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Vintage Motorcycle Days 2018

Triumph motorcycle

Make plans now to join Motorcycle Classics at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, for Vintage Motorcycle Days, July 6-8, 2018. Plans are set for the Motorcycle Classics Ride & Show on Friday, July 6, our first at Mid-Ohio in years and a perfect way to kick off this incredible weekend of all things vintage motorcycles, including the largest motorcycle swap meet in the U.S., with motorcycles and motorcycle parts spread over a staggering 35 acres adjoining Mid-Ohio. The granddaddy of all vintage motorcycle events, you need to put it on your calendar. To see all the shows we’ll attending this year go to

Group of motorcycles

The Quail Motorcycle Gathering 2018

1913 Flying Merkel
Best of Show winner, Douglas and Marian McKenzie’s 1913 Flying Merkel Twin.

Douglas and Marian McKenzie’s 1913 Flying Merkel Twin — which the McKenzies owned previously before buying it back a few years ago — took Best of Show at this year’s The Quail Motorcycle Gathering at The Quail Lodge in Monterey, California, on Saturday, May 5. Wearing the famous orange livery for which Merkels are known, the 1913 twin was a standout among the 350 spectacular machines gracing The Quail Lodge’s manicured lawn for the 10th anniversary of what’s become the most prestigious vintage motorcycle event in the U.S.

As we’ve come to expect, The Quail showcases some of the most beautiful and historically important motorcycles ever to roll on two wheels, including models from Vincent, Honda, Harley-Davidson, MV Agusta and more. And it’s not just about vintage bikes, either. This year’s four featured classes included bikes from the private collection of famed builder Arlen Ness, electric motorcycles, vintage and contemporary café racers, and a special nod to the Ducati Monster, now celebrating its 25th year of production.

Arlen Ness' custom Harley-Davidson
Spectacular Harley-Davidson custom from famed builder Arlen Ness.

The selection of machines on display was truly eclectic, including a selection of rotary-powered bikes from Hercules, Norton (including an F1 and a Classic) and Suzuki, with two perfectly preserved RE5s on hand. The selection of Japanese machines was strong, as were, predictably, machines from England, with at least a half dozen Vincents lined up on the British section of the lawn. This year’s Innovation Award went to Curtiss, formerly Confederate Cycles, which displayed its planned electric-powered 2020 Curtiss Zeus. Looking like something out of Tron, the Curtiss Zeus is an interesting take on the possible future for limited production, high-performance electric motorcycles.

The annual Design and Style Award went to Tony Prust and Analog Motorcycles for Tony’s spectacular 1968 Ducati 250 custom, while Jackson Burrows nabbed the Industry Award for his incredible 1960 Harley-Davidson Super 10, its pedestrian 2-stroke HD roots barely discernible after having been transformed into a piece of two-wheeled art.

Lee Hoffseth's 1974 MV Agusta 750S
Lee Hoffseth took second in the Italian category for his perfectly running 1974 MV Agusta 750S, which he’s owned since new.

Clyde Crouch won both the Spirit of the Quail Award and HVA Preservation Award for his 1920 ex-Burt Munro streamliner, made famous in the 2005 movie The World’s Fastest Indian, and Siobhan Ellis — dressed in a period Star Trek-inspired outfit — took the Extraordinary Bicycles/Scooter Award for a 1969 Lambretta Vega. A futuristically styled scooter that flopped on the market, only a few hundred Vegas were made and even fewer survive. And Honda’s little CT70, beloved by young aspiring riders across the U.S. back in the day, got its just due, Steve Mast’s perfect 1971 model taking the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Heritage Award.

An estimated 3,000-plus enthusiasts made the trek for the annual event, which also included a special Friday ride to Laguna Seca for a lap of the track for those lucky enough to sign up in time. Amazing motorcycles and a beautiful location, it really doesn’t get much better than this. The 2019 event is scheduled for May 4, 2019. More info at The Quail Motorcycle Gathering events page. — Richard Backus

Tony Prust's 1968 Ducati 250
Tony Prust of Analog Motorcycles won the Design and Style Award for his 1968 Ducati 250 custom.

Siobhan Ellis' 1969 Lambretta Vega
Siobhan Ellis nabbed the Extraordinary Bicycles/Scooter Award for this 1969 Lambretta Vega. Nice Star Trek getup.

Jackson Burrows' 1960 Harley-Davidson Super 10
Jackson Burrows and his heavily customized 1960 HD Super 10, which took this year’s Industry Award.

Dunstall Norton Commando 810
Dunstall Norton Commando 810.

