Abandoned motorcycles are a sad sight to see, whether it be in a ditch, an old barn, the middle of the brush or deep in an urbanized city. These photos, give glimpses into the prime lives of different bikes and showing the often heart-breaking realities they find themselves in. Really, it's hard to know the history of an abandoned bike, but never the less, motorcycles like these each have their own story to tell, and so, I've gathered a list of pictures from around the web of abandoned motorcycles. These bikes come in all states, from nearly rotted away to the pristine find.
One of the best parts about these relics is that many of them are extremely dated, giving a small look into the history of motorcycles and motorcycle culture. In this article, I have discussed history ranging from the abandoned motorcycles of Udaipur, India in Steve Carere's amazing collection and the historic bikes of the American company, Harley Davidson. Some of these motorcycles, from what I can tell, are from the early 20th century, in both Europe and America. Others are part of the growing graveyard of bikes in concrete jungles. Many of these photos are incredible, and in the words of Steve Carere, these abandoned bikes are like:
"...little pieces of art, decorating the sidewalks."
I invite you to read this list and hopefully go on to do some of your own research into different abandoned motorcycle finds. The results will not be disappointing.
19 Covered in Moss...But Not Forgotten
Far too deteriorated to tell the make or model, this abandoned bike sits under a pile of moss covered dirt. I think this motorcycle resembles something from post-war America, maybe 1950s? I'm not entirely sure, but backed by some research, I believe that new, this abandoned treasure looked something like the Honda SS50.
Bikes like these are awesome: extremely lightweight, zippy and truly a relic from the 1950s. The ride, depending on the size and construction, probably feels much like a dirt bike. I hope the owner had a good reason to abandon this bike, hopefully some awesome tale, but alas, we can't know.
18 Twins, left together...but lost in time
Left in an alleyway to waste away, these two twin motorcycles deteriorate together. The badges brandished on each of the bikes leads me to believe that this picture contains one Yamaha Majesty and one Megelli 125, both well made bikes by reputable manufacturers.
Most likely the primary mode of urban transportation for a motorcyclist in an unknown county, these bikes were left for some reason, hopefully not looking as sad as they appear now.
It seems as though this is too common a scene: motorcycles being abandoned in densely populated cities, left to rot while the hustle and bustle of urban life passes them by.
17 left in a row
In the historic streets of old European cities lies a graveyard of abandoned motorcycles and mopeds. In this picture, clearly named is the sad Vespa that sits at the road side, rotting away with rust. A true travesty about this picture is seeing this sad, abandoned Vespa and remembering the incredible history that Piaggio had with the release and marketing of the Vespa. Since its release in 1947, Piaggio has sold an incredible amount of units, worldwide. The most popular models included those released after 1950, which saw success especially in markets that included urban developments where owning a car could be a less viable optthanthen owning something like a motorcycle or moped.
16 left to wait
There is an article on Petrolicious by Steve Carere who explored India with the goal of capturing the motorcycle culture there, including the abundance of abandoned motorcycles and mopeds in the urban areas. Most likely left because they broke down, Carere concludes that:
"Those bikes have to go somewhere when they bite the bullet, right? Well in the city of Udaipur some people have found an interesting way to deal with the problem…they just leave them! They prop the bike on it’s kick stand, take the key out of the ignition, and walk away."
It is truly a sad reality, well painted by this picture, by a bike that has been long forgotten.
15 Beaten Down
One other aspect I love about Carere's collection is how much emotion is portrayed through the images. He is able to make these abandoned bikes look all that more miserable, an incredible ability to say the least. This Suzuki has seen better days and the distraught looking headlight is a dead giveaway. I'm really not sure of the era of this bike, I want to say its definitely pre-2000s, but after 1970, which doesn't narrow it down extensively, but it's a guess at least. This picture is a ode to the history of Suzuki, who has been manufacturing and selling motorcycles to a worldwide market since 1952.
14 Deserted and Broken
The last one I'm going to feature from Steve Carere's collection, is this abandoned moped was left in the streets of Udaipur, with what appears to be a broken brake line. Whether this broken brake was the reason for the bike being abandoned, or the brake line was damaged after the bike's abandonment, I'm not sure. What I do know is the branding of the, which is sprawled across the body.
The Hero Puch, which was introduced to Indian markets via the German manufacturer Puch.
The moped saw wild success, especially in the urbanized areas of India, much like where this picture was taken.
13 Forgotten in the Bushes
It seems the common trend here is the two locations of abandoned motorcycle: wilderness or city. Obviously, this one appears to be the former, but from the angle of the photo I can't really tell a make or a model. It definitely isn't a speed bike and is probably something like a dirt bike. Maybe it was rode out into the field and abandoned, surrounded by the wilderness in which it used to reign king. I must say, I love the classic headlight look, which originated early in the 20th century and was adapted to motor bikes by around the same time.
Much like a pirate's treasure, this gem is buried in the Earth, left to be consumed by the nature around it.
I'm entirely sure of the make or model, but from stylistic choices based on time period, this bike looks like it might be a 1970s Honda.
What's truly amazing about the bikes from the 70s is that the advancement in aerodynamics allowed these bikes to be much faster than the previous generation. Hondas, like the one that might be in this picture, were speed demons for their time, truly making this a sad relic lost in time.
11 Stripped bare
Barely recognizable as, well, anything, this "motorcycle" sits deep in a forest. It looks like something from a post apocalyptic wasteland, nearly every part missing from the chassis, long forgotten. I wonder what the parts went to, whether it be another bike or a trash can.
