Retro Rider Part 3: 1948 Vincent Rapide Ride Review

Tom Roderick
by Tom Roderick

Correspondent Neale Bayly takes us back in time for a romp on a classic Vincent

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.

If you enjoy this video and the others, don’t forget to show your support so Neale can hopefully continue making more. Share your opinions in the comments section below or on the video’s YouTube page. Keep up to date on Neale’s progress by subscribing to his YouTube page.

And, while we’re on the topic, you should also subscribe to MO’s YouTube page!

Tom Roderick
Tom Roderick

A former staffer who has gone on to greener pastures, Tom Roderick still can't get the motorcycle bug out of his system. And honestly, we still miss having him around. Tom is now a regular freelance writer and tester for when his schedule allows, and his experience, riding ability, writing talent, and quick wit are still a joy to have – even if we don't get to experience it as much as we used to.

More by Tom Roderick

Join the conversation