1958 Ariel Square Four
Fantastic 1958 Ariel Square Four.

Pair of MV Agusta singles
Contrast; a restored and a barn-find MV Agusta single.

Group of rotary motorcycles
Two Hercules rotaries front a Norton F1 and Classic rotary and a pair of Suzuki RE5 rotaries.

Brian Schindler's 1995 Buell S-2
Buell enthusiast Brian Schindler brought a pair of Buells, including this 1995 S-2 with 79,000 miles on the clock.

Behind the Vintage Tour Cross

Classic bikes

Prepping vintage enduros for a 350-mile road trip and race requires more than just good planning; you need good parts and gear, too. Photos by Seth DeDoes.

Two days and 350 road miles hauling luggage followed by a day of motocross racing is a lot to ask of a trio of 42- to 48-year-old vintage enduro bikes and their riders. For this reason, we took as many precautions as possible before departing to ensure a safe and successful trip. Here are some of the specific products we needed and the suppliers who supported our adventure.

Tenacious Tires: Regardless of displacement or horsepower, ultimately, a motorcycle’s tires do all the work. They must grip wet and dry pavement, and on the MX track master hard-pack, sand, mud and loam. Fortunately, Dunlop makes a wide range of dirt-loving knobbies, including the DOT-certified D606. Available in numerous sizes, modern Dunlops well satisfied our needs, and amazingly fit the old bikes nearly to a “T.” Best of all, they finished the long tour with little wear, and then with pressures lowered, worked great on Hollister’s Grand Prix track. Go to

Fail-Safe Chains: Old drive chains that look okay externally can be internally compromised by rust — with possible broken links the result. This can be way more than just inconvenient, as a broken chain can puncture an engine case or worse, lock the rear wheel. To avoid this, we fitted Regina Professional Cross Supermoto chains before our trip. Designed for modern bikes, they were totally capable of handling the output of our classic engines. The Honda needed a 530 chain, while the OSSA and Suzuki took the more common 520 size, which we trimmed to fit with a Regina chain breaker. Go to

John L. Stein rigging up lights

John L. Stein rigs up lights on the go after the lighting coil on his OSSA failed.

Essential Oils: Lucas Oil makes lubricants for every motor application imaginable. We stocked up with Semi-Synthetic 2-Cycle Oil, 80W/85W Transmission Oil, Synthetic Fork Oil, Chain Lube, Contact Cleaner, Brake Parts Cleaner and Tool Box Buddy (a multipurpose aerosol) for our pre-ride servicing. And then used it all — including Slick Mist Speed Wax — on the road and during our frantic repairs in the pits. Go to

Racy Numbers: Besides our personal gear attached to the bikes, the piece de resistance was three sets of racing number plates and custom Fastlane MX Vintage Ovals graphics. Super easy to spec and order online, the durable 9x11-inch graphics were likewise simple to apply. Go to

Creative Storage: Unless you ride a tourer like a Gold Wing Interstate or BMW R100RT, safely bundling a sleeping bag, clothes and incidentals onto a classic bike can be trying. We found a great solution in Aerostich’s Tank Panniers. The tough, semi-rigid 1,000-denier nylon bags dropped effortlessly over the Savage’s gas tank, and across the rear of the XL350 seat. The included bungee cords — plus some additional Aerostich heavy-duty bungees — safely secured both panniers and sleeping bags. To the tail section of the Pioneer, I attached a Cortech Super 2.0 Tail Bag, whose soft neoprene pad protected the original Spanish lacquer and pinstripes. Go to and

Riding protected

Selecting riding gear suitable for both touring and motocross proved a challenge, considering that in our case, temperatures ranged from the 40s to the 80s. Packing layers, and then choosing the right helmets, jackets, boots and gloves, proved key. Here’s a selection of products used on the inaugural Vintage Tour Cross.

Hand-Picked Helmets: Owing to the combination of road and track riding, Randy and Deborah both elected for HJC’s DS-X1 full-face, dual-sport adventure helmet with flip-up visor, which they replaced with Scott goggles at Hollister. Well acquainted with unexpected swan-dives onto terra firma while dirt riding, I chose the DOT-certified Bell Moto-9 Carbon Flex, which additionally protects against glancing blows that can result from such low-speed falls. Happily, though, the OSSA and I stayed upright on both road and track! Go to and

Do-It-All Goggles: On the MX track, Scott Hustle MX goggles with Chrome Lenses gave everyone good comfort and UV protection, while guarding against airborne dust and rocks. Although during the long highway days, my dirt-oriented helmet’s open eye port added some wind blast around the face. A car racer, Randy was smart to bring a couple of balaclavas; donning one reduced airflow over the face, lowered audible noise, and added warmth. Winner! Go to

Repairing a Suzuki

Stein and crew work on Randy Pobst’s Suzuki after a piston failure.