Looking at what remains of the engine, a bike like this in its prime would probably be around 110cc in the power range.
Of course, because of the state of this bike, nothing can be certain. I think this is the type of abandoned vehicle picture that makes me the saddest; not only was the bike left behind, but it was also picked apart.
10 Left in the cold
In my opinion, this is arguably the most interesting on the list because of its potential historic value. I could be mistaken because the bike is rather bad shape, but this could be a Harley Davidson from the beginning of the 20th Century.
This would place it as one of the earliest models in Harley Davidson history, which could be of some importance.
I even think there was a mini series about the company, which was set in the turn of the 20th century. A sad sight to see, considering that a relic like this belongs in a museum.
9 Lost in the woods
With a scene that looks like it belongs in Silent Hill, this motorcycle was left to rust, only to be picked over and stripped down. Its definitely a chopper of some sort, but of course its a little hard to tell. If it is, then this is truly a special bike considering the origins of the chopper. Motorcycle was able to give me this as a backstory from the 1940s:
"The desire to make motorcycles lighter and faster helped fueled the chopper movement.... Many [GI's] had learned mechanical skills in the service, and had been exposed to the small, fast bikes coming out of Europe at the time....The returning soldiers started stripping bikes down to the essentials."
I think that's pretty cool, securing this bike on the list.
8 A Mini Bike Down
Mini bikes like these are incredible. Sometimes referred to as minimotos or pocketbikes, these two stroke beasts, while unfortunately not street legal in most places, pack a lot of punch. They really are a testament to man's ability to shrink mechanical power into a smaller package. I think the coolest part about these bikes is the historical impact they could have had. For instance, there are many small motorcycles which heavily resemble mini bikes, but of course, are street legal. Bikes like the Honda Grom are absolute beasts when it comes to power in a small package. It's definitely a sad sight to see a mini bike in a condition such like this.
7 Left without a wheel
Cracked, covered in cobwebs and left in the elements, this treasure sits, probably somewhere in Europe, seeing as how I'm pretty sure that this abandoned bike is, at its heart, a Victoria, or some similar early 20th century European manufacturer.
Victoria, which was founded in 1901, produced motorbikes in Germany, from the early to mid 20th century. They produced bikes until their closure in 1966, after a merger left the Victoria subdivision to be erased.
Bikes like this were incredible and essential to life in many places during the time period, offering transportation in an awesome package. A sad sight to see, another relic lost in time.
6 Reduced to Peasantry
Judging from the branding, I'm going to guess that this is a Yamaha SRX of some sort, a beast in its time, but this particular one has seen better days. Some of the SRX bikes are powerhouses: some models push 600cc, which you can tell just from the size. This bike definitely meats the requirements to be called a metal horse and it makes me sad to see great street bikes like this one, left without hope. Once a king of the streets all over Japan as well as the rest of the world, now reduced to a non-operation status, sitting in decay.
5 Covered in Years of Grime
Another sad sight in one of the urban powerhouses of the world, this moped was left to collect grime, parked next to another unidentifiable motorcycle. Interesting about mopeds like this one is that they find their roots in pedal assisted motorbikes. Eventually, the pedals were removed, and according to Bike Sure, the name "moped" was coined in the 1950s. Sales skyrocketed for these little motorcycles, as people who were rebuilding in post war Europe wanted affordable transportation. Through evolution, mopeds grew from regular bicycles to pedal assisted motorbikes, to something recognizable with today's mopeds, and I think that is pretty interesting.
4 The Early Years
It's as if this bike is being consumed, but just barely, foreshadowing its life eventually being completely buried under debris. Maybe another older Harley Davidson, this bike has not been left with much, but we can tell some things from the photo. The tail pipe is seriously dented and the bike itself is in a ditch. Maybe the owner crashed the bike, slid into the ditch and decided to cut his losses and walk home? Whatever the case, it's a sad sight to see another museum worthy bike, left to decay into nature. But honestly, this one might be a little bit beyond repair.
Almost looking like a bicycle, this overgrown Harley Davidson which posted to the Harley Davidson Forums is a work of art in itself.
After some digging, I'm able to date this bike at World War 1 era, but not much more specific at that. It could possibly be a later age Model H, but its really too hard to tell.
The red paint is staggeringly still present on the bike in this photo, and makes me imagine how awesome this bike must have looked in its prime. Truly a sad sight to see another early 20th century relic left to rot.
Another find on the Harley Davidson Forums, this Harley obviously went through some serious trauma during its life. There are very clear signs of burn damage, from the paint to the white ash next to the engine. Drawing conclusions, this could be evidence of a forest fire, but another huge possibility is complete engine failure causing a fire which consumed the bike, resulting in its abandonment. It must have been an excellent bike in its prime, one of those Harleys with huge saddle seats and ape hangers. The melted look that this bike has makes me incredibly sad, although, I will admit this photo looks eerily like a modern day interpretation of Salvador Dali's work.
This image, and the rest in the collection, have been quite a hit on many websites around the net. David Cuff, who manages the website Classic Cycles, did some urban exploring of his own and found a trove of abandoned bikes.
The warehouse is in New York, and Cuff claims that his jaw dropped upon seeing the sight depicted by the picture here. Many bikes were far from rotting condition and had been locked away, like a time capsule of America's past.
I highly recommend doing some research into abandoned motorcycles, because there are great galleries like the one that this picture is from, and they are all totally worth seeing.
Sources: Hdforums.com, reddit.com, petrolicious.com