Bikes on the Back 9

I have always enjoyed going to motorcycle shows that take place at a golf venue. The atmosphere is different, evoking a sense of elegance, upscale and affluence, real or imagined. Like the Quail Gathering on the West coast, or the Riding Into History event in St. Augustine, FL. Even the bikes seem to have an extra layer of shine and finish to them, as if to say “we deserve to be here.”

My hometown of Greenville, South Carolina is host to such an event. The Euro Auto Festival is held each October at the Preserve at Verdae Golf Club, a beautifully wooded golf venue. As the name implies, it is an event showcasing over one hundred beautiful European automobiles on the golf course (more in a later post), with a large contingent of motorcycles.

Euro is the name of the game here. All European motorcycles on the green from modern sport bikes (Ducati/Triumph), to a vintage scooter (Moto Guzzi), and the usual ’60’s and ’70’s Triumphs and BSA’s in between. A great showing of beauty on two wheels. Enjoy the show.

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A Vintage Bikes & Brunch in North Carolina

I don’t know who came up with it first, the car guys or the biker dudes. All I know is we heard of the car guys Cars & Coffee gatherings first, then, just recently, we came across the bikers Bikes & Breakfast get togethers. We don’t have any Bikes & Breakfast gatherings locally, so Roo and I decided to come up with our own private version in conjunction with this years Meltdown Vintage Motorcycle Show. We have dubbed it Bikes & Brunch.

We anticipate this show all year long. It’s such a grass roots, low key, run what ya brung, family oriented affair that makes you so happy to be there, not just for the bikes, but for the atmosphere as well. Young, middle aged, old timers, dogs, kids, riders, non-riders, they’re all here and loving it! And, of course, the most beautiful vintage motorcycles on display. This is no trailer queen Concours event. As mentioned earlier, these are run what ya brung machines.

The Meltdown starts at noon, in Hendersonville, North Carolina. Roo and I left home with enough time to have our Brunch, arriving at Pop’s Diner in Hendersonville around 11:00 AM. Vintage bikes were everywhere, making their way to the Meltdown venue at Appalachian Brewery, just two blocks away. It was awesome seeing and hearing these beautiful and historic machines on the road.

Yes, we drove our four wheeled sport bike (we had our reason).

After parking the Miata, we strolled down Vintage Motorcycle Alley, three blocks of nothing but vintage bikes lining both sides of the street and overflowing into the parking lots. Heaven! Enjoy the pictorial!

An enthusiastic crowd admires moto history

 

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We all know how much dogs enjoy motorcycles.

This just looks stinkin’ fast……

Leave it to Ford to bring a car (and a possum) to a bike show

Bring on the badges

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What a great vintage show. Even looking at the modern bikes that people rode in was fantastic. A live oldies band (complete with band members pompadour’s) was playing in the courtyard of Appalachian Brewery, along with food trucks serving up all kinds of delicious munchies. No sooner did we leave, we were already anticipating next years show! If you are in the Western North Carolina area the third weekend in April, check it out. If you love vintage moto’s, you won’t be disappointed.

Motorbikes at EuroFest Greenville, South Carolina

 

EuroFest is a European car, judged show. But before you blow off this post because of the word “car”, let it be known they had some pretty sharp motorcycles at this premier auto event as well.

Roo and I, two moto and auto enthusiasts in our Mazda Miata, and another couple in their Porsche, drove to the Euro Auto Festival venue, the Verdae Greens golf course, on a gorgeous Saturday morning. Honestly, I did not know there were going to be motorbikes here, so imagine our delight when we came upon the sign shown above. Not a whole lot of bikes showcased, but hey, it is a “car” show.

There were a number of marques represented here: Aprilia, Ducati, Triumph, BSA, Norton, even a Greeves! BMW Touring Sport, our local BMW, Triumph and Ducati dealer, had a vendor tent set up and a Zero motorcycle (electric) whirring around the golf course all day! Awesome! Enough words. Enjoy the show!

