2015 Quail Motorcycle Gathering

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Classic bikes at the 2015 Quail Motorcycle Gathering.
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This English-built 1913 JAP-powered Rex is a real rarity in the U.S.
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This year’s honorary theme singled out military motorcycles, drawing bikes like this rare Indian 841 built for World War II.
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Cycle World technical editor Kevin Cameron (left) was among the judges at this year’s event.
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Yamaha bikes at the 2015 Quail Motorcycle Gathering.
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An original paint 1969 sandcast Honda CB750.
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Japanese classics were well represented, including Zeki Abed’s 1975 Yamaha RD350.
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Dain Gingerelli checks out the Zollo Collection’s 1967 Honda CB77 Super Hawk.
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A Harley-Davidson and Goodyear at the 2015 Quail Motorcycle Gathering.

Just as little children should be seen and not heard, perhaps classic and vintage bikes should be viewed and not judged. Who’s to say that any motorcycle of a specific vintage or pedigree should be deemed more worthy of our affections than another? For that matter, who among us can vouch for the authenticity of a restoration that, according to a designated team of judges and insiders, matches the assembly line criteria of its day?

I know that I can’t make such distinctions. However, as a motorcycle junkie I know a nice motorcycle when I see one, and with apologies to the late humorist Will Rogers, I never saw a motorcycle that I didn’t like. And so this last spring I headed to Carmel, California, for The Quail Motorcycle Gathering to observe and enjoy, rather than pass judgment about, a gathering of old motorcycles.

Like several thousand other motorcycle junkies in attendance, I stepped through the temporary portal on The Quail golf course fairway, and with wide-eyed anticipation I might add, into a world of old and historically significant motorcycles. My older brother Alan, who taught me how to ride bikes in the first place when we were teenagers, joined me on this journey to yesteryear that featured a reported 366 entries.

Al and I viewed hardware we hadn’t seen or experienced in years, and the occasion allowed us to recall stories about certain bikes we had owned or raced in a prior lifetime. We met and chatted with longtime friends and acquaintances, and in the process shared old war stories about our former days on two wheels. (I had forgotten just how fast I thought I really was in my youth.) And, at no charge, bike owners and collectors entertained us with interesting backwater stories about their motorcycles on display.

In for a penny, in for a pound

Motorcycle Classics Magazine
Motorcycle Classics Magazine
Motorcycle Classics Magazine Featuring the most brilliant, unusual and popular motorcycles ever made!