Touring on Vincents

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Two college buddies were avid riders. One had a BSA Golden Flash, the other a Vincent 1000. They were riding together from London to Edinburgh, in the pre-motorway days, and saw a guy hitch-hiking. They stopped and said "If you don't mind riding on a bike you're welcome to tag along." He got on the back of the Vincent.

After a fairly long session at speeds above 90 mph, they came to a pretty stiff climb. The guy on the BSA was about 50 yards behind the Vincent as they slowed on the grade. Down at about 35 mph, he was amazed to see the back-seater on the Vincent stand up on the pegs and step off. He rolled into the ditch at the side of the road, very surprised, but not seriously hurt.

When my friends asked why he did it, he said they seemed to be going so slowly, he was getting off to help push.
 
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I went touring scotland 17 years ago with my rapide, then about 12 year's ago on my BMW K100lt . the Beema was a real joy. The vincent ...well it made it! Vincent suspension? ...good job i was fitter !
 
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Since Vincents are nearly seventy years old, to be truly enjoyable for touring the must be first brought up to their original standard and condition, then upgraded slightly. Original standard would mean replacement or refubishment of all the seventy ,or perhaps fifty or thirty year old consumable type parts that will almost surely be quite worn out.
When replacing pistons we go up a notch or two in compression, use low expansion pistons and Honda chrome rings. Valve seats are replaced with austenitic iron for durability with modern fuels. Standard magneto units need to be rebuilt or replaced with modern EI, or D type points coil ignition. 6 volt charging systems can easily be changed to a 12 volt alternator setup, there are several choices. A 520 sealed chain can be used and suspension can be upgraded to modern units which are made to slide right in place of the original. Valve seals should be added on the intake valves.
Fit some good carbs and now you have a bike that can do a 2500 mile trip two up with luggage with complete ease and near zero oil consumption.
Mine is setup this way and we have covered over 40,000 miles with it, USA, Canada, England, Scotland, even thrashed it around the IOM circuit full bore(when possible).
Biggest problem so far has been a broken speed cable and one burned out voltage reg on the Alton.

But try and take an flogged out Vincent on a long distance tour and it will be a very disheartening experience. Unfortunately, because of the cost involved in doing up the internals properly, many are still running, or trying to run with the original seventy year old parts, which according to Irving, were designed to run for about ten years tops. A very large percentage of the 200 plus Vincents that were shipped to Canada from the UK for the 2003 International were in horrible condition, certainly not fit for successful touring.
The bike, when brought up to spec, is as nice a touring machine as you could ever want!

Glen
 

Fast Eddie

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worntorn said:
Since Vincents are nearly seventy years old, to be truly enjoyable for touring the must be first brought up to their original standard and condition, then upgraded slightly. Original standard would mean replacement or refubishment of all the seventy ,or perhaps fifty or thirty year old consumable type parts that will almost surely be quite worn out.
When replacing pistons we go up a notch or two in compression, use low expansion pistons and Honda chrome rings. Valve seats are replaced with austenitic iron for durability with modern fuels. Standard magneto units need to be rebuilt or replaced with modern EI, or D type points coil ignition. 6 volt charging systems can easily be changed to a 12 volt alternator setup, there are several choices. A 520 sealed chain can be used and suspension can be upgraded to modern units which are made to slide right in place of the original. Valve seals should be added on the intake valves.
Fit some good carbs and now you have a bike that can do a 2500 mile trip two up with luggage with complete ease and near zero oil consumption.
Mine is setup this way and we have covered over 40,000 miles with it, USA, Canada, England, Scotland, even thrashed it around the IOM circuit full bore(when possible).
Biggest problem so far has been a broken speed cable and one burned out voltage reg on the Alton.

But try and take an flogged out Vincent on a long distance tour and it will be a very disheartening experience. Unfortunately, because of the cost involved in doing up the internals properly, many are still running, or trying to run with the original seventy year old parts, which according to Irving, were designed to run for about ten years tops. A very large percentage of the 200 plus Vincents that were shipped to Canada from the UK for the 2003 International were in horrible condition, certainly not fit for successful touring.
The bike, when brought up to spec, is as nice a touring machine as you could ever want!

Glen

Well said Glen.

I agree, a lot of Vincents (and classic bikes in general actually... which is Alotments gripe in another thread) are in a quite poor level of mechanical preparation when looked at closely.