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Next year, the featured automobiles will be Italian marques. Maybe more Italian motorbikes also? We will definitely be there. Viva Italia!

Antique Bikes on Main-A Pictorial (mostly)

Antique Bikes on Main-Chesnee, South Carolina

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 Do you like antique and vintage motorcycles? I do. Not to own (they can be money pits), but to ogle, to imagine their place in history, to listen to the sound of their ancient engines and smell their exhaust, to appreciate the mechanical art these machines embody. The large venues that showcase beautiful, fully restored motorbikes such as seen at           Barber Motorsports Museum are great, but there is a nostalgia associated with down home, small town bike shows with restored and “as is” machines lined up and down Main Street.

So it was on the last day of July, I hopped on the little cafe retro Suzuki TU250 and rode 50 miles to the one stoplight town of Chesnee, South Carolina for the 12th annual Antique Bikes on Main vintage motorcycle show.

Main Street, Chesnee, South Carolina

 Family friendly too! The amusement park arena

A funny thing happened on the way ………..

As I parked the Cafe TU, a regular Joe dressed in plaid Bermuda’s and a polo shirt, walked across the street to me and said: “That’s a small bike for here.” I was fiddling with my camera, looked up and said, “Pardon?” “That’s a small bike for here” he repeated as he walked around the diminutive (to him) Suzuki for the second time, as if studying every detail. “For here?” I said. “What does that mean, a small bike for here?” “Well, it’s a small bike. Most men ride big bikes.” “Really?” I said. “What big bike do you ride?” “Oh, well, I’m between bikes right now.” Ahhhh. The infamous “I’m between bikes” statement. We’ve all heard that before. “But I like the style you made with it. Looks cool for a small bike. Enjoy your day.” And he walked on. Hmmm. Very strange.

The bike that’s too small for here, (according to one)

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On with the bike show!

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How about a few of these? 

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(and one BSA)

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  Now here’s a bike that might be construed as too small for here ………………

(OK. I’m letting it go)

Speaking of Honda….the iconic CB series (a Suzuki crashed the picture)

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 An original Indian Scout

The Vintage off-roadies

Live music too, playing what else? Southern Rock of course!

Beautiful vintage iron everywhere!

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This guy must be a Ford man

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Is that the original Triumph Tiger? Tony the Tiger says so……

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Back on the little Suzuki Cafe TU and I’m heading home. Vintage bikes always make me feel like riding a modern retro, small motorbike. I’m smiling in my helmet.

Hope y’all enjoyed the show.

Il Problema Italiano

 

moto guzzi logo

We got a problem. An Italian problem. Followers of this blog know we are lovers of Italian motorbikes, and our goal is to procure one, sooner rather than later. When we first started thinking about it, the decision making process was rather simple. Basically, it came down to two marques: Moto Guzzi and Ducati. Aprilia wasn’t even a consideration. Roo likes them somewhat, myself, not so much. Crossed off the list. Between the two “contenda’s”, I lean heavily towards Moto Guzzi. Don’t get me wrong. Ducati makes some beautiful motorbikes (Italian, remember?). But I am a sport touring rider, with emphasis on the touring side. I am definitely not a sportbiker, and that is what swings the pendulum away from Ducati for me.

In my heart, I want to be a “Guzzisti”. Moto Guzzi is Italian heritage. The oldest Italian company to continuously produce motorcycles, they turn out beautiful classic Italian machines:

Moto Guzzi Norge

moto guzzi norge

The Norge is Guzzi’s top of the line sport touring machine. She is a mile muncher like my ST, and, like the beaST, she is a heavy bike. I already have my bike in this class, and frankly, I am looking for something a bit smaller/lighter. The Norge is beautiful, and when the time comes for the ST to retire, the Norge will be up there on my list.

