Author Archive

New Vincent Rapide

Monday, February 7th, 2011


Above is a photo of my almost-new Rapide (I’d only owned it a few months back in 1954 when I took the photo), which I’d bought from Jack Baldwin Motorcycles in Santa Monica.  I’d recently sent a copy of the photo to our sharp-eyed editor, Steve Doherty, and sure enough the first remark he made was, “Touring Rapides had a wider section tire on the front, which was normally a ribbed tire.  How come your front tire wasn’t a ribbed tire?”  Well, after some thought (remember this is 56-years later), I finally came up with the answer.  Yes, my Rapide was brand new and stock, but after dickering with Jack Baldwin on the trade-in price on my old one-lunger Matchless, he knew I had been riding some dirt up in the Santa Monica mountains, so he asked me if I wanted ribbed or block tread on the front tire…my choice at no extra cost.  I chose the block tread and never regretted it, even though at the time I lived in the Valley and commuted to and from the old Hughes Aircraft Co. over the Sepulveda Pass, which was not the freeway we know today.  That was a really wild ride then, around the sharp curves and through the tunnel with other bike riders, especially at night while I was working the swing-shift.  Some fun I’ll never forget!