Isle of Man TT: Cool and Unusual Motorcycles

Andrew Capone
by Andrew Capone

Roads and museums on the IoM feature bikes rarely seen in America

The Isle of Man TT has seen great growth over the last several years, and visitor figures suggest TT 2014 is the most successful since the centenary festival in 2007. Steam Packet boats will have carried more than 12,000 motorbikes and about 40,000 passengers to the island during the past two and a half weeks.

So, with 12,000 bikes coming to an island hosting the greatest road races on earth, one would expect there would be some cool ones. Indeed, there are.

Laverda 1000 with leading link race suspension.

Unlike motorcycle gatherings in the U.S., it is virtually impossible to find bikes of the cruiser variety. Sport, standard, touring and adventure bikes reign supreme, with hundreds of vintage machines of every stripe also on the roads.

Bike shows, club gatherings, and rallies are scheduled almost every day, and The Ramsey Sprint sees ‘run what you brung’-style 1/8th-mile time trials. There are several museums on the island, including the charming A.R.E. Classic Bike Collection in Kirk Michael, with over 100 mint, and running, vintage European bikes, including a brace of Manx Nortons.

Here are some of the machines that caught my fancy over the TT fortnight, some old, some new, some weird, and many that you can’t get in the USA.

A matching pair of RD350 Yamahas.
Two oversized chimps horsing around on monkey bikes.
Sweet Beeza.
Late-70s Silk 700S café.
Zed RX outfit.
Benelli TnT.
Mondial Piega 1000 (uses a Honda RC51/SP-1/RVT motor).
Mike “the Bike” Hailwood’s Honda racer on display
Hailwood’s Heron Suzuki on display.
New Hudson, on display at the VMCC rally.
Velocette, VMCC Rally.
Repsol-liveried Honda Grom.
Turbocharged Suzuki 1000 General Lee Tribute.
Moto Morini Corsaro.
New Norton Domiracer
New Norton Commando 951 Café Racer.
Modern Bonnie café and Triumph Trophy trail at the Laxey show.
VW-powered Zombie Apocalypse trike.
Bikes from the A.R.E. Classic bike collection, Kirk Michael, IoM
Bikes from the A.R.E. Classic bike collection, Kirk Michael, IoM
Bikes from the A.R.E. Classic bike collection, Kirk Michael, IoM
Me with Manx Radio star Stu Peters and his cherished H-D, ‘Roxanne.’
AJS race bike.
Race Bike Concours held after the Pre- TT Classic races in Castletown, IoM.
Voxan 1000.
Andrew Capone
Andrew Capone

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 1 comment
  • Robert Robinson Robert Robinson on May 12, 2022

    The Laverda 1000 appears to be using a hub center steering type of suspension system; not a 'normal' leading link type. The fork on this bike doesn't steer. It obviously only pivots up and down.