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advice for a new boy


kiwisteve

New Website User
Non-VOC Member
Hi, I hope no one minds a new boy asking a few ignorant questions. I'm a Vincent virgin doing some research prior to buying my first. What's the view on Godet Egli Vincents? They look magnificent (in my humble and ignorant view) but I'm concerned they are viewed as a new bike and hence not thought of as a "true Vincent". Am I better to buy an original Vincent and put up with everything that comes with an old bike?

Advice, comments and counsel welcome on what to buy.

Cheers,
Steve
 

BlackLightning998

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Hi, I hope no one minds a new boy asking a few ignorant questions. I'm a Vincent virgin doing some research prior to buying my first. What's the view on Godet Egli Vincents? They look magnificent (in my humble and ignorant view) but I'm concerned they are viewed as a new bike and hence not thought of as a "true Vincent". Am I better to buy an original Vincent and put up with everything that comes with an old bike?

Advice, comments and counsel welcome on what to buy.

Cheers,
Steve
Steve,

I've never ridden a Godet Egli, but having ridden modern bikes for 30 years and now being re-united with a Rapide in the stable as well I have the chance to ride them back to back so have a few views that I hope will be helpful.

Firstly there is a Godet Egli coming up for sale in the H&H Auction next week I think if you fancied having a go.

My father always brought me up to believe that a properly put together and fettled Vincent is a very reliable machine. I've seen lots of evidence of this in my short time back in the VOC, and saw Guy Stanford from Canada at our local meet a couple of weeks ago who had ridden his rebuilt Shadow for 3 months solid and over 8000 miles with just 1 fouled spark plug and a broken clutch cable - so there should not really be any reason why you would need to "put up" with unreliability if that is part of what you refer to under the old bike reference.

My own Rapide has been upgraded when recently rebuilt with 12volt electrics, electronic ignition, series D centre stand and an electric start. I've only done 2000 miles so far running the engine in but she has been totally reliable and a pleasure to own and ride.

Equally so there are a whole load of enthusiasts who enjoy the challenge of a roadside breakdown and I've heard of just about anything and everything being replaced at the side of the road - including the big ends.

I think my Dad was right though - properly fettled there is no need for them to be anything other than thoroughly reliable - but if you ride something 50 plus years old and the components are all original you should expect that you'll have the occasional issue.

In terms of running cost, one thing to bear in mind is what it is going to cost you over time (may or may not be of importance to you) - if you take care, get someone to help and advise you who knows what they are about in terms of Vincents and buy well then you are highly unlikely ever to suffer depreciation and may well have an appreciating asset to pass to your family at some point - worst case scenario it will help you in your retirement should you need it, I'm not sure what the secondhand market for the Godet Egli will do in that respect. As I said, you're call about whether it is an important factor or not.

To riding - well I have to admit to being amazed. As I said I have ridden mine back to back with modern bikes, Harley, Ducati and Honda. It handles amazingly well, the torque has to be felt to be believed even against the 1350cc Harley and is a pleasure to ride. Personally I would not choose to tour on one as an unfaired bike is, in my view, unpleasant above 80 mph for long journeys. I love mine best on fast sweeping A and B roads around England when the sun is shining.

I couldn't stop laughing recently when I was riding cross county to a favourite tea stop, picked up a modern Honda Pan European behind me and set off in a fairly spirited but far from flat out run. After about 20 miles of the twisty stuff we stopped and the guy came in behind me. He had been easily able to catch me on the straights but couldn't keep up through the bends - he was rather surprised.

Foibles - OK so it has four drum brakes and they take a long time to settle in and also it took me over three months of ownership to get them tuned to stop the bike properly - even now they are no match for the huge discs on a Ducati - but you adjust your riding style to suit. There is no excuse for a spongy response with the lever coming back to the bar though - they are much, much better than that. The original road tests suggested circa 30 feet at 30mph.

I can't think of much more than that - a properly put together and maintained machine should be oil tight, handle well, perform superbly and rapidly, a lot of fun and look and sound superb - I can't recommend one highly enough.

If you like the attention - then wherever you stop, from petrol station to traffic lights to tea shop to motorbike store - people want to come over, look at it, photograph it and talk to you about it - I haven't yet been to fill up at the Petrol Station without someone coming over.

Spares - you will not believe the ease with which you can get both parts and advice on what to do with them, plus a range of specialists who are doing upgrade components from twin leading shoe brakes through electric starts, 12 volt ignition, big bore kits and more - you can do as much personalisation and more that you would with a Harley.

The VOC is a good club on the whole would be my view - like everything in life there are good points and bad points, there are one or two dubious people who maintain their membership but with a little care you can steer clear of them - but my own personal experience by far is that all the people I have met have been friendly and united by a common passion for the Vincent and happy to chat with you and offer their advice. My local section, the West London, has been very welcoming.

