The Vincent – simply the fastest motorcycle of the world. Today 150 miles per hour may not sound like much. In 1948 however there was more to this than numbers. Consider the way Rollie Free achieved this record: When his leather clothes tore at 147 miles per hour, he took off the gloves, boots and helmet and put on a pair of swimming trunks. Then he went for the record – lying on top of the bike with the seat removed! It was not just a matter of speed, but consider the circumstances: 1940s tires, suspension and brakes.
Vincents were not only fast, but also beautiful: painted entirely black including the enameled parts of the engine covers. And the names they were called were just as good: Black Shadow and Black Lightning. And to top it off they were practical too. So easy to operate that even if you had suffered injuries shooting down Messerschmitts in His Majesty’s air force you could still engage the clutch with two fingers.Tags: 1940s, Black Lightning, Black Shadow, Bonneville, Vincent