The long and cold winters of the northern countries are certainly propitious to great bike projects; after Dag Sinclair Riise from Norway and his gorgeous Egli-Vincent Replica (1), let’s go to Canada and have a look at Glen Breaks’ fabulous Vincent Roadster: built in a very different style, the execution is however made with the same talent (2). Glen is a woodworker in British Columbia, near Robert Watson and he owns a quite impressive workshop which enabled him to build nearly everything on his bike. While restoring a motorcycle already requires efforts and dedication, building his own bike takes it to another level.

Glen, who also owns a 1000 Rapide, wanted something very different and much more modern; a kind of Buell or Ducati Monster with a Vincent engine in it. This means modern suspensions, modern brakes, modern wheels and a mono-shock rear suspension in order to bridge his bike architecture with the latest Vincent Series D produced in 1955. Thus, the inspiration was much closer to Terry Prince frames than the original Egli concept presented in 1968. Eventually, this blend had to be not only extremely nimble and sharp on the road, but also had to be able to keep up with modern sport bikes.

If I tell you upfront that Glen did not use any jig to build his frame, you would likely believe this is not true, but evidences are in the pictures! In fact you can even refer to the 2 forums (3) (4) that Glen used during the manufacturing phase to share his progresses, discuss his challenges and solutions and also from time to time get re-energized to continue his project … as you need faith to keep the morale up until the end, but the result worth it.

The engine is the very last phase in progress; indeed, Glen has used the engine of his 1000 Rapide, not as a donor but as a base to develop the frame and build the bike around it, so a new engine had to be assembled. As for the frame, Glen had also a strong opinion about the engine specification and to mention that “as the engine was going to be expensive any way it will be done, thus it would be better to push the hotrod envelope as far as I can”: the displacement is 1360cc, cases are from Andy Molnar, the Manx engine builder, heads were developed by Terry Prince with some cross pollination from Steve Hamel and his Bonneville speed adventures (5), Inlet ports are 38 mm versus 28 mm for a stock Vincent, compression is 10.5:1, con-rods and pistons are forged by Carillo, cams are Terry’s own Mk 5 design. They were designed by his godson, Fritz Egli Jr, who is Engineer on the Mercedes Formula 1 team. Terry gave Fritz Jr the weight, dimensions and geometry of the Vincent Valve train and Fritz plugged those numbers into the Mercedes F1 cam development program to come up with what is supposed to be the optimum profile for that engine, mid-range to top end. Glen says “they don’t look anything like any other Vincent cam I’ve seen… It should be interesting!”

This new mill is going to be this summer in the Roadster chassis to provide an astonishing combination of performance and purity. Glen not only made it, but he also delivered a bike which is impressively homogenous: proportions, curbs, finishing… a stunning result. So, is this 1360 Roadster the ultimate modern Vincent? Tell us your opinion and don’t forget to participate to the poll at the end of the page.

