What a show. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I decided to check out this year’s Quail Motorcycle Gathering. But I sure am glad I did, and I hope this inspires you to check it out with me next year!
Even before I walked into the show, I saw one of those crazy full-fairing Vetter creations – built for the Vetter Fuel Economy Challenge. This was a good sign!
I was lucky enough to get some early press access, and immediately I was blown away. You know it’s going to be a fantastic show when the first motorcycle you see is one of the ten Mystery Ships ever produced – another Vetter design! If your first reaction was “what the hell is a Mystery Ship?”, then check out this article from the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame.
Here’s the deal – if you just want professional photos of the winners, head on over to this Cycle World article. I’m still stunned they let me in, so I’m going to focus on some of the weirder stuff, the bikes I really enjoyed (even if they weren’t award-winners) and shots from the field before winners were announced – I hope it gives you a different perspective! Be warned, though: you’re about to get bombarded with photos.
Keanu Reeves’ company, ARCH, was there showing off their bike in different colors:
This crazy contraption ended up winning the Innovation Award. It’s a 2005 Molnar G2, built by Dezso Molnar. It’s a gyrocopter powered by a Suzuki GSX-R 600, and the front end is the tilting two-wheel setup from a Piaggio MP3. It’s hit 138 miles per hour, and while Molnar has created a working gyrocopter before, I believe this specific model hasn’t flown yet. You’re presumably going to want more – check out this link for information.
Or if you’re more of a visual learner, here’s a video:
Found in the ‘scooter’ category:
More scooter goodness:
Someone putting finishing touches on a beautiful Vincent:
What professional photographers (aka not me) do – checking out the military motorcycle section:
Who can identify the rifle on this vintage BSA?
Wider shot of the same bike:
Something I’ve never heard of before, a 1962 Demm Sport. It won Italian 2nd Place:
Known as the Contradiction, this custom is based on a KTM 690 Enduro and has a dustbin fairing and seat from Airtech. It apparently puts down 65 horsepower and weighs just 330 pounds – combined with the aerodynamics it’s capable of hitting at least 135 miles per hour.
Moto Guzzi Le Mans III. Funny enough, the next day I passed a truck with this bike and another on a trailer on the 5 freeway near Los Angeles.
A BSA Bantam that’s ex-GPO (the British Post Office):
One of the bikes that went on the Cycle World morning ride, this BMW R1200C had an amusing chin fairing:
Passionate riders cleaning up their bikes after the morning ride so they look pristine for the show:
As part of the show, Honda was celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Gold Wing. Here’s all the bikes before they were setup for glory:
Custom Triumph drag bike with two engines:
Speaking of Triumphs with two engines, here’s the X-1 Gyronaut. In 1966, it set the motorcycle land speed record of 245.667 miles per hour:
In 1970, the bike was wrecked at over 280 mph. The nephew of the designer had the bike partially restored and then shown for the first time in 2012. Here’s the interior:
Use Castrol oil!
In 2013, it was shown fully restored, and then last year it won an award at the Quail.
It didn’t win anything this year, though:
Vintage Motorcycle Rescue showed a few bikes, this exquisite racer was one of my favorites:
Vyrus – you may recognize that front end as dangerously similar to the Bimota Tesi, and that’s because Vyrus worked with Bimota on the first bike before splitting up and trying their own version:
Old School Harley J complete with period dude in costume:
A custom built on a Honda CRF platform:
Another custom, this time built on the KTM Duke platform:
Yet another custom – a Honda Shadow cruiser with the 2-stroke engine from a CR500!
Judges admiring a vintage Bonnie:
The drive belt of a Rex with a JAP engine:
Van Veen Kreidler racer:
The tank from a CZ 360:
Bultaco Frontera 250 that won 1st Place in “Other European”:
The legendary Munch Mammoth TTS. Check out this link from Motorcycle Classics for more information on this amazing motorcycle.
It won 1st place in the German category. Look at that engine:
A beautiful Ducati Elite owned by Bike-urious reader Colin H – more on this bike later in a few days…
Someone pulling out the gun of his Harley-Davidson MT500:
Moto Guzzi Super Alce – this is an ex-military bike that’s still run on city streets. Check out the double set of handlebars for the passenger!
Indian 841 – sideways V-Twin and a shaft drive designed for better survival in desert combat:
Harley XA – flat twin shaft drive, built for WWII after the Army requested a bike similar to what BMW was putting out for the Germans:
An Ariel Square Four setup to take an English family around:
The other side:
None other than Paul D’Orleans himself, who was the MC (did a fantastic job) as well as a judge of the Antique category. One smart bike owner let Paul ride his 1929 Henderson KJ…which ended up winning 2nd place in the Antique category. Coincidence? =)
I loved this ’57 FB Mondial Bialbero. Turns out it’s an ex Mike Hailwood bike and Bonhams wants $100k for it. No big deal.
A Bultaco Alpina chopper!
The Formula 750 class had a lot of cool bikes, including the Paul Smart Ducati I showed you way up top and this Yamaha TZ750, which won the “Significance in Racing” award:
It also had this Butler & Smith BMW F750:
Larry Romestant was there with his Special K’s. Here’s an example of a custom headlight bucket that he now offers:
1932 Raleigh that was featured at the Revival Cycles tent.
It is “imperitive”!
Also at the Revival Cycles tent – cool blueprints of their previous custom builds:
1954 BMW 500cc DOHC Rennsport. Capable of 143 miles per hour, this racer featured all kinds of trick parts – just 24 were built by the factory, and one of them was the world champion in GP sidecar racing. Bator International wanted $117,500 for this bike, which has motor number 4:
A BSA Lightning sidecar motocrosser. That’s a sentence I don’t get to say very often…
Judges admiring a beautiful BMW Paris-Dakar:
Another bike from Vintage Motorcycle Rescue, this Flying Dragon CL350 was one of the rarest blue on blue models:
This RC45 had an incredible story. The owner found it randomly in Mexico for sale and the seller apparently didn’t know what he had. It’s chassis #2, and the bike was sold for about $9,000. Good lord.
This little beauty ended up winning Best of Show. It’s a ’51 Mondial Bialbero Gran Prix 125, and listening to it go around the field was an absolute aural treat:
Good ol’ Shell oil:
Believe it or not, this Matchless G80CS runs. It was restored by a dedicated group of riders to honor the owner, who had let it sit for almost 50 years until he passed away.
They even made a video of the resurrection:
The dog even got in other photos!
Vincent Grey Flash:
A running Vincent Black Shadow that’s got a lot of patina, if that’s your thing:
The front fender of an Indian Arrow (which ended up winning American 2nd Place):
Bike-urious reader Ken M had a beautifully restored Triumph Bonneville that got lots of attention:
Kawasaki had a tent where they featured two generations of the H2 namesake, among other bikes:
I still can’t get over the front winglets of the new H2R:
Cool old pedestrian slicer:
I feel bad saying it, but this is the one bike that I actively did not like:
A cool ’49 Indian Scout modified by Analog Motorcycles – it won 1st place in Custom/Modified:
When you win, you get a tag on your bike saying ‘come to the front at 2pm’:
The winners lining up – the dog keeps getting more attention!
Revival Cycles riding their bike up to the winners line:
Just one photo from the main stage – Paul and Chief Judge Somer Hooker entertaining the crowd and presenting the Munch Mammoth with its award:
And that’s it! My buddy and I (you may remember his beautiful GS from our Alaska trip) hopped on our bikes and headed out:
Hope you enjoyed! What were your favorites?