The Falcon Black from motorcycle artist Ian Barry, and he is indeed an artist, is based on a Vincent Black Shadow, a machine widely considered one of the best – and fastest – production motorcycles of all time.
The Black Shadow held the title of “The World’s Fastest Standard Motorcycle” for over 25 years after its introduction in 1948, and it was only dethroned at the top of the speed heap in the early seventies with the introduction of the Kawasaki Z-1 superbike.
If you’ve ever had a bike, you almost certainly fell victim to the urge to put your personal stamp on the machine, customize it to a degree that says, “This is me, and this is what I think.”
Ian Barry, on the other hand, has made customizing motorcycles his life’s work.
Barry is the the man who built the bike you see here, The Falcon Black, and he was once, in a previous incarnation, a computer consultant.
Barry, like so many of us who love machines – was interesting in how things actually work. At the tender age of 19, Barry got his first bike, a Triumph, and it was entirely dismantled in short order. It was the start of an apprenticeship dedicated to knowing motorcycles, really knowing them. And taking his cues from books, pals and old masters of the craft, Barry was off and running on his quest to make motorcycles that were more than simply the sum of their parts.
They had to have, well, soul.
“I spent all my time and money buying bad customized bikes and making them better,” Barry said.
The result of ten years obsessing over what makes the perfect motorcycle is what you see here, and it is indeed sublime…
HRD – Series C Black Shadow
|Model:||Series C Black Shadow|
|Engine:||998 cc (84 x 90 mm bore and stroke)
50° OHV V Twin, 7.3:1 CR, polished conrods
|Carburetor:||2 x 1.125 inch type 29 Amals|
|Ignition:||Lucas Magneto (’55 models had Kettering ignition)|
|Electrics:||6v 45w dynamo|
|Lubrication:||Dry sump, 3 US quarts|
|Gearbox:||Burman 4 speed, triplex chain primary, wet multiplate clutch|
|Final Drive:||530 chain, 46/21 sprockets|
|Tyres:||3 x 20 in front, 3.50 x 19 in rear|
|Wheels||Front: 1.65 x 20 in.steel rim; Rear: 1.65 x 19 in.steel rim.|
|Frame:||Brazed lug duplex tubular cradle.
Cantilever rear springing
|Front forks:||Vincent Girdraulic forks, 3″ travel|
|Brakes:||Twin drums, 7 in diameter in front
and rear, single leading shoe 7/8″ wide.
|Weight:||455 lb – 206 kg [Wet – 500 lb (227kg)]|
|Wheelbase:||56.5 in. (1435mm)|
|Seat height:||32.5 in. (826mm)|
|Performance:||125 mph / 201 km/h – 55 bhp at 5500
|Fuel Capacity||3.5 gallons / 16 litres (Other sources suggest 5 gal – 19litres)|
|Manufacturer:||The Vincent-HRD Co. Ltd., Great North
Road, Stevenage, Herts
Insuring your collectible or vintage motorcycle
You can spend a lot less, but if you plan to ride the bikes in your collection, the above pricing is a reasonable approximation of what you can expect to pay.