Vincent Black Shadow




Make Model

Vincent Black Shadow
List Price $1500


Four stroke, 50°V-Twin cylinder. OHV


998 cc / 60.9 cu-in
Bore x Stroke 84 x 90 mm
Cooling System Air cooled
Compression Ratio 7.3;1
Oil system Dry sump
Exhaust System Separate open headers


2 x 1.125 inch type 29 Amals
Electrics 6v 45w dynamo


Lucas Magneto ('55 models had Kettering ignition)
Starting Kick

Max Power

55 hp / 41 kW @ 5500 rpm

Max Torque



4 Speed 
Final Drive 530 chain, 46/21 sprockets
Frame Brazed lug duplex tubular cradle. Cantilever rear springing

Front Suspension

Vincent Girdraulic forks
Front Wheel Travel 76 mm / 3 in
Rear Suspension Swing arm

Front Brakes

2x 178mm drum

Rear Brakes

Single 180mm drum
Front Wheel Alloy WM-1 x 20 / 21
Rear Wheel Alloy WM-2 x 19 / 20

Front Tyre

3.00 -20  / 21

Rear Tyre

3.50 -19 / 20
Seat Height 826 mm / 32.5 in


227 kg / 500 lbs

Fuel Capacity 

16 Litres / 4.2 lbs
Top Speed 125 mph / 201 km/h
Related Links Black Shadow Story

The Black Shadow was a "Stressed Frame" design. The engine, instead of being cradled in a set of frame rails, was suspended from above becoming an integral part of the structure. The Black Shadow as well as the other post Second World War Vincents featured several new technological innovations such as a unique and original alternative to the primitive telescopic front forks of the day, a sprung rear sub-frame, the extensive use of aluminium alloy and a unit construction stressed engine. It weighed in at a relatively light 458 lb[1] (207 kg) which was about the weight of a pre-war 500 cc bike.

The inspiration for the Black Shadow was Royal Air Force pilots flying over the factory, and soldiers serving in the war. The designers created a motorcycle that could be operated and maintained by men who had been injured in combat. The clutch could be operated with just two fingers, and maintenance was made far easier than anything previously available.[citation needed]
The reason for its name "Black" Shadow was due to the entire bike (including the engine) being coated with black paint. The reason for the black paint on the cylinder block is still disputed to this day. Some claim that the black paint was for looks, others claim that it had something to do with heat transfer and dissipation. Whatever the original reason behind the painting of the engine, it was very different from anything else at a time when everything was polished and chromed."