The Harolds "Steer Inn" is a historic greasy spoon, drive in diner that for decades has served as a great place for people visiting the city of Indianapolis to get a taste of some real Americana. Famous for one of the most delicious breaded tenderloins you could sink your teeth into the Steer Inn was also famous for continuing to provide its nostalgic "drive in and park" awning that was made popular back in the 50's. Embracing that historic spirit the local Indianapolis "Ton Up" club decided that vintage bikes needed somewhere to go to bring more people together. They began hosting a Vintage Bike Night there every first Thursday of the month.
That tradition has carried on for years now and brought out some of the most incredible restorations and custom builds that would have otherwise just been sitting in a well preserved collection in the far corners of the state. Guys and gals polish up their prized possession vintage rides and head down every month to see just what kind of new restoration will see the light of day. It's the kind of place where Harleys and Hondas roll side by side, choppers and cafes park back to back and stock bikes from 50's sit proudly next to superbikes of the 80's.
A popular favorite among the crowd over the years became the vintage Japanese bikes from the 70's to early 80's. The ultimate era of vintage speed and style when choosing to buy a Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki meant you didn't just want a cruiser, you wanted a serious way to go faster than you ever imagined. While the older Triumphs, BSA's and Harley choppers often make up a good portion of the roll in bikes, the incredible inline fours always steal the show.
Each with their own incredible story and lineage the Kawasaki's have always served as the serious head turners of the group. One noteable Kawasaki that often makes it out to the bike night came from a lot of only 250 ever made in the black and orange/yellow stripe paint scheme by Molley Graphics. We are speaking of the the Z1R with an impressive factory turbo installed. At the Steer Inn you often feel like you are on a Kawasaki showroom set back in time with the likes of all the other fastest fours around including the 900, 1000 and 1100 models, while often seeing a 750 triple or two mixed in with the group.
It wouldn't be vintage bike night without a few fantastic Honda cafes, stock restorations and survivors as well. As the sun starts to set many of the riders make their way into the diner for a nice hot meal before hitting the road. All while sharing stories with each other about their travels or the painstaking amounts of work that went into preserving their pieces of vintage speed history. One thing is certain, it's things like vintage bike night at the Steer Inn that help preserve the history one bike and one story at a time.
Photos+Story by Mike Vandegriff