THE ORI­GINS OF THE BLACK SHADOW

Classic Bike (UK) - - VINCENT BLACK SHADOW -

1934

Dis­sat­is­fied with the poor re­li­a­bil­ity of bought-in en­gines, Phil Vincent and Phil Irv­ing de­sign their own. The re­sult­ing 500cc sin­gle in­cor­po­rated many of the fea­tures that formed the ba­sis of the later V-twins, in­clud­ing the short (by the stan­dards of the day) stroke, and the high camshaft.

1936

Launch of the Se­ries A Rapide, the first Vincent V-twin. The en­gine has the high-camshaft, 84 x 90mm lay­out with dou­ble valve guides that were fea­tures of all sub­se­quent Vin­cents. Top speed is 110mph, but the Bur­man clutch and gear­box can’t cope with the power.

1946

Se­ries B Rapide has unit con­struc­tion, with Vincent’s own trans­mis­sion. The en­gine is a stressed mem­ber, do­ing away with frame front down tubes and al­low­ing for a big V-twin with a com­pact wheel­base. 45bhp and a top speed of 110mph make this the fastest production bike on the roads.

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