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just how many angels can you get on the head of a pin?


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Now let me say first off I am not knocking attention to detail. Admittedly its not me I will admit so long as it approximates what a Vincent looked like, its reliable, I can play with go better bits and I can ride it thats enough for me
Some of this stuff about where a dip switch fitted when it came out of a little factory in England 70 years ago, what a seat manufactures badge looked like in a particular batch and why an original suicide back light would be worth £700 is mind boggling.
Even more mind boggling is the fact that its often difficult in the UK to get enough bikes for a concourse competition perhaps this passion for minutia is a peculiar USA obsession
Whatever I continue to read in amazement the depths of detail trawling. we are certainly reaching the limits of historical record and the basic day to day variability of 50's factory life. (and I know, I worked in a similar factory not 50 miles away and know the changes and variations wrought by supplier failure,fluctuating labour and tight budgets)
Yes it certainly is a interesting laterday VOC phenomenon and I would like to hear some other peoples take on it.


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in my short Vincent ownership it appears that any service you want, and they find it's for a Vincent; 'kerching' the cost goes up exponentially. I put this downto the 'rivet counters' and authenticity at any cost mentality setting the bar.

I purpsely bought a machine to be ridden and not cosseted and the condition is therefore commensurate with that function, it aslo appeared that the majority of Vincent owners followed on with PE Irving's concept and made improvements as materials and components became available and that are in keeping with the Vincent ethos; another charachteristic of the general Vincent Owner that i respect.

If some want to polish and present their machines in pristine condition, fair goes. But don't get all sniffy looking down on used and adapted machines.

long live the oily rag.
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Without getting too pedantic should the question not be "How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?" and others are making it difficult by rubbing the pin with oily rags making the adhesion even more difficult!


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Vincents are motorcycles.

While I respect the owner's right to do whatever they want to with their motorcycle, I feel they should not insult the designers and builders by making them into museum exhibits.

I think all this attention to detail Tim talks about will produce a replica of a bike that never existed, it may well have been what was intended (and possibly drawn) but in the 50s, what went out of the gate was a man's interpretation of the drawings not a machine's. That's part of the appeal, no two Vins are the same.



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There is so much variation, some on the part of Vincent themselves, like the HRD to Vincent transition and inspection caps, and even more on the part of all the bought in parts, like the different headlights, ammeter faces, Bowden vs Amal vs Doherty levers. Yes, it is nice to document the details, but as far as saying how any ONE particular bike was, or even saying something like "at such and such time, all of them were this way", for a number of items, that's a bunch of hogwash.

I'm fortunate to have a one family Vin that is unrestored, but even back in the early '80s when I first developed a Vincent consciousness and helped my father put his Vin back together, we had lots of discussions about whether this or that came a certain way from the factory, and you know what, we just do not know with certainty about a number of items.

The few remaining unrestored bikes are important reference points, and are to be treasured and used to help document the details, but the passage of time is a brutal enemy, and without photos from day one, even these examples are not always completely trustworthy.

There is a fairly common poster, I think it was produced by the UK national museum, and the Shadow has a non standard taillight, and that bothers me. If the back of the seat was visible, and it didn't have a Feridax logo (either embossed or a plate), would I care? No. The poster is not a photo, but a drawing, at least get the iconic taillight correct, even if the bike available for viewing by the artist did not have one.


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Well..My bike looks like a Comet,,runs like a Comet and the lack of gold lining on the tank makes not a blind bit of difference.
I admire the 'showroom' bikes but I like them even better when they are used.
If you want originality to the Nth degree then that's ok with me---But let it be a bike that gets used.
I get people say to me 'I bet that sits in the garage all winter,that's how they should be looked after'..My reply is that I fitted all the stainless steel bit so that I wouldn't have to polish it non stop, and yes I was out in the snow earlier in the year.
So I have to wash it down when I get home,that is what bikes were meant for.
My first Comet live against a factory wall outside the flats I lived in at the time,IT WAS TRANSPORT not something to be awed and ahhed over..john

chankly bore

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Non-VOC Member
I would rather see the sloppiest looking machine RIDDEN (in all weathers) than the finest restoration on a trailer.


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I must agree with Tim. However, being interested in competition, like Tim, I certainly understand the latter day owners. In general, riding skill, daring and innovative modifications, which were the bread and butter of the competition gents have given way to the competitive collectors. The highest achievement in competitive collecting is originality. Functionality is a distant second. I don't mean to exclude the many street riders who, like Eddy Stevens, found functionality a fitting goal of the street rider also. But both groups are fighting a force as persistent as gravity now. You can resist, but the pull of popularity and money is too powerful to defeat.

It has been a rewarding endeavor to build highly modified Vincents and it is something I plan to continue doing. It feels quite liberating to escape that ever present pull.



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To answer Tim, yes, maybe, not always.
The attention to minutiae is a very American thing but not entirely restricted to them. The splash of cash used to be from bankers, Japanese and those of dubious business interests. It appears now to be cashed up baby boomers, middle eastern oil sheiks and those of dubious business interests. I personally can't wait to see a bike that has had way too much money spent on it then point out to the owner what is "wrong" with it. Still, that's me just dreaming or tempting fate.


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I don't think we should be too despondent there is a Vincent owner not far from me who earns his crust keeping a type 54 Bugatti in racing trim and the owner flys in to the chosen European circuit by helicopter races it and flys off again.
Now whatever you think of that, at least the owner is using it as intended and its not sitting in a museum.
More importantly in the Vincent context using it, is using spares, because riding them and using spares is the blood circulation in an obsolete motorcycle body, without a good supply of spares and the knowlege behind them it stops being a dream catcher and starts being a dust collector
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