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Vincent HRD. "RAPIDE" 1938
1938 VINCENT-H.R.D. "RAPIDE." The basic development of the
pre-war Series A Vincent-H.R.D. "Rapide" . This engine was capable, with only
modest tuning, of producing several more b.h.p. than the "works" 500 c.c. racers
of the period, so it was only natural that soon after the introduction of the
model some of them should appear on the race track.
The Vincent-H.R.D. factory had always produced "springers"; Vincent was a man who had invented a very good spring-frame at a time' when there were several very bad ones about, and he had joined forces with H.R.D. (Howard R. Davies, the 500 c.c. T.T. winner on a "350") to build the first Vincent-H.R.D.s in the late twenties.
It was no surprise, therefore, that when the "1,000" was announced it was equipped with pivoting-fork rear suspension. What was interesting was the employment of two brakes on each wheel, to provide stopping power to match the performance, and the latter was very good. After the various journals had tested the new Vincent-H.R.D., another maker of big twins stopped advertising his products as "the fastest production machine in the world".
The Achilles heel of the pre-war Vincent-H.R.D. was the
transmission. Motor Cycling's road test spoke of clutch slip at over 100 m.p.h.,
and only if the clutch was kept in perfect condition could the full potential of
the machine be realized.
Engine: 47^° Vee-twin 1,000 c.c. o.h.v.; valve operation