Friday, August 18, 2006

Fast Past: Vincent Black Shadow


The Vincent Black Shadow from the 1950s could do 200km/h!

Until the Kawasaki Z1 came along in 1973, the 1950s Black Shadow was still holding on to the 'fastest production motorcycle ever' tag, even though production had ended in 1955! Its 998cc V-twin made 55 horsepower, and the bike was capable of seeing 200km/h on a good day. And if current-day Suzuki Hayabusas and Kawasaki ZZR1400s can do 300km/h, back in 1948, a certain Rollie Free took a Black Lightning (basically a more powerful, stripped out version of the Black Shadow) to Bonneville, and did 240kmph. Wearing only a swimsuit and tennis shoes, to cut down on drag… :-)


If you wanted to do 240km/h on a bike in 1948, this is how it was done!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Rollie Free had balls and he didn't put up with jerks. One evening Rollie was with friends eating in the Peppermill Casino at Wendover Nevada. Rollie was in his mid seventies and during their meal he heard a guy at the next table cursing his wife out for gambling. Rollie excused himself from the table and went over and tapped the twentysomething guy on the shoulder and said "that's not a nice way to talk to a lady". The guy got belligerent and stood up and said those famous last words uttered by many fools, "Whatcha goin to do about it?" Rollie slammed him with a right uppercut that put the guy on the floor. Rollie bent over and gave him a bit of advice, "mind your manners and respect your elders". That was Rollie Free at his classic best.

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