The wind in your knees, the thrilling rush of the open road – every biker knows that’s what freedom is all about. However, once the riding is done, true motorcycle lovers like to kick it with other likeminded comrades, check out interesting bike shows, or ride some more at badass motorcycle rallies.
There are many amazing motorcycle events in the US. Whether you’re up for a full-blown bike week with lots of activities, or a fun moto show with customized bikes from all over the world, you’ll find a perfect motorcycle event to attend every year.
Most of the best biker shows happen annually and grow stronger and bigger each year.
We’ve picked some of the best motorcycle rallies in the U.S. according to several criteria:
- There have to be scenic roads for riding in the area
- Lots of fun activities
- Lots of gorgeous bikes
Of course, luckily enough, there are still many amazing rallies and events that check each of those boxes, so we’ve decided to handpick 7 of the greatest ones.
Let’s start from February – the month when many motorcycle riders go out for a first ride of the year.
1. The One Motorcycle Show in Portland, Oregon (February 8th – 10th)
If you can’t wait until March for Daytona to start and want to go on a scenic ride to a fun event with tons of amazing bikes, you should visit The One Moto Show (OMS). It has been around for over a decade, and it showcases fantastic customized world bikes. Although it may not be your typical biker event like those in Sturgis or Daytona, it features outstanding bikes from all over the world and lots of fun activities.
The One Moto Show takes place in a huge warehouse in Portland. It showcases everything you can imagine, from old-style, hand-painted and crafted bobbers and choppers, to insanely customized dirt bikes and café racers. If you’re into checking out some amazing machines, you will love this event.
It’s set over the weekend and it includes so much more than great motorcycles: lots of exciting entertainment, fantastic bike builders from over 100 countries, and great local bands. The type of crowd that gathers here creates a great atmosphere, and the event has always been a great success.
2. Daytona Bike Week in Daytona Beach, Florida (March 8th-17th)
For over 70 years, Daytona Bike Week has been marking the start of the riding season. What once started as a small motorcycle beach race has turned into an event thousands of bikers look forward to all winter. While riding across Florida may not be super-exciting to some riders, once you get there, it will totally be worth it. There are so many activities that it’s almost impossible for any biker to have a dull moment.
Over a dozen bike shows, including the amazing Rat’s Hole Custom Bike Show, crazy demo rides, awesome food, and great music. Racing still dominates the event, and many unofficial races are going on, as well as different official races, including:
- Flat track
- Vintage racing
- Road racing
When it comes to interesting things to see for all the watchers out there, Main Street is a real treat with literally thousands of bikes all around you. However, there are also many other things you can enjoy, like The Ormond Scenic Loop and Trail, the super-fun Daytona Beach Boardwalk and Pier, or the white sands of America’s most famous beach. All this combination needs to be perfect are gorgeous people, happy faces, and fresh seafood straight from the Atlantic – and Daytona has it all.
3. Myrtle Beach Bike Week in Myrtle Beach, SC (May 10th-19th)
Myrtle Beach Bike Week gathers around 200,000 visitors every year since it launched in 1940. It’s one of the biggest motorcycle rallies of its kind in the U.S., right after Sturgis and the Rolling Thunder.
Pleasant temps, perfect Southern scenery, a wide variety of interesting bike events, and a badass rock scene are only some of the reasons there are not one but three bike weeks in Myrtle Beach each year. The breathtaking scenery along the eastern coastline of South Carolina is an amazing experience for any biker. Touring this gorgeous road has been a MBBW rider’s tradition for over 75 years.
While the annual spring rally mostly attracts Harley-Davidson fans, there’s also drag racing on the sand with over ten classes. Thrilling custom bike shows, a lot of fantastic live rock music, and some of the best motorcycle bars along this coastline have made Myrtle Beach Bike Week a long-running historical event.
The Rathole Bar is particularly popular, turning into a 15-acre field filled with goodness during Bike Week. It organizes mud wrestling, wet T-shirt contests, hot-dog-eating events, and, of course, bike races.
4. The Rolling Thunder Ride (Rolling to Remember) in Washington, DC (Memorial Day Weekend)
The Rolling Thunder organization originally sponsored the Rolling Thunder Ride. This group raises awareness about missing prisoners of war and soldiers missing in action from all wars the country has ever been involved in. It happens in Washington each Memorial Day weekend. It started as a ride meant to raise awareness about people who’ve served in Vietnam. Over the years, it has grown to gather over 350,000 riders from all over the States back in 2008, and it has been growing ever since.
