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New Here But Long Term Rider Looking For Twin

Buzz Kanter

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
Non-VOC Member
Hello from the US. I have owned and ridden a number of wonderful American, British, Japanese, German and Italian motorcycles over the years. I have recently decided it is time to live the dream and buy a Vincent twin - a machine I have long lusted after.

All leads, tips and recommendations are appreciated. I prefer a matching numbers machine and have been told a B is the model for me. Before actually buying a machine I am trying to learn as much about the various years and model changes as I can.

Thanks.

Buzz Kanter
 

Tom Gaynor

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
You want answers? Ask 100 Vincent owners, to get 200 answers. The B was superseded by the C with forks (Girdraulics) that Vincent thought were an improvement. Widespread opinion is that the B with Bramptons, handles better, which probably means "give more feedback". I have a C Shadow, which 1) was available to buy and 2) I thought was the definitive Vincent anyway. I too have many bikes, and I wouldn't choose the Vin for a "scratching round corners" competition, but that's not what I do with it. There's something about that big vee-twin turning over slow while the horizon gets closer fast that makes it a wonderful device. It is also a pleasure to ride in traffic, surprisingly nimble. By chance, mine does have matching numbers, but I know of a very good one that doesn't. A better motor became available, and was duly fitted. The result was a stunner. That was when people were more interested in bikes to ride than bikes as investment, but times change. I think you might find that a matching numbers B will cost a lot more than a matching numbers C, and neither may be better than a mongrel.
Best buys are probably bikes that are well used. They've been sorted. Something to bear in mind however is that a Vin leaving the factory would probably do 50,000 miles before it needed serious attention, so if you buy an old one, it might be at that stage. A purely personal opinion is that the road to ruin starts by buying a bike, then immediately stripping it for an overhaul. Like all bikes of that era, Vincents were selectively assembled (a Shadow is a Rapide blueprinted). They need to be selectively re-assembled. Not too many people can do that, and delivery times vary between a week (honestly) and three years. So if it runs, ride it for a year or so to find out what is needed.
More immediate advice is to invest in the literature. There is a lot of very good stuff on Vincents. Know Thy Beast (author Eddie Stevens died this year) is essential. Richardson is good. Forty Years On and Another Ten Years give a vivid insight into the waves of needless panic over oil, plugs, whatever, that sweep through the Vincent world until everyone relaxes. All of these can be bought through the club. And join the club. I was told many years before I bought my bike that it was worth it just for the magazine, and it was true.
 

ET43

Guest
Hi Buzz,
I agree with what Tom says, but would like to add that you can purchase an illustrated parts manual, a set of service/ instruction sheets sheets and a copy of Paul Richardson's book from the VOCS. Read up on all the literature you can, because it has all been written down at some time or other, and by reading that lot, you might be able to answer some of the questions you were going to ask. I personally do not think that a matching set of cases/ UFM is all that important, only if you are purchasing the bike as an investment, oooh, wash your mouth out Primmer. It is what the darned thing goes and handles like that would be important to me. If it sounds like a bag of nails being dragged across the floor, but looks pretty, don't touch it. Good Luck with your hunt. Phil Primmer.
 

Buzz Kanter

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
Non-VOC Member
You want answers? Ask 100 Vincent owners, to get 200 answers. The B was superseded by the C with forks (Girdraulics) that Vincent thought were an improvement. Widespread opinion is that the B with Bramptons, handles better, which probably means "give more feedback". I have a C Shadow, which 1) was available to buy and 2) I thought was the definitive Vincent anyway. I too have many bikes, and I wouldn't choose the Vin for a "scratching round corners" competition, but that's not what I do with it. There's something about that big vee-twin turning over slow while the horizon gets closer fast that makes it a wonderful device. It is also a pleasure to ride in traffic, surprisingly nimble. By chance, mine does have matching numbers, but I know of a very good one that doesn't. A better motor became available, and was duly fitted. The result was a stunner. That was when people were more interested in bikes to ride than bikes as investment, but times change. I think you might find that a matching numbers B will cost a lot more than a matching numbers C, and neither may be better than a mongrel.
Best buys are probably bikes that are well used. They've been sorted. Something to bear in mind however is that a Vin leaving the factory would probably do 50,000 miles before it needed serious attention, so if you buy an old one, it might be at that stage. A purely personal opinion is that the road to ruin starts by buying a bike, then immediately stripping it for an overhaul. Like all bikes of that era, Vincents were selectively assembled (a Shadow is a Rapide blueprinted). They need to be selectively re-assembled. Not too many people can do that, and delivery times vary between a week (honestly) and three years. So if it runs, ride it for a year or so to find out what is needed.
More immediate advice is to invest in the literature. There is a lot of very good stuff on Vincents. Know Thy Beast (author Eddie Stevens died this year) is essential. Richardson is good. Forty Years On and Another Ten Years give a vivid insight into the waves of needless panic over oil, plugs, whatever, that sweep through the Vincent world until everyone relaxes. All of these can be bought through the club. And join the club. I was told many years before I bought my bike that it was worth it just for the magazine, and it was true.