So, which one to buy - there's the question.

I'd suggest you go along to your local section and get involved, have a look at each of the models at a rally or run, see what takes your personal fancy - some people love the early HRD Series A, Comet or Rapide the Series C Rapide or Shadow is a pretty well sorted bike but the D is a different bike and has a whole range of fans all to itself. Rapide or Shadow - well Shadow has the possible edge in many people's minds but will likely cost you more. The Rapide does everything I ask of it to be honest (although I have to polish the engine a lot). Enclosed D, Prince or Knight - again a matter of preference and Black Lightning is a matter of availability and your cash - plus I think you'd probably be unlikely to ride it on the road. So in summary, go have a look at them all, talk to some members and see what takes your fancy most and suits your pocket.

Oh - and whatever you buy it is "buyer beware" - I would thoroughly recommend that you get the help and advice of someone who knows their Vincents and can talk you through what you are planning to part with your hard earned cash for - remember just because it looks nice and shiny on the outside that is no guarantee on what the internals are like. There are a range of well know people who work on Vincents and a handful of receipts from some of them with an honest and trustsworthy seller with a story that stacks and proper history for the bike is a good investment in the short-term. I know a chap who bought a stunning looking Black Prince at auction sold as "fully restored" and he paid top money - the bike is now with a proper engineer, engine in bits being properly rebuilt using new parts to get it to run!!

Unfortunately some people look at what they believe to be a relatively high price achieved at auction over the last two to three years and immediately think every Vincent is worth that kind of money - it is just not the case. Appraise your potential purchase properly and work out what it is likely to cost you to have it put the way you want it, or put right, when you buy it - take that into consideration.

In some respects you may be better off buying that pile of parts in the H&H auction next week, all original, one bike, all matching numbers but it requires a TOTAL internal and external restoration which will cost in excess of £10K in my view - but then at least you will have a completely restored bike with known history and you will know what the condition of each and every component is on the machine. Be careful who you choose to do the restoration work for you - there are people to use and people to avoid - join the VOC and ask around, look at bikes that have been restored and ask the owner for a recommendation - you'll soon learn where to trust your machine and where not.

If I can be of any further help, if you want to chat anything through, please e-mail me on metcalfe_stuart@hotmail.com and I'll send you a telephone number.

Hope that's helpful, come on, get involved, join the club, ride a Vincent and have loads of fun.

Regards

Stuart
 
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captain vincent

Website User
Non-VOC Member
Is there any "old boy,s" going to give a potential new boy a shot (Scottish term for go!) on a bike to see if he likes the marque before he sells his children into slavery,from past experience I think not.Vincent ownership is a classic "minefield"and purchasing one conjures up the image of the fox in Pinocchio taking a potential owner to donkey island ,tread very carefully!,even if you step in rocking horse manure it will cost you dear.
 

BlackLightning998

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Is there any "old boy,s" going to give a potential new boy a shot (Scottish term for go!) on a bike to see if he likes the marque before he sells his children into slavery,from past experience I think not.Vincent ownership is a classic "minefield"and purchasing one conjures up the image of the fox in Pinocchio taking a potential owner to donkey island ,tread very carefully!,even if you step in rocking horse manure it will cost you dear.
I'm with you CV - I cannot think of a circumstance where I'd really want to offer another club member a ride on my Vincent, because it is just that - let alone a prospective owner who hasn't yet ridden one and the thought of anyone else but me being responsible for dropping it, damaging it or the like just hurts to think it. Yet it can't be that difficult - I first rode my Vincent when I was 14 years old, got on it and under instruction kick started it first kick and then rode off.

Here's an idea though, what about the club buying a bike (or having one donated to the club) which they use to take to certain special events and there is some scheme for prospective new members (who have demonstrated they are able) to have a ride on a Vincent - the idea could be that they could pay for the ride refundable against a years membership or something like that. It would potentially help attract new people to the club, build membership for the future and answer that question about where are all the new club members going to come from to buy the bikes when some of the existing club members have finished owning them?

Maybe even the ride could be £100 including a years membership, push the membership up and just how many rides would we need to sell to break even................I bet there's a load of Brussels followers thinking right now, "ahh but the health and safety/insurance/political correctness police/..... wouldn't let you charge for it, or you couldn't insure for it".


I know the VMCC do something similar where they give people the opportunity to ride a hand gear change bike at certain events.

There are a couple of specialists who offer hire of classics, but they don't yet have a Vincent on fleet that I can find.

Just because Steve can't find one to ride though shouldn't stop him yearning to own one, and being converted by us about the real joys of ownership. After 30 years absence, and riding modern stuff in-between, I was impressed when I got back on and rode it.

