Part three in Retro Rider’s three-part series features the oldest and most iconic model Neale Bayly has yet sampled. The Series B Vincent Rapide may not be as well-known as its cousin, the Black Shadow, but the Series B Rapide is the predecessor that made the Black Shadow possible. The Series B was the second iteration of the Rapide models, Series A being the first. The most notable difference between the Series A and Series B models is the Series B’s use of the engine as a stressed member of the frame, as in the Black Shadow. Other improvements included unit construction of the 50° V-Twin engine and gearbox, internal oil lines and improved suspension.

Retro Rider Part 1: 1973 Kawasaki Z1

The owner of this Rapide, Doug Carper, had the bike built to be rideable by himself and his friends, so it’s definitely not an expensive dust-collection device sitting alone in his livingroom. In doing so, a few modifications were made, such as using modern motocross-style handlebars, a larger front wheel, Triumph handgrips and Honda rearview mirrors.

Retro Rider Part 2: 1978 Bimota SB2

Neale certainly enjoys the experience of riding the Rapide, claiming it to be a career highlight. Of course he can’t help but be the motojournalist he is and evaluates the bike fairly. “When you put the front brake on you feel a bit like Barney Rubble rubbing a couple bits of wood up on a stone,” says Bayly of the Rapide’s dual front drum brakes.

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  • fastfreddie

    Very nice.Can’t beat the nice feel and vibes an old school motorcycle gives you.

  • SRMark

    What a thing of beauty. Good to hear it and watch it move.