Revisiting Egli Vincent Motorcycles

Born again


The JMR Egli Vincent.

Photo by John Overton

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Egli Vincent Motorcycle by John Mossey Restorations
Years produced:
Total production: N/A
Claimed power: 66hp @ 6,200rpm
Top speed: 130mph (est.)
Engine type: 1,000cc overhead valve, air-cooled transverse 50-degree V-twin
Weight (dry): 181kg (398lb)
Price now: $52,400 (approx.)
MPG: 30-40

John Mossey Restorations is building new Egli-Vincent style motorcycles, and you can have one - for a price.

There is no getting away from the fact that a Vincent big twin has always been more of a fast tourer than a blisteringly quick, footrest scraping café racer. That’s why in 1966 Swiss hillclimb racer Fritz Egli built the first of the legendary Vincent-engined road burners that carried his name on the gas tank.

Egli proved just how good a tuned Black Shadow engine wrapped in a light, rigid frame and with the latest suspension could be by winning the Swiss National Hillclimb Championship in 1968. A year later at the Austrian round of the European hillclimb championship he thrashed a Rickman-framed Triumph Trident with a full race-tuned engine over the 13km climb. The Egli Vincent looked stunning and had the performance to match. No wonder they earned almost mythical status: no wonder either, that someone has felt the need to bring them back.

Professional classic motorcycle restorer John Mossey and his team of three engineers is making an all-new version of the Egli Vincent in spotlessly clean workshops just 10 miles away from the Stevenage factory in England where Phil Vincent and Phil Irvin built their Rapides, Shadows and Lightnings.

The makings of an Egli
Egli‘s spine frame was based on the old theory that all applied stress should be along short straight lines. Long, curved tubes were a big no-no. Recognizing that the most highly stressed parts of a motorcycle frame are the steering head and swingarm mounting points, the frames he created used a massive 115mm (4.5in) diameter top tube that doubled as an oil tank, along with a swingarm that pivoted from the rear engine plates on taper roller bearings. Two small diameter tubes ran from the rear of the oil tank down to the swingarm pivot bolt and were triangulated to produce a strong, light frame.

Egli finished off the package with forks by Ceriani, wearing either Campagnolo mechanical disc brakes or Grimeca drums. Some people thought the flattened oval section swingarm he fabricated from sheet steel was a gimmick, but inside was a round tube of fractionally smaller section. It didn’t twist when he wound on the power and was surprisingly light.

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