Moto Guzzi California

Moto guzi calif. 1400

If I was to go back to riding a large displacement cruiser, this would be it. Outfitted with Guzzi windscreen and hard cases, the California would make a great touring bike, minus the “sport.”

Moto Guzzi Griso

Moto guzzi griso

The Griso is a freaking animal! Just look at that! A straight line power cruiser/sportbike on steroids. Can you see the panther waiting to pounce on her prey in that photo? The Griso isn’t on my list, but I plan to rent one for a day “just because.”

Now we come to my favorite line in the Guzzi lineup: The V7 series. Classic Italian style in a beautiful, sexy package (again, Italian, remember?). Motorcycling in it’s most simple, purest form.

Moto Guzzi V7 Racer

guzzi v7 racer

 Ah, the V7 Racer. Guzzi’s answer to the cafe racer resurgence of late. A real head turner, I bet I would not want for attention riding this gorgeous motorbike. Given more scheckles in the pouch, I would have one of these in the garage.

Moto Guzzi V7 Classic

guzzi v7 classic

The Guzzi V7 Classic is the bike in the V7 lineup that most exemplifies Guzzi’s V7 heritage of the late 1960’s and early ’70’s. Beautiful retro classic styling with modern engine/electrical components. For Old World Guzzi style, this is the motorbike to have. It is way up on my Guzzi list, actually at number two. But my number one choice for entry into the “Guzzisti” fraternity is:

Moto Guzzi V7 Stone

guzzi v7 stone

This is the motorbike that will propel me into everything Guzzi. Beautiful matte black finish, two into two exhaust with that deep, mellow Guzzi rumble, cast wheels (no tube tires), 750cc engine, and, as with all Guzzi motorbikes, shaft drive. Outfitted with a Guzzi windscreen and hard cases emblazoned with the beautiful Guzzi red oval badge on each one, she makes a  great medium duty touring machine. And with those cylinder heads banging out at 90 degrees, there will be no mistaking her for anything other than a Guzzi.

However, we have a problem with Moto Guzzi. it’s not “Il Problema Italiano”, but it is a problem. Moto Guzzi’s dealer network plain out sucks. The nearest dealer to us is 150 miles away. That’s a long way to schlep a bike when it eventually needs dealer attention, as all bikes eventually do. But that’s not the big decision problem. Il Problema Italiano is:

ducati logo

These guys. Ducati is the problem. These guys turn out some beautiful motorcycles, though in the past, they have created some ugly “Duc’s.” Ducati has a long racing history, and their motorbikes reflect that racing heritage. Hence, it has always been my contention that Ducati turned out impractical motorbikes for me and my style of riding. The closest they come to a bike I would ride is the Monster. Beautiful, but the ergonomics just don’t work for me.

Ducati Monster

ducati monster

Then they went and did it. Ducati turned my fairly easy decision making process upside down with the introduction of this:

Ducati Scrambler

ducati scrambler

What? You don’t like the ugly Duc? How about this one?

The Real Ducati Scrambler

ducati scrambler 2015

Wow! Three iterations of the Scrambler are offered by Ducati, the one shown above being my preferred model. Adding a Ducati flyscreen and soft luggage would make this bike only a light duty tourer. Seating is upright, with plenty of room for my five foot seven inch frame. The engine is 803cc, chain final drive, cast wheels (a must). Also available in Ducati Red.

The other way Ducati has made my decision process less simple is that they have an extensive dealer network, with one right in my hometown, thank you very much. You can see how this creates IL Problema Italiano. I still lean towards Moto Guzzi, but now, the process is not so simple.

My favorite line in the movie “The Godfather”, is where Peter Clemenza says to Rocco who has just killed Paulie in the car: “Leave the gun, take the cannoli.” So, in paraphrase, do I “Leave the Duc, take the Guzzi.” or “Leave the Guzzi, take the Duc.”?

Si tratta di una scelta difficile (this is a difficult choice).