As you probably may know, motorcycles are a cultural icon in the United States since they were introduced first to the country. If we go back for a moment to motorcycle history, we’ll see how it took around 50 years for the first motorcycle to be introduced to America. After the Parisian Ernest Michaux motorcycle invention in 1867, a new version of it was introduced in 1885 by the German inventors Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach with a diesel engine. But not until 1903, the infamous Harley-Davidson was founded and motorcycles arrived in America, later turning into a nation’s icon.
Rallies have been part of motorcycle history since 1938, when a group of riders in the vast state of South Dakota decided to create a running event originally called “Black Hills Motor Classic”. From there, racer rallies have been taking place in multiple towns and cities, with thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts attending them. If you’re part of the motorcycle’s passionate team of runners, then keep reading and find the biggest motorcycle rallies in the nation. Let’s go!
Held in Sturgis, South Dakota, this rally marked its 82th anniversary in 2022, and is only for adults. Live music, dirt drags, indoor motorcycle showrooms, among others, are also part of the event which makes it more fun and thrilling. Motorcycle enthusiasts from all over the world attend every year, making the event enjoyed by thousands of participants. There’s even a museum where you can find a lot of fun facts about the Sturgis rally and the motorcycle world.
Since 1995, this rally has been held in Austin Texas, as one of the youngest rallies in the country. The rally has grown really fast throughout the years, inviting over 200,000 enthusiasts from all over the nation to attend. It’s an all-adult show, with amazing music, top headlines, top-notch musical entertainment and of course, a thrilling rally experience with bike races and custom bike shows.
The spring season rally takes place in South Carolina, with over 150,000 people attending the event annually. Launched in 1940, the rally is one of the biggest motorcycle events in the U.S, and takes place among some amazing scenery along the coastline of South Carolina. Harley-Davidson fans are the biggest attendants of the rally, but there’s also a lot of drag racing. At Bike Week, you can find live rock music, custom bike shows, T-shirt contests and even foodie events like hot-dog-eating contests!
Laconia is the oldest motorcycle rally in the country that keeps an annual event, founded back in 1916 in Laconia, New Hampshire. Laconia’s events have always been famous for their unique, fun, and weird activities. It’s perfect for families that enjoy attending events such as the Biggest Beer Belly contest, exciting races, hill climbs and even flat tracks.
Each Memorial Day Weekend, the Rolling Thunder Ride takes place in the city of Washington DC. Originally sponsored by the Rolling Thunder Organization, the event was primarily founded for raising awareness about Vietnam War’s Veterans. More than 35,000 riders have assisted the event, which has been active for 31 years, until 2019, when the RTO decided to end it. Back then in 2020, a new organizer took over it and changed its name for Rolling to Remember, but due to the Covid 19 pandemic, the event got canceled until 2021.
Since 2009, the One Moto Show has turned into one of the world’s largest motorcycle rallies, with thousands of motor-enthusiasts from all over the world. The event takes place in Portland, Oregon, and while you enjoy the best bike performances, you’ll get to see amazing local bands, chops, bobbers and delicious food all around the venue. This year, the event celebrates its 13th annual show, hosted by the family behind the See See Motor Coffee Co.
Taking place in Fayetteville, Arkansas, the Bikes Blues and BBQ family-friendly rally is perfect for enjoying motorcycle rides in the middle of the Ozark Mountain hills. The rally is known for being one of the few events of this type that is held away from cities, and for an extraordinary scenic view full of music, food, and of course, BBQ contests and lots of motorcycles.
Right in downtown Las Vegas, this popular rally holds amazing motorcycles that blow any bike-enthusiats’s mind. You can see custom-built motorcycles, hogs and speed bikes, live concerts and even poker runs. If you love unique locations, rare motorcycle styles and a 24/7 city vibe, then this rally is perfect for you.
The Americade Touring Rally
Six days aren’t enough for the extraordinary experiences that moto-lovers get to witness during the Americade Touring Rally. Held in Lake George, New York, the festival has more than 200 vendors, bike shows, demonstrations, and even motorcycle manufacturers that showcase exclusively at the event. This rally is perfect for enthusiasts from all over the country, as well as international motorcycle fanatics.
Situated in an extraordinary location, this rally is a must for all bike riders. The event takes place near the Four Corners Monument, a place where the states of Arizona, Colorado, Utah and New Mexico meet, making the experience even more special and thrilling. Demonstrations, live shows, food and unique activities are held throughout the festival.
Motorcycle rallies, as you know, have taken place for more than 100 years in the country thanks to its ever-growing popularity (and to thousands of moto-enthusiasts that travel from all across the nation or even throughout the world, to attend such magnificent events). Although the 2020 pandemic affected some of the most traditional rallies, the recovery has allowed many organizations to join the motorcycle rally tradition and plan new events to keep the festivals alive.
If you haven’t visited any of them yet, this list will be your perfect guide when planning your next trip. Whether going with your family or friends, motorcycle rallies are an experience you’ll never forget, and will remind you of the nation’s cultural and iconic features, and locations you’ve probably never heard of.