Classic Bike Invasion: Bali

More than 1,000 classic motorbikes from across the nation Saturday will roar into Denpasar to celebrate the 18th anniversary of the Association for Old Motor Bikes (HMT). The bikers are currently en route for the two-day celebration, riding from Sulawesi, Kalimantan, Sumatra, Java and Lombok astride motorbikes dating back almost 100 years.

“The oldest bike in the association is a 1916 JAP and it still runs like new. The newest are from 1961,” an HMT member and prime mover behind the national event, Komang Wisnaya, said.

Visitors to the mega motorbike event, hosted by HTM’s Bali chapter in East Parking, will see classics from Norton, Triumph, Royal Enfield, B.S.A, AJS and the German Zundab, along with old Harley-Davidson “dream bikes” — all in mint condition.

Denpasar will come alive to the grunts and growls of the big bikes as they tour the city, passing Saturday morning shoppers and re-living the “Rebel Without a Cause” dream.

This image is actually way off the mark, Wisnaya said. Biker associations around the world are known for their regular “charity runs” and the Bali HTM Chapter is no exception.

Last year the association traveled the length and breadth of Bali, bearing gifts of money, food and clothing to numerous orphanages across the island.

Wisnaya said HTM was formed in 1989 when a few classic bike enthusiasts joined to discuss ways to find new areas. At that time there were old bike owners across the country but they did not have an association to link them together.

“It was felt by becoming a community we could pool our resources and information. If someone needs a rare spare part we can look through the association or use our overseas contacts,” Wisnaya said.

Better access to spare parts keeps these magnificent bikes on the road, Wisnaya said. Many are found in pieces and must be rebuilt from the ground up.

“It takes around six months to rebuild a bike. After that they never have mechanical problems. They run like new.”

The bikes are almost revered like religious icons, being ridden only a few times a year on association bike tours.

“Before we tour the bikes are first washed and polished, and when we return they are cleaned and covered up until next time,” he said.

When he first became interested in bikes at 17, Wisnaya’s father was not impressed at his choice of hobby.

“My Dad used to have a problem with old bikes because he thought if I got into motorbikes, I’d get into drugs and alcohol. He now understands it’s a great hobby. When I go for a ride with the HTM community, all my problems disappear,” Wisnaya said.

The community spirit will emerge in the weekend program, with dangdut, games, bike contests, Negara Jegog bamboo ensemble, biker clothing and accessories and a door prize “that will knock your socks off”.

“Bali HTM has a classic DKW 500 cc motorbike for one very lucky winner. Tickets for the competition cost Rp 25,000 (US$2.50) each but entry to the event is free,” Wisnaya said.

The Bali HTM chapter has raised funds for the event independently with assistance from Penzoil.

Trisha Sertori