FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) – Walk into Kyle Stevenson’s garage, and his hobby will quickly become apparent. Neatly lined up are three restored vintage Honda motorcycles. There’s also a dirt bike, a Honda with a lot of work to do, and the frame for a bike that will no doubt be ready to ride in the near future. His interest started as a child, when his father brought home a small 90cc motorcycle. “As kids, we had so much fun on these bikes,” he described.
But it wasn’t until adulthood that Stevenson and his brother bought a motorcycle together: a 1965 Honda Super Hawk. But it was in terrible shape. The project eventually required more work than they could do at the time, and they bought their own working motorcycles. “It kind of sparked a passion in me,” he said.
Today, this Honda wears a sleek, shiny coat of orange paint. Stevenson eventually fixed it and it remains a prized possession. “Work is never done on a vintage motorcycle,” he shared. “Things always crop up, problems, problems, things need replacing, wires that break, connections that get dirty. Things that just break because they’re just old and not designed for be as robust as you would like.
Stevenson defines a vintage motorcycle as being 30 years old or older. His other completed projects include a 1975 Honda Super Sport and a production motorcycle that he has since restyled. Although there is a lot of manpower involved, the hobby could become very lucrative… if they don’t fund his other projects. Stevenson says that at one time he owned as many as fifteen motorcycles. It’s much less now, with his wife and children. They can cost $150 to $600 when he buys them and sell for $3,000 to $6,000.
“It’s a heritage thing,” Stevenson told us. “I take pleasure in taking something that was languishing or rotting and bringing it back to life.” An important theme for him when it comes to his passion: ride, or rot. “The message is there with these old machines. Either you mount them and keep them in mechanical order or they will just rot.
His hobby often took him to different vintage motorcycle shows in the area. But several years ago, Stevenson and his wife Jennifer decided to bring one to Fort Wayne. After being canceled two years due to the pandemic, Ride or Rot Fort Wayne: Vintage Motorcycle Show returns for his sixth year — once again allowing him to connect with others as passionate as he is. “It’s something that sums up the spirit I have of resurrecting a machine, working with my hands, putting my blood and sweat into bringing this thing back to life and proudly putting it back on the streets.”
The event takes place on August 21, between noon and 3 p.m. at the Calhoun Porch (between Wayne and Berry). Ride or Rot’s “really rad ride,” where all the vintage motorcycles race through town, meets at the Fort Wayne Speed Shop at 9:30 a.m. There will also be prizes for the best vintage motorcycles per category. Due to a rain forecast, another date is set for August 28th. Visit their facebook page here for updated information.
“It’s fun to ride down the street with like-minded people and know you’re riding a little piece of history,” Stevenson said. “That’s my favorite part of the show,” added his wife Jennifer, “I love being set up and having all these bikes coming at the same time. It sounds great. It sounds great. It really kicks things off and makes everyone excited to be there.
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