One of my favorite Portland motorcycle events was back again this year. In its eighth year, The One Moto Show was at its biggest and best yet. I went to my first Moto Show six years ago. Back then; it was a just a gathering of a few custom, restored and original bikes in a small warehouse space in SE Portland. This year though; over 80 builders and their custom bikes were out on display in a big, old warehouse that used to be a working factory in North Portland. Over three days, more than 15,000 people came to check out all the metal masterpieces. Can't wait for next year's show!
Life is always changing.
Whether good or bad, things are always happening. In other words, things never stay the same. Otherwise, life would just get plain boring. Throughout the past 35+ years of my life; I have had some good times, bad times, and sometimes challenging times. But the fun times always outnumber the bad.
Some of the most fun I have ever had was on my first real high-performance motorcycle. In the spring of 1984, I bought my 1983 Kawasaki GPZ 750. Going on trips across the country, riding through the back roads here in the PNW, and best of all riding with my pack of long-time biker buddies. We had a great six years together before I sold it in 1990.
So a couple years ago, I started looking for another one. Maybe I was caught up in the fog of nostalgia. But I would always find myself checking out Ebay and occasionally traveling to motorcycle auctions and always coming home empty-handed.
A couple of weeks ago; though, my luck turned around. I found one on Craigslist, took one look at it, and I bought it. A one-owner bike with just 10K miles on it, it hadn't really been ridden much in the past ten years. Dirty and dusty, languishing in the corner of a garage of the original owner's son; it was a true barn find. Perfect!
It was all there, sitting in waiting for me. Now, all it needs is a little TLC. I can't wait to get it up and running, so I can take it for a real ride. More good times ahead.
Within the first week of January, I have already been to Canada, California, and Las Vegas. It's good to be busy!
While the fundraising part of the auction business doesn't get rolling until February, January is chock-a-block full of collector car and vintage motorcycle auctions.
First up is Scottsdale, where a week-long collector car feast made up of seven auction companies competing for the business of car enthusiasts world-wide. It also happens to be a multi-million dollar week! Barrett-Jackson alone, is expecting to sell in excess of $100 million in cars; with the rest of the auction houses coming close to match that same amount too. You're playing with the big boys here.
Next up in the week immediately following, the focus shifts from cars to motorcycles in Las Vegas; where hundreds of motorcycles will cross the combined auction blocks of Mecum and Bonhams auction companies. At Bonhams (www.bonhams.com), a rare Crocker motorcycle is expected to go for $500 to $600 thousand. Over at Mecum (www.mecum.com), it is offering a fantastic selection of motorcycles at no-reserve. It's sure to be an excitement-filled week. I'll be there, so I hope to run into some of you. Drop me a line on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter; or just swing by to say hello.
Happy New Year everyone and happy bidding and browsing to those of you heading down to Arizona and Nevada!
The combination of perfect weather, no weekend work and a fully functioning vintage motorcycle all added up to make a memorable Saturday afternoon ride around my wonderful city, Portland. I wish I could have more time for weekends like I did this past weekend. My neighbor and fellow biker nut buddy had a great ride to Portland's newest motorcycle inspired coffee shop. Located in historic St. Johns, Two Stroke Moto Cafe is fast becoming the destination ride for PNW riders and coffee drinkers. It was great to join all the other Portland riders, talking motorcycles and enjoying coffee. The guys there make a great vanilla latte.
Yeah, Portland's built up a lot of traffic since I've lived here; but when everything lines up, it's still one of the greatest places to ride a motorcycle.
I have typically focused most of my articles and blogs on Japanese motorcycles. That's because where I grew up, everyone I knew either owned a Japanese-made bike or was in the process of buying another one. But recently, I have become intrigued by a line of Italian bikes. It's Moto Guzzi.
Moto Guzzi is the oldest European motorcycle manufacturer that's still in production today. Established just after WWI, Moto Guzzi is noted for its historic role in Italy's motorcycle manufacturing. Its early innovations include the first center motorcycle stand, wind-tunnel tested designs, and the first ever motorcycle with an eight-cylinder engine. The three original partners were Carlo Guzzi, who was the idea guy; Giorgio Parodi, who was the money behind the company's start-up; and Giovanni Ravelli, a part of Moto Guzzi's grassroots inception, who perished in a plane crash before the company was actually founded. The remaining partners honored the death of their friend and fellow pilot with the Italian Air Corps insignia, the winged eagle, as the company's logo.
The legendary 90 degree V twin was designed in the early 60's and is still used today as the basis of their 700, 1100 and 1200 CC engines. Moto Guzzi bikes have never been mass-produced; with as many as 46,487 produced in 1971 and a mere 3,274 in 1993. My personal favorite is the Guzzi V7 Sport, which can be found priced from $15,500 for the 1973 model or as low as $8,500 for a 2014. This is what I'm looking to ride this summer!
For more on Moto Guzzi, here's the official website: www.motoguzzi.com. Enjoy!
This year I had the chance to attend Mecum's Annual Motorcycle Auction in Las Vegas. I happened to be working in Vegas anyway, so I met a bunch of friends a day earlier to catch up over a few bikes and beers.
It was Mecum's 25th anniversary event and they had an awesome selection of bikes this year; over seven hundred to be exact. Whatever kind of bike you were looking for or interested in, it was there.
The bikes that I'm most into are the ones that were produced from the mid-seventies up through until the early eighties. I have always felt that the bikes built in this period offer riders style and power; best of all appreciation in value.
One of the bikes that caught my attention was a 1983 Kawasaki GPZ750. I owned one of these bikes back in 1984. At the time, motorcycles were making the transition from bikes with just a straight-line speed and quick acceleration to what has now evolved into today's modern sport bike. The GPZ had uni-track suspension, ventilated front disc brakes, and a powerful 92hp motor. So is the second generation Kawasaki GPZ poised to take off in value? I think if you could find one for less than $4,000, it would still be considered a good buy. The one which sold at the Mecum auction, while not perfect, still went for $4,250.
One of the best vintage motorcycle collections in the world is located just outside of Portland in nearby Beaverton, Oregon. This collection is made up of over 400 vintage bikes; 150 of which are housed under one roof. It was assembled by the late Bob Lanphere, who was a motorcycle enthusiast and racer, as well as car and motorcycle dealer. Bob opened his first Honda dealership in 1964 and built an automotive empire here in the Pacific Northwest. He celebrated 50 years of business in August 2014, before passing away October 2015 at the age of 81 years. He was an inductee of the Trailblazer Motorcycle Hall of Fame.
Many of the bikes in his collection are in original, showroom condition. While others have been restored to their original specifications. No matter, they are all beautiful; and together, make up an impressive and thorough example of a great, old bike collection. Though Bob's collection is predominantly comprised of Hondas, there is also an excellent representation of English, German and other Japanese manufacturers.
I was personally and especially interested in the turbo-charged bikes of the early 1980s and his vast collection of vintage Honda mini bikes. Looking at all the bikes from the sixties, seventies, and eighties; brought back a lot of memories of motorcycles that I lusted after when I was kid.
For more about Bob's legacy and vintage cycle collection, go to his Honda motorcycle dealership website: http://www.beavertonmotorcycles.com/custompage2.asp?pg=vintage_bike_collection.