- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Plume; Reprint edition (April 27, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0452296153
- ISBN-13: 978-0452296152
- Product Dimensions: 8 x 6.2 x 0.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,088,547 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Big Sid's Vincati: The Story of a Father, a Son, and the Motorcycle of a Lifetime Paperback – April 27, 2010
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"If you believe it is possible to fall in love with a motorcycle, you will love this book. It's a guy's romance novel with mystery, adventure, and real passion."
"I don't think you need to be a motorcycle enthusiast to lose yourself in this book. It is an open- handed classic about living and love, with a heart as big as a Vincent V-twin engine."
-Mark Knopfler, musician and former Dire Straits frontman
"First of all, while this is a book chock full of interesting mechanical wizardry and a tribute to a true legend in motorcycling, calling it simply a "motorcycle book" is a bit like calling Field of Dreams simply a "baseball movie." Because in this remarkable tome, father and son learn a lot about life and each other while creating a dream come true motorcycle."
-Greg Harrison, Antique Motorcycle, www.antiquemotorcycle.org
"Every motorcycle has a story. The Vincati is an extraordinary one and Big Sid's Vincati seals its place in motorcycle history."
-George Barber, The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum
"A heartfelt and beautifully written story of a family and the meaning of motorcycles in their lives--and the meaning of one particular bike that brings a father and son back together during difficult times. The enthusiasm is dangerously contagious; it'll make you want to go right out to the garage and restore your own bike--or build one."
-Peter Egan, journalist and columnist for Road & Track and Cycle World
"Motorcycles are many things. Obsession; thrill; the church at which a certain tribe worships. But did you know they are a solace, too? In joining two of the greatest machines ever conceived, Matthew Biberman and his father made something greater than any single bike: a transcendent story about machines that is really about love."
-Melissa Holbrook Pierson, author of The Perfect Vehicle
"If you can come away from this book--this opportunity to see up close what Sid Biberman and his son are made of, without a new respect for how a piece of machinery can come to life and take along with it the lives of a family, you didn't pay close enough attention. A beautiful story."
-John Healy, editor, Vintage Bike magazine
"The average American male spends half a lifetime making peace with his father. Big Sid's Vincati describes how a quest to reconstruct one mythic motorcycle can wildly accelerate that process. A rewarding read for anyone who's ever loved a man, or a motorcycle."
-Aaron Frank,editor-at-large, Motorcyclist magazine
"There are precious few well written motorcycle books; this is one of them. It's the human stories behind each machine that make them fascinating. This is a great tale that will resonate especially with people like me, whose love of motorcycles was sparked by family."
-Hugo Wilson, Editor, Classic Bike
"A splendid motorcycle tale about unlikely things coming together: an imperfect past with an uncertain future, a professor of Shakespeare with a mythic speed-tuner, and a stylish Euro-bike with the most iconic motorcycle in the world."
-Fred Haefele, author of Rebuilding the Indian
"There are few times when a man has a passion for a machine like Sid Biberman has for Vincents. What makes Big Sid's Vincati especially beautiful is that in this case, the son has taken the time to write down that love in words for others to appreciate."
-Denis Manning, BUB Enterprises
"By no means just for bike nuts, this is an absorbing and often poignant story. Matthew Biberman paints a sensitive and touching picture of his father Big Sid, a man with a remarkable empathy for quirky machines."
-Mick Duckworth, journalist and author of TT100 and Ace Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
MATTHEW BIBERMAN teaches creative writing and literature at the University of Louisville. He also works on Vincent motorcycles in his garage with his father, “Big Sid” Biberman.
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Top Customer Reviews
With the same intentions, after reading about Big Sid's Vincati, I managed to snag an early copy for myself. I really intended it to be a book for my husband, although I knew I'd need to read it as well. Once again, I thought I was doing something nice for my husband. And once again, so much for Karmic Brownie Points...
Big Sid's Vincati, The Story of a Father, a Son, and the Motorcycle of a Lifetime is the story of a renowned motorcycle mechanic and his son. Big Sid suffers a heart attack, and like many heart patients, loses his interest in life. His son, Matthew, impulsively suggest they build a motorcycle together. A hybrid, made up of an old Vincent and a Ducati. Vincent motorcycles were produced in Britain from 1928 to 1955. For decades Big Sid was THE guy to see for anything Vincent in the United States. Matthew had taken an entirely different path in life and is a Shakespearean professor.
Authenticity is added to the story by the author as he explores the younger years of Big Sid. He is unsparing in the descriptions of Sid's father, the conflicts of Sid's life and how these shaped his own life. While ostensibly the story of motorcycles, the book speaks more to the relationships between fathers and sons. At times it was as if I was reading about my own husband and his father. Through it all runs the thread of the rides. Motorcycles have an almost mystic pull on the people that ride them.
"The rides out in the midday sun, taking graceful sweepers along Skyline Drive, from Front Royal down to Asheville. All those times, all of it merging into this one road, under this one sun, burning hard in the sublime blue sky, while on either side of this ribbon of road, the trees flashed by, my father in my mirror, behind me."
From the practical standpoint, it was helpful to me that I've spent over thirty years hanging around a man who loves bikes. The vernacular wasn't completely foreign to me, and I had my handy reference guide sitting right next to me. And I'll admit to sort of skimming some of the technical passages about the construction of the bike. In spite of that, you should READ THIS BOOK!! It's a good story. And if you find yourself a bit confused about some terminology, it really doesn't matter. The heart of the book might be the Vincati, but it's the soul you'll focus on. And the soul of the book is Big Sid and Matthew.
