New York's Rockefeller Center Motorcycle Show Showcases Rare and Special Machines

A collection of key motorcycles of the last 40 years rolls into New York City's Rockefeller Center for a special exhibition open free to the public.

The 2004 Rockefeller Center Motorcycle Show opened This week in New York City with 45 special motorcycles on public view in The Concourse at the famed Rockefeller Plaza. The two-wheel collection includes vintage machines, modern bikes, customs, scooters and one-of-a-kind concept motorcycles. Admission is free, and the show runs through June 6.

Book-ending the entryway are two giant scaffolds with four motorcycles and signage suspended overhead, and street-side banners announce the show. The Rockefeller Center exhibition opened with live national television coverage as the "Today Show" took its cameras just across the street. NBC morning man Al Roker interviewed Grammy-winning recording artist, and motorcyclist, Lyle Lovett, about the show.

Surrounding them were unique motorcycles of many colors, styles and sizes, all spotlighted and mounted on custom pedestals with descriptions of their histories and technologies. In addition to the bikes themselves, video and informational signage place the machines in the context of their eras. For many visitors, the exhibit will be a ride back in time, recalling travels taken and bikes once in the garage. Two monitors and one projection screen give the show motion and sound, and bring some motorcycling history to life.

Some 40,000 people are expected to walk through the exhibit daily. A block away, the Saks Fifth Avenue department store has a scooter and a sport bike displayed inside for thousands of shoppers to see during the run of the Rockefeller show.

The show focuses on motorcycles that the majority of today's riders grew up with, bikes that many enthusiasts either owned or really wanted to buy, machines from the 1960s on. This was an age of ascent for Japanese manufacturers, who changed the world of motorcycling with trend-setting engineering. Many of these benchmark bikes will be on display, as well as the American and European machines built in response.

The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, located in Birmingham, Ala., is lending 23 of its historic motorcycles to the Rockefeller show. "We hope that hundreds of thousands of Manhattan visitors and residents enjoy a small taste of our collection," said George Barber, founder of the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum. "We know that there are lots of motorcyclists in New York who share the same passion for these machines as we do, and we are pleased to be a part of this exciting exhibition."

"The 2004 Rockefeller Center Motorcycle Show is greatly enhanced by the presence of these bikes on special loan from the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum," said Ty van Hooydonk, director of product communications for Discover Today's Motorcycling. "The Barber collection includes rare, hard to find motorcycles that knowledgeable enthusiasts will love to see, as well as original classics in pristine condition that are familiar favorites to many riders."

Among the Barber bikes to be showcased in New York is a 1994 Britten V1000, one of only 10 such racing motorcycles ever built. There also will be an exotic, 1992 Honda NR V-four featuring oval pistons, not circular ones, and eight valves per cylinder. A classic Kawasaki Z-1 will represent the 1970s dawning of Superbikes. The highly collectible 1983 Suzuki XN85 came from the brief period of experimentation with turbocharging. And Barber's immaculate 1979 Yamaha RD400 Daytona Special marks the zenith of air-cooled two-stroke street bikes.

Custom Chrome, the aftermarket parts and accessories firm, has its mechanics building a customized cruiser in front of show-goers. And in the same storefront is the FDNY Dream Bike, a motorcycle that belonged to Gerard Baptiste, one of the brave firefighters who gave his life while answering the call on September 11. His motorcycle has since been lovingly restored, in his memory, with the help of many contributors.

This is the second collaboration between Rockefeller Center and Discover Today's Motorcycling, with the first show taking place in April 2002. Discover Today's Motorcycling, the communications service bureau of the Motorcycle Industry Council, is a source of information about motorcycling to the media and the general public.

The MIC is a not-for-profit national trade association representing manufacturers and distributors of motorcycles, motorcycle parts and accessories, and members of allied trades. The Concourse at Rockefeller Center is the site of numerous public exhibits and events, including the famed tree lighting ceremony and the Annual New York International Orchid Show.

The bikes being displayed include:
1978 BMW R100RS
1995 BMW R1100RS
1994 Britten V1000
2004 Confederate F124 Hellcat
1989 Ducati 851 Superbike
1961 Harley-Davidson Duo Glide
1971 Harley-Davidson FX Super Glide
1988 Harley-Davidson Softail
1990 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy
2004 Harley-Davidson XL Sportster 883
1967 Honda CB77 305 Super Hawk
1976 Honda CB400F Four Super Sport
1992 Honda NR750
1992 Honda CBR600F2
2004 Honda VTX Concept 1
2004 Honda Jesse James VTX
2004 Honda Rune
1976 Husqvarna 360 WR
1967 Kawasaki W1SS
1969 Kawasaki Mach III
1974 Kawasaki Z-1
1988 Kawasaki ZX600R
1990 Kawasaki ZX-11
2004 Kawasaki Cobra Mad Kaw Custom
2004 Kawasaki Vulcan 2000
1973 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport
1974 Norton John Player Special
1972 Suzuki T-500 Titan
1983 Suzuki XN85 Turbo
1987 Suzuki GSX-R1100
1975 Suzuki RM125
1995 Suzuki Intruder Denny Berg Cobra Custom
2003 Suzuki GSX-R1000 Mat Mladin Superbike Racer
2004 Suzuki Burgman 650
1965 Triumph T120 Bonneville
1973 Triumph X-75 Hurricane
1961 Vespa 125
2004 Victory Vegas Arlen Ness Signature Series
1968 Yamaha DT-1
1979 Yamaha RD400 Daytona Special
1985 Yamaha FZ750
1995 Yamaha Mad Max V-Max Custom
1999 Yamaha Road Star Custom
2004 Yamaha YZF-R1
2004 Yamaha YZ250 Chad Reed Supercross Racer

This show is the second collaboration between the Rockefeller Center and Discover Today's Motorcycling, a non-profit communications organization promoting two-wheeling and motorcycle safety. The first show took place in April 2002.

Britten V1000
1969 Kawasaki Mach III
1992 Honda NR750, V-4 with oval pistons
1973 Triumph X-75 Hurricane, designed by Craig Vetter