Cody Burns/Kahn Media

The Coolest Bikes Of The 11th Quail Motorcycle Gathering

Although it’s mainly a vintage event, we found plenty of funky, wild, and even cutting-edge machines to quench our moto thirst at the Quail

The annual Quail Motorcycle Gathering's 11th edition wrapped this past weekend on the fabulous grounds of the Quail Lodge & Golf Club, and even if you normally think of ascots and cigars when you think "golf club," the party turned out to be more inclusive and diverse than ever. Sure, you had your century-old vintage machines and specialty classes for 50 Years of the Honda CB750 and 100th Anniversary of the Brough Superior, but among the more than 300 bikes spread out over the lush lawns you could still find a good amount of funk and modern engineering if you looked hard enough.

The 100-year old Brough Superior was one of the featured marques for the 2019 Quail Motorcycle Gathering.Andrew Cherney

We’re not even gonna try to name the best bikes we saw or anything like that; we’ll just get right into the funkiest and coolest finds we came across. Some of them happened to win an award and some of them weren’t even entered (or probably even meant to be seen), but all were pretty dang original.

1981 Honda XL500

You couldn’t miss this bike sitting out in the middle of the lawn area, and maybe that’s why it won first place in the Custom/Modified class. Brit car designer Niki Smart slapped on some carbon-fiber cladding and fabbed up a wicked one-off fork to hold a huge airy front wheel and transformed this once-simple single-cylinder dual-sport into the belle of the ball.Andrew Cherney

2016 Arch KRGT-1

Not brand-new, not inexpensive, and definitely not for everyone, the $78K KRGT-1 still held sway at the back of the Quail greens with a lot of eyeballs stopping by to ogle it (and ask where Keanu Reeves was; "Doing a John Wick promo" was the answer we heard). Ogling a 2,032cc S&S mill beautifully encased in a billet and tubular steel frame and rocking all kinds of trick componentry is not a bad way to spend the afternoon. Just saying.Andrew Cherney

Curtiss Zeus Bobber

Also not new but also still undeniably wicked—especially seeing the scale of the aluminum frame, carbon-fiber "fuselage," girder fork, and solid carbon wheels in person. The bike isn't large, but it still exudes mass and solidity. Maybe it's the 240mm rear tire? Production is supposed to begin shortly, and it's been price-tagged at $60K. You can reserve one at the Curtiss website.Andrew Cherney

1969 Honda CB750 Chopper

C’mon, it’s a chopper, and an old Honda CB750 at that. Does it go real fast, real straight? Probably. And among all the other Honda CB750s gathered on the grounds to celebrate the 50 Years of the Honda CB750 class, this one stood out to us the most. It’s all period perfect, right down to the stretched springer front end and gnarly rusted-out sissy bar holding up the back. This bike was made for blasting around on, not babied.Andrew Cherney

Revival Cycles Moto Guzzi V9 Chopper

The Revival guys brought the “Birdcage” BMW to grace the manicured lawns at the Quail this year, but they also brought this work-in-progress Moto Guzzi V9, which they’re fashioning into a—wait for it—chopper. You can see the raised and heavily modified fork with ape hangers and a vintage Avon Speedmaster front tire making that statement right up front, while it looks like there’s a reshaped fuel tank integrated with the seat side covers and tailsection to better show off the transverse jugs. Is this the finished product? We’re not sure, but there are not too many Goose chops out there, so kudos to them.Andrew Cherney

1970 Harley-Davidson Sprint 350SS

You don’t see too many of these on the streets and we were kinda sucked in by the clean, Euro lines and understated grace of the thing. A Harley-Davidson thumper? Turns out Harley brought an Aermacchi-built single-cylinder 250cc model to the States in the early 1960s and rebadged it to compete with Honda’s new slew of small bikes—things like the 50cc Cub and the 305 Dream Touring. It would eventually grow to 350cc and actually was a decent seller (and competitive in GP racing) before Harley/AMF sold the whole Aermacchi division to Cagiva.Andrew Cherney

2015 Yamaha Bolt R-Spec

Yup, a factory metric cruiser made it to the Quail, and it looks to be relatively un-fussed with. This tidy example was out on the lawn showing its V-twin stuff, proudly entered into the Custom/Modified class.Andrew Cherney

2018 SnoMoChop

What do you get when you cross a Harley with a snowmobile? Apparently a SnoMoChop. And it was there. At the Quail. Entered in the Custom/Modified class—a two-stroke snowmobile motor stuffed into a Harley frame. Must be an insane experience to ride this thing. Who ever said the Quail was too bourgeoisie?Andrew Cherney

1968 Honda Z50 K0

The one, the only… Who does not love a Honda Monkey? This OG, first-year Mini Trail is as clean as it gets, even if it brings all the awesome dings and scratches of a life well-lived. The ultimate two-wheel time machine has been resurrected with the latest Grom-based Monkey, but you gotta still give props to the original for its huge impact on kids of all ages.Andrew Cherney

