Do you love looking at vintage motorcycles? We sure do! The feeling we get seeing these beautiful machines and imagining all the adventures their riders had is hard to explain to people who haven’t experienced time travel. Maybe… hmm.. imagine if you will, an amnesiac homecoming. Because there’s nothing quite like visiting vintage motorcycle museums and being surrounded by bikes that are both familiar and oddly out of place.
The UK Motorcycle Museum has the largest vintage motorcycle collection in the world, with over 1,000 motorcycles. While the UK, the US, and Australia have the largest collections, there are several great vintage motorcycle museums in Europe too. Here are a few of our favorite European vintage motorcycle museums.
Germany: Deutsches Zweirad
Germany’s largest vintage motorcycle museum is housed in a 16th century castle. The Deutsches Zweirad (Two Wheel) Museum in Beckarsulm, Germany is dedicated to two wheeled vehicles. The museum displays 400 bicycles and motorcycles.
There, with well curated examples, the history of two wheeled transport is laid out. From the Draisian treadmill to early bicycles and on to vintage motorcycle manufacturers from Adler to Zundlapp, the exhibits both show and tell the history of our beloved machines.
At the Zweirad, you can see an example of the Hildebrand & Wolfmüller Motorrrad from 1894, which is discussed in our article on vintage motorcycle engines. The collection also features a rare “Clement,” the first motorcycle with a V-engine, from 1902.
You will find the museum on Urbanstr. 11 in Neckarsulm. They are open 10 am to 5pm, Tuesday to Sunday. In case you would like to call – Telephone: 07132 / 35-271.
Italy: Museo Nazionale del Motociclo
We will recommend two vintage motorcycle museums in Italy, home of The Black Douglas. The Museo Nazionale del Motociclo (National Motorcycle Museum) in Rimni has a great collection with over 250 motorcycles representing 55 brands. The curators have arranged the collection to give a historical overview of developments in motorcycle style and technology. The Museo Nazionale del Motociclo features Aermacchi, Benelli, Bimota, BSA, Ducati, Frera, Harley Davidson, Henderson, Innocenti, Moto Guzzi, MV Agusta, Norton, Piaggio , Rudge and Triumph along with 40 other brands. A special display of side cars rounds out the collection.
Viewing hours are 2 pm to 7 pm, Tuesday to Sunday from May to October. From November to April, groups of 10 can make a reservation. For info call: Tel. 0541-731096 Cell. 3471844267. You will find the museum at Via Casalecchio, 58/N in Rimini.
Italy: Collezione Salsapariglia
Niccola Salsapariglia, a son of a share cropper and pioneer of industrial agriculture in Reggio Emilia, offers his “sogno di una vita” – dream of a lifetime” – the Collezione Salsapariglia, for public viewing. Located in the aptly named small town of Piano, the museum shows 150 vintage motorcycles along with historic agricultural machinery. The collection displays a nice variety of motorcycle manufacturers from the very earliest days. Among the highlights: a Laurin e Clement 1900, Sarolea 1903, Puk 1904, 1910 Wanderer, 1911 Siamat, Frera 1912, Motosacoche 1912, Triumph 1913 and a James 1914.
The collection is open year round from 9.00 am – 0.30 pm and 3.00 pm – 6.30 pm on Sundays only. In case you would like to call – the telephone number is 39 335 8430203.
Switzerland: La Grange A Becanes
The Grange a Becanes Musuem offers visitors a collection of 90 vintage motorcycles from the early days to the 1960s. Brands including Ravat, Radior, Monet-Goyon, Terrot, Liberia, Hercules are on display. A special Rhineland collection shows motorcycles made in St Etienne ( in the Loire) between 1920 and 1958.
The museum opens to the public the 1st weekend of April and closes in October, before winter sets in. The museum accessible in winter too, by reservation made with the Friends of the Museum club. In case you would like to call, the phone number is 03 89 26 23 36
From April to September, the museum is open Tuesday to Saturday from 2 pm to 5 pm and Sunday from 10am to 12.30pm and from 2pm to 5pm, but is closed on Monday. Admission is a modest 4,5 €.
You will find the museum at 8 Rue Du General-de-Gaulle in Bantzhenheim.
France: The Savigny-les Beaune Castle Museum
This beautiful Chateau was built in the 14th century. The museum displays several collections. You will find an enormous collection of 2,500 small model aircraft, 80 full size aircraft, tractors, fire engines, and Arbath motorcars. The small but interesting Musee De La Moto within the larger museum includes about 250 vintage motorcycles spanning 1902 to 1960.
The museum is open daily from 9 to 5:30. You will find it on Rue Henri Cyrot in the small picturesque town of Savigny Les Beaune. In case you want to call – Phone 33 3 80 21 55 03.
UK Vintage Motorcycle Museums
The vintage motorcycle heritage force is strong in the UK. So eager they were, they pretty much started their first vintage motorcycle club when vintage motorcycles were still new! We’ve picked out five of the best UK motorcycle museums for you here.
We have several more articles on vintage motorcycle history that you might find interesting. Discover the incredible story of Burt Munro and the 1920 motorcycle that he modified for years before setting a world record on the World’s Fastest Indian Motorcycle ! Or learn out about the history of vintage motorcycle engines and vintage motorcycle tires.
On the other hand, maybe it is a nice day for a ride. It might be time to go out and have some fun. Rubber side down, ladies and gentlemen!