Egli-Vincent Black Shadow
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c.1970 Egli-Vincent 1,150cc
Registration no. KRX 540H
Frame no. VIN 28
Engine no. F10AB/1B/4868
Genuine Slater-built Egli frame
Series-C Black Shadow engine
Professionally restored circa 2001
One of the world's best known motorcycle frame makers, Swiss engineer Fritz Egli built his first frame in what would turn out to be a highly successful attempt to tame the wayward handling of his Vincent v-twin race bike. The Vincent used a spine-type frame and so did Egli, though his was tubular rather than box-section and all-welded rather than bolt-up in construction. Widely copied, this trademark large-diameter spine has been a feature of virtually all Egli's frames made since, proving adaptable to almost all types of motorcycle engine layout from British singles to across-the-frame Japanese fours. It proved to be the complete answer to the Vincent racer's handling problems, and Fritz duly took the Swiss hill climb championship in 1968, winning every round. These days widely regarded as a marque in its own right, it is the Egli-Vincent v-twin, with its exciting combination of classic power and modern chassis technology, that has proved to be his most enduring legacy.
To maintain the supply of Egli-Vincents, the authorised UK agent, Slater Brothers, licensed their production in this country, the first few frames being built by ex-Egli employee Graham Binnion and the rest by Eric Cheney. Swiss-built Egli frames are numbered with an 'EV' prefix, while those produced for Slater Brothers are prefixed 'VIN' (there are duplicate numerals so it is possible to have both 'EV32' and 'VIN32', for example).
The machine offered here has a frame built in-period by Egli's authorised UK agent, Slater Brothers. The vendor purchased 'KRX 540H' in 1997 and proceeded to have the engine (from a Series-C Black Shadow) rebuilt and the cycle parts restored. Hamilton Racing Developments of Great Barford, Bedfordshire rebuilt the engine, increasing its capacity to 1,150ccc, while restoration of the rolling chassis was entrusted to the capable hands of the late Pat French, of MRD Metisse fame. Correspondence and bills/receipts on file indicate that the restoration was completed in December 2001. Additional paperwork includes three MoT certificates (most recent expired December 2002), an old-style V5 registration document and the 1997 purchase receipt.
Only a few hundred miles have been covered since the rebuild's completion and the machine remains in generally excellent condition, benefiting from a recent check-over and road test by Gordon Nicholls of British Classic Motorcycles. It should continue to be run-in with care until properly 'loosened up'. The front tyre is new but the rear was fitted in 1998/1999 and ideally should be replaced. We are advised that it has been 'slimmed down' to clear the chain: a narrower fitting may be required. It should also be noted that the fuel taps are not configured as main/reserve but one per carburettor; thus both have to be open at the same time.