Philippe Guyony © 2014

Considering the quality of execution, if you see this Roadster on the street, you will possibly believe this is a stock bike.
Considering the quality of execution, if you see this Roadster on the street, you will possibly believe this is a stock bike.
The front fork, wheels and brakes come from a 2003 GSXR 750. As Glen did not have a jig, a big part of the problem was to re-create the right geometry on the bench. Here the front end is positioned to determine the rake and trail. You can see in the background Glen’s 1947 Rapide, which lent its engine for the mock-up phase.
The front fork, wheels and brakes come from a 2003 GSXR 750. As Glen did not have a jig, a big part of the problem was to re-create the right geometry on the bench. Here the front end is positioned to determine the rake and trail. You can see in the background Glen’s 1947 Rapide, which lent its engine for the mock-up phase.
The spine and the steering column are being machined. The rake chosen is 27 degrees on the advice of Terry Prince, similarly to what Fritz Egli and Terry Prince chose for the original Egli-Vincent. It is also the same as a Norton Manx, a bike that has been proven again and again to have terrific handling properties.
The spine and the steering column are being machined. The rake chosen is 27 degrees on the advice of Terry Prince, similarly to what Fritz Egli and Terry Prince chose for the original Egli-Vincent. It is also the same as a Norton Manx, a bike that has been proven again and again to have terrific handling properties.
The same parts after welding
The same bits after welding
The head brackets have been machines in blocs of aluminum and have a special offset in order to mount the engine in the correct location to allow for the 180 mm rear tire. Note the technic to design the lugs which will be welded on the spine
The head brackets have been machines in blocs of aluminum and have a special offset in order to mount the engine in the correct location to allow for the 180 mm rear tire. Note the technic to design the lugs which will be welded on the spine
The rear lugs wilding is delicate because of the thin walls
The rear lugs welding is delicate because of the thin walls says Glen.
The tubes saddle are being welded, Glen mentions it's not easy finding a good position for all the tight angles, the welding helmet sometimes prevents a close view
The tubes saddle are being welded, Glen mentions it’s not easy finding a good position for all the tight angles, the welding helmet sometimes prevents a close view
To determine the rear geometry, Glen played with the wood mock-up wheel and swinging arm until he got 5.5 inches of progressive travel
To determine the rear geometry, Glen played with the wood mock-up wheel and swinging arm until he got 5.5 inches of progressive travel
The swinging arm is now welded and assembled to the engine and frame. Glen says it was a real head scratcher as he wanted to improve on both original Vincent geometry and dual shock Egli geometry by adding progressive suspension to the setup, and also to make it work with a modern mono shock. Last, a big offset had to be built into the swing arm to get chain clearance with the 180 rear tire.
The swinging arm is now welded and assembled to the engine and frame. Glen says it was a real head scratcher as he wanted to improve on both original Vincent geometry and dual shock Egli geometry by adding progressive suspension to the setup, and also to make it work with a modern mono shock. Last, a big offset had to be built into the swing arm to get chain clearance with the 180 rear tire.
The Next step is to design the aluminum tank and seat. Wood and styrofoam forms are used for this exercise
The Next step is to design the aluminum tank and seat. Wood and styrofoam forms are used for this exercise
For the fenders, the technique is different; start from a aluminum sheet, cut it at the required dimension
For the fenders, the technique is different; start from a aluminum sheet, cut it at the required dimension
Bench, hammer and a Chinese wheel (that Glen made himself) are necessary ingredients. The rest is time and dexterity. Glen explains that he had to do them as there are no such width for classic bike on the market
A bench, a mallet and a Chinese wheel (that Glen made himself) are necessary ingredients. The rest is time and dexterity. Glen explains that he had to make the mudguards as there are no such width for classic bike on the market
It is unbelievable to see the final result.
It is unbelievable to see the final result.
Same exercise for the tank and the seat.
Same exercise for the tank and the seat.
Foot commands are also milled in solid aluminum.
Gear shifter and foot pedal are machined from solid aluminum blocs.
The seat cowl is finished, the electric loom is now prepared.
The seat cowl is finished, the electric loom is now prepared.
The mock-up exercise is now finished, no more welding, the frame has thus been nickel plated and the final assembly can start
The mock-up exercise is now completed, no more welding, the bike is thus disassembled and the frame polished. Indeed, Glen has built it in 304 Stainless Steel, which does not required to be plated, so he could possibly add one tab or two later without worrying about the esthetic consequenses of destroying plated metal. Glen says that “with a stainless steel, you just polish the welds up and it’s all done.”
The wheels are now painted and the all frame is assembled. Final wheel color is black center with two red pinstripes and polished outsides, just like the original Vincent
The wheels are now painted and the all frame is assembled. Final wheel color is black center with two red pinstripes and polished outsides, just like the original Vincent.
The bike is now finished. Weight is 172 lbs rear 178lbs front, so 350 total, 40 pounds lighter than a GSXR 1000
The bike is now finished. Weight is 172 lbs rear 178lbs front, so 350 total, 75 pounds lighter than a ’12 Suzuki GSXR 1000, even the latest Ducati 1200S Monster weight 51 pounds heavier (401 Lbs dry)…
And ready to take the road. Glen found his bike to be almost effortless to ride fast. On twisty mountain roads, he much prefers it to his 05 Triumph Daytona 955.
Ready to take the road. Glen found his bike to be almost effortless to ride fast. On twisty mountain roads, he much prefers it to his 05 Triumph Daytona 955.

Special Thanks to David Dunfey for his assistance in finding this information and of course Glen Breaks for all the pictures and included materials.

Sources:

(1)    The Birth of a Viking Godess http://wp.me/p4cm0Z-4g

(2)   In fact it is interesting to note that Dag, the owner of the Egli-Vincent replica and Glen exchanged lot of information and have cooperated through the build. Dag mentions that as Glen was doing his tank later than him, he simply sent the styrofoam tankformer from Norway to Canada. This was a genuine international cooperation in the name of “Egli building” ! This makes also the two bikes a kind of Sister bikes.

(3)    http://weldingweb.com/showthread.php?46896-Egli-Vincent-Project&s=0c74920c0887fc79bef11bb9571a1996

(4)    http://www.accessnorton.com/project-t11902-15.html

(5)    Steve used a set of Terry’s modified heads for his Bonneville bike, then modified those for more power. Terry then incorporated Steve’s info into these heads and added some of his own design; It is a bathtub shaped combustion chamber with Squish band and D shaped exhaust ports.

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