The Eighth Annual Quail Motorcycle Gathering

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By Geoff Drake

In the pantheon of vintage motorcycle shows, the Quail Motorcycle Gathering is a little like your neighborhood block party. Part Concours d’Elegance, part custom show and part biker bash, it’s a place where a hardtail chopper with springer forks sits happily alongside an impeccable Manx Norton. Vincents, Velocettes, and boutique customs share the grassy expanse with a newly introduced Yamaha XSR900 in retro Kenny Roberts livery.

Keanu Reeves and Rebecca Canterbury at the Quail 2016.

In the middle of the green, two hipsters with nose rings are discussing the virtues of electronic ignitions with the original owner of a Honda 305. Nearby, actor Keanu Reeves ambles past, doing his best hobo imitation, which of course makes him instantly recognizable, because it’s the same hobo uniform he wore last year, right down to the dirty feed cap and oversize sunglasses. (Reeves is co-founder of boutique custom builder, Arch Motorcycle Company.)

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The amount of money involved – some bikes costing hundreds of thousands of dollars – may be an affront to your average tatty V-Strom owner, but, hey, it’s all motorbikes, right? Cool with us.

Row of Pre-1916 motorcycles.

Row of Pre-1916 motorcycles.

Out on the fairway, brightly colored golfers seem to look askance at the whole proceeding. While the Quail Lodge & Golf Club is an egalitarian venue, we’re pretty sure that guys with tie-die, sleeve tats and foot-long beards are not often seen on the impeccably manicured greens.

Just outside the gates, the array of parked motorcycles offers further evidence that this is an all-comers affair, with BMW GSs snuggling up to ’70s Honda Fours or the occasional …read more

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