For us, E.V. stands for "Egli-Vincent"… not "Electric Vehicles"!
A decade of contemporary bikes
To help to understand why the Egli-Vincent became a mythic motorcycle, it is interesting to look at the competition back in 1967, when Fritz Egli presented the Egli-Vincent. The Vincent production had already ended 14 years ago, and, despite its age, the 75hp of the Lightning spec or even the 65hp of the Shadow spec were among the most potent motorcycle engines available at that time. Installed in a modern and performing rolling frame, the EV became the fastest Café Racer, able to keep up with the horde of Triton, based on the excellent Norton Featherbed frame and prepared by Dresda and Norman Hyde.
In 1967, the era of superbikes was also yet to come, and for most brands, 500 cc, 600 cc or 650 cc displacements was the ultimate solution for sport motorcycle like this fantastic Velocette 500 Thruxton presented below. In fact, except the Munch 1200 TTS, which massive power came also standard with massive weight, only two 750 cc were available on the market: the Norton 750 Commando, Laverda 750 SF as the Moto Guzzi V7 Sport was only a 700cc; not even a single 1000 cc at the horizon!
The launch of the Honda 750 Four in 1969 triggered the escalation of the engine displacements and subsequently more 750 cc became available like these BMW R75/5, MV Agusta 750 S, Ducati 750 Sport, Triumph 750 Trident, BSA Rocket 3, Suzuki 750 GT and late the Benelli 750 Sei; but this is not before 1972 that a new 1000cc was reintroduced on the market: the Laverda 1000 3C.
However, I believe that none of these motorcycle were close to this unique combination of performance, compactness, lightweight and road holding that the Egli Vincent was offering, not to mention this effortless feeling that the Vincent engine was delivering thanks to its lower rpm design, this is one of the reasons the Egli-Vincent became a myth.
Finally, in 1975, came the Ducati 900 SS, a declination of the earlier 750 Sport and Super Sport with a larger displacement (860cc), Conti silencers and 40 mm Dell’Orto carburators. This 900 SS was certainly the closest to the spirit of the already ten years old Egli Vincent: gorgeous design, deadly fast, great brakes, incredible road holding and of course this light weight which made a big difference for a sport or racing bike. By winning the TT in 1978, Mike Hailwood then confirmed that a “torquy and slim” V-Twin in a light and rigid rolling frame was finally “not a bad recipe”, although it will take time for Ducati to set the stage broadly in racing.
45 year later the Egli-Vincent remains an incredible motorbike that did not take any wrinkle. Of course, performance wise, modern sports bikes are much more of everything, but like any classic bike, the Egli-Vincent delivers you this unique clue that rev you backward in the past, which makes you smile every single second you ride them. To my eyes, this is priceless.