2002 Vincent Black Shadow Prototype
When Bernard Li's new Vincents were rolled out to the press and potential investors in 2002, a couple of things were readily apparent: 1) These were in no way pale imitations of the original machine, not simply Harley clones tarted up with gold pinstripes and a Vincent badge; and 2) the functional, running, prototypes were superbly presented, with jewel-like build quality, more like showbikes than R&D testers.
The Black Shadow was to be the base model of a four-bike range, the most traditionally styled. The wire-spoke wheels were a nod to the past, both Vincent's and Li's--Eagle One's first successful car-care product was a spray-on spoked-wheel cleaner. Actually, new Vincent buyers were to have options when it came to wheels and other components. By using an online "Configurator" customers could digitally mock up a bike with their choice of wheels, seat, exhaust, fenders, etc.
James Parker's chassis layout had some interesting features. Made from aluminum, the main frame sported a huge central backbone that served as the engine's airbox. Fresh air made its way to the fuel injectors via a screened intake at the front of the steering head. The RC51 V-Twin hung from mounting points on the frame's downtubes. A midships-mounted plastic fuel tank, good for mass-centralization, filled up most of the space behind the rear cylinder and beneath the shock. It was gassed up though a sporty Monza-type flip-up filler. What looked to be a conventional gas tank was actually a finely crafted carbon-fiber shell painted black, a cover for the frame's backbone and a place for the rider's knees to grip.
Cycle World magazine noted more of the Vincent's new/old theme -- and its stunning build quality: "The detailing is what sets this new Vincent apart. The classic cues are there, such as big round headlight and instrument housing -- but they have modern twists. The headlight doesn't hold a single bulb; instead, mounted in its reflective surface are several modern projector beams. And those instruments are not Smiths Chronometrics; the speedo and tach are their modern electronic equivalents, more current Formula One practice than English tradition."
Like all the bikes, the Black Shadow had a rangy, comfortable layout, with a long wheelbase and conservative steering geometry, a sportbike for grownups. The goal, Li insisted, was "solid, stable handling, not super-quick. That's what I like, and this bike is a lot about what I like." Offered on a Bill of Sale.
- The engine number for this motorcycle is SC45E-2000045.
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