Vincent Motorcycles



Vincent Bikes, “the makers of the world’s fastest bikes”, commenced with the order of HRD Bikes, less the factory premises, by Phil Vincent in 1928.

HRD was started by the British Royal Traveling Corps (RFC) pilot, Howard Raymond Davies, who was shot down and captured by the Germans in 1917. Legend has it that it was while a prisoner of war that he conceived the idea of constructing his have motorcycle, and contemplated how he may possibly attain that. It was not until finally 1924 that Davies entered into partnership with E J Massey, trading as HRD Motors. Various models ended up produced, commonly run by JAP (JA Prestwich Industries) engines.

Sadly, while HRD bikes won races, the company ran at a loss, and in January 1928 it went into voluntary liquidation. The company was originally bought by Ernest Humphries of Alright-Supreme Motors for the factory house, and the HRD identify, jigs, applications, styles, and remaining elements ended up subsequently supplied for sale all over again.

Phil Vincent

Major write-up: Phil Vincent

Philip Vincent was recommended to commence production under an set up identify. He had designed a motorcycle of his have in 1924, and in 1928 had registered a patent for a cantilever rear suspension of his have design. In 1928 Philip Vincent still left Cambridge College with an engineering diploma and, with the backing of his loved ones prosperity from cattle ranching in Argentina, obtained the trademark, goodwill and remaining elements of HRD from Humphries for 450.

The company was promptly renamed Vincent HRD Co., Ltd and production moved to Stevenage. The new trademark had “Vincent” in extremely compact letters higher than “HRD” penned substantial. Following Earth War 2 Britain had an export travel to repay its war debts, and the United states was the premier sector for bikes, so in 1949 the HRD was dropped from the identify to keep away from any confusion with the “High definition” of Harley Davidson, and the motorcycle grew to become The Vincent.

In 1929 the initially Vincent-HRD motorcycle applied a JAP solitary-cylinder motor in a Vincent-made cantilever frame. The earliest identified case in point extant exists in Canberra, Australia. Some early bikes applied Rudge-Python engines. But after a disastrous 1934 Isle of Man TT, with motor challenges and all a few entries failing to end, Phil Vincent (with Phil Irving) made a decision to develop their have engines.

Phil Vincent also experimented with a few wheeled automobiles, amphibious automobiles, and cars. In 1932 the initially three-wheeler, “The Vincent Bantam” appeared, run by a 293 cc SV JAP or 250 cc Villiers motor. It was a 2.five cwt shipping and delivery van with a automobile seat and a steering wheel. The Bantam expense 57-10- and the windscreen and hood choice expense five-10-. Production ceased in 1936.

Phil Irving

Major write-up: Phil Irving

In 1931 Phil Irving joined Vincent as main engineer. His initially motor design was an OHV 500 cc solitary-cylinder motor in 1934. The typical motor was identified as the Meteor and the sporting activities motor was the Vincent Comet it was distinguished from previously Vincent models of that identify by the eries-A prefix. There was a TT reproduction & the Comet Special (basically a TTR with lights, horn etc), which applied a bronze head. The Meteor motor produced 26 bhp (19 kW) @ 5300 rpm,

An unconventional feature of the valve design for these motors was the double valve guides, and the attachment of the forked rocker arm to a shoulder concerning the guides, to do away with aspect forces on the valve stem and be certain maximum valve life under racing conditions.

The Series-A Comet could do 90 mph (140 km/h), but Phil Vincent and his racing customers desired a lot more.

1936 Series A Rapide

Major write-up: Vincent Rapide

Legend has it that Irving accidentally place a aspect-watch tracing of the Vincent five hundred motor erroneous way up on top rated of an equally sized drawing of the same watch of the same motor, and saw, going the tracing so the crankshafts and loafer gears coincided, that the end result looked like a doable design for a V-twin. This resulted in the 47.five V twin which appeared in 1936. (The solitary leaned forward 23.seventy five.)

With 6.8:1 compression, it produced 45 bhp (34 kW).