Snug, Safe Jackets: For the tour, Randy wore a Tourmaster Transition 4 Jacket and I chose a Cortech Sequoia XC Jacket. Both feature a 600-denier shell, internal armor, various pockets and vents, and zip-in thermal liners that earned their keep on the cold first evening above Ojai, and the next morning in Taft. Deborah went more traditional, snuggling into a Cortech Women’s LNX 2.0 Leather Jacket. Go to and

Dirt-Ready Boots: Protect your feet offroad, and you’ll be a happy rider. Randy and Deborah both used Cortech Accelerator XC boots for comfort on the road combined with safety in the dirt. As a modern MX rider, I went with pro-caliber Alpinestars Tech 10 boots. They’re heavy but ultra-comfortable, and most essentially, offer major protection for feet, ankles and shins. During my second Hollister moto, I hyperextended one foot in a rut and remain convinced the boot spared me real injury. Go to and

Cool Jerseys: We all wore padded jeans on the road and motocross track, but for breathability during the races, we packed lightweight Alpinestars Racer Supermatic Jerseys. Worn over body armor, they provided good abrasion protection while wicking away sweat. Randy and Deborah both tested the jerseys when they hit the ground during their MX races, and happily came away unscathed. Go to alpinestars.comJohn L. Stein

Italian Superbikes Shine in the Sun: The 23rd Amelia Island Concours

1974 Ducati 750SS
The Venable family’s 1974 “Green Frame” Ducati 750SS won an Amelia award.

Since its inception, the Amelia Island Concours has reserved a spot for motorcycles. This year the featured class was 70s Italian Superbikes. Motorcycling was exploding in popularity in the U.S. in the 70s, with motorcycle registrations reaching a new high in 1973. As Japan started releasing their big bikes, the Italians were close behind with their own big bikes that were both brawny and beautiful. Soon their mark was made on the racetrack with their secret weapon, handling!

1981 Magni MV Agusta
Robin Lawrence’s spectacular 1981 Magni MV Agusta.

Ducati became the high-water mark with their 750SS Imola Replica aka the Green Frame. Only made in small batches, they were marketed with the hopes that new owners would take them to the track. There were two at Amelia this year. One was a nice original from the Barber Museum, previously owned by Phil Schilling. The other, a nicely restored 1974 Green Frame owned by James Venable, garnered an Amelia award. An equally exciting 1979 900SS was an award winner too, from the Sisso collection. There were also several MV Agustas, including an exceptional 1972 750S from Robb Talbot looking very patriotic in its red, white and blue livery. The MV and the corporate winner in this class was Robin Lawrence’s 1981 MV Agusta Magni. MVs were typically sold as a 750. They also had a shaft drive as the OEM set up. Arturo Magni, formerly MV’s racing manager, realized that power was being lost through the shaft, so he set up a chain-drive option to deliver more horsepower to the ground. The bore was increased for a capacity of over 900cc on Robin’s bike.

1973 Laverda SFC
The Dillard family’s 1973 Laverda SFC was the class winner.

In some ways Moto Guzzi was one of the first big Italian bikes with the launch of their 700CC touring bike in 1967. Of course only a few months later someone had converted one to a racer. An early 750 V-7 Sport was on display in pristine original condition. Also, on display was a later version, the 850.

Laverdas made a big splash with four entries. The ultimate winner was the Dillard family’s 1973 SFC. SFCs were built and manufactured with a focus on endurance racing, and they all came in a brilliant orange paint scheme with a quarter fairing.

All entries were a great testimony of the big impact that small Italian manufacturers had on the market in the 1970s.

1972 MV Agusta 750 Sport
Robb Talbot’s 1972 MV Agusta 750 Sport.

1979 Ducati 900SS
1979 Ducati 900SS from the Sisso collection won an Amelia award.

Motorcycle Classics 2018 Show Updates

show updates

Motive: Most bikes roll in under their own power for Rockerbox.

Our first show dates are coming up fast, kicking off with Vintage Motofest, June 8-10, 2018, at Road America racetrack in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. We'll head up judging for the annual Rockerbox Bike Show at Vintage Motofest, with editor Backus otherwise roaming the circuit in pursuit of great bikes and even better stories. Historic Road America racetrack is an amazing venue, and Vintage Motofest is the perfect start to a summer of great vintage motorcycle events. Get the full schedule of happenings including live music, a microbrew tasting and more here.

