Five motorcycles that caught the eye of the photographer in the quail

After a two-year hiatus, quail motorcycle gathering is back in great shape. 250 attendees and about 3,200 spectators, collectors, builders and enthusiasts worked hard to see the best that motorcycling offers.

As a photographer, I can expect to offer quail some visual treats, and this year was no exception. Here are five bikes that attracted me during the beautiful Saturday spring in Carmel Valley, California.

1950 Triumph Trophy TR5 Square Barrel. Photo by Nathan Mei.

1950 Triumph Trophy TR5 Square Barrels

Sure, I’m vulnerable to the British mark, as my first motorcycle was the Triumph Thruxton. But this TR5 immediately jumped out to me. With classic proportions, a black frame and silver and chrome paint, this bike has a lot of visual appeal. As an aside, the Square Barrels engine was originally used as a generator and powered the British Lancaster bomber. Triumph needed to do something extra and decided to put them on the bike. Lightweight and powerful, these engines have been a huge success for both street and amateur racers.

Triumph Trophy Gauge
Triumph Trophy Gauge. Photo by Nathan Mei.

1951 Max Hazan's Custom Vincent Rapid
1951 Vincent Rapid Custom by Max Hazan. Photo by Nathan Mei.

1951 Max Hazan’s Custom Vincent Rapid

Choosing 5 bikes out of 250 participants was difficult, but it was easy. Max has created some great bikes over the years. This Vincent is a new benchmark for Los Angeles-based builders. When his client dropped the donor engine, his only guidance was “do whatever you want to do”. Giving free control to Max’s talented people can have extraordinary results. The man even made his own carburetor! This bike won the Best of Show Award of the Year and puts this build in a group of rare motorcycles considered Best of Best.

Vincent Rapide Custom handle with wooden inlay
Vincent Rapid has a lot of unexpected custom touches. Photo by Nathan Mei.

1968 BMW R69US Metallic Blue
1968 BMW R69 US. Photo by Nathan Mei.

1968 BMW R69US Metallic Blue

The metallic blue color is a custom option from 1968 and is extremely rare. This repair took more than 5 months and 5 attempts were made to match the colors. The R69S was a BMW sports bike of the time, and this color already gives a very classy touch to classic machines.

BMW Chrome R69
BMW details. Photo by Nathan Mei.

1937 Norton Racing International
1937 Norton Racing International. Photo by Nathan Mei.

1937 Norton Racing International

As a photographer, I’m a patina bicycle sucker. Especially if the character is the result of a long history as a race bike. Born as one of Norton’s six bikes for the 1937 Manx Grand Prix, Bertie WA Lowell raced and finished third that year. He raced again in 1938 and finished third. After World War II, he competed with Manx again in 1947 and 1948. However, he experienced a major crash during the 1948 event. After the Norton factory repairs were completed, it spent much of the next 30 years disassembling. Now, back in the order of execution, this is a great example of a Norton racer.

Rubber foot peg
Rubber foot pegs on race bikes? That was the case in 1937. Photo by Nathan Mei.

1950BSAB34 Custom
1950BSAB34 Custom. Photo by Nathan Mei.

1950BSAB34 Custom

Owner and builder Richard Mitchell discovered a bug in bike making after joining the quail a few years ago. This BSA Custom is his second build and is simply gorgeous with a great fit and finish. His goal was to create a sleek, modern build that retains the characteristics of the original bike. Finished in stunning blue with brass accents, this bike has a lot to see. Check out those solid brass carburetors!

Brass carburetor
BSA custom brass carburetor. Photo by Nathan Mei.

1928 Kids' Tricycle
1928 children’s tricycle. Photo by Nathan Mei.

Honorable Mention: 1928 Kids’ Tricycle

Quails accept an incredibly diverse range of machines, all of which can be expected to be of unique and impeccable quality. This kids’ tricycle complies with the bill. Very random and completely cool.

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