For well over twenty years, folks have been making their way to the fields of central Ohio for this country's largest vintage motorcycle swap meet, the AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days. This year however, would be our first and we had absolutely no idea what to expect. We knew there would be some cool bikes here and there and tons of parts to go through, but the event turned out to be so much more than a few rusty piles for sale. After four days of swapping parts, stories, and a bike or two, we can say for sure,..we will do our damnedest to never miss another vintage days ever again.
When we drove onto the scene at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, the rain was coming down pretty hard and it was difficult to fight the feeling that this weekend was going to be a bust due to the weather. Within minutes of sitting in the long line of traffic waiting to enter the course though, this feeling of disappointment quickly changed to excitement as the sounds of dirt and trail bikes filled the air. People were yelling with excitement at friends they hadn't seen since last year and more than a few folks hopped out to give a fellow rider a quick push start down the muddy road. It was kinda in that moment that we realized no amount of rain was going to stop this crowd from having a great weekend of racing, riding, and swapping.
We sat in line like children waiting for their parents to wake up on christmas morning. We couldn't wait to get out of the truck, unload our bikes, and start taking it all in. As we made our way through the gates and towards camp, we passed hundreds of bikes and thousands of bike parts, neatly organized in many cases amongst the canopies and campers. Despite the rain, people where everywhere riding, swapping, and doing their best to get ready for the weekend ahead.
Over the next couple days, the rain cleared, the vendors unloaded all their gear, and the races began. Bike vendors and attendees were everywhere and we'd be lying if we said it wasn't a bit overwhelming. Needless to say, we had hard time sticking close to our booth with so much to see and do.
With the rain cleared out, everything was now out and on display. Bikes and parts were being sold left and right, and more than a few times you'd see an old barn find being towed down the fields on it's way to a new home.
Amidst the beaters and rusty parts though, were some of the nicest bikes we've seen in some time. BSAs, Nortons, Indians, Harleys, Yamahas, and just about every Honda imaginable was at this show,..and down each row you'd find a few that were absolutely immaculate.
With each new bike, came a new story and more than a few helpful tips on how to make these old bikes look beautiful and run just as well. The knowledge we gained in just a few days talking to everyone at this show was worth the price of admission alone.
To sum it up. We had a blast, despite the rain and clouds, we met good people, heard some amazing stories, and got our heads right for what to expect next year.
This will no doubt be an annual event for Raleigh Motor.
April 12th. The day Raleigh Motor officially launched our story at the annual European and Euro-inspired motorcycle show, Raleigh Eurobike. Located in downtown Raleigh at Seaboard Station, this show brought out some of the best bikes and custom builds this area has to offer. But even though we were surrounded by hundreds of amazing bikes, food trucks, activities, and a handful of awesome vendors, we'd have to say our favorite part of the event was meeting everyone and talking about their love for these bikes and this rising community of artists and designers we have here. We even had the pleasure of meeting several fine folks from surrounding areas as far out as Charlotte and Virginia.
In short, this event kicked ass. While we don't know the official count, there must have been at least 300 bikes on display. From vintage Moto-Guzzi's and Nortons to custom built Honda cafe racers, there almost wasn't enough time to take it all in. The event featured several gear and apparel vendors from the area and food rolled in on Raleigh's finest food trucks. Above is a shot of the newest addition to the Raleigh food truck scene, Fire Chef Raleigh. This 1967 Ford F600 was customized last year and is now rolling the streets serving up some delicious gourmet dogs. This classic fire engine has got to be one of the coolest food trucks in the country.
The competition for top prize was stiff, but once again, for the third year running, Johann Keyser of Moto Motivo took home Best in Show with his Honda CX500. As we've noted before, this bike is flawless. It was great to see Johann take home the gold! We're not sure what he's got cooking for next year, but it's bound to be another solid build. We're looking forward to seeing what else comes out of his shop in the year ahead.
A couple other bikes from the event also caught our eye—and we're glad they did because we got a chance to meet the people behind the builds. Above is a shot of Tattoo Moto's 1972 BMW R75/5, which took home the Best German Custom award at the event. As we took a shot of this bike we were greeted by Rudy Banny, the bikes designer / builder and the owner of Tattoo Motorcycles out of Charlotte, NC. Rudy was incredibly friendly and excited to tell us about this build. Here's a solid write up on this bike from the crew at otomotif.org accompanied by a quick interview with Rudy himself. We were honored to meet Rudy and shake his hand. We will definitely be following his story and his work going forward.
This last bike created quite the buzz as it rolled into the show and caught our attention immediately with it's wood grain tank and seat pan. This Honda CB750, built by Spencer Tull out of Fort Mill, SC is as clean as it gets. The hand dipped hyrdo-graphics on this tank and seat pan had just about everyone at the event talking and most were unsure if the bike was made from real wood or simply had an amazing paint job. We had a brief moment to talk with Spencer and congratulate him on the build, but we are hoping to see him back in Raleigh later this year for Bull City Rumble where perhaps we'll snag a more in depth interview with him about this bike. It deserves the attention.
If we took just one thing away from this event, it's that the community of builders, riders, makers, and designers is alive and well here on the east coast,...and poised to produce some amazing work in the year ahead. We couldn't be more excited to be giving it a go and joining you all! We only hope our bike and our stories can hit the bar that has been set so high.
Thanks again to Dave Minella, Stella Pittman, Scott Dail and the folks at Do The Ton Triangle for putting on such a great event! We'll definitely be back for more next spring.
We are proud to sponsor Eurobike this year for their 6th annual European and Euro-inspired show.
This will be Raleigh Motor's official launch event. Stop by our booth to learn about the build and to join the community.
Event is free and open to the public.
April 12th 2015