"I don't know."
"Couldn't tell you the difference."
"Yeah, I rode here. On a BMW R1200GS."
If that simple paraphrasing of the bulk of my conversations at Born-Free 6 doesn’t give you a little insight into my knowledge of vintage choppers, let me help you out.
I don’t know jack.
So why in God’s name would RevZilla have me cover a show I don’t know anything about? They didn’t. I’m not even a writer. I just happened to be riding from Los Angeles to Seattle and knew that I’d have the chance to see one of the best vintage bike shows in the country. And if it’s got two wheels and a motor, well, that’s really all I need.
And therein lies the beauty of the moto-world. I can’t tell you the difference between a Pan, Knuckle or Shovel. But I love motorcycles. Hell, I’ve been to Bonneville Speed Week and been just as clueless. The builders, wrenches and hard-core enthusiasts at Born-Free may be able to revel in the finer points. But who’s to say I can’t just marvel in the sheer beauty of the machine? Aesthetic appreciation aside, I can absolutely tell when some painstaking craftsmanship has gone into a bike. I can also see when some serious thought has gone into how the little things will play into the overall concept, whether it’s through custom fabrication, or what must be endless searching for the right parts that are floating around the swaps or interwebs.
With a parking lot full of American iron and me on my R1200GS, I might expect to be singled out, but I wasn’t (props to the one guy on the Suzuki GSXR, too). Amongst a sea of thousands of vintage motorcycle lovers, my ignorance on the subject didn’t really seem to matter. From pre-war Harleys to 1960s Triumphs and custom choppers, there was something incredible at every turn. I left with tremendous respect for the founders and the crew that put on one of the best shows I’ve been to, motorcycle or not. (check out our 10 questions with Born-Free co-founder Mike Davis for the backstory.)
I hope you weren’t expecting me to tell you something substantive about the show. Did you miss the opening paragraph? It was freakin' awesome, but I still don’t know jack about vintage choppers. Luckily for you, I love taking photographs and making videos. So do me a favor and pop on over to the rest of the photos in the RevZilla Facebook album and help this ignorant fool fill in the details with your comments.