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My First Vincent Ride

Buzz Kanter

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
Non-VOC Member
After searching for my first Vincent for a couple of years I finally purchased a nice 1948 Rapide B over the winter. I have been riding motorcycles, most older than 1948, for many years, but never a Vincent. Today was my first ride on one.

Once I added enough fuel it eventually fired up. I need to get more practice setting the choke and throttle for a cold start. I let it idle for a few minutes and then off I went. I pulled in the clutch and engaged 2nd gear by mistake and wondered why it pulled under so much effort. I quickly realized my ways and popped the shifter into 1st.

I guess I let off the choke too soon as the engine did not feel right. I eased on the choke and she ran stronger and sounded healthier.

I rode perhaps 20 miles through some mild in-town traffic then out into the country. I found the front brakes very strong and the rear almost useless. I made a note to adjust the rear brakes. I also mis-shifted more than once - is there any special technique for this or does it just take practice?

I found the front girder forks less than I had hoped for and the steering a bit twitchy for my tastes, but all in all a fun learning experience for me.

By the time I got home I found several oil leaks on the bike and the clutch cable needing adjustment to take out the excessive slack.

Any advice or suggestions before I take my next ride?
 

mercurycrest

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
Hi Buzz,
I don't think I've ever used the chokes on a Vincent. I'd be inclined to look for a dirty jet or something like that. The back brakes should easily lock the wheel. Vincents aren't twitchy, check the damper (too tight?), headrace bearings and make sure the front spring isn't sacked out. You can stretch the spring back to length by driving a wedge between the coils until it's back to proper length, do it with the coil cold (unheated) and work your way around till all is even and straight. Switch to a hydraulic coil over shock when you can for a nice smooth(er) ride.
Cheers, John
 

bmetcalf

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
My bike didn't have chokes when I bought it in 1980 and I haven't gotten around to adding them. I just tickle the front and kick with a whiff of throttle, then ride. The more you ride it, the better it will be because you find things to properly adjust.
 

Alan J

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
Takes at least 10 years to get used to riding a Vincent twin-and then another 10 years to fix all the problems!-go for it!!
 

Tom Gaynor

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
Yeah, all Vincents are the same.
I always need the chokes to start, even in what we call summer. In winter it absolutely won't start without them. Sometimes it won't start even with them. (I run 'em lean and mean...) They can go off after 100 yards in summer, half a mile in winter. I run 289's.
My back brakes are incapable of locking the rear wheel. Which is fine by me, as it happens, since my 2LS front brakes make the front tyre chirrup.
Steering isn't twitchy, but changing from the (wrong) long eyebolts to (correct) short changed it from understeer - had to be forced to turn in - into neutral / oversteer - turns in easily, a delight to ride, and about 10 mph quicker in the twisties. I conclude that ride height is critical. The top link, rider in place, should be at worst parallel with the deck, slightly up is better, down is bad. I'm about 170 lb.
I run an hydraulic steering damper, lowest setting. Any higher and it "slow-weaves" at low speed. Disconcerting...
Better handling springs (sorry...) from softer springs and stiffer (or even just effective) damping. I have Petteford soft springs at the back, C springs at the front, and, critical items, Thornton dampers fore and aft. Their coil-over rear sounds good, but I took a different route to the same place.

.
Hi Buzz,
I don't think I've ever used the chokes on a Vincent. I'd be inclined to look for a dirty jet or something like that. The back brakes should easily lock the wheel. Vincents aren't twitchy, check the damper (too tight?), headrace bearings and make sure the front spring isn't sacked out. You can stretch the spring back to length by driving a wedge between the coils until it's back to proper length, do it with the coil cold (unheated) and work your way around till all is even and straight. Switch to a hydraulic coil over shock when you can for a nice smooth(er) ride.
Cheers, John
 

bmetcalf

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
Tom, forgive me for not remembering, but do you have Bramptons or Girdraulics? Buzz has Bramptons.
 

clevtrev

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
Takes at least 10 years to get used to riding a Vincent twin-and then another 10 years to fix all the problems!-go for it!!

There goes the voice of experience, ignore it at your peril. Although you could cut five years off the second part, by doing the job properly in the first instance.
 

Albervin

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
Buzz, check the fork links "nipped" up lightly. One of the knurled washers on each side of the upper link should be free to move. Note... only one each side, not both. Depending on the orientation of the forks the knurled washers will be either tight or free. Depending on what type of bushes are in the forks you will need to oil or grease them. Have the damper knob on the side of the forks tightened so that you can bounce the front end at rest with a bit of effort. Start off with the damper knob on the top somewhere between loose and "just biting". Tyre pressures of 24-27 psi in front and 26-28 psi rear is a starting point. Only use a ribbed or Avon roadrider style tyre on the front, do not use a block type tyre! Check steering head bearings are not too tight. Enjoy.
 
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