Regards

Stuart
 
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sidmadrid

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
I'm with Captain Vincent, you should try a few if you can before you commit yourself.
I know a couple of gents who have restored basket cases, and at the end of a long haul were dissapointed with the ride. Nothing wrong with the machines, just not their cup of tea. I've had mine fourty years and I'm happy with it. 'nuf said?
 

boggler122

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
PatricK Godet

I have known Patrick for over 30 years . He is honest and straighforward. As is his product. .Ken
 

rapcom

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Steve, My GPS programme gives three Mayfields in UK. If you are in the Sussex one, please come along to the Sussex Section clubnight next week, Thursday 11th Oct, at the Weald pub in Burgess Hill, not that far from you. We don't care if you come by car, Suzuki or bicycle, just turn up and I'll buy you a pint. Then you can discover what a lovely crowd we are (and so handsome, too).
I'm not far away myself, so PM me if you want a chat.
Dick
 

kiwisteve

New Website User
Non-VOC Member
Guys,

I'm completely blown away by the advice, time taken to pen the reply's and the obvious enthusiasm - many thanks. I'm writing this one handed as the other is holding my six week old son: have now made my decision to buy a bike he'll be proud of, once i've added another 30 years riding to it. I'll see you you on the 11th.

kind regards,
Steve
 

Glenliman

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Steve, if you have not aldready done so, it would be worth your while to join the club and get to know some of the club members prior to purchasing a bike. This is the source of much Vincent knowledge and will most likely help you avoid purchasing from a snake oil salesman.

If the club members are familiar with a machine that is for sale, it is likely someone will know the gory details of it's mechanical condition.
It is not uncommon for a Vincent to be cosmetically beautiful and still be a wreck internally.
I would far rather purchase something that is in tip top mechanical shape but might be in need of a bit of cosmetic work. The cosmetic problems are in plain view to all and are generally quite cheaply dealt with.
Internal problems are much tougher to spot and generally much more expensive to deal with. Purchasing a wreck and doing a complete restoration as has been suggested is one way to get first rate mechanical condition, another is to purchase a machine which has already had the work done. In this case you might want to rely on club members familiar with the machine, or , failing that, club members who can vouch for the integrity of the seller.


I purchased my first Vincent four years ago in Australia from an ad in Flogger's Corner. It was cost prohibitive for me to go to Australia to view the bike, so all I had was a photo and the seller's description. On my behalf, one of the club members here in Canada queried an Australian club member about the character of the seller and the condition of the bike.
He was told that the member in question was a standup fellow having a long association with Vincents, although the Australian member was not familiar with this particular bike (the seller had owned 16 Vincents over the years)
The seller claimed the bike was in very good mechanical shape, but was not a councours machine, although it looked very tidy in the photos.
The description was entirely accurate and this machine has performed extremely well for me, in fact it has been virtually trouble free in sixteen thousand miles we have covered with it, mostly loaded two up with gear.
We did do a top end redo shortly after purchase, however this was done in part to bump the compression and in part to add the oil seal modification to the inlet valves (greatly reduces oil consumption) and was a matter of choice rather than a required repair.

I have since purchased a second Rapide, again relying on club info for the history of the machine. This one has had a total internal and external resto done by a local Vincent whiz, but had only covered 550 miles in 20 years due to an injury the seller received in a car accident.
 

Pete Appleton

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
VOC Forum Administrator
VOC Forum Moderator
Test ride before buying?

I am not so sure about letting people test ride a rapide before buying one as I dont think anyone would ever buy one. They are an extremely aquired taste. I built a rapide from scratch having owned a Comet, and loved it, but never having ridden a twin ( the old man wouldn't let me on his one).
When I finished the twin after xx thousand pounds I hated it for the first thousand miles after which you begin to see the beauty. Many other people who have 'upgraded' to a twin tell the same story.

Pete
 

kiwisteve

New Website User
Non-VOC Member
Just like old Porsches I guess, with which I'm familiar. Having never owned anything else I never thought of them as "different" until I drove a modern (and horrible) Eurobox! I sat on the Rapide that Verralls have for sale in Sussex - it felt great, just like a well worn jacket. I'll keep on listening and researching and hopefully continue to be patient.

See you on Thursday Dick.

Cheers, Steve
 

DennisVelo

New Website User
Non-VOC Member
vincent virgin

I too, am new to Vincents having just completed a restoration of a Black Shadow. I am amazed by the interest people show in it. I don't think the first owner found it very good to ride as it had only done 23000 millesfrom new.​
I must admit its going to take a lot of getting used to as the ride is totaly different to my usual mount (a large Jap v twin. Mind you it does hurt my thumb when it kicks back.:D
 

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