Fritz Egli taught Vincent to run

ER Classics Desktop 2022

The 1000 Vincent was the first Superbike to arrive until the early 70s, followed by the Honda CB750. He took over the banner. However? Not entirely: for Vincent purists, it is simply timeless and remains the ultimate road bike, which is why it is not fair to compare it with any other motorcycle. Not even with an Egli Vincent.

The entire set-up was now obsolete, but the engine remained an impressive work of art

There were people who could do something with that. And one of the top players from that corner was Fritz Egli. He started with his Vincent Rapide in 1965 in Swiss hill climbing competitions. And after two seasons of hard key work without winning, he decided that the bicycle part of the Vincent was to blame for the lack of success. In the winter of 1966-1967 he figured out how it could be better. The following season he became the absolute winner in the hill climbing series. The same thing happened in 1969, 1970 and 1971. After that, the name Egli was legendary.

That did wonders for the sale of the characteristic Egli frames with their thick central top tube

And for the time being England became the export country number 1. Roger Slater was the successful importer who bought the frames from Egli to further build their own motorcycles. Later he started building the frames under license and a little further in time he started making his 'Shadow 70' engines with HRD blocks based on frames made by Eric Cheney. The latter series is not recognized as 'Egli'.

 While searching for this story you will wonder where all those Vincent blocks came from

Many of the original, early, Egli Vincents nowadays came or are due to be born in France. Patrick Godet is such a dedicated Egli Vincent man there that Fritz Egli gave him the blessing and even ordered a motorbike from him. However, the Egli frame was also the ideal carrier for other engine blocks. Frames were made for Laverdas, Ducatas, Hondas. You name it. And those frames usually had nothing to do with Fritz Egli outside of their appearance. First of all, such an Egli frame was easy to make. Secondly, nothing was legally recorded about production. And British law made it super easy to get all kinds of structures on a 'prototype license plate'. For example, in England there were around seven builders of 'Egli' frames. Here in the Netherlands, the Janton company did the trick again.

Of course there were other adventurous spirits than Egli when it came to the use of Vincent blocks

For example, a Norvin is of course a Norton frame with a Vincent block in it and there are also Vincati's made. Every motorcycle with a Vincent block is a museum work of art with a fantastic beautiful engine and a great sound. A very original Vincent (HRD) is a kind of Holy Grail for many enthusiasts. But the hybrids based on the Vincent V twins are often so much more beautiful, and better driving than the original.

The similarities between the Originals and the Egli (like) bikes are in the fantastic engine blocks. And the level of market prices. At Sotheby's, one recently hammered off for such an 100. 000 euros. That is a lot of money. But not fun anymore. And for Egli bicycle parts with other engine blocks, the prices are no longer low.

A Vincati is of course also possible
An Egli frame for a Honda four-cylinder

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