Obviously someone at the '90s version of Excelsior-Henderson liked the museum. It's not a big place, but it's stuffed with cool bikes and memorabilia.
The Holy Grail of classic speed bikes, the Vincent Black Shadow was the fastest bike in the world when it ruled the streets of the early '50s. It was way ahead of its time, with underseat shocks and an engine used as a fully-stressed member, which eliminated the cradle bicycle-style frame common on cruisers to this day.
In need of an affordable alternative to the premium Chief model, Indian Motorcycles had the 250cc side-valve Scout built in England in an attempt to stir up demand.
Some of the more rare or valuable specimens are put on a pedestal to admire from afar, like this 1913 Indian Twin.
Bike builders frequently like to bring up the term "boardtrack racer" to describe a bike that they've built. This is the real thing. Built as one-off superbikes in their era, this 1915 machine features many handbuilt parts and even a race-only four-valve head.
There was a time when sewing machine companies made motorcycles. This Dayton is a perfect example, with its engine in the front wheel and tank on the bars...think that affected handling much?
My first time to Sturgis I rode a bike much like this still-crated Excelsior-Henderson Super X that somehow escaped E-H's hungry creditors during its bankruptcy meltdown.
This very rare B model was Harley's attempt to produce an affordable single during the Depression. At only $195 it was the cheapest Harley ever made...and it was still a failure. It was replaced in the 21st century by the Buell Blast!
This 1922 Ace is an elegant machine in any era. The finishing work on this inline four would do almost any modern customizer proud.
This '20s Calthorpe 350 racing single has some really unusual components: A hybrid Springer/girder frontend, big ol' fishtails, and a bevel-drive valvetrain.
This Honda Kick-n-Go was on display in a back hallway.
This row features Excelsiors and a Harley that are all at least 100 years old.
Sometimes you can own a chunk of history, as is the case with this '20s Harley JD. It's on display at the museum until the owner finds a buyer for it, which sounds like a perfect trade-off.
This summer, if you're in Sturgis for the rally or just in the neighborhood, take a detour off the well-beaten path of Main Street and into the cool confines of the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum. Located at 999 Main Street (on the corner of Junction), its brick exterior would be hard to miss. Inside is a world-class collection of bikes that just solidifies Sturgis' reputation as one of the centers of the motorcycle universe.
The photos here are just a taste that we got a couple of summers ago. To fully appreciate it, you must see it yourself, or at least fully explore it on the website, where a near complete inventory of the bikes in their care (with pictures!) resides.
Sturgis Motorcyclemuseum And Hall Of Fame