Alan Cathcart looks at the Irving Vincent 1300, a contemporary revival of the Vincent Black Lightning
Claimed power: 130hp @ 5,800rpm
Engine: 1,295cc OHV, air-cooled 50-degree V-twin
Weight (dry): 185kg (407lbs)
Fuel capacity: 22ltr (5.8gal)
A long look in the rearview mirror at all our motorcycling yesterdays has become increasingly commonplace these days. Triumph’s Bonneville and Scrambler, Royal Enfield’s Bullet and Ducati’s Sport Classics prove the point well, as does this homage to Phillip Irving’s immortal V-twin, the latest in a line of revivals.
Not all revivals have been met with excitement though. Few retro bikes aroused such instant disapproval as the Honda-engined Vincent Black Lightning that Bernard Li hoped to have on the market by 2004. Li somehow succeeded in registering the trademark of Britain’s most iconic brand in the U.S., and while Li’s Vincent appears dead — mercifully, some would say — its existence may help explain the contrasting acclaim being accorded to a more faithful revival. Australians Ken Horner, 53, and brother Barry, 52, have taken aim at a contemporary revival of the same marque, under the Irving Vincent name.
The project’s origins lie in Ken’s career as a successful sidecar racer in the 1970s with a self-built 1,300cc Vincent outfit. He later retired from racing, and in 1977 started his own engineering company, Melbourne, Australia-based K.H. Equipment Pty., leaving brother Barry to fly the family flag on three wheels. Barry did so by finishing a close second in the Australian GP at Bathurst one year and by leading into the last lap there in another race, only for his chain to break on the run to the flag: Disappointments don’t come bitterer than that. MC
Order the March/April 2008 issue of Motorcycle Classics to read more about the Irving Vincent 1300, including a road test by Alan Cathcart. Contact Customer Service at (800) 880-7567 or contact us by email.