For 31 years, veterans have been riding the streets of Washington, creating a magnetic patriotic atmosphere and filling every American heart with so many emotions.
The Rolling Thunder organization has sadly decided to call the 2019 ride the last one due to several issues, including growing costs that were too much to handle on such a big national level. Co-founder of the Rolling Thunder, 73-year-old former Army Sgt. Artie Muller says harassment from the local police and Pentagon security has also greatly impacted their decision to end the ride.
However, the ride isn’t going anywhere. Another organizer has taken over in 2020 with a slightly changed name: Rolling to Remember. However, due to recent circumstances revolving the Covid19 pandemic, the event has been cancelled. Hopefully, we will see another round of this amazing ride in 2021.
5. Laconia Motorcycle Week in Laconia, New Hampshire (June 8th-16th)
While it may not be as massive as Daytona or Sturgis in terms of attendance, Laconia makes this list for many reasons – one of them being the fact this is the oldest biker rally in the entire country.
Based in Lake Winnipesaukee, Laconia always features fun and weird events. The motorcycle week is packed with awesome activities for all thrill-seekers out there to participate in or enjoy watching. It’s famous for its Biggest Beer Belly contest and lots of exciting races, including flat tracks, Super Motard, thrilling hill climbs, and the longest-running race in America – the Loudon Classic at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. There are plenty of beautiful scenic rides in the area if you’re interested in exploring. You shouldn’t miss the three-lined cruise along the largest lake in the state.
This New Hampshire’s two-wheel event started back in 1816. It had to take a couple of years off due to riots between the police and several motorcycle gangs in 1985. However, these days, Laconia Motorcycle Week is the epitome of kinder biker events that are still fun but also positive, safe, and family-friendly.
6. ROT (Republic of Texas) Biker Rally in Austin, Texas (June 13th-16th)
Although only around half the size of the biggest biker events, the Republic of Texas Rally isn’t short in superlatives on any level. It is an amazing 4-day event that draws over 200,000 bikers from all over the country to Austin. The rally is billed as the biggest ticket event and it features tons of entertainment. One of the best things about it is that it’s an all-adult show.
The music is amazing, and it includes huge headlines like ZZ Top. Top-notch musical entertainment is one of the things this rally has been famous for over the years. You can always rely on giving your ears a real treat in Austin.
The event is also famous for its massive, glorious parade that closes 50 blocks of downtown Austin. Thrilling bike show races, custom bike shows, a tattoo expo with awesome artists, many parts vendors, and many more activities make ROT Biker Rally an event no biker should miss.
Making friends is one of the best things about this rally, since the food courts, bike shows, and camping space are all in one huge area. You will meet tons of new people and enjoy every minute at the ROT Biker Rally in Austin.
7. Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, South Dakota (August 2nd-11th)
They don’t call this the granddaddy of all rallies for no reason. With a gorgeous setting in the Black Hills of South Dakota, surrounded by fantastic riding roads and a game-changing slate of events, Sturgis Motorcycle Rally has something great for anyone who visits.
Since it started in 1938, the rally has been gathering an incredible number of bikers and motorcycle enthusiasts every August in the small town of Sturgis. Over 500,000 people pour into the town for ten days and transform it into a biker’s universe.
Although famous for the incredible Harleys, even if you aren’t a Harley fan, you’ll find many other amazing motorcycles to check out or watch in action. The music at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip Campground is also always top-notch, with stars like Snoop Dog and Kid Rock making sure the visitors are having the best fun they’ve ever had.
Sturgis is a bucket-list event with lots of activities, and it represents a full-blown motorcycle experience in the middle of an incredible riding area. You can get your thrills in all sorts of riding events, American Flat Track, hill climbs, bike shows, hooligan contests, and various art exhibits. There are so many events you’ll be struggling to see everything during the ten days of the rally.
Sturgis is normally a small town with around 5,000 people, so you should always count on spending some time in traffic, especially in Main Street. However, during those traffic jams, you’ll be surrounded by literally thousands of gorgeous motorcycles. This is probably the only place in the world where riding into a traffic jam is actually a fun experience.
Whether you’re a newbie or a long-time, experienced rider, you’ll find your spark in these events. While some of them may fit your personality more than others, each of them offers something unique and has been known as a favorite of many bikers over the years.
What’s your favorite motorcycle event? Would you add anything to the list? Let us know in the comments below.
By Diana Spasic
chief editor @ Biker Digital