1962 Mustang Stallion

See? The Quail does not discriminate. Check out this rad, pint-sized Mustang (Mustangs were built in Glendale, California, from 1945 to 1965). The Stallion model gallops with the bigger motor (12 hp!) and four-speed tranny, and this pony won the Why We Ride Award, which is selected by kids at the Quail event and presented by Bryan Carroll, director of the Why We Ride documentary motorcycle film.Cody Burns/Kahn Media

2019 BMW DIY R32E

See, BMW does make electric motorcycles. Well, sort of—although this bike proclaimed itself to be a legendary R32, it didn’t say it was a BMW, so there you go. We can see hints of the legendary R32’s frame lines and perhaps a false tank, but no idea what’s going on with that huge block of a motor and/or battery housing. This is as Custom/Modified as it gets. BMW, are you watching?Andrew Cherney

1977 Suzuki GS550

These days most of the plain-Jane four-cylinder GS550s we’ve seen end being turned into cafe racers or bobber projects, and this first-year one seems to be a blending of the two, with a dash of boardtracker thrown into the mix. The old-timey tractor seat, downturned bars, and edgy headlight made us keep coming back to this entry in the Custom/Modified class (what else) to see what we missed the first time.Andrew Cherney

1978 BMW R80

We spotted Dustin Kott’s beautifully raw 1978 BMW R80 airhead out in the middle of the display area with its hand-shaped aluminum bodywork worked into a cafe-racer mold. Check out the cool routing of the headers as they head up and under the tank to end in a pair of stubby exhausts under the hand-made saddle. Kott’s Honda S90 won second place in the Custom/Modified group.Paulo Rosas/Kahn Media

2018 Curtiss Warhawk

Sure, it says “Curtiss” on the tank, but it looks suspiciously like a Confederate P-51 Combat Fighter. The limited-edition 2,200cc Hawk (only 36 made) puts out a claimed 150 hp and Curtiss says it is the company’s last gas-powered V-twin; it’s going full electric from here on out. Gas doesn’t come cheap though; it’s priced at $105,000.Andrew Cherney

All winners listed below.

2019 The Quail Awards
Best of Show
1969 Honda CB750 Sandcast
50 Years of the Honda CB750
Spirit of the Quail Award
Chad Castle Family Private Collection
Private Collection
The Quail Ride Award
1986 Bimota DB1R
Adam Cecchini
50 Years of the Honda CB750 Award
1969 Honda CB750 Sandcast
Sam Roberts
Off-Road Wonders Through the ’90s Award
1969 Cheney/Triumph 750cc Scrambler/MX
Scott Dunlavey
100th Anniversary of the Brough Superior Award
1925 Brough Superior SS100
Larry Bowman
Spirit of the Scrambler Award Presented by Ducati
2016 Scrambler by Ducati
Tom Zipprian
Industry Award
2019 BMW prototype BMW boxer
Revival Cycles
Innovation Award
1989 Norton F1 preproduction prototype
Stephen Haddad
(British 1936–1979)
Significance in Racing Award
1967 Honda 450 Daytona Racer
Ron Mousoris
(Competition on Road)
Design and Style Award
1981 Honda XL500
Niki Smart
Why We Ride Award
1962 Mustang Stallion
Jim Taylor
(American 1936–1979)
HVA Preservation Award
1929 Brough Superior 680 OHV
Bryan L. Bossier, Sr.
100th Anniversary of the Brough Superior
AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Heritage Award
1970 Jawa 652
Chris Carter
Antique 1st Place
1929 Douglas 4 ¼
Bill Wheeler
Antique 2nd place
1918 BSA Model H
Budd Schwab
American 1st Place
1953 Indian Chief
Matt Blake
American 2nd Place
1970 Indian Little Indian
Clive Belvoir
British 1st Place
1964 BSA Lightning Rocket
Robert Ives
British 2nd Place
1962 Triumph T6 Thunderbird
TSW Collection
Italian 1st Place
1972 Ducati 750 GT
Stewart and Renee Garrison
Italian 2nd Place
1961 Ducati Bronco 125
Kenneth Davis
Japanese 1st Place
1974 Kawasaki HIE
Owen Bishop
Japanese 2nd Place
1978 Kawasaki Z1R
Trace St. Germain
Other European 1st Place
1976 BMW R90/S
Mark Francois
Other European 2nd Place
1968 BMW R60/2
Kenneth Morris
Competition on Road 1st Place
1979 Kawasaki AMA Superbike
Kevin McKee
Custom/Modified 1st Place
1981 Honda XL500
Niki Smart
Custom/Modified 2nd Place
1966 Honda S90
Dustin Kott
Extraordinary Bicycles/Scooter Award
1957 Lambretta LD150 MK3
Eric Lussier