Have you had the chance to visit the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum yet? For many a motorcycle, automotive, and motorsports enthusiast—especially if you’re located in the US—it's most definitely on the list of must-visit places. In 2014, it officially set the Guinness World Record as home of “the world’s largest collection of vintage and contemporary motorcycles.” In 2023, it’s home to over 1,600 motorcycles—over 950 of which are on view to the public at any given time.
Reading and hearing all that information is one thing, though; seeing it is another. If you can’t see it in person, the next best thing is of course to see it on video, through someone else’s eyes, and so much the better if they’re clearly as excited about it as you would probably be if you were the one checking all these bikes out in person. Earlier in 2023, motovlogger Caroline, also known as Doodle on a Motorcycle on YouTube, had the chance to visit the museum and share her tour with us.
Now, the Museum requires special permission to film in, which Doodle obtained—but the resulting video is a treat to watch. It’s a museum full of life and motion, with a relaxed and inviting sense of wonder at seemingly every exhibit. Spanning a full range of motorcycles from the earliest days up to the present, there’s something here for every enthusiast—and even more things to make you take notes, ask questions, and maybe do some research to learn more about something you’d never heard of until today.
That’s the thing about the motorcycle hobby, particularly if you’re into its history. Because motorcycling has been around for over 100 years, there are countless companies and bikes that have briefly appeared on the timeline, then flashed out of existence almost as quickly as they appeared in the first place. Even if you’re the type of person to have an almost encyclopedic knowledge of your favored niche in motorcycle history, chances are excellent that there’s something here to pique your interest and intrigue.
Watching Doodle explore and give a rundown of some of the high points of the collection is a delight, because secondhand enthusiasm about motorcycle history is extremely contagious. From the Britten V1000 to the Roper Steam Velocipede, if you can’t find something in this collection to get your heart beating a little faster, you might want to check your pulse.