Well, I’ve been in St. Louis for a week and it has been enjoyable. Of course, having a base of operations complete with secure parking for the bike is a plus. I’ve visited five shops, all with unique personalities and located less than thirty minutes apart. There is a thriving bike scene in this city.
The Mungenast Museum with its 350 plus machines, is easily my favorite. When I walked into the main display room, complete with rustic brick walls and rough concrete floors with a drip of oil here and there, it was like being transported back in time. When I saw my first real motorcycle, a 1972 Suzuki 90, I knew I was there. The motocross room likewise stirred powerful memories in the form of a 1973 Suzuki TM125, my first real moto crosser, and a bike I broke my leg on. Good Times.
The Moto Museum complex was no slouch, either. Divided into three segments including a KTM/ Ducati/Triumph dealership, the Triumph Bar and Grille, and the museum itself where dozens of expertly restored, rare machines are presented in professionally constructed settings.
Motorcycle Classics was a different animal altogether. More of a resto/export operation, there are likewise dozens of unique machines on display/sale. The owner Mike, an Australian, is a real character, and I mean that in a good way. Once again, this shop carries the back-alley flavor that has been all but purged from modern facilities.
Flying Tigers is another combo type of operation. A Moto Guzi/Royal Enfield/Genuine Scooter dealership, they likewise repair many makes and models. Head honcho, Eric, also likes to showcase a creative flair. Currently, a new Guzzi is under the knife, and will serve as a giveaway bike for Rebel Yell Bourbon to be delivered at Sturgis this August. Another Rebel Yell commissioned machine, a 2005 Kawasaki ZRX 1200, currently graces the showroom floor. The craftsmanship on both bikes is outstanding.
We’ll wrap up our quick tour of Saint Louis with one of the oldest dealers in the area, Donelson Cycle. A Yamaha/Ducati/Triumph/Honda shop, they also have an impressive selection of gear. For example, the Alpinestars boots I purchased from Amazon recently are in stock and available to try on before buying. To most of the shops in my Beautiful Northwest Indiana home, this is an alien concept. Donelson also contains another gem, a fantastic collection of vintage dirt track machines and memorabilia, with rare, record setting bikes and the leathers the riders wore as the churned the dirt.
On a final note, I was impressed with the openness of all the shops I toured. To me, it’s kind of a big deal that they let a stranger, even one carrying an expensive camera into the back rooms of their operations. Midwestern hospitality is alive and well in Saint Louis. I’m looking forward to relocating to Missouri and being a part of the motorcycle community.