After seeing Neal Michal’s post on the Lake Hill Motorcycle Museum, long-time Bike-urious reader and commenter Jihelle thought he could do something similar with a museum he encountered on a cross-country motorcycle trip of his own! Without further ado, here he is:
St. Francis Motorcycle Museum
Words and Photos by Jihelle
Ever heard of the “Flying Merkel”? Not the German Chancellor, but one of the most famous American motorcycles of the turn of the (last) century. How about the Orient, the Limited, or the Emblem? All of them are true blood American motorcycle brands which are defunct but are proudly on display at the St. Francis Motorcycle Museum in the eponymous town in the northwestern corner of Kansas, bordering Nebraska and Colorado.
I found the museum by chance while riding last May from Maryland to California (and back). A small sign on the roadside advertised a motorcycle museum and I thought to myself, “why not stop to have a look at a few rusted Harleys and Indians?” I was in for a total surprise. The collection is truly amazing, especially the vault, where a dozen century-old motorcycles, all made in America, are on display.
Opened in 2016, the museum covers 10,000 square feet and features 115 different brands, bringing together motorcycles from various collectors. They bikes aren’t all 100 years old; one of the drag bikes used by Mike Bahnmaier, one of the prolific contributors to the museum, figures prominently. There are also Japanese, British and German bikes galore, including a 50cc Kawasaki Bonneville Salt Flats record holder.
But don’t just read this. A visit to the museum’s website will give you a glimpse of the assembled treasures. And it’s worth making a detour, even a big one, to go there. Expect to meet other passionate motorcyclists, as well. While visiting, I met several riders from New Zealand touring the United States on Harleys they had bought in Los Angeles and planned to ship back home after their trip.[Editor’s Note: In no particular order, here are some photos from Jihelle’s time in the museum]
Thanks to Jihelle for sharing his experience!