The 14 German motorcycles on display at the 2012 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance weren’t sprawled on the vast expanses of grassy real estate occupied by their four-wheeled counterparts, but the bikes exuded their own unique charisma during an unseasonably warm Sunday in Monterey, California. A broad swath of motorcycling history was bookended by an 1885 Daimler Reitwagen (part of Daimler AG’s Classic division) and a 1968 Munch Mammoth (owned by Dale Keesecker of Washington, Kansas). Judges for the bikes on hand included a feisty Jay Leno—a fervent motorcycle enthusiast as well as a car nut—who delivered a particularly tongue-in-cheek repartee to Virgil Elings for his 1922 Megola Touring, poking good-natured fun at the oddly engineered motorcycle which features a five-cylinder radial engine mounted at the front wheel hub. Top honors were awarded to the 1934 BMW R7 (owned by the manufacturer), which claims striking art deco design cues, a steel monocoque structure and an engine designed by Leonhard Ischinger. Second place went to a 1954 BMW R68 owned by Jeffrey M. Dean of Madison, Wisconsin, while the third spot was rounded out by the 1968 Munch Mammoth.
(This Kickstarts article was published in the January 2013 issue of Rider magazine.)