"Part of the attraction (of men to cars and motorcycles) is beauty. It's a form of art appreciation. For many men, a car (or a motorcycle) is sculpture on wheels. On a deeper level, the thing is not the thing. The object - in this case, a car (or a motorcycle) - is really a pretext, a symbol, a medium. It's a token of romance, an instrument of nostalgia, reminding men of an earlier era, of youth, first loves, fathers and friends. It's a bulwark against the passage of time, the inevitability of loss"
Big Sid's Vincati is a story of how a father and a son created an object, a motorcycle, that helped them overcome an estranged relationship. In the process of creating a special motorcycle (a Vincati), Matthew and Sid Biberman transformed their relationship with each other. The Biberman's Vincati is their bulwark against the passage of time and the inevitability of loss.
This story is about how two men created a motorcycle that will stand as a symbol of love and healing between father and son. This is a story of how a thing (a motorcycle) is much more than a thing.
Sid and Matthew Biberman's life stories started as being very different and ended up in many ways, being very similar. First it is important to know about Sid Biberman.
Sid Biberman is known as Big Sid because he was a 6 feet 5 inch hulk for most of his life. Big Sid had a very difficult childhood, and an abusive father. Big Sid was unable to attend college and had to work very hard a good portion of his early adulthood as butcher under his father's iron will. Sid had to work hard overcome the emotional abuse he received from his father. Sid knew he was very talented at tuning motorcycles and eventually he was able to open his own motorcycle shop. In time, and through hard work, Big Sid fulfilled his dream of becoming a world class mechanic. Famous people (Jay Leno, Steve McQueen) came to Big Sid to learn from him.
Sid Biberman is considered by many Vincent motorcycle owners to be the finest tuner of Vincent motorcycles in the world. And Big Sid is loved by many members of the Vincent Motorcycle Owners Club because he is always ready to help when asked, and always kind with his knowledge and wisdom. Sid was able to overcome his difficult childhood (and early adulthood) by becoming a generous person with his time and his superb mechanical talent. Sid Biberman also grew to become a loving father and grandfather.
Matthew Biberman, who wrote Big Sid's Vincati, is an exceptionally intelligent and insightful man. Matthew is a professor of English at the University of Louisville. Matthew was educated at some of the finest schools in the United States. Matthew, as a young man, wanted to be unlike his father and became an intellectual. One of Matthew's challenges was to learn how to love his father warts and all. Matthew describes in his book how he eventually came to understand and become more comfortable with himself by realizing how he was, in many ways, like his father.
In this beautifully written, and at times haunting story, Big Sid Biberman, and his son, Matthew Biberman, create an exceptional, unique, and world famous motorcycle, a Vincati. Only 5 have been built in the world. The Vincati that the Bibermans created combined a Vincent Series B 998cc V-Twin engine into the chassis of a Ducati 750 GT. Peter Egan, a well know author, personally came to the Biberman's home and wrote a five page article in Classic Bike magazine about the Vincati.
The Vincati project started when Matthew visited his father in the hospital just after Big Sid had a massive heart attack.
Matthew and his father had grown distant. And yet Matthew loved his father so much that he gave his father something to live for when Big Sid wanted to give up the will to live. Matthew is a sensitive and loving son and knew what his father needed to regain the will to live. Matthew gave his father a dream. Matthew told his father that they needed to build an incredible motorcycle (a Vincati) and made a promise to his dad that the project would be completed.
Matthew knew that his father had the rare skills to build a Vincati. Both father and son knew that by working together they could rebuild their relationship. And by doing so, the Bibermans created a legacy of love (and a special motorcycle) that would heal the Biberman family. Five years after the commitment was made to build a Vincati, the promise was fulfilled.
In the process of creating a Vincati both son and father learn some key lessons in life that they share with you in their book
Big Sid's Vincati shows you how a relationship between a father and a son can be very difficult. Competitiveness, desire for approval, anger, forgiveness, and love all can come into play to help or hurt both a father and his son.
In Big Sid's Vincanti you will read how Matthew and Big Sid worked hard at improving their relationship while they built a special motorcycle. Their story touched my life. There were times I read about their lives and I thought of my father (who passed away in 1995 of a heart attack) and I wept. When I read Big Sid's Vincati I thought of the things I wished I could have done to help my relationship with my father improve. Even though my father is gone I learned lessons that helped me be more thoughtful and kind to others.
You may dream of building a motorcycle that is unique, fast, and beautiful. And then you may dismiss your dream and think it is impossible.
And yet, in reality, you can build a Vincati. We all can.
We can symbolically build our own Vincatis by making promises like Matthew and his father did to each other. Our Vincatis, our promises, can be verbal or silent to ourselves or ones who we love. The fulfillment of our promises, like the creation of the Biberman's Vincati, requires the capacity of calm, patient endurance.
Your fulfilled promises, like the Biberman's promise to each other, can be your bulwark against the passage of time and the inevibility of loss and can be your Vincati. If you want to create your own personal symbolic Vincati, read and enjoy Big Sid's Vincati.
Read the book with an open heart and learn. Learn the example from Big Sid and Matthew Biberman that forgiveness, patience, cooperation and love can help transform you.
For the technically inclined, there are detailed specs in the back, but I found that most of the "tech speak" in the heart of the book served more as a frame that gave the story structure. Not to take away from its authenticity, I just wouldn't want those of us who aren't gear heads to think this isn't a book for us. It truly is a book for anyone who has or is a father.
I heartily recommend it to anyone that wants to explore how fathers & sons connect and that loves good motorcycle tales.