Our second June event is the Motoblot Urban Motorcycle & Hot Rod Street Rally, June 22-24, 2018, in Chicago, Illinois. An urban street show — as the title suggests — Motoblot has rapidly grown to become Chicago's must-attend motorcycle event of the year. We're looking forward to setting up and helping out with the Vintage Bike Show, and to that end we've managed to convince ice sculpture artist extraordinaire Nate Johnson of Johnson Studios Ice Sculptures, Chicago, to do an on-site, live ice carving demonstration. Nate hasn't yet said exactly what he's going to carve, but you can bet it'll be motorcycle related and, well, cool. Given the street theme, you can expect the bike show to be a pretty relaxed affair, with daily riders and well-preserved originals side by side with perfect restorations. Don't miss it.

Looking forward to July, we're excited to return to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, for Vintage Motorcycle Days, July 6-8, 2018. Plans are set for the Motorcycle Classics Ride & Show on Friday, July 6, our first at Mid-Ohio in years and a perfect way to kick off this incredible weekend of all things vintage motorcycles, including the largest motorcycle swap meet in the U.S., with motorcycles and motorcycle parts spread over a staggering 35 acres adjoining Mid-Ohio. The granddaddy of all vintage motorcycle events, you need to put it on your calendar.

Upcoming Vintage Motorcycle Events: May/June 2018

may june 2018 events

5/5 Attend the 10th Annual The Quail Motorcycle Gathering at The Quail Lodge in Carmel, California. This year's show will feature café racers, electric motorcycles and the Arlen Ness Private Collection, plus 10 more categories. The $75 ticket includes a barbecue lunch.

5/19 Head to the 50th Annual Hanford Vintage Motorcycle Rally at the Kings Fairgrounds in Hanford, California, which will feature an antique and classic motorcycle show, more than 150 vendors, a parts exchange and sale corral, RV hookups, food and more.

5/19 Legendary flat track racers Bill Werner and Scott Parker will be the Grand Marshals for the 19th Annual Riding into History Motorcycle Concours at the World Golf Village near St. Augustine, Florida. RIH begins on Friday, May 18, with a lunch ride and the Grand Marshal's Dinner, followed on Saturday by the Concours d'Elegance, featuring "A Fast Blast from the Past" honoring competition motorcycles for 2018.

6/2 Visit the Friends of Steve McQueen car and motorcycle show in support of Boys Republic, a private, nonprofit school dedicated to troubled teens, in Chino Hills, California. This year's theme is the movie Bullitt and the 50th anniversary of the classic film.

6/8 Attend the Vintage MotoFest featuring AHRMA Vintage Racing and Rockerbox, in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, June 8-10. Enjoy a ride-in bike show on Saturday, vendors, AHRMA racing all weekend and more. Join the Sunset Cruise on the famed track Saturday.

6/23 Visit the 8th Annual Vintage Rally at the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa, Iowa. Enter your 1988 or older motorcycle or bicycle in the Vintage Bike Show.

6/23 Come join us at the Motoblot Ride-In Motorcycle and Hot Rod Show in downtown Chicago, Saturday, June 23, from noon to 5 p.m. Awards will be given in six vintage categories, plus another 10 modern and custom categories.

May 512th Annual Carolina Classic Motorcycle Show. Spencer, NC.

May 18-199th Annual AMCA Southern National Meet. Denton, NC.

May 19 KCVJMC 8th Annual Spring Show at Donnell's Motorcycles. Independence, MO.

May 19-20OVM May Ride, Show and Swap Meet. Corvallis, OR.

May 2017th Annual British & European Classic Motorcycle Day. Clarksburg, MD.

May 209th Annual Antique Motorcycle Swap Meet and Show. Centreville, MI.

May 21USCRA U.S. Vintage GP. New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Loudon, NH.

June 2Cars and Motorcycles of England. Hope Lodge, Ft. Washington, PA.

June 2-3Ohio Valley BSA Owners Club Spring Classic. Toronto, OH.

June 4-936th Annual Americade. Lake George, NY.

June 9-10USCRA FIM North American Vintage Road Racing Championships. New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Loudon, NH.

June 9-11Lake Erie Loop. Wellington, OH.

June 1040th Annual BSAOCNE British Motorcycle Meet. Lancaster, MA.

June 15-16Fort Sutter AMCA National Motorcycle Show and Swap Meet. Dixon, CA.

June 15-1746th Annual Canadian Vintage Motorcycle Group Paris National Rally. Paris, Ontario.

