Nero Superleggera – Vincent Intro

Posted on 17th April, by John_Admin in Cafe Racers, Project Bikes. No Comments

Nero Superleggera – Vincent Into


This story starts way back in the late 1940’s and for those not as familiar with the Vincent marque, Vincents were the fastest and some of the most legendary motorcycle of all time, with production bikes being offered for sale with easy 100mph perfermance and claims of 150mph for the top spec bikes being the Black Lightning and that was way back in the 1940’s when the next fastest thing on 2 wheels was good for about 80mph or so. The Vincent’s place in history was helped by the achievements of motorcycle legend, land speed record holder and dare devil Mr Rollie Free.

Rollie Free set a motorcycle land speed record on a Vincent Black Lightning 998cc production race bike, which was shipped direct from the factory in the UK to the USA, un-crated, un-tested and wheeled straight onto the salt of Lake Bonneville and promptly set a world speed record, this record captured on film also created one of the most recognizable motorcycling images of all time, with Rollie Free laying prone on the Black Lightning in only swimming trunks to reduce drag and set the record at just over 150mph. (150.313mph to be exact) on the 13th Sept 1948.


This is a more recent photo of the actual bike used to break the record

rollie-free-vincent-black-lightning (photo courtesy of

Nero Superleggera story starts with the Vincent legacy in mind and will be a very special project. Nero Superleggera is to be based on the Upper Frame Member of a 1955 Series C Vincent Rapide, one of the last ever built before the company closed shortly after. What I would like to achieve, is to gaze into the crystal ball and try to build the updated version of the Vincent Black Lightning if  Vincent Motorcycles were still in production today.

I will be attempting to update the front suspension geometry of the girdraulic front end and also to update the construction method and materials used. My target is to try to build a bike that has a 1:1 hp:kg ratio, which is definitely in the true spirit of the Vincent Black Lightning a completely stripped down version of their road bikes and will a significant increase in hp.

To achieve the weight lose I will be re-designing and re-creating many of the parts in carbon fibre, but the aim is actually to hide the technology more than show it off, it is all about weight lose.

The huge increase in power need to match the weight lose will come from a brand new reproduction Vincent race motor. This will be achieved with the aid of specialist vincent race parts supplied by former Vincent factory employee, world renowned Vincent tuner and himself a multiple world speed record holder on a Vincent , Mr Terry Prince, an Englishman who now resides in Australia.

youtube interview – Terry Prince on world speed records Bonneville

In addition to the front end I will also be working on the rest of the bike to shed weight and improve handling and safety at speed. So here is the start of my own epic motorcycle speed record adventure.  I will share some photos of the the parts as they are now and a few close ups of details of this incredible engine, which when finished will be 1356cc, with a Terry Prince big bore kit, twin plug race heads, Mk II lightning cams, stroker crank and a 5 speed quaife gearbox and much more. I am reliably told that this combination can produce well over 100bhp & 100 ft lb of torque, more than enough to frighten anyone when packaged into a super lightweight bike.




taimoshan-nero-superleggera-tank on seat-01




taimoshan-nero-superleggera-tank on engine-01


When all is said and done I still think this build will still upset of a few Vincent purists,  but you just need to you look at the history of the Vincent brand and its bikes to see the hypocrisy, as history is punctuated with many ground breaking exotic and extreme Vincent based creations, most were developed with only one thing in mind…. SPEED… and specifically speed records… Nero Superleggra may never hold a world speed record, but the aim is really to walk lightly in the footsteps of those that do.

To keep in touch with this build ( it might be a slow one !!) hit the RSS on the page. thanks

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