The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) will celebrate 85 years of protecting and promoting motorcycling this July 24-26 during AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, and one must-see event will be the AMA 85th Parade on Saturday, July 25. The moving timeline of motorcycle history will showcase bikes from 1924 to today.
Led by Grand Marshal Don Emde, the vintage bike column will lead off with a 1924 Harley-Davidson JDCA, ridden by owner and AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Buzz Kanter. The parade of historical bikes will navigate the sinuous curves of the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course before coming to a stop on the front straight, creating a striking display of motorcycling history.
"As the most recent custodian of this wonderful old machine, I have owned the JD for more than 15 years but seldom get to ride it," Kanter said. "It is a great honor to be participating in the AMA’s 85th anniversary festivities on a motorcycle from the year the AMA was founded. I look forward to meeting a lot of old and new friends among the fellow enthusiasts at the event."
Kanter is a longtime motorcyclist and collector. In addition to being inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2002, he is the owner and editor-in-chief of American Iron Magazine and RoadBike magazine.
Kanter says he found the JDCA when an inquiry into what he was told were "a couple old Harleys for sale" — which he suspected were probably just 10-year-old Sportsters — turned out to be the ’24 JDCA and a 1929 Harley JDH two-cam, which now sits in his office at American Iron Magazine.
"They’re some of the earliest bikes I own," Kanter said. "I have huge admiration for the people who made and rode them. Personally, the vintage bikes I prefer to ride are Harleys and Indians from the 1940s and ’50s. They are as comfortable as modern motorcycles and are reliable enough for the job. You can ride them cross-country."
Kanter says he’s looking forward to AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, particularly the opportunity to meet other vintage enthusiasts and to see other classic motorcycles of all makes.
"Everybody raves about how incredible (AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days) is," Kanter says. "I love old machinery and the romance of it. There’s just something very honest about a lot of these uncluttered old bikes. Jay Leno says he doesn’t trust a motorcycle (engine) he can’t see, and I’m the same way."