With Vincents, I think that many still make the really stupid mistake of thinking "how difficult can it be? It's only a motorbike isn't it? It's only a collection of alloy and steel. All this folklore is just rubbish!"

I say 'stupid' because I KNOW. That was my exact thought when I embarked on my Black Rap restoration. I learnt the hrd way that Vincents must be one of the most involved and most costly bikes out there to restore. I think this is partly by nature of the design and partly because they are the kind of bike that gets used for high mileages, for long periods, and the mechanics get neglected due to the cost. Too many people still assume that paint n polish will make a good bike!

My own bike had already done 132,000 miles in 1961! By the time I bought it as a basket case in 2000 it was absolutely f*cked!

If I had known then just how costly and difficult the restoration would have been, I wouldn't have done it. But it's done now it is a fine motorcycle.
 
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Eddie,
These old Vincents are a joy to pop the pub on . what makes them less appealling over distance is the bloody roads today! Not the bike.
The amount of money from fuel and road tax and we have to put up with shite maintenence...make's me blood boil :evil:
 

Fast Eddie

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john robert bould said:
Eddie,
These old Vincents are a joy to pop the pub on . what makes them less appealling over distance is the bloody roads today! Not the bike.
The amount of money from fuel and road tax and we have to put up with shite maintenence...make's me blood boil :evil:

My Black Rap is pretty well sorted, as much in the suspension department as anywhere, but I do indeed brace myself, or stand up, when a see a bad pothole I can't avoid!

The best springing and damping in the world can't make up for the fact that the seat is directly connected to the swinging arm!
 
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Eddie, two little tubes can fix that. My Oz Rapide was advertised as a "riders bike" . This meant it was fitted with a Ducati type Veetwo clutch, 12 volt Conversion, strong headlight, Koni dampener, O ring chain , converted Norton dual points cual coil ignition and a fully suspended seat. The seller also sent along all of the original items so that I could put the bike back to stock if desired. He suggested that I ride it as setup for awhile before going back to stock.
The ride is very comfortable with the fully suspended seat. I have another Rapid with standard suspension and the difference is night and day. The stock suspension is especially hard on the passenger as they are hit with every little imperfection in the road. If you apply downward pressure to the rear of the seat with stock suspension, it is like pushing down on a sidewalk, there is no give. I got into a bit of a scrap with some longtime Vincent owners over this and finally made the point by adding 160 pounds of barbell and weights to the rear of the "partially suspended " bike. With 160 pounds added to the rear of the seat, the rear spring compressed just 1/16 of an inch!
I have not convinced any of the old timers to make the conversion, even though it would improve the ride for them and make it ever so much better for their passengers, all of whom are suffering from the jarring ride without suspension
The difference in appearance is small, nonexistant in fact if one uses the bike for touring as we do and has panniers fitted.

Btw, my wife and I toured England and Scotland in 2007 on the fully suspended bike. We did 2500 miles and loved the A and B roads, didn't find them rough in the least. I expect that we would have had a totally different experience on the other Rapid.
Now the Sulby Straight on the IOM at 115 MPH (solo, of course) that was like going over a cattle guard, just awful!

C rapid with standard semi-sprung seat and 160 lbs added, 1/16" spring compression

20130413_133900_zps513bdbfa.jpg



My Oz Rapid "Riders bike" on tour of the UK in 2007. With luggage on you cannot see that the seat is setup for full suspension, but the rider and passenger can feel it immediately when climbing on.

Recovered_JPEGDigitalCamera_10.jpg
 

Fast Eddie

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worntorn said:
Eddie, two little tubes can fix that. My Oz Rapide was advertised as a "riders bike" . This meant it was fitted with a Ducati type Veetwo clutch, 12 volt Conversion, strong headlight, Koni dampener, O ring chain , converted Norton dual points cual coil ignition and a fully suspended seat. The seller also sent along all of the original items so that I could put the bike back to stock if desired. He suggested that I ride it as setup for awhile before going back to stock.
The ride is very comfortable with the fully suspended seat. I have another Rapid with standard suspension and the difference is night and day. The stock suspension is especially hard on the passenger as they are hit with every little imperfection in the road. If you apply downward pressure to the rear of the seat with stock suspension, it is like pushing down on a sidewalk, there is no give. I got into a bit of a scrap with some longtime Vincent owners over this and finally made the point by adding 160 pounds of barbell and weights to the rear of the "partially suspended " bike. With 160 pounds added to the rear of the seat, the rear spring compressed just 1/16 of an inch!
I have not convinced any of the old timers to make the conversion, even though it would improve the ride for them and make it ever so much better for their passengers, all of whom are suffering from the jarring ride without suspension
The difference in appearance is small, nonexistant in fact if one uses the bike for touring as we do and has panniers fitted.

