Japanese motorcycles exhibit shaping up

28th October 2020

They were the bikes that changed the world.

A brand-new exhibit – coming soon to Classic Motorcycle Mecca – will showcase the motorcycles that caused a stir and led the way in a brand-new era. The Evolution of Japanese Motorcycles, set to arrive at the museum on 30 November, will showcase motorcycles built from the 1960s onwards.

From Yamaha to Suzuki, Honda to Kawasaki – not to mention “a few curveballs thrown into the mix” – Japanese bikes changed the face of modern motorcycling, Classic Motorcycle Mecca volunteer Colin Clark says.

“These bikes just took the world by storm,” he says.

“Everybody just seems so pleased we’re bringing an exhibit celebrating these bikes to our museum – it’s absolutely fantastic.”

The temporary exhibit – which will run through the ever-popular annual Burt Munro Challenge in February 2021 – is shaping up to be a fantastic array of Japanese motorcycles from the 1960s all the way through to the 1990s, with some late model machines in the mix too.

“We’ve got a real mixture to display, which is fantastic – road bikes, racing models, trail bikes, and farm bikes as well,” Clark says.

In previous decades, most Kiwis traditionally rode motorcycles hailing from Great Britain or the United States, he says. But the arrival of Japanese motorbikes on the mass market “changed the game”.

“They were reliable, the brakes worked, they didn’t leak oil everywhere – they really changed everything and there were a lot of people who grew up riding them. That nostalgic factor is a big part of why people are already buzzing for this one,” he says.

Almost 30 Japanese motorbikes have already been secured for the display and the team is still searching for more.

“We’ve managed to get quite a diverse collection going, which is absolutely fantastic. We’ve already got quite a few coming but I’d love to hear from anybody who thinks they know of a bike that should be in the display too. Anything that comes to us we’d certainly be keen to look at.”

Don’t be shy: if you know of a bike worthy of being on display, get in touch with the team today!