2002 Vincent Black Lightning S Prototype

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Lot 136
2002 Vincent Black Lightning S Prototype

Sold for US$ 26,250
2002 Vincent Black Lightning S Prototype
Just as in the 1950s, top of the line for the new Vincents was the Black Lightning. Same basic package as the other Li Vincents but with all of its carbon-fiber bodywork, including fenders and bikini fairing, wearing only clearcoat so that the tidy composite weave was on full display. Li also left the innards of the booming twin exhausts unadorned so that bystanding journalists, investors, and potential buyers were treated to a glorious racket more akin to a Superbike racer than a retrobike.

This was the model that Cycle World magazine put on its December 2002 cover under the blaring headline, "Vincent Reborn! British Legend, Honda RC51 Power, America-Made."

"After our ride on the prototype, we have to say Li has achieved his goal of creating a retro-influenced machine that still has a lot of modern sportbike in it," Cycle World wrote of the Black Lightning S, taking special care to single out the sportbike-derived motor. "Powering a machine weighing somewhere in the low 400-pound range, the big V-Twin provides a true thrill-seeker's rush. Quarter-mile times should be in the low-11, high-10-second range."

British journalist Alan Cathcart, who has ridden virtually every motorcycle of consequence in the last 30 years, also came away from his stint on the S-model suitably impressed. "The Black Lightning is extremely stable, transmitting a sense of security to the rider at high speeds," he noted. "Especially running over bumps cranked hard over, where it shrugs off road rash thanks to the low center of gravity and well-sorted suspension."

Cycle World fairly gushed over the handling, too: "Steering is welcomely neutral, and the Vincent prototype feels long, light and very stable. Even at 125mph, the Black Lightning broadcasts security and confidence, with not a hint of weave."

This was the headliner, then, that was to have led Vincent to new glories, to reintroduce one of the grand old marques to the world stage. Circumstances dictated otherwise, but today it and the other prototypes stand as testament to one man's unwavering passion to bring the company back to life, to his hard-driven commitment to quality, to his unshakeable ability to not take no for an answer. Bernard Li is no longer with us, but almost two years to the day after his death, the Vincents he created shine as brightly as ever -- as they always will. Offered on a Bill of Sale.

Footnotes

  • This motorcycle is a prototype built for research purposes and is not intended for use on public roads. It is offered on a Bill of Sale only.

Saleroom notices

  • The engine number for this motorcycle is SC45E-2000050.
2002 Vincent Black Lightning S Prototype
2002 Vincent Black Lightning S Prototype
2002 Vincent Black Lightning S Prototype
2002 Vincent Black Lightning S Prototype
2002 Vincent Black Lightning S Prototype
2002 Vincent Black Lightning S Prototype
2002 Vincent Black Lightning S Prototype
2002 Vincent Black Lightning S Prototype
2002 Vincent Black Lightning S Prototype
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