Rollie Free Vincent Now at the National Motorcycle Museum

Photo from the Herb Harris Collection.

The prototype Vincent Black Lightning ridden by Rollie Free in 1948 across the Bonneville Salt Flats in Wendover, Utah, is now on display at the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa, Iowa.

The famous “bathing suit bike” will be on loan only until summer 2018.

Many consider the image of Rollie Free in his bathing suit riding John Edgar’s HRD Vincent one of the most famous motorcycle photographs ever. The story of Rollie tearing off his leathers and deciding to improve his personal streamlining with a bathing suit, bathing cap and tennis shoes is stuff that not even Hollywood can dream up! Vincent enthusiasts will recognize that this is the bike that gave rise to the slogan “The World’s Fastest Standard Motorcycle” when it set a land speed record of 150.313 miles per hour.

The machine does not get shown often, mostly at west coast concours. The owner has graciously agreed to loan it out for a display at the National Motorcycle Museum as part of the Museum’s current Streamliners exhibition.

The National Motorcycle Museum is located in Anamosa, near Cedar Rapids, Iowa. On display are over 480 motorcycles from all parts of the world, board track racers from the golden era of American board track racing and a 1920s service station plus bicycles, pedal cars and thousands of pieces of memorabilia.

Plan your visit to see the John Edgar Vincent at the Museum here.


Dirt Riding USA, presented by J&P Cycles. Fifty great trials, enduro and motocross bikes help trace the 1970s and ’80s, glory days of dirt racing and off-road motorcycle design on display for a limited time.

Rusty, dusty and crusty motorcycles and parts, what might live in a barn near you. Come see what we have found and displayed.

Published on Oct 5, 2017

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