Bars Bikes, the Bar Hodgson Collection of rare and collectable vintage and classic motorcycles

The Collection - Bikes for SaleAbout Bar - Current Projects - Links - Archives - Contact - Main

Bar's Vincent Black Lightning Replica Project

Part 2
Update 4 The black paint parts are back from Connery's
Update 5 Starting to look like a Black Lightning
Update 6 Special Order 8" Dual Leading Shoe Rear Wheel arrives
* Part 3 has Updates 7, 8, & 9
Update #4

"Hooray! The black paint parts are back from Connery's"

Long time custom painter, John Connery, is the Go-To Guy for most of the motorcycle builders that I know and you can see his work at As you may have noticed Vincents have a lot of black paint so with most of the painted parts back from John I'm all excited to start adding many of these components to the build.

Vincent Black Lightening Replica Project - Black painted parts from Connery's Custom Paint

As you can see, I have now installed much of the unique Vincent front end. The Vincent girdraulic fork was the highest evolution of the long-running motorcycle girder fork design. It was immensely strong and gave a very plush but highly stable feel to the front end. By the 1950's most bike manufacturers had switched to hydraulic front end. I've mounted it onto the steering neck along with the traditional black Vincent handlebar and mounted the very special yellow-face 180mph Smiths speedometer and yellow-face 8,000rpm Smith tachometer, both specially made for Vincent and positioned on the factory racing mounts.

You will notice something extra special in the custom built 8-inch braking system mounted in the girdraulic forks. This 'work of art' system is manufactured by Bernd Schmidt in Germany and I feel very privileged to have this set specially made for me by Bernd (go to to see his line of unique-in-the-world products). I used this opportunity to do a trial fit on this project as it is really meant to go on my daily rider 1237cc Vincent Street Special, 'Sandbagger'. But that's another story.

You will also notice that the transmission end cover is removed while I perform a very devilish job of installing a piece of ingenious equipment called the Grosset electric starter. This unit is built in France and in addition to being quite ingenious the components all hide away in the available space inside the gearbox end cover. As you can imagine, the install requires a fair amount of machining and tricky hand fitting. I have done the final fitting of the starter system and now can add the Rear Frame Member and all its associated parts as I assemble the back end of the Black Lightning Replica.

Update #5


Front end of the Vincent Black Lightning replica project being build by Bar Hodgson

FRONT END: I have completed most of the front end assembly including the tubular springboxes (in which I have installed Dunfey 'Blue' springs), brake levers, cables, and balance beam, and most of the handlebar controls. The complete steering damper is now final fitted, along with the last of the few final bits still being trial fitted. There are lots of surprises in pieces such as 5/16" threaded holes that are supposed to take 3/8" bolts, and other little oddities. My preference is also to treat nuts and bolts and shafts to a wipe-down with WD-40 to ease assembly and to avoid corrosion. Because each part must be hand fitted to the mating prior fit part this requires a lot of time and attention, drilling, filing, tapping, and thread chasing to the components that make up the final assemblies that are such a joy when they work together well. However this process of assembly in itself is part of the allure as great pride is taken to ensure that each part performs its duty exactly as the factory's race bike assembly department, run in the day by Denis Minett, intended….. there are no shortcuts.

Rear end of the Vincent Black Lightning Replica project REAR END: After reconditioning and installing the left hand rear frame member mounting plate on the engine I now finally was able to install the Rear Frame Member. The RFM contains an aluminium hollow axle running in Timkin bearings on each end and pivoting on a high tensile cross spindle that passes through the left hand engine casting, the said mounting plate, the RFM and the right side G50 plate that mounts between the transmission and its outer gear selector cover, tying the entire rear end assembly together.

With that lot now in place I moved on to all of the ancillary items such as the actual rear suspension consisting of 2 tubular springboxes with the Vincent hydraulic dampener centered in-between.

Bar Hodgson's Vincent Black Lightning replica project progress update 5 Next to be mounted was the left rear-set footrest plate with the brake pedal mounted and right rear-set footrest plate with the gear selector pedal mounted. Installing both the rear seat supports/friction dampers will allow me to mount the Black Lightning Replica seat which pivots from the front just behind the fuel tank.

I had trial fit the rear brake drum and hub with spoke plates as I now must spoke and true the rear wheel but I need to check the sprocket alignments first, to finalize position then spoke the wheel on centre.

Update # 6

Special Order 8" Dual Leading Shoe Rear Wheel arrives

Vincent Black Lightning Replica Project, Update 6, package arrives

Bernd Schmitz ( in Germany, maker of 8" dual leading shoe braking systems for Vincent motorcycles, is kindly building me a special-order back wheel especially made for my Black Lightning Replica. But, due to Covid complications, supplier problems, and a postal system that lost this wheel somewhere on the high seas, I was in the process of preparing to spoke a new temporary wheel when Surprise, Surprise, Bernd's wheel showed up at my front gate. My German shepherd, 'Prince', seems uninterested.

Vincent Black Lightning Replica Project, Update 6, the wheel rim

Well !!!!! It's obviously Christmas in August this year. Once again, I am hugely impressed with Bernd's work. A work of art I might add. He has shipped me the wheel complete with 8" finned brake drum, except for the final brake plate, brake shoes and other dual leading shoe internal linkage components. Bernd has a new foundry casting the brake plate then will finalize the machining and ship to me when completed.

Read updates 7, 8 & 9: Project Lightning Part 3

Part 1 - Part 3 - Back to the PROJECTS Page - Back to the MAIN Page

The Collection - Bikes for SaleAbout Bar - Current Projects - Links - Archives - Contact - Main

© 2021 Bar Hodgson Productions Ltd. - Website Design: AGWebServices