John Crispin ~ living with Vincent's
JOHN CRISPIN'S ~ fourth Vincent!
This Comet is my fourth Vincent, and second 500, having worked my way
up from a basket case 51 Comet bought in late '98.
Vincents pioneered a kind of modular production in that most single cycle
parts were in common with the twins. Arguably the increased weight and power
meant that the Twins were on the limits in terms of chassis and brakes and
the Comets over endowed. By modern day standards this is true maybe but
the Comet has very powerful brakes for its performance (80mph and 80
mpg would be par for one of these) whereas the twins are in modern conditions
a little wanting in the stoppers dept. The handling characteristics are
good on both machines although different obviously, but the Comet is exceptionally
nimble, a really comfortable bike. Bear in mind this is a fully suspended
design when contemporaries were just toying with half hearted attempts at
rear suspension in 1949. The motor is a fully stressed frame member, and
as such was way out of the conventional mould in its time,
Because the machine was used for such long distances, the previous owner
incorporated several modifications. The most obvious of these is the B90
dynamo driven from a v belt running from a mild steel drive ring welded
round the Burman clutch basket.
The post war 500 engine prior to the girdraulic forks models on the series
C machines, was fitted to the series B Meteor, which had Brampton girder
forks bought in by the company for the early post war years and not phased
out finally until 1950.
UMF is an early Comet, hence the embossed HRD cases and corresponding tank decal. It was 97th off the line October 1949. There are various other mods which are obvious and I have the Vincent touring bars in preference to the straights more commonly employed. I am trying to keep as many original Vincent features as possible and will replace the Lucas rear light now that bright repro Vincent type ones can be obtained. Again the previous owner chose to fit a 7" Miller headlamp in the interest of safety and it is much more effective. I also intend ultimately to replace the 18" rear rim with 19" to match the front . The lower photo of the front guard shows some of the rally stickers applied by the previous owner and bearing witness to the work the bike has done. It was taken soon after the bike came into my ownership.
I know it is my machine but when built it was such a groundbreaking design, and can tirelessly cover large distances in relative comfort and with virtually no vibration. Had the twin not overshadowed (sic) the smaller sibling it would have stood out head and shoulders over its contemporaries without doubt IMHO.
Thank's John for story ~ EBMCC webmaster
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