I went to The One Motorcycle Show in Portland over this past weekend so you didn’t have to. Actually, you should have, because it was awesome. More than 120 bikes on were on display, ranging from the pristine to bizarre. Plus, lots of beer and food, live music and more stickers than you could possibly use.
The new venue for this eighth year of the event is some sort of former metalworking plant that comes with a heavy industrial patina of that we hope isn’t toxic.
Best of all, entry is free. Start planning your trip for next year, because it’s well worth it.
A buddy and I carefully perused the bikes on display to decide the prestigious Lanesplitter prize. For us it was a tossup. On the one had there was this beautiful 1978 Honda CB550 café racer by Alchemy Motorcycles of San Diego. The understated cement gray draws your attention to the shiny engine, wheels and spokes. Great bike.
Our other finalist was Dennis Torgeson’s 1980 Suzuki GS750E in what I’m going to go ahead and call Jalopnik brown. It’s got a bit of a throw-back racing seat and tail on it, along with the almost mandatory airbox/battery cleanup. But he kept a straight handlebar on the bike that makes it look like you could take it out for a good ride without killing your wrists and back.
Can you tell we’re suckers for gussied up Universal Japanese Motorcycles of the ‘70s and ‘80s? In the end, we gave the nod to the Honda because it’s just so damned meticulous. But we agreed we’d probably have more fun riding the Suzuki as it feels closer to the bikes we grew up riding back when they were just old and unloved.
Of course our “prize” amounts to little more than a consensus formed in the haze of one or five PBRs too many. Similar discussions were no doubt going on among the hundreds of people who packed into the show to check out the Harleys, BMWs, Triumphs, Bultacos, and more over three three-day weekend. And likely with far different results.
So we’ve put together this this slideshow from the event so you can decide for yourself. Let us know if you would have chosen a different top bike!
Erik Schelzig is a Nashville-based journalist who has been trying to sneak his motorcycle on to assignments for two decades.But mostly he just uses the bike to commute to work.