Sounds like solid advice. While I have yet to purchase a Vincent I have owned some amazing vintage machines including Indian Fours, 1920s Harleys, BSA Gold Star, Moto Guzzi Airone. And each time I learn more about the process and value of a decent education on the machine in question. While I personally don't concern mysle fon matching numbers, if and when I ever decide to sell a machine it sure can make a difference.

Unless it is dangerous or obviously doing damage to the machine or rider, I prefer to ride a newly purchased machine for a while to better understand what I like or not BEFORE I lay a wrench on it. I have seen too many people make modifications or "upgrades" too soon and then regret making them after the fact.

I have begun buying books and other literature on the history and maintenance of Vincents. Being the editor-in-chief and publisher of several motorcycle magazines (in the US) I am prone to the printed word already.

I have just ordered Know Thy Beast and a few other books on various aspects of Vincents. Once I digest them I will order the second batch. I have known Big Sid for many years and his passion for Vincents is addictive.

Guess it is time to sign up for a club membership. Thanks to all for sharing with me. Hope to be on the road on a Vincent twin one day soon.
 

Albervin

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
Thanks. I did just sign up for the New England chapter.
Buzz, by signing up to the New England Section you are not actually joining the club. The International club is the Mother Ship & the Sections are its children. To benefit from the wealth of knowledge out there I strongly advise you to go to the membership link on the home page.
As far as numbers go, there are a couple of restorers out there who can "restore" numbers on a mismatched bike,,,,,,,,:rolleyes:
 

Buzz Kanter

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
Non-VOC Member
Buzz, by signing up to the New England Section you are not actually joining the club. The International club is the Mother Ship & the Sections are its children. To benefit from the wealth of knowledge out there I strongly advise you to go to the membership link on the home page.
As far as numbers go, there are a couple of restorers out there who can "restore" numbers on a mismatched bike,,,,,,,,:rolleyes:

Sorry I was not more specific. I signed up for the club and checked off the New England chapter.

And when a VIN is restamped (not uncommon on older and valuable Harleys & Indians) is is sometimes referred to here in the US as a tattoo.
 

samueljohn

Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
Albervin,
Unlike the sections down under, here in the US, you have to join the main VOC in the UK in order to register a section. Very much like down under, our sections cover a vast geographical area and can be confusing to new US members. I live in New York City and am part of the Keystone section (although I have enough Vincent owners to start a "Gotham" section) and in NY we get together once a month for Vincent talk and tire kicking.
The New England section is also a vast section with many long time members. On the east coast there is also the Washington DC section so there is much Vincent activity on this side of the continent.
Buzz, now that you are a member, understand that all numbers are registered with the club. Any "re-stamping" is a criminal act and is not recognized by the club. The machine registry is very diligent about recording part serial numbers. Vincents are unique in that the records have been mostly preserved by the club and updated in the registry. Many of the machines produced by the works can be tracked throughout its life within the club. Before purchasing a bike, it is very easy to contact the club for information. Most likely they will have it history.
Good luck on your search and we look forward to you joining the fold.
John Romano
Brooklyn, New York
 

Albervin

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
John, here in NSW we insist on all section members being paid up VOC members as well. In Victoria they do not, in fact I understand they have a section member who has been "kicked out" of the VOC.:mad: Some sections in the USA are a bit "flexible" with VOC membership as well. It is not worth the stress to argue the pros & cons of enforced membership on this forum but as a former organiser of an International rally I can tell you right here that I received an earful from non members who wanted the benefits without the cost of membership. As I have always said, you cannot expect to attend a game without buying a ticket & after nearly 25 years in the VOC I have certainly had my money's worth! When travelling overseas I have several credit cards & a copy of the membership list, priceless!!:D
 
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