Automotive Motorcycles Ramblings

A Visit to the Barber Motorsports Museum: Sportbike Nirvana

If you should find yourself even within 500 miles of Birmingham, make an effort to get to Barber Motorsports Park. In addition to hosting the likes of AMA Superbike, NHRA drag racing, Grand-Am road racing, WERA, and two vintage weekends, they also feature a museum of rare sport bikes. The on site museum is packed with sport motorcycles; and they’re all perfect. Either ultra-low mile originals or beautifully restored examples. Many of the 20-40 year old examples had as few as 10 miles on them!

Paul and I recently made the trip to Birmingham to see our close friend Ed for his birthday in Duluth. On the way out of the airport towards Atlanta, I remarked to Paul that we should find out where the Barber Motorsports Park was in Alabama and see if we could fit that into our trip on the way back. 10 minutes later, we saw the billboard for the ‘next right, Barber Motorsports Park’. We looked at each other and noted that we would definitely make sure to hit the museum on the way back. Then we checked out the website. It boasts over 1000 motorcycles on display. I knew the collection was impressive, but I had no idea it was going to seriously rival the collection I saw at Hockenheim.

And as I eluded to, the collection didn’t disappoint. The entire facility is gorgeous and the place is spotless. Every bike on display is of significance and was almost always in perfect condition. We stopped by on a Monday in late February and nearly had the entire 5 floors to ourselves. To say the least, it was a totally orgasmic sportbike experience.

Here are my standouts, shot with a simple point and shoot digicam. Had I planned a little better, I would’ve known the racetrack was just outside our airport and packed the DSLR. Something tells me we’ll be back sooner than later though, and I’ll have the chance to redeem myself. In the meantime, check out the collection in the Flickr Group Pool for Barber Motorsports Park, which features beautiful hi-res pics of the museum and recent races.

Here’s a perfect example of the bike I rode in college: 1989 Yamaha FZR600, in this exact paint and graphics scheme. Mine was never in this condition, but it was super cool to spot it in the collection for sure. I can brag that a bike I used to own is on display!
Yamaha FZR600

An Aprilia RS250 Chesterfield replica. The bike I’ve always wanted and for some stupid reason didn’t buy when it came up for sale last year.
Aprilia RS250 Chesterfield 2 stroke

Upon spotting this awesome Honda CB-X, Paul’s first comment was, “I wonder how much those hard bags go for on eBay?!” I was dying with laughter!
Honda CB-X

And a little corner of the museum I’d like to refer to as my personal corner of sportbike porn heaven: A Ducati SS, an NC30, an RC30, an original Katana, AND a Yamaha FZR750RR OW01!
Birthday Trip to Georgia Feb 2009 103

And here’s the complete photo album of our visit to the Barber Vintage Museum:

$15 was never better spent, that’s for sure! If you should find yourself anywhere near this part of the world, and have ever had curious itch or a serious addiction, to sporting motorcycles, this is a must do.


Check out Paul’s Garage Blog for more Barber Vintage Museum coverage!