Btw, my wife and I toured England and Scotland in 2007 on the fully suspended bike. We did 2500 miles and loved the A and B roads, didn't find them rough in the least. I expect that we would have had a totally different experience on the other Rapid.
Now the Sulby Straight on the IOM at 115 MPH (solo, of course) that was like going over a cattle guard, just awful!

C rapid with standard semi-sprung seat and 160 lbs added, 1/16" spring compression

20130413_133900_zps513bdbfa.jpg



My Oz Rapid "Riders bike" on tour of the UK in 2007. With luggage on you cannot see that the seat is setup for full suspension, but the rider and passenger can feel it immediately when climbing on.

Recovered_JPEGDigitalCamera_10.jpg

I am aware of that Glen, I did think about trying it but never did! Now with your inspirational words on it I might give it a go.

In fact when I rebuilt the bike I was originally going to go with a fully suspended seat and Maxton shock. But Maxton where not easy to deal with , so I went a more conventional route.

One advantage to the stock system is that the shocks don't need adjusting for rider weight, even luggage or pillions! I didn't want to get into the realms so suspension re-design etc, just being a whimp I guess!

If my recent Norton rebuild remains trouble free, I'll at least have a trial to with the Rap.
 
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I've been considering trying the Thornton setup, though I will check with Laney first to see if he has correct springs for a fully suspended seat. Dave Molloy in California also sells Laney's setup.
A good video clip below, except Laney describes the Vincent as "fully suspended" which as we know is incorrect. Also, I would not say that the suspension was "decades ahead of others" , at least not in the postwar era. Maybe it was when Vincent produced it's first motorcycle around 1926, but by the time Laney's Shadow was built there were a number of swing arm bikes with pretty decent suspension. Most would agree that Norton was top of the heap on this. I recently rode a 1957 Norton 99, featherbed frame, Roadholder forks and I believe rebuilt stock rear shocks. It definitely had better suspension than my stock 1952 Rapide . The 47 with the fully suspended seat is close, but I would still give it to the Norton.
But then you hit a big hill two up with luggage and you want to be on the Vincent!

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=jeFpdiV2Z6I

Glen
 

Fast Eddie

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worntorn said:
I've been considering trying the Thornton setup, though I will check with Laney first to see if he has correct springs for a fully suspended seat. Dave Molloy in California also sells Laney's setup.
A good video clip below, except Laney describes the Vincent as "fully suspended" which as we know is incorrect. Also, I would not say that the suspension was "decades ahead of others" , at least not in the postwar era. Maybe it was when Vincent produced it's first motorcycle around 1926, but by the time Laney's Shadow was built there were a number of swing arm bikes with pretty decent suspension. Most would agree that Norton was top of the heap on this. I recently rode a 1957 Norton 99, featherbed frame, Roadholder forks and I believe rebuilt stock rear shocks. It definitely had better suspension than my stock 1952 Rapide . The 47 with the fully suspended seat is close, but I would still give it to the Norton.
But then you hit a big hill two up with luggage and you want to be on the Vincent!

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=jeFpdiV2Z6I

Glen

I ended up with Thornton dampers front and rear, but with Godet springs. It sat quite a bit too high with the Thornton springs.
 
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Should be a good setup. I doubt you will need to change the springs when adding the suspension tubes, unless you intend to ride two up a lot. In that case you might need to add a small diameter spring to the mix.
For one 1500 mile trip I switched the full suspension tubes, pannier rack and extra thick seat over to the 52 Rapide. It worked well for this solo trip with soft standard springs in place, but would be in need of stiffening up for long distance two up riding. My 47 has stiffer springs added already.
I suppose if internal springs are added , the springs could be kept short so that they act more as an overload to prevent bottoming out. That way you still have supple suspension for 98 % of the bumps encountered, the overloads come into play on a really big bump when heavily laden.

Glen
 
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