The AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum

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By Joe Berk
March/April 2011
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The AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum in Pickerington, Ohio.
Photo by Joe Berk


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What: The AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum at 13515 Yarmouth Drive in Pickerington, Ohio.
How to Get There: The museum is located just east of Columbus, Ohio. From I-70, take the Pickerington exit (Exit 112) onto U.S. Highway 256 East. Turn left (east) at U.S. Highway 204, which is the first intersection. Go east on Hwy 204, then take a left at the second light onto Yarmouth Drive.
Admission: $10 for adults, $5 for AMA members
Best Kept Secrets: The Italian wedding soup and meatball sub sandwich at Scali’s (Scali Ristorante, www.scaliristorante.com), a nearby upscale restaurant at the corner of Hill Road and Livingston.
Avoid: Missing Dave Barr’s 1972 Super Glide, which he rode around the world from 1990 to 1994. Pick up a copy of Barr’s Riding the Edge before you go; you’ll appreciate seeing the bike that much more.
More Info: www.motorcyclemuseum.org  

The American Motorcycle Association Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum is a great place to visit and a magnificent repository of motorcycle history. The 26,000-square-foot museum includes far more than just a display of historically significant and vintage motorcycles — it’s an archive of our two-wheeled culture. The museum’s purpose is to tell the story of motorcycling from business, historical, technical and competition perspectives. One of the museum’s most significant displays is the Motorcycle Hall of Fame, which pays homage to motorcycling luminaries.

Like most top-flight museums, the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum regularly rotates its exhibits. Current exhibits include “30-Year Ride: Honda’s Ohio-Made Motorcycles” and “Dirt Track: All-American Racing.” Many motorcyclists know that Honda had a U.S. manufacturing operation in Marysville, Ohio, and that until recently Gold Wings were manufactured right here in the United States. Yet many people might not know that Honda built several other bikes in the United States, including such exotica as the six-cylinder Honda CBX (made from 1979 to 1982). The dirt track exhibit features American flat track racing. If you’ve ever felt the excitement of watching closely-clustered bikes sliding sideways on a dirt oval at more than 100mph, you’ll love this exhibit.

Watch a brief video tour of the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum 

Past exhibits have included motorcycles readily recognizable to the general public such as Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Harley Fat Boy from Terminator 2 and Will Smith’s I, Robot MV Agusta, specifically chosen to introduce a wider audience to the museum. Don’t let those bikes fool you into thinking the museum is just about Hollywood motorcycling silliness; it’s a serious collection of exhibits and information focused on our motorcycle culture.

The museum contains approximately 100 motorcycles, including the kind of vintage bikes you expect to see in a first class motorcycle museum. More significantly, however, the museum’s Motorcycle Hall of Fame honors motorcyclists who have made serious contributions to the sport through their accomplishments — men like Bart Markel (National No. 1 when I was a teenager), Dave Mungenast (a serious offroad competitor who ran in no fewer than nine International Six Day Trials), Steve McQueen (movie star and motorcycle racer extraordinaire), and Dave Barr, a double amputee who rode around the world on a beat-up old Harley-Davidson and wrote a book about it — I know Dave, and he’s the real deal. And so are the bikes in the museum.

The museum prides itself on the fact that when it displays famous motorcycles in the Hall of Fame, they are the actual historically significant bikes — not just the same models. For example, the 1972 Harley-Davidson Super Glide Shovelhead that Dave Barr rode around the world is on display.

The museum also contains an extensive collection of motorcycle photographs and other archival material available for historical research. When I was writing The Complete Book of Police and Military Motorcycles nearly 20 years ago, it was a simple matter to call the museum and obtain copies of World War II military Harley-Davidson photographs, including an experimental Harley boxer twin — the Harley XA — that never made it to production. The museum is a treasure, and should be on every motorcyclist’s short list of places to visit. MC 

 


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