June 16-17AMCA Viking Chapter Annual Meet. St. Paul, MN.

June 21-242018 VJMC National Rally. Mitchell, IN.

June 22-23GABMA 33rd Annual British in the Blue Ridge Rally and Bike Show. Hiawassee, GA.

June 22-2425th Annual Triumph National Rally. Oley, PA.

June 23-2423rd Annual CJMC Classic Japanese Motorcycle Swap & Show. Dixon, CA.

Motorcycle Classics wants to know about classic motorcycle shows, swap meets, road runs and more. Send details of upcoming events at least three months in advance to

The Quail Motorcycle Gathering: Ness Customs, Café Racers and Electric Bikes

The Ness family

Legendary motorcycle designer Arlen Ness (left), his son Cory Ness (center) and grandson Zach Ness (right).

The Quail Motorcycle Gathering presented by GEICO Motorcycle, a Peninsula Hotels’ Signature Event, will display 300 pre- and post-war bikes along with three new classes representing revolutionary innovation and creativity in the sport of motorcycling. Event guests will discover custom builds from three generations of the iconic Ness family, an electric class that showcases the evolution of the alt-power motorcycle, and a Café Racer class highlighting hand-built bikes with the stripped-down street fighter aesthetic first made popular on the backroads of England — all while enjoying a family-friendly atmosphere, gourmet food and live music on the lawns of Quail Lodge & Golf Club.

A worldwide leader in product design and distribution, Arlen Ness Enterprises — led by Arlen Ness, his son Cory Ness and grandson Zach Ness — is the only family-run business in the motorcycle industry featuring three generations of passionate designers. After 45 years in business, the Ness family legacy will be recognized as Arlen Ness will be named the 2018 Legend of the Sport and bikes from his family’s Dublin, California, museum will be displayed on the event field.

Showcasing his cutting-edge style, Arlen Ness will present some of his most iconic builds such as the Art Deco-inspired “SmoothNess” and the 1947 Harley-Davidson El Knucklehead known as “Untouchable.” Son Cory Ness will showcase his own custom flair with one of his personal favorite builds, the “Curvaceous-Ness,” which has been featured in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Design Museum. He will also debut his latest build, the “Single-Sided Indian Digger.” The youngest member of the Ness family enterprise, Zach Ness, will demonstrate his design perspective through a selection of bikes including a 145 Cubic Inch Chopper, an Indian Custom Scout and a Shovelhead Custom Build.

“I have lived in Northern California most of my life, so having our family, our business and our bikes featured at The Quail Motorcycle Gathering is like being honored in front of a hometown crowd," said Arlen Ness. “Back when I started building and riding custom bikes, if you rode a Harley or had long hair you were considered an outlaw. People didn't want you in town. It's been a pleasure watching how the culture has changed over the decades and being a part of it all. I can't wait to see the bikes on the field and to meet fans and fellow riders at The Quail Motorcycle Gathering.”

In addition to the Ness family bikes, the show will also feature a collection of hand-picked Electric Motorcycles and artfully-crafted Café Racers. Renowned motorcycle seat engineer Mike Corbin will showcase a 1975 Prototype Corbin-Gentry Electric Motorcycle X2 and one of the first electric motorcycles to be registered in many states — the Corbin-Gentry X1 Electric-Powered “City Bike.” Meanwhile, the Café Racer class will be headlined by classics such as a 1967 Triton Café Racer, a 1966 Velocette MS and an aluminum 1971 T 100 R Daytona, which was Triumph’s most popular 500 twin.

“We select bikes that truly embody the spirit of motorcycling — from the eccentric and extravagant to the traditional and timeless,” said Gordon McCall, Director of Motorsports for The Peninsula Signature Events. “Each bike at The Quail Motorcycle Gathering will represent a historical aspect or future trend that has impacted the industry and left a legacy of inspiration regarding the way bikes will continue to be built and designed. We are proud to present these featured bikes for our 2018 show and are sure that our guests will appreciate the broad selection of bikes on display.”

Tickets to the show include a gourmet lunch, parking and gear valet service for those riding a motorcycle. Learn more on the event website and follow the action on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

For more information about the event and where to purchase tickets, please visit

About The Peninsula Signature Events
The Peninsula Signature Events is organized by The Peninsula Hotels, dedicated to creating world-class bespoke events at its properties in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo, Beijing, New York, Chicago, Beverly Hills, Bangkok, Manila and Paris — future openings, Yangon and London. Quail Lodge & Golf Club is home to the following Peninsula Signature Events: The Quail Ride, The Quail Motorcycle Gathering, The Quail Rally and The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering.