August 29, 2009
10 Best Vintage Motorcycle Museums?
Here is an article I found on line that lists what the author feels are the ten best vintage motorcycle museums in America. Can’t say these make my top ten list but thought it was worth sharing here. What more would you add to this list of favorite motorcycle museums?
AMA Motorcycle Hall Of Fame Museum
As you’d guess, the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum isn’t only all about motorcycle history, but those who built the sport-folks like Dick Mann and Craig Vetter-get their due, too. You’ll find a wealth of bikes inside and more than 200 motorcyclists who are members in the Motorcycle Hall of Fame.
The Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum
This hidden gem near Santa Barbara shelters a nice assortment of vintage and rare bikes. The broad collection offers something for everyone, but the emphasis is really on racing motorcycles. The museum rotates some of the bikes each month so that the displays are constantly changing and expanding.
motosolvang.com or 805.686.9522
The Rocky Mountain Motorcycle Museum
Colorado Springs, Colorado
The Rocky Mountain Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame houses more than 70 restored vintage and antique Indians, Harleys, Excelsiors, Hondas and Triumphs. Unlike most “halls of fame,” though, the Rocky Mountain outfit focuses on everyday people-individuals who have dedicated their lives to motorcycling. As its brochure states, “The true pioneers of motorcycling heritage are often times the common man.” If you’re feeling more than common, you can ride up to Pikes Peak just outside of town via Highway 24.
Wheels Through Time
Maggie Valley, North Carolina
A must-have experience if you’re anywhere on the central East Coast. Dale Walksler’s shrine to vintage American motorcycles, cars & trucks includes more than 250 rare antique motorcycles exhibited in fascinating period displays, and if you’re lucky you might catch Walksler firing one up for a sprint down the road. The museum is not open every day so you should check he web site or call before riding over to visit.
Kersting’s Cycle Center
North Judson, Indiana
The cigar-store Indian that greets you outside the main entrance of Jim Kersting’s collection is a clue that you’re in America’s heartland. As such, this grass-roots shrine provides not just a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the big city but also a surprisingly vast array of classic two-wheelers. Kersting has more than 60 antique bikes on display, and with a fresh battery and a couple of kicks, most of his bikes will still run.
Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum
George Barber wanted to preserve motorcycle history in the United States, but his focus was on machines that actually run. First, race bikes were hauled in (and routinely campaigned around the U.S. so they could be enjoyed) and restored in-house, then Barber expanded to production street bikes as well, and now the collection boasts more than 900 motorcycles and a substantial number of race cars in vintages ranging from 1904 to current-year production.
If you’re into American bikes (and who here isn’t?), The Shop’s your place. The joint stocks Indians and Harleys, as well as Crocker and Henderson motorcycles and parts. Naturally the decor is funky-it’s been described as an odd blend of industrial carpet, art deco and redwood latticework filled with motorcycle esoterica. There’s even a museum with vintage U.S. metal inside. After a visit to the shop, treat yourself to a sweet ride up Highway 33 to Ojai for lunch.
National Motorcycle Museum
You’ll roll through acres of undulating cornfields to get to this extensive collection of classic and vintage motorcycles, photographs, posters, postcards and all manner of motorcycle memorabilia (plus a cool stash of antique toys). While you’re in the neighborhood, be sure to swing by J&P Cycle’s massive warehouse and retail complex just up the road.
Owls Head Transportation Museum
Owl’s Head, Maine
This operation says it celebrates transportation history-but you don’t have to be a car buff or plane nut to enjoy its charms. It has an extraordinary collection of cars, motorcycles, bikes and planes, displayed in a hangarlike building at the edge of the Knox County Airport. Look for the early Harley-Davidson and the sleek ‘29 Rolls-Royce Phantom. Best of all the museum is situated just a stone’s throw from the creaky lighthouses and hidden bays of scenic U.S. Route 1. Cup of chowder, anyone?
Now that it’s been open for a couple of years tens of thousands of Harley enthusiasts have enjoyed this impressive display of more than 100 years of Harley-Davidson motorcycles and history. The 130,000-square-foot space next to the Menomonee River sure seems well thought out. If you like classic Harley motorcycles, you need to visit this 20-acre complex. See more details at h-d.com.