• Welcome to the website of the Vincent H.R.D. Owners Club.

    Should you have any questions relating to the Vincent H.R.D. Owners Club, or Vincent H.R.D. motorcycles in general, please contact Graham Smith, Hon. Editor and Webmaster by calling 07977 001 025 or please CLICK HERE.

    You are unrecognised, and therefore, only have VERY restricted access to the many features of this website.

    If you have previously registered to use this forum, you should log in now. CLICK HERE.

    If you have never registered to use this website before, please CLICK HERE.

Hello (and a question!)

Chewie

Website User
Non-VOC Member
Hello to the forum :) !

I have long been a fan (aficionado? devotee?) of Vincent motorcycles. Why? Who knows! I live in the Stevenage/Herts area, so maybe I feel a pull to the local marque, but it's more than that.... I have been reading about the bikes for years in books such as The Vincent Gold Portfolio, Vincent The Complete Story and Original Vincent Motorcycle. The books are my bedtime reading..... :eek:

For years, my financial situation has meant that I couldn't contemplate ownership, but I'm now in a position to think about it. As luck would have it, a very dear friend is thinking of selling a Black Knight. (I'm not going to pass on any contact details, before anyone asks, so please don't put me in that position.) The price is realistic, he knows his Vincents very well, so we are talking very serious money here (once again, please don't ask me to reveal how much).

I would dearly love a Vincent, as a project, as an investment, but most of all as a bike to ride and be proud of. But, it's a lot of money (and it's worth it) so here's the question - am I in over my head getting a BK as a first Vincent? Would I be better looking for a single cylinder model?

I know this is a very open-ended question to ask! You may respond "well, it depends on the condition of the BK" and so on. But I'd be very interested in some gut reactions here. I don't want to buy a bike I'm too scared to ride!

Thank you in advance for your help!

Chewie :D
 

Tnecniv Edipar

Well Known and Active Website User
Non-VOC Member
Before I bought my Rapide I was in pretty much the same situation as you , but my focus was set on a twin , preferably a Shadow , but a superb Rapide came up, the cash was there and thats what I went for.
Practically speaking , the difference between owning a twin , even a Knight , isn't that different to a Comet. Not wishing in any way to offend single owners my intention was always to have a twin , it just epitomises the legend. Go for the Knight , you have my assurance you won't be disappointed :)
 

John Appleton

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Hello chewie, I guess we have all been of your mindset. In 1962 I bought a comet, which was going to be the bike to see me into the future. It was so successful that , two weeks later, I bought my rapide. I still have both of them! Dont be scared to ride a twin. If it is the legendary performanc that scares you, dont open the throttles too far. You will find that you are riding a docile tourer. If its the thought of dropping your very expensive toy, that will only last for the first ten minutes. After that you will be having so mutch fun it wont matter.
Two other bits of advice:- join the VOC, and buy the comet as well.
John
 

ernie

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Yes but Chewie what experience do you have with motorcycles. If you have been riding modern bikes then the performance is not going to be an issue, tho the brakes might! if you have been riding classics then the starting and fiddling and fettling should present no problem. If neither then you have a bit of a learning curve to traverse.

However - a Black Knight!! - under any circumstances - go for it!

Ernie Lowinger
 

Ian Savage

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Go for it, if you don't you will be saying to everyone "if only I had...." for ever.
Ian S.
PS I maybe near you so if you need an "expert friend" to give you an opinion I could help, I'm not going to try and out 'bid' you I've got enough!
 

Chewie

Website User
Non-VOC Member
Hello all,

Firstly, thank you very much for all your thoughts and advice - thank you for making me feel welcome, it is very much appreciated! :D

Secondly, I will certainly join the VOC straight away - I've been kicking myself that I haven't done it sooner.

I have a mix of old and new bikes at present, some of which have scary brakes! I've also rebuilt and restored a couple of bikes, so whilst not an expert mechanic I'm not worried about working on them.

Please may I ask two follow-on questions?

Firstly, I have found this site (click here for link) as a guide to Black Knight prices. Would you say this is accurate? I know this is in US$, but does it transfer to the UK well?

Secondly, one of the things which makes me nervous buying a covered bike (Knight or Prince) is that bodywork and the possibility of dropping and wrecking what is one of the defining features of the bike. I do want to ride it! Is it possible to temporarily remove all the bodywork and effectively convert it to a naked Series D Rapide, even if at some cost?

Thank you once again for your help! :D

Chewie
 

b'knighted

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Hi Chewie,

You responded while I was drafting this reply:
Assuming that you are already a motorcyclist, join the VOC, buy the Knight and ride it. The D’s are potentially easier to live with as the coil ignition causes less obscure problems than a magneto but I would recommend fitting a propstand. 12volt conversion and an electric starter (pouf foot) can make it easier to live with.