The Vincent V-twin motorcycle integrated a number of new and innovative concepts, some of which ended up a lot more profitable than other individuals.

The Vincent HRD Series A Rapide was released in October 1936. Its frame was of brazed lug design, dependent on the Comet design but prolonged to accommodate the for a longer time V twin motor. It ongoing the use of “cantilever” rear suspension, which was applied on all Vincents produced from 1928 via 1955. Other innovations integrated a aspect stand.

Pneumatic forks ended up not to be a Vincent innovation, with both equally Phils believing girder forks ended up superior at the time. The Series-A had exterior oil traces and a different gearbox.

The 998 cc Series A Rapide Vincent expense $600, produced 45 hp (34 kW), and was able of 110 miles per hour (180 km/h).

The high electric power intended that the gearbox and clutch did not cope effectively.

Engine – 998 cc, 47.five diploma v-twin ohv four-stroke

Bore and Stroke – eighty four x 90 mm

Compression Ratio – 6.8:1

Power – 45 bhp (34 kW) @ 5500 rpm

Produced – 1936-1939

Wheelbase – 58.5inch

Dry Weight – 430 lb (200 kg)

Carburettor – 1.0625inch Amal

Gearbox – Burman four pace, triplex chain principal, moist multiplate clutch

Body – Brazed lug duplex tubular cradle. Cantilever rear springing

Entrance forks – Brampton girder forks

Best Speed – 110 mph (180 km/h)

Earth War II

In 1937 Phil Irving went to do the job for Velocette but returned to Vincent Bikes in 1943. Vincent principally created munitions, but Vincent engines ended up trialled in boats and transportable pumps in the course of the war, and the conclusion of hostilities saw Vincent ready to return to motorcycle production.

Vincent currently looked to The us for gross sales, and in 1944 Eugene Aucott opened the initially United states dealership in the town of Philadelphia. Other individuals followed.

1946 Series B Rapide

The Series B Rapide made in the course of the war and released to the push just before conclusion of hostilities looked radically unique from the A: now the oil pipes ended up inside, and the gearbox was element of the motor casting (Unit Design). The angle concerning the cylinders was now fifty as an alternative of the 47.five of the Series A motor. This permitted the use of the motor as a pressured member of the frame, which consisted of an oil-tank backbone with the motor hanging under, and the front and rear suspension attached at the ends. This was viewed as sensational at the time, and the arrangement was not seen all over again till the late seventies. The cantilever rear grew to become the most broadly applied kind of rear suspension for bikes after 1980, and the use of the motor-gearbox unit as a pressured member grew to become a lot more typical. Brakes ended up dual solitary-top shoe (SLS), front and rear. The 55.five-inch (1,410 mm) wheelbase was a few inches (76 mm) shorter than the Series A, and its dimensions ended up a lot more like a five hundred cc bike of the time.

A a lot more contemporary hydraulic shock absorber and spring assembly afterwards changed the old twin springs and friction damper. The rear seat was supported by a sub-frame down to the rear frame pivot stage, giving a semi-sprung seat with 6 inches (150 mm) of suspension. (Yamaha would rediscover this suspension process virtually forty several years afterwards.)

The Series B had a Feridax Dunlopillo Dualseat, and a instrument tray under the front.

The Series “B” integrated an inline felt oil filter as an alternative of the metallic gauze of the Series “A”.

Vincent applied immediately removable wheels, producing wheel and tyre variations a lot easier. The rear wheel was reversible, and unique measurement rear sprockets could be fitted for swift final-travel ratio variations. The brake & equipment shift ended up adjustable for achieve to suit personal feet. The rear mud guard was hinged to aid the elimination of the rear wheel. These are factors taken for granted on contemporary bikes while Vincent was a pioneer in their use.

From today’s standpoint, it would seem incongruous that Vincent could see the will need for, and design, a cantilever rear suspension, as effectively as include so numerous other new concepts, nevertheless use Brampton girder forks with friction dampers up front. The two Phils felt that the telescopic forks of the time ended up susceptible to lateral flex, so they persisted with girder forks, and did use hydraulic damping in the Series C “Girdraulic” forks. Contemplate now the use of similar forks on the popular Britten (from New Zealand), the present BMW K1200 Series & the Honda Rune.

