✍️📸 Mike McKenzie
I’m not sure where my passion for motorcycles came from as my father was not an enthusiast, nor were any of my close family. My earliest recollections are learning to ride a friend’s Suzuki DS80 before progressing to my first motorcycle, a Suzuki TS185ER.
From that point on, I was hooked. So, if you’re like me, you’ll be constantly surfing the internet looking at motorcycles and all things motorcycle-related (when not riding them, of course). This is also the case for me when on holiday, and you can’t take your motorcycle with you. To satisfy the motorcycle enthusiast within me, a holiday isn’t really a holiday unless it involves motorcycles in some way, shape, or form, right? Preferably riding them, but if that’s not possible, I guess the next best thing is going in search of motorcycles to look at, touch, talk about and take photos of.
This was the case for me last October when I went to the US for four weeks. My wife planned the trip around the motorcycle shops that I wanted to visit, well at least some of them anyway. First stop was Ducati New York. A pretty cool shop, split over three levels. I was in search of the elusive limited edition lime green Lamborghini Streetfighter, hoping to see one in the flesh. Sadly, they didn’t have one in stock, so I had to be satisfied with looking at a lineup which included several Panigale R’s and an SFV4SP.
Next stop was Iconic Motorcycles in Santa Monica. To be honest, this visit was the one that I was most excited about and one of the top highlights of the trip. The Iconic Team were awesome. I met the owners, Adam and Abhi, who were both fantastic to speak with. They were both clearly very busy, but Adam took time out to take me on a personal tour of their facility. What an awesome guy; his enthusiasm was next level. They have many amazing motorcycles in their hangar. Growing up as a teenager in the late '80s, early '90s, I was particularly fond of the Japanese bikes from this era.
They had RG500’s VFR750R’s, GSXR750RK’s, NR750’s, RC51’s, and the list goes on. Many of the bikes I wish I had owned but couldn’t afford as a teenager. There were many other awesome bikes, including a Ducati D16RR (which I’d never seen in the flesh before), one of Nicky Hayden’s early Honda race bikes, oh, and I forgot to mention the three Honda RC213V’s they had lined up.
Adam is from Australia, so basically a cousin. They have built amazing relationships with motorcycle enthusiasts and collectors from all over the world. I’d be very surprised if there was a bike that you wanted that they wouldn’t be able to get. If you’re ever in Santa Monica, I’d highly recommend popping in and seeing them. They were super hospitable. In the meantime, take a look at their website www.iconicmotorbikeauctions.com.
Next stop was Ducati Santa Barbara. This was pretty special, not that I knew this before going there. So, they are the oldest Ducati dealership in the US, and the store was previously owned by Carlin Dunne and his family. Sadly, he passed away on Pikes Peak on 30 June 2019. Carlin was a part of the Ducati family and won four titles at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on Ducati motorcycles, including when in 2012 he won it on the shop’s demo Multistrada 1200S. That record stood for 5 years. Obviously, where the Pikes Peak edition Multistrada’s were born. I had to buy a Ducati Santa Barbara t-shirt from there. They also had Steve McQueen’s Husky that he rode in the movie ‘On any given Sunday’. The Husky was said to be worth north of $150,000.00 USD.
Next stop was a little place called Solvang. I stumbled across a private collection that was open to the public. I could not believe my eyes when I walked in the front door to see a Britten V1000 motorcycle front and centre. It was pretty mind-blowing to be halfway around the world and to see a New Zealand-built motorcycle the centrepiece of this collection. Don’t get me wrong, there were other amazing motorcycles in this collection, but in my opinion, the Britten is pretty special and being a Kiwi added to that. Another great collection with bikes from the early 1900s like a 1929 Harley JDH, 1933 Matchless Silverhawk, A factory Honda RC181 500cc racer, 1971 Kawasaki H1-R, 1974 Ducati 750 Sport (one of the first Ducati V-twin models) through to a Ducati D16RR and an oval piston Honda NR750.
We did do a few other things like visit the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, 911 Memorial, Empire State Building and visited Alcatraz when in San Francisco, so I guess it wasn’t all about me. It was great to be in a different part of the world and see how a passion draws people from all walks of life together regardless of who you are or where you come from.
Next trip, I think will be to Italy to visit the Ducati Museum and hopefully a round or two of the MotoGP