THE ORIGINS OF THE BLACK SHADOW
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.
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.
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.