20th Century Cycles | Billy Joels Motorcycle Collection in Oyster Bay Long Island

I finally got a chance to check out Billy Joel's motorcycle museum in Oyster Bay, Long Island! 

My boys from Harlem Superbike School like to take a weekend a month and ride the North Shore of Long Island, as we have a buddy out there. 

 We always wind up around Oyster Bay, passing by one of the greatest individual motorcycle collections on the East Coast, Billy Joel's 20th Century Cycles. 
 And one morning a few weeks ago my buddy Tommy and I finally got a chance to stop by and see the Hall of Famer's amazing collection. 

 If you didn't know already, Billy Joel is an avid motorcycle collector and rider, and has assembled an incredible collection of (mostly vintage)classic Ducati,
 Yamaha, Honda, BMW, Royal Enfield, BSA, Triumph, Harley Davidson and Moto Guzzi bikes.
He keeps the machines on trickle-chargers (so every bike is ready to ride) at a converted Ford Dealership at 101 Audrey Avenue in Oyster Bay, which is open to the public for free over the weekend.
The gallery/shop and the motorcycles are maintained by Billy Joel's personal mechanic Alex and his wife (who are charming, btw), who reserve the weekdays to work on various project bikes and restorations the famous rocker has commissioned.

Ducati

As this is a Ducati blog, I'll start with the Italian machines, though they weren't necessarily the most prevalent highlight of Billy Joel's collection. The best Duc was this 1978 900SS, one of the most iconic Ducati motorcycles in history.  Included in the collection was also a pristine 1975 750 Sport. I love the look of this bike.  Finally, was a 1979, '80 or 81 900SD "Darmah," the same bike my brother-in-law owns (though I have to say I prefer the black and gold color scheme).I also really want one of these "monocilindri" engines as well.  
Moto Guzzi

There have only been a handful of Ducs, but Billy literally has Moto Guzzis hanging off the walls.  
 This brushed steel tank of this Le Mans, with the Italian flag underneath the logo, was my favorite Guzzi cafe racer of the bunch.
NYDUCATI presents Billy Joel's 20th Century Cycles Moto Guzzi Le Mans 2
 I haven't seen this many Guzzi's since I visited the Moto Guzzi factory in Lecce, Italy a few years ago! 
In addition to maybe 7 or 8 Moto Guzzi Le Mans, there was at least one Ambassador 
and an El Dorado.
NYDUCATI presents Billy Joel's 20th Century Cycles Moto Guzzi El Dorado
And finally a Moto Morini for extra credit:
NYDUCATI presents Billy Joel's 20th Century Cycles Moto Morini

British Bikes
The next most fascinating part of the collection is Billy's collection of Triumph, Norton, Vincent and BSA bikes. My favorite bike in the collection was a 1952 Vincent Rapide, NYDUCATI presents Billy Joel's 20th Century Cycles Vincent RapideNYDUCATI presents Billy Joel's 20th Century Cycles Vincent Rapide Engine which always reminds me of one of my favorite songs of all time, Richard Thompson's Vincent Black LightningNYDUCATI presents Billy Joel's 20th Century Cycles Vincent Rapide Tank LogoMy second favorite bike in the collection was a 1962 Norton Atlas. NYDUCATI presents Billy Joel's 20th Century Cycles Norton Atlas Norton made incredibly beautiful aluminum tanks for racing, typified by the Manx (not pictured here). 20th Century Cycles also had a number of Thruxtons and Bonnevilles.  This 2005 Triumph Thruxton sat in the window, basking in its Britishness.NYDUCATI presents Billy Joel's 20th Century Cycles Triumph ThruxtonThis Royal Enfield Scrambler hanging on the wall doesn't quite qualify as "British," but we'll give it a pass this time.Finally was one of Billy Joel's custom bikes, the so-called "Vinago" combination of Yamaha Virago and a Vincent designed by Greg Hageman of Doc’s Chops.NYDUCATI presents Billy Joel's 20th Century Cycles "Vinago" combination of Yamaha Virago and a Vincent

BMW
 Adding to the European flavor, Mr. Joel had a number of old Bavarian Bikes in various states of restoration. My favorite was this grey/green BMW R75/6 from the 70s.
But there were plenty more rocker engines on display, like this 1973 BMW R60,
NYDUCATI presents Billy Joel's 20th Century Cycles 1973 BMW R60and this seemingly military-inspired 75 BMW R60 with a sidecar.
NYDUCATI presents Billy Joel's 20th Century Cycles 1975 BMW R60 with a Sidecar Harley Davidson and Indian
 There were a few Japanese bikes, but I would guess possibly the biggest draw to this motorcycle museum would be the American bikes, and there were a bunch of cool Indian and Harley Davidsons, like this 1949 Panhead Bobber
NYDUCATI presents Billy Joel's 20th Century Cycles Harley Davidsons 1949 Panhead BobberAnother awesome antique bike was this custom 1938 Knucklehead EL, meticulously restored.
NYDUCATI presents Billy Joel's 20th Century Cycles Harley Davidson 1938 Knucklehead EL This 2008 "Indian Chief Bobber" was totally custom
 (I'm still not sure how the frame was made).  I really love all the stylistic flourishes on the old Indians!
There were a number of absolutely spotless old Harleys as well, like this 2005  HD Springer Knucklehead.
This was one of the newer Harley Davidsons, a 2011 HD Sportster.
This Indian hung on the wall, though I'm not sure of the model...
Finally, there were a couple custom bikes, like this Yamaha race replica.
All in all, it was one of the most impressive collections I've ever seen, and it's pretty amazing that Billy Joel has created a living museum of his bikes, sharing them with fellow riders.
If you're ever out towards the North Shore of Long Island some weekend,  you can't miss the chance to stop at 20th Century Cycles.

© 2017 Tigh Loughhead

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