Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Notable engineer countdown - at #5, Phil Vincent

Phil Vincent, making what must have been about his last stand, at the Earl's Court Motorcycle Show in 1954.
Between the late 1920s and mid-‘50s, Vincent’s motorcycles were among the fastest and most advanced on the market. He was the first major manufacturer to relocate rear shocks to something like the position now used on virtually all modern bikes. But the most striking aspect of his design was the way he virtually did away with the frame altogether. After WWII when high-quality steel tubing, suitable for use in motorcycle frames, was in short supply in Britain, he attached the steering head to the front of his massive V-twin motor and pivoted the swingarm from the back of it. Today’s manufacturers are still catching up to that idea.

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