Good luck,

Having seen your response I can tell you that I threw my Knight up the road, on ice, just before Christmas 2008. The crashbar, which comes out to the edge of the sidepanel, was scuffed, as was the bottom corner of the WCS pannier. Gear lever, mirrorglass and windscreen all broke.
I do not have handlebar muffs fitted.
Dropped it on a Wednesday replaced damaged parts (ignoring scuffs) on the Saturday.
Yes, by replacing headcowl with a separate headlamp / speedo and ammeter, rear cowl with D Rap seat frame/ mudguard and replacing front mudguard with a C setup and stays, you can convert it – but why would you want to? The cowlings (other than the removable handlebar muffs, are not particularly vulnerable and the crashbar is effective. The bottom of the rearcowl has a frame with tapped lugs inside its edge and small guard angles fitted to may guard that edge. Crashing any bike, naked or enclosed can ruin your entire day.

Treat the prices as being in pounds perhaps, even then the good and fair prices are much too low.

Cheers,
 

CollingsBob

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Buy it...buy it NOW...ride it, wear it out, learn its strengths and weaknesses and you will never regret it.

You should also never accept an invitation to drink with Vincent owners - kick starting a Vincent leads to hollow leg syndrome..I've seen it, and its not pretty.
 

Chewie

Website User
Non-VOC Member
Right then, first things first, I've joined the VOC :D (when does my status change on here?) - Herts & Beds area.

Thanks again for all the advice. B'knighted - I take your point, I didn't realise spares were that easy to come by!

The pondering continues..... :D
 

b'knighted

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Hi Chewie,

Welcome.

Parts to keep post war Vincents on the road are readily available. Having broken a gear lever I rode home using the gear indicator to select gears and immediately telephoned an order to the VOC Spares Co. That was on a Wednesday and it arrived either on the Thursday or the Friday. I may have misled you slightly as I’d had a spare screen in stock for decades. External parts for the enclosed D’s are slightly harder to source but WCS used to make bits to order, and since Phil Primmer’s retirement the moulds have gone to someone else who should be able to continue the service. However only a serious crash should entail replacement, as the cowlings are tougher than most cars bodywork and no more difficult to repair. You wouldn’t remove the panelling from a scooter or a car to protect it.
If you are concerned about damage in the early days I’d consider putting the bike in “Thought Police” trim by removing the screen and the handlebar muffs. These are the most vulnerable parts and unbolt easily. I rode without a screen last summer and may do the same again this year if it warms up.

The bikes designed to be naked all look good but I believe the open D twins are less attractive because they resulted from problems with the plastics in the 1950s.

Cheers,
 

BlackLightning998

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Chewie,

If you can afford it, buy it. Oh, and another thought, if you can't afford it, buy it anyway.

Take Ian up on his offer and get him to come round, have a coffee and go over the bike with you giving you some pointers BEFORE YOU BUY. They can all look the same but some can be a real money pit if you buy the wrong thing, just like anything in life.

Ride it, use it as it was intended to.

Meet some of the folks in the club - you'll have a ball.

Listen to all the opinions and views you can - and then make up your own mind. Ask 10 VOC members for an opinion and you'll get at least 12 different ones - you have to make your own mind up and live with the consequences. You'll soon learn that not everyone's opinion in the VOC is equal and there are those you really should listen to.

I've got modern stuff too - but the Vincent comes out of the garage most - just an absolute joy to ride.

Have fun.

See you at some events - do introduce yourself.

Regards
 

macvette

Well Known and Active Website User
Non-VOC Member
Hi ,
I got my open series D just over 4 yrs ago. I wanted an original bike as was possible as I intended to get a bike that I could rebuild as I wanted to make it my own ( I had just retired and wanted to fullfill a dream). Cost wasn't a factor.I have other bikes and an old car and am a pretty good mechanic. I rode during the first summer to suss out what I needed to do. It was very scruffy and the engine needed a rebuild. I decided to restore the cycle parts myself and sent off the engine to be overhauled. I completely stripped the cycle parts to the last nut and bolt and methodically worked my way through the reconditioning of them during the winter. I didn't find this difficult but didn't feel I could do the motor justice.Six months later I was done. I niavely assumed that work on the motor would procede in parallel. Despite regular and frequent contact with the specialists doing the work, three and a half years later( and several thousand pounds), I am still without the motor. It seems a common occurence so my advice is as follows:- if like me you always wanted a Vincent, then get one but if you want to ride it, make sure that the engine is in good running order, not needing major work. If like me you want a bike that you can work on then be prepared for a long haul and some expense. Definitely get someone knowlegeable to advise you because even in poor health these engines are still capable of pulling well. I was well aware of the condition of my bike but the experience with the engine rebuild is very frustrating. From what I remember of riding the bike whilst assessing it, it was very enjoyable and if I live long enough to get the engine back, I'm sure it will be again. Spares are easy to get from the VOC and others.
Regards Mac
 

John Appleton

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Hi chewie, good advice here from Mac and Stuart. Even if you dont intend to be guided by others in your decision about the purchase, advice from Ian at the VOC spares company, and Russel at Vinparts will help you to avoid the pitfalls that Mac has found, (most of the members will know who he refers to). Build an early relationship with either of our favourite suppliers and you wont go far wrong. John
 

Latest Forum Threads

Can't Find What You Need?

Buyer Beware: Fake or Real?


Top