
1950s - Norton Dominator
1960s - Rickman Metisse, BSA 650 Spitfire, Hornet or Rocket 3, Norton/Matchless P-11
1970s - Norton Commando, Triumph X-75
1980s - Triumph T140 - last Meriden Triumph, Norton Commander
1990s - Triumph 1200 Trophy - first Hinckley Triumph

Others may have their own list - this is just my opinion.
 
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I had a chance to buy one that was clapped out when I was a broke college kid. I never even heard it run but I still loved it.
In one of my rare displays of being sensible I passed on the bike to keep running my Commando which I could barely afford.
Here I am an adult and now I could buy one but I won't. Same sort of thing, it would cost as much as all my other toys, I did spend $34,000 for the BMW, but it's not worth that now, and I would probably be able to have it run six times a year.
This morning I got on my 1000 cc $500 Goldwing and rode to work. She ran great, needs nothing but the fork seals I have been putting off, and is probably as close as I'll ever get to a Vincent.
At about the same time as I lusted after the Vincent I also lusted after Bridget Bardot. I found that I was able to get by with the Commando, still sexy but young then, and my girlfriend Carol, again sexy and young.
Sometimes you can have nearly as much fun with something that is attainable without the bragging rights.
Like most of you guys should I hit the lottery a Vincent will be in my garage.
 
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Triton Thrasher is correct the Black Shadow would need a lot of "tuning" to get it to 150 mph whereas the Black Lightening which was the racing model (Series D) was supposedly breathed on by the factory. I suspect the Rollie Free bike that was the basis for the "Worlds Fastest Motorcycle" claim had more than a little tuning done to it. Stock Shadows were reported to be capable of +/- 125mph. A number my Ducati Darhma could do also. It takes a lot of HP to go much faster on an unfaired bike.
Frank Damp, well I suppose Phil Vincent and Phil Irving are having the last chuckle since many of the modern bikes now sport trellis frames and monoshocks.
What piqued my interest in this subject is that aside from the displacement difference and the fact that the Vincent is a V twin, their weight and power are very similar. The Vincent of course has more torque but the Commando has an edge in HP. I would love to see a side by side comparison done on these two bikes just to see how they stack up against each other. I'll wager that in a real world test they would be pretty close (especially with the 850 Commando) and the daily rider would opt for the Norton. After all it benefited from at least 20 years more development. Of course if you try to compare either of these two to the current sport bikes there is no contest but none of them have the cachet that the Vincent or the Norton have. I can't say that I would want to own one, they're supposedly a beast to maintain, but I would love to ride one for a week or two on rental. :D

Scooter
Old Zen Proverb; "what you own, owns you"
 
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Vincent was featured this month in an English magazine, i'm sure some of you saw that?
When the Vincent was made was it not the most exotic and expensive bike in the world? The Norton Commando was a reasonably priced production bike.
 
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There's a nice one on ebay now with a sidecar... just thought it was neat to look at.
 
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There was an interesting Vincent at the Norton rally in Mancos. It had been updated with a dual disk front brake and what appeared to be twin Works Performance shocks attached to the rear suspension. Both very good upgrades, I'm sure!

Cool bikes but way out of my price range.

Debby
just a peasant girl
 
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debby said:
There was an interesting Vincent at the Norton rally in Mancos. It had been updated with a dual disk front brake and what appeared to be twin Works Performance shocks attached to the rear suspension. Both very good upgrades, I'm sure!

Cool bikes but way out of my price range.

Debby
just a peasant girl


People used to fit Suzuki or other disc front ends on BSAs and Triumphs in the seventies/eighties and it looked sort of good: a characterful bike with the latest in brakes. Now they would look a bit unfortunate: an old bike with newer, but still out of date brakes (that you can't easily get spares for!).

I'm sure Vincent brakes can be made to work well enough. Norton SLS 8" ones certainly can.
 
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When I was an engineering student (Blackpool Technical Coolege) there was another student with a leather jacket with "Vincent" acoss the back in brass studs. It was a bit of a surprise to see him riding a 125cc BSA Bantam. I found out later that Vincent was his first name!
 
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I'd love a Vincent - for some reason, the aesthetics of the Rapide look better to me than the vaunted Shadow, but wouldn't kick either of them out of the garage. But if we're dreaming here, make mine a Brough Superior. To me that's the best looking bike ever. Serious drool territory.
 

grandpaul

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As much as i'd like to have one, I don't consider the Vincent (or the Brough) to be "the best", and can't see myself spending what it takes to buy one, apart from a lotto win.
 

grandpaul

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...oh, there is a group of Vincent owners that travel thousands of miles a year to meet in remote places; so, they can be made quite reliable for such old bikes.
 
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They were great for their time. I'm not sure an average guy ever could afford them except for that period when they were old and unwanted.
 
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Cookie said:
I'm not sure an average guy ever could afford them except for that period when they were old and unwanted.

Who ? The bikes or the guy ? :lol:




sorry...... she got the house, I got the bikes !
 
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If you aren'tmaking a house payment you might be able to afford a Vincent... :D
 
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Heck, if we're dreaming here, screw the Vincent, gimme a Brough Superior....
 
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