There are significant pros and cons to some aspect of your passion becoming cool. In the pro column, parts can become available again, magazines run articles, beautiful examples appear at shows, and more people appreciate the realm. In the Cons column, prices double seemingly overnight, your cult niche becomes mainstream, and barn finds disappear. All of this was evident this year at the Potomac Vintage Riders York vintage show and swapmeet.
There is no denying that the bike show part of this event gets more impressive each year. It is also commendable that the PVR manages to find a different crop of excellent machines each year. While the focus is clearly on vintage dirt or enduro machines, there were some cool street bikes as well. Among them a brilliant green BSA cafe racer, and a rarely seen BMW R80ST, along with a nice Guzzi, an NSU Supermax, and a classically faired Triumph road racer. The real stars, though were the vintage enduro machines from Bultaco and Greeves, and Maico, and MZ. The favorites included a very nice R80G/S in Dakar trim, and a beautiful Montesa 360 Cappra resplendent in orange.
At some point, we will need to drop the word “swapmeet” as a description of events like this. Nothing has been swapped at a swapmeet in several decades. At this event, the vendors inside are more established places, along with the odd private citizen with a bunch of spare parts. Outside, however, the parking lot has more of a flea market feel (another term that has aged out of relevance). Pickup beds filled with “Field Finds” (I am introducing this new term), and trailers festooned with home made for sale signs. Fancy a Fantic ? Pining for a Penton ? Oscillating on an Ossa ? Stroll the lot. Chances are, they will not be as nice as those inside, but good examples and plenty of parts can be found.
Familiar faces are mixed with a sea of nouveau fans. Familiar old parts are mixed with New Old Stock. There is something strange about a pristine Enduro bike. It begs to be ridden, to be sullied, but it wants to be admired in showroom condition. Even more than a street bike, it doesn’t belong inside. It looks like it is on vacation, but will soon return home to its natural environment. York in January may not be on the list of vacation destinations, but it is the place to be for the region’s vintage 2-wheeled gear heads.