Vincent had bought bikes via Indian Bikes sellers in the US and in 1948 an Indian Chief was sent to Stevenage to be fitted with a Vincent Rapide motor. The ensuing hybrid Vindian did not go into production.

1948 Series C Vincents, “Black Shadow” and “Black Lightning”

Vincent Comet from 1950 at the Zweirad-Museum Neckarsulm

The 1948 Series C Rapide differed from the Series B in getting “Girdraulic” front forks which ended up girder forks with hydraulic damping.

The absence Shadow, able of 125 mph (201 km/h), and easily recognised by its black motor and gearbox unit, and substantial 150 mph (240 km/h) speedometer, was released. The motor produced 54 bhp (40 kW) @ 5700 rpm in Black Shadow trim.

The Vincent Black Lightning was a racing variation of the Black Shadow, with every important steel element on it that could be, remade in aluminium, and everything not essential taken off completely, minimizing the excess weight from 458 lb (208 kg) to 380 lb (170 kg). Every single little bit the racer, it had a solitary racing seat and rear-established footrests.

The 500 cc Meteor and Comet singles ended up released, together with a 500 cc racer, the Vincent Gray Flash. The Gray Flash racer applied Albion gears, for the increased alternative of ratios accessible. The 500 cc bikes applied a moist multiplate clutch, while the 998 cc V-twins applied a dry, drum-style servo clutch.

Most Vincents ended up painted black. In 1949 a White Shadow (a device to Black Shadow mechanical specification, with the Rapide colour scheme) was accessible, but only fifteen ended up bought, and the choice was dropped in 1952. In 1950 16 Red Comets ended up shipped to the United States. There ended up also 31 of the 1948 Gray Flash designed.

In 1949 HRD was dropped from the identify, and the symbol now only explained “Vincent”.


Make: Vincent HRD

Model: 1948 Series C Black Shadow

Engine: 998 cc (eighty four x 90 mm bore and stroke) fifty OHV V Twin, 7.three:1 CR, polished conrods

Carburetor: 2 x hundred twenty five-inch (28.6 mm) style 29 Amals

Ignition: Lucas Magneto (1955 models: Kettering ignition)

Electrics: 6v 45w dynamo

Lubrication: Dry sump, three US quarts

Gearbox: Integral Vincent four pace, triplex chain principal, dry servo – drum clutch

Remaining Push: 530 chain, 46/21 sprockets

Tyres: three x 20 in front, three.fifty x 19 in rear

Wheels: Entrance: 1.65 x 20 in.steel rim Rear: 1.65 x 19 in.steel rim.

Body: “Diamond Body”.(Spine frame with motor as pressured member)

Rear Suspension: Cantilever rear springing

Entrance forks: Vincent Girdraulic forks, three” travel

Brakes: Twin drums, 7 in diameter in front and rear, solitary top shoe 7/8″ large.

Weight: 455 lb (206 kg) – 206 kg Soaked – 500 lb (227 kg)

Wheelbase: 55.five in. (1415 mm)

Seat height: 32.five in. (826 mm)

General performance: 125 mph / 201 km/h – 55 bhp (41 kW) at 5500 rpm

Gas Capability three.5 gallons / 16 litres

Producer: The Vincent-HRD Co. Ltd., Wonderful North Road, Stevenage, Herts

1954 “Series D” Vincents

The phrase “Series D” was not applied by the factory, but was taken as a natural progression by the motorcycling environment. With gross sales slipping, Vincent tried out constructing two new high-pace touring models the absolutely enclosed Vincent Victor (an upgraded Comet), the Black Knight (an upgraded Rapide) and the Vincent Black Prince (an upgraded Shadow). They ended up poorly gained by the public. A limited-lived unfaired variation of the Black Prince was then produced. There was still a Series D Comet. BTW. Russell Wright received the Earth Land Speed Record at Swannanoa with a Vincent HRD motorcycle in 1955 at 184.83 m.p.h.

