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Revisionist History Kevin Cameron 2020

Mike 40M

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
It's a bit unfair to compare a Vincent to a Manx. On a racetrack it's obvious that a bike built with the sole purpose to perform when raced is faster than a bike built for effortless high speed touring. I definitely prefers riding the Manx on track and the Vincent when touring. Never the opposite. Consider myself lucky to be able to choose.
 

Glenliman

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
I'm trying to imagine dumping the Vincent touring load of luggage and people on a Manx. Now picture attempting to start off on an uphill grade at some mountain lookout.
The Vincent does this again and again without fuss.

Glen
 
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vibrac

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
It's a bit unfair to compare a Vincent to a Manx. On a racetrack it's obvious that a bike built with the sole purpose to perform when raced is faster than a bike built for effortless high speed touring. I definitely prefers riding the Manx on track and the Vincent when touring. Never the opposite. Consider myself lucky to be able to choose.
And our twin has just been accepted in the Lansdowne club............
 
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ClassicBiker

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VOC Member
Having read the article, several times now, and everyone's comments to this point. I can only agree with everyone's comments and add that while I normally like Keven Cameron's writings I have to wonder if there is something else a foot with this article.
At the end of the second paragraph Keven Cameron writes, "He insists upon telling the truth: that by 1950 what had been praiseworthy suspension since Vincent introduced it in the mid-1930s had fallen behind. " The he in this case being Philippe Guyony the author of the book Keven Cameron. is reviewing.
Having read many of Keven Cameron's articles I believe him to be well versed in history in general and motorcycle history in particular. So how he can agree with this statement is beyond me. In 1950 Triumph launched the Thunderbird Model. Triumph launched its new model with a rigid frame, I fail to see how this is ahead of the rear suspension arrangement that Vincents enjoyed. Triumph also launched the sprung hub at this time, which became notorious for questionable handling at best. This being done because managing director Edward Turner did not want to upset traditionalist with something new, a swing arm frame, and did not want to follow BSA and others with their plunger style frames, except on the low budget entry level Terrier model. Again I fail to see how these two choices of rear suspension are ahead of a fully triangulated swinging arm rear suspension.
This all brings me to the point of something being afoot. American country music singer Toby Keith wrote a song called "The Critic" about a music critic whose editor couldn't tell if anyone was reading the critics reviews. The editor was considering firing the critic because of this. The critic solved his problem by writing articles bashing very popular bands. Letters to the editor skyrocketed and the critic got a raise, because people were buying the paper to read and then complain about his reviews.
Perhaps Mr. Cameron or Cycle World find themselves in a similar situation. Controversial statements made to draw the attention of declining subscribers.
Steven
 

vibrac

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Ah what has happened to Cycle World? Back in the staid world of early sixties UK motorcycle publishing (The Motor cycle and Motorcycling) we were starved of good copy and so when I could, I found a copy of Cycle World and devoured "The Duct tapes" and other items. Not untill Motorcycle Sport arrived (often then referred to as 'the other MPH') did we get any good UK copy from One Track and friends.
 

Glenliman

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
I had a 49 Matchless G80 in 1968.
Rigid on the back, spindley, floppy Teledraulic fork on the front. So no suspension at back , Godawful suspension at front and not much power. It was a typical " big bike" from that era.
Unfortunately, I could neither find nor afford a Vincent.
I had heard quite a bit about them, most of it accurate, it turns out.
Judging by the bikes I've owned or ridden from that time, in 1950 the Vincent was miles ahead of the others in every way.
In the late fifties Norton really got things together with their swing arm Featherbed bikes and Roadholder suspension. They were still short on power with the 99. It wasn't until the 650ss showed up in 62 that Norton finally had a fast road engine.
In 1950 there just wasn't anything that would measure up to a Vincent as a road bike.
When I'm riding the Vincent on a mountain highway I totally forget how old it is. It feels very modern when in use.
That's why we like them!
Glen
 

Mike 40M

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Glenliman, you're mostly correct. Though your dating of featherbed Nortons isn't accurate.
The 88 came in -51 and the 99 in -56. The first 650, the Manxman came in -60 followed by the 650SS and Atlas in -62.
Excluding the featherbed, the rest of the bikes in that period was inferior to a Vincent in handling.
Worth mentioning is that the vibrations in the period singles and parallel twins made them less suited to long distance travel compared to a Vincent.
 

Glenliman

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Right, I forgot about the 88, although at 29 bhp it wouldn't be much use for 2 up touring in the mountains.
The Manxman came in very small numbers in 1961 according to my Dommie book.
But it had an orange seat! And a tiny tank with that wild blue paint.
Does it even count as a motorcycle?:

Glen
 

Albervin

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Even today I occasionally read of the Vincent having a hinge in the middle. I suppose it is a hinge but it works in a most effective manner when well maintained.
 

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