The motorbikes on show at the Blessing of the Bikes came in all shapes, sizes, colours, configurations and ages, you name it. However, one of the first things that I noticed is that there appears to be a resurgence in nostalgia, bringing back to life motorcycles from yesteryear, but kitting them out with modern engines, suspensions systems etc, so that they are more reliable and better handling on the road and darn good looking to boot. There were also many of the most modern road bikes on show as well; if you wanted to see something special, it most likely would have been there on the day.
I have a bit a thing for the vintage look, especially vintage cars, and there’s something similarly attractive about motorcycles that bring back that yesteryear look when style really mattered. Harleys have always had that look of sorts and, lately, newcomers have arrived on the scene in a big way. Victory motorcycles have been made by Polaris (yes, the all-terrain farm vehicle manufacturer) since 1998 and, in 2011; Polaris bought Indian Motorcycles and now build these as well. Both appear to have been a great success, as I saw many of both makes this weekend.
The Indian and Victory motorcycles really stood out because of their styling, but there were also many others that cried out for attention in their own way. Whether it was from styling, subtle colours, muted tones, technology or outright bling, no two were alike.
There has also been a big resurgence in another old name in motorcycles, Ural. I first saw one of these in Wood Point not long ago, thinking it was the real deal because of its appearance but, as I was told, these are completely new, built around the old design making them more reliable and safe. Not knowing this, you’d swear that they came straight out of Russia from some WWII warehouse (some of the colours notwithstanding).
Then there were the truly vintage motorcycles, some arriving at Mirboo North almost on a wing and a prayer, as indicated by one attendee in part one regarding the Enfield. And all reflected their owner’s desire to maintain their motorcycles in as pristine a condition as possible, without them simply being show ponies.
Another very common sight was the trike. These came in all manner of configurations, engine options, shapes and sizes. There were the traditional trikes, with two wheels at the back and one at the front, and then the modern day ones with two wheels at the front and one at the back (as shown in last year’s Blessing of the Bikes). The traditional trikes are pretty much all handmade, some by the owners themselves, and others in small production numbers made to order.
One of the unique aspects of motorcycles is that they can be accessorised in so many special ways that make then very individual and often reflect the character of the owners. I think motorcycles can be accessorised and individualised to a far greater extent than can motorcars, which often can quickly become overdone and rather crass. With motorcycles, you really have to try to make any accessory look bad. Often just simple styling and design features stand out on their own and at other times chrome and stylish shapes dominate.
Of course there are always exceptions to everything but, then again, it is all a matter of taste.
I could have filled many posts with photographs of all the different motorcycles and their unique features, but I hope I’ve captured a reasonable representation of what was there on the day. Because of the sheer numbers and how tightly the motorcycles had to be parked, as well as the crowds, I think I was lucky to be able to get what I did.