Revenue declined even more after the put up war motorcycling growth owing to the availability of more affordable motor vehicles, so not numerous “Series D” models ended up created.

Fireflies, Three Wheelers, and NSU

The Firefly was a 45 cc “clip on” engined bicycle designed from 1953 to 1955 under licence from Miller, who ended up suppliers of electrical elements to Vincent. It was also identified as the Vincent Power Cycle. The Vincent Entrepreneurs Club was predictably shocked by this new, low-priced, entry-stage Vincent.

By 1954, Vincent Bikes was in an ever more complicated situation. In the quest for solvency, Vincent looked for ways to strengthen their situation. The trike idea was revived. In 1932 the initially three-wheeler, “The Vincent Bantam” was initially released. Powered by a 293 cc SV JAP or 250 cc Villiers motor, it was a 2.five cwt shipping and delivery van which applied a automobile seat and steering wheel somewhat than the typical motorcycle saddle and handlebars. The Bantam was priced at 57-10- with a windscreen and hood accessible for an further five-10-. It ceased production in 1936 the initially 12 months of the Series A motorcycle.

In 1954/1955, owing to slipping gross sales of bikes, a one-off prototype three-wheeler run by a Vincent Rapide 998 cc motor was unofficially named “Polyphemus”. To retain progress and production costs lower, it applied a components bin-method, like parts from Vincent bikes, as effectively as wheels which arrived from a Morris Small and a body dependent on the resources applied in the Black Knight/Prince. With the typical Rapide motor the “Polyphemus” could achieve 90 mph (140 km/h), and one attained 117 mph (188 km/h) with a Black Lightning motor in 1955.

Following several a lot more prototypes the then-named incent three-wheeler was supplied to the public in 1955 at five hundred a high price tag for any car or truck at the time (the BMC Mini introduced four several years afterwards for 497), primarily for a car or truck with no reverse equipment, self starter or hood. Vincent bought none.

NSU-Vincent Fox

Sadly Vincent bikes ended up hand-designed and high-priced – only a total of 11,000 devices ended up bought put up-Earth War Two. A gross sales slump in 1954 compelled the company to manufacture NSU mopeds. Only forty of the two stroke 1955 NSU-Vincent Fox 123 cc ended up designed. There was also an OHV four-stroke NSU-Vincent 98 cc, and Vincent also bought the “NSU Quickly” moped far too effectively it seems (advertising about 20,000 in one 12 months a foot take note to how the sector had changed all over again), as NSU took manage of its have gross sales after a 12 months.

The Last Vincent Motorcycle

At a Vincent Owners’ Club meal in the summer season of 1955, Phil Vincent introduced that the company could no for a longer time continue in the facial area of weighty losses and that production of bikes would cease pretty much quickly.

In 1955, one 7 days just before Christmas, the last Vincent arrived off the production line and was promptly labeled “The Last.”

The factory then turned to common engineering, the manufacture of industrial engines, and there was the Amanda water scooter, quite possibly the initially personalized watercraft. A Vincent engineer shed his life tests it, drowning at sea.

Vincent tried out for a authorities contract supplying motors for the ML Aviation U120D concentrate on aircraft. The motor had to be able of passing prolonged comprehensive electric power operation exams. This was identified as the Picador job. The Vincent motor was upgraded with a better crankshaft, Scintilla magneto, double pace oil pump and fuel injection. They did not get a contract. (Russel Wright’s file breaking bike was fitted with a Picador crank and oil pump, by Vincent, while in England for Earls Courtroom, shortly after the 1955 file attempt.)

The company went into receivership in 1959. It has considering that been bought and bought by other engineering firms. In 1955 Phil Vincent declared that Vincent components would constantly be accessible and certainly they are still accessible, via the The Vincent H.R.D. Entrepreneurs Club, The VOC Spares Organization Limited, Vin Components Intercontinental and other resources.

