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Vincent Black Shadow: The First Superbike and Maybe the Best!
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Vincent Black Shadow: The First Superbike and Maybe the Best!

The Vincent Black Shadow was considered as the first superbike and people still praise it, as it was the fastest motorcycle of its era. It was introduced in 1948 Earls Court Motor Show and the production of the bike continued until it was ceased in 1955. After the end of WWII, Vincent Black Shadow was built and designed in England. It was designed brilliantly with 88cc 50-degree V-twin and the performance of the bike improved by doubling up the 499cc Comet single-cylinder engine. It followed the footsteps of the Vincent Rapid, which was more of a touring bike. Most of the bikes of that era had lots of polish, chrome, and bright colors but this bike was nearly all black.

The bike also set a six-hour world record at more than 100 mph in Montlhery, France, in May 1952 which was considered as an incredible achievement for the time. Though there were limited supplies to build the fastest production motorcycle after the end of WWII, Phil Irving put forth all his efforts to build Vincent Black Shadow. He was considered as the great engine designers of the mid-20th century and later designed the engine for the Repco-Brabham Formula 1 car which won the 1966 and 1967 World Championships.

Vincents were different and unique in many ways. It was the idea of Phil Vincent to step the V-twin cylinders slightly so that they would receive cooling air in the form of a 45 horsepower. The toolkit of the bike was very tiny as few tools fit all the parts and the parts rarely broke. The rear suspension of the bike was the patented Vincent system and the front suspension was ordered from Brampton. The original Black Shadow used the low octane fuel which resulted in a low compression ratio. Phil discovered that this could be increased significantly with a higher grade fuel. As a result, Modified Vincent Black Shadows was considered as the best racing motorcycles in history.

The bike was bundled with many great features such as a reversible rear wheel, upward tilt of the speedometer, black enamel on most components, gold leaf stripe on the tank, long comfortable seat, low bars and the list goes on… Believe me, it doesn’t get much better than this! There was an amazing aluminum knurled knob on the dipstick, when one checks the oil in a Vincent primary case. It can be considered as a piece of art to be admired.

The Vincent Black Shadow was the ideal and ultimate British motorcycle of its time, which is truly iconic!

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