Be A Hip Cat And Buy The Original 1950s Superbike

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Be A Hip Cat And Buy The Original 1950s Superbike

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Image: Bring A Trailer

British bike builder Vincent’s follow up to its already-fast Rapide was the new-for-1948 Black Shadow. This was the bike that invented the concept of the superbike. With 55 horsepower and a top speed of 125, it was difficult to conceive of humanity ever building a faster motorcycle for public consumption. It was sleek and lightweight in an era when motorcycles were big and chunky, pretty much setting the stage for the next seven decades of sporty motorcycle design. Any motorcycle collector worth their salt has a Black Shadow, and for damn good reason. Officially just 1,774 examples were built, and here’s your opportunity to own one.

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Image: Bring A Trailer

Bikes like this one spawned the iconic 1950s British bike culture, and you weren’t anybody unless you had a big-power fast bike like the Black Shadow. It was unparalleled in speed and appearance, sporting a sleek black understated look which was in opposition to most of the bikes available at the time. With 998ccs of V-twin power, the Black Shadow was a real road runner, baby. Two drum brakes up front with a single drum on the rear wheel helped slow you down from those high speeds.

This bike was so fast, Hunter S. Thompson famously wrote for Cycle World, “If you rode the Black Shadow at top speed for any length of time, you would almost certainly die. That is why there are not many life members of the Vincent Black Shadow Society.”

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Image: Bring A Trailer

This is one of those rare opportunity dream bikes for many motorcycle fanatics, myself included. They don’t come up for sale often, but when they do they command pretty high prices for a motorcycle. Last year one sold on Bring A Trailer for $110,000. Listen to that cold start and maybe you’ll understand why.

The Stunning Unrestored Vincent Black Shadow Cold Start!

This particular bike is available on Bring A Trailer right now. It’s a 1952 model in complete, but not perfect, condition. There is some pitting on the chrome and some wear around in places. I’d call this the perfect rider’s example. If you want to show up and make those in the know drop their jaw, this is a good bike to do it on. Just make sure you’re dressed to the nines when you do it.