Subsequent Developments

Egli Vincent

The Vincent Entrepreneurs Club is the premier solitary-brand motorcycle club in the environment. Vincents are amongst the most attractive of motorcycling classics. A Black Lightning, in immaculate affliction, can carry $one hundred twenty five,000.

Vincent engines have been fitted to other frames. The most apparent is the Norvin, employing a Norton Featherbed frame, with or with no the decrease frame tubes. The Norvin is created in the British isles by Hailwood Motorcycle Restorations Expert frame companies also created frames for the Vincent motor.

Fritz Egli, a professional frame company dependent in Switzerland, produced an Egli-Vincent, and around 100 ended up produced concerning 1967 and 1972. Egli-Vincents are now currently being designed under licence in France by Patrick Godet. Non authorized copies (by Fritz Egli) are also proposed in the British isles by Hailwood Motorcycle Restorations (HMR)and JMR.

In 1996, a partnership was shaped to launch the Australian RTV motorcycle. It applied a a little modernised copy Vincent motor in an Egli-style frame in capacities of 1000 cc and 1200 cc. They had electric powered commence. Following four bikes ended up designed, the company went into voluntary liquidation to the conclusion of 1998.

Vincent Motors United states founder and president, Bernard Li, obtained the Vincent trademarks in 1994, and formally introduced Vincent Motors United states in 1998, paying about $2 million constructing prototypes that resemble the original Vincent, but utilising contemporary elements, like the Honda RC51 V-twin motor. Vincent Motors is dependent in San Diego. A resurrection of the Vincent identify now would seem not likely as the Honda motor now out of production, and Li was killed in a motorcycle accident.

See also

List of Vincent bikes

HRD Bikes

Vincent Black Shadow


H.R.D. Motor Cycles. Produced by a Rider Auth: Geoff Preece Publisher: J. Bickerstaff

Vincent Bikes: The Total Tale, David Wright Pub: Crowood Motoclassics, ISBN 1-86126-516-6

Vincent and HRD Bikes – How They Were Promoted and Sold’, David Wright, Limited edition of 998 copies

^ Ward, Ian (in English). Wonderful British Bikes. Macdonald & Co. ISBN -7481-0020-2. 

^ a b 3Wheelers Vincent Three Wheelers (Retrieved 22 October 2006)

^ VincentMotors Heritage (Retrieved 22 October 2006)

^ NTNOA Histories (Retrieved 22 October 2006)

^ Dropbears Histories (Retrieved 22 October 2006)

^ IanChadwick Vincent (Retrieved 22 October 2006)

^ TheVincent Versions and Fittings (Retrieved 22 October 2006)

^ Is-it-a-lemon Vincent assessment (Retrieved 22 October 2006)

^ The Vincent Gray Flash Data (Retrieved 22 October 2006)

^ Vincent production figures

^ Globalnet Vincent Firefly (Retrieved 22 October 2006)

^ The Heritage of Mini – MiniWorld

^ VincentMotors Heritage Page3. (Retrieved 22 October 2006)

^ IanChadwick Vincent (Retrieved 22 October 2006)

^ MindSpring 1953 Will work Take a look at (Retrieved 22 October 2006)

^ The Vincent Picador Drone (Retrieved 22 October 2006)

^ Hailwood Motorcycle Restorations HMR Norvin (Retrieved three July 2007)

^ GodetMotorcycles Egli (Retrieved 22 October 2006)

^ Hailwood Motorcycle Restorations HMR Egli-Vincent (Retrieved 22 October 2006)

^ UnionJack RTV Vincent (Retrieved 22 October 2006)

^ Vincent Motors San Diego (Retrieved 22 October 2006)

^ Bernard Li, 1946-2008 (Retrieved 11 November 2008)

External backlinks

Vincent Motors United states

Hunter S Thompson write-up on the Vincent Black Shadow

Hear to Richard Thompson’s tune Vincent Black Lightning 1952

Vincent Motors heritage,

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Categories: British makes | Corporations set up in 1928 | Motorcycle companies of the United Kingdom | Defunct motor car or truck companies of the United Kingdom

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