Motorcycle Swap Meets

September 12 2013 by Jason Fogelson

MotorCycle_Swap.jpgSome people have the shopping gene, some don't. It crosses gender lines, age lines, and all ethnic lines. You either enjoy shopping, or you don't.

I have the shopping gene, but mine is mutated. I love shopping for motorcycles, parts and accessories. Without even meaning to, I find myself idly leafing through parts catalogs, haunting Craig's List, trolling eBay Motors and checking prices at Kelley Blue Book. I'm not actively in the market for anything -- I just can't help shopping. Not buying. Shopping.

This mutated gene triggers shopping when I visit my local Harley-Davidson dealership. I meander through the parts and accessories area, mentally fitting each new shiny thing on my bike, looking for additions and replacements that I can't live without. While I can't control my impulse to browse, luckily I can control the impulse to spend. My fantasy budget is unlimited, while my real world budget is quite finite. I still have a handle on the difference between the two.

That handle becomes very slippery when I attend a motorcycle swap meet. A motorcycle swap meet brings together scores of sellers who may have one-of-a-kind motorcycle-related items. The shopper in me fears that if I don't snatch up those items when I see them, I will never find them again. I almost never get buyer's remorse over the things I buy. I get shopper's remorse over the cool things I didn't buy, and that lasts forever.

I know it sounds like torture for me -- but it's actually a lot of fun, and has resulted in some very useful and economical purchases over the years. The swap meet is a great economic equalizer. That one-of-a-kind motorcycle or part gets exposed quickly when it turns out that several vendors each have one. At the last swap meet I attended, I witnessed a real-time price war between two vendors, each of whom were selling reproduction cafe racer parts for the Harley-Davidson XL. A saw a buyer who was able to reduce his expenditure by half, simply because he shopped a little longer. It was an inspiration.

The granddaddy of motorcycle swap meets is the annual event at the AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days at Mid-Ohio Road Course each July. If you're serious about buying a vintage bike, this is the place to go. Plan ahead.

But there are plenty of other motorcycle swap meets held monthly around the country. There's no need to wait for July. Here are a few regular motorcycle swap meets you might want to attend:

Sacramento Cycle Swap Meet
West Wind Drive-In, Sacramento, CA
Next Event: September 15, 2013

Walneck's Motorcycle Swapmeets & Shows
Monroe County Fairgrounds, Monroe, MI
Next Event: September 15, 2013

Kansas City Missouri Motorcycle Swap Meets
Twin Drive-In Theater, Independence, MO
Next Event: September 22, 2013

So-Cal Motorcycle Swap Meet
Monthly, at the Long Beach Veteran's Stadium, Long Beach, CA
Next Event: September 22, 2013

York Pennsylvania National Motorcycle Swapmeet
York Expo Center, York, PA
Next Event: September 28, 2013

Tri Cities Giant Motorcycle Swap Meets
Birch Run Expo Center, Birch Run, MI
Next Event: October 20, 2013

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