Motorcycle Dream Garages

An Intimate Look Inside America's Ultimate Man Caves

Garages tell stories. Whether a sheet-rocked, bare-bones suburban three-car or a rickety single-car workshop bursting with 50 years of accumulated parts and memorabilia, the space itself has something to say. The right garage is the perfect place to share a drink and a story. Like a flat-black Yamaha XS650 with straight bars, good rubber and a hot motor, it's an honest, hard-working place where spilled beer only adds to the atmosphere.

I've been dreaming about spaces for toolboxes, benches and bikes for most of the 30 years since my first Honda CT70, and finally built the garage of my dreams in 2004. I was single at the time, and it was heated, air-conditioned and larger than my small house. Some thought I was nuts, but my motorcycle friends understood.

Admitting that you ride a motorcycle amongst polite company generates a whiff of condescension. These garage owners remind us that motorcycle people either can't pick up those odors or just don't care. Motorcycle garages aren't always practical. Several rented warehouses full of motorcycles doesn't balance a budget. Working long hours in a small, dirty space so you have money left to go racing won't withstand careful cost-benefit analysis.

Conventional wisdom is a ruthless master. If you ride a motorcycle, you challenge that cultural dictator. And if you build a garage to house more than 100 motorcycles or keep one in your dining room, you flip conventional wisdom the bird.

Lee Klancher is the author of the forthcoming book, Motorcycle Dream Garages. Visit to learn more about the book, which can be purchased at, or your local bookstore.

Roger Goldammer's "Goldmember" rests in the driveway of a ridgetop home in Kelowna, British Columbia. There's a working garage down below, and a parking garage out back. Lighting this shot took so long that the custom builder playing poker with the guys inside had to leave before the image was finished.
Kelly Owen's view is stunning. Inside, there's storage space for bikes and cars, as well as an immaculate restoration shop. Owen is a workingman, with tough, capable hands. His vintage dirtbike restorations are immaculate.
Owens has a thing for Greeves and other vintage motocross bikes from 1964 to '71. He restores them slowly and carefully, and the results are not for sale. Once complete, they go into The Owen Collection (
Racers are a breed apart, creating garages that reflect their riding talent and mechanical gifts. John Hateley's converted Model A garage in the California desert combines the detritus of a lifetime as a professional racer and Hollywood stunt man. Perhaps more so than any other, Hateley's space makes you want to spend hours wandering about.
Webster's defines sanctuary as "a consecrated place: one devoted to the keeping of sacred things." Spannerland fits that definition. The New Jersey warehouse is a collective garage for 10 guys, including a Hasselblad Photographer of the Year and several national-caliber vintage racers. They own a jaw-dropping collection of motorcycles, tools and equipment.
One of the most versatile racers in history, Hateley appeared in more than 50 major motion pictures as a motorcycle stunt man. He's also a pack rat and a talented mechanic, so his garage is jam-packed with interesting goodies.
One of the stars at Spannerland: a '73 John Player Norton Monocoque, last raced by David Aldana in the '74 Daytona 200.
Tom White, one of the founding White Brothers, built a 5500-square-foot pad after retiring and filled it with more than 100 vintage motocross bikes. The 3.9-acre plot on which it stands is an escape from the suburban cul-de-sac lifestyle. His Early Years of Motocross Museum ( isn't open to the public, but can be booked for events.
White's signs and memorabilia are equally engaging, like this from one of Southern California's famed raceways.