If you’re a true petrolhead, you can definitely appreciate two-wheeled machines just as much as their four-wheeled counterparts. And in South Africa, there’s no better place to do so than at The Motorcycle Room in Knysna.
This museum is the pride and joy of Colin Stunden, a lifelong lover of all things two-wheeled. One motorcycle at a time has never been enough for Colin, and over the years he’s owned some pretty special bikes and some equally average ones. It’s always been more about the passion, and it’s this passion that provided the initial spark for this very cool facility.
Before The Motorcycle Room existed, Colin’s friends and other acquaintances used to frequently visit his home, wanting to see his bikes. But the longer this went on, the more the idea of a standalone space made sense.
When this awesome building became available a few years ago, Colin wasted no time securing it for his collection, and then opening it up to the public.
If you’re looking for a collection full of rare and priceless bikes that none of us have or will likely ever ride, The Motorcycle Room is not it.
Instead, the bikes in Colin’s collection are far more relatable. This place and the bikes within are here to stir up memories and emotions, whether that be riding a PW50 as a child, your teenage years on a RZ50 or TZR125, or if you were really lucky something like an Aprilia RZ125 or Cagiva Mito, AKA a mini Ducati.
The Motorcycle Room is somewhere you’ll likely find the bike you once had and wished you never sold.
With the collection are bikes from the 1950s all the way to more modern offerings. Almost every marque is represented too, some well known and one or two I had never even heard of. It’s really interesting to look at the older stuff and see how far bikes have come over the decades. Some model designations have faded into oblivion, but look at something like that blue GSX250 and compare it to say a new GSX-R1000 and it’s actually mind-boggling.
There’s also some big-boy stuff around, like a mint Kawasaki Z1000 and Yamaha XS 850. One special bike in the collection is the 1997 Laverda 686 Diamente. These bikes normally came with a half fairing, but apparently this is one of only two known examples in the world with the full fairing setup, making it quite rare and sought after.
There’s also a Yamaha TRX 850, which although only enjoyed a three-year production run was made famous for its use in the 2001 movie Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.
With nostalgic bikes come great memorabilia as well. You can just imagine the roads these old helmets have travelled, and the vintage magazines are awesome to flick through.
The Motorcycle Room has its own on-site workshop, and this is where bikes are stripped down and restored, or simply cleaned up and maintained after a ride. And that’s another thing that makes this collection so cool; it’s a living museum where most of the bikes do get ridden from time to time.
During this visit I spotted a few really rad custom bikes, my favourites being a copper steampunk-style machine, and a modern KTM Supermotard made to look like a café racer.
On the subject of KTM, Colin has lots of love for the brand, and as such there are quite a few different models on the museum floor. Included is the bike that won the famous Roof of Africa race in 2014.
Odd stuff is always cool, and The Motorcycle Room is home to ’90s NHRA Pro Stock drag racer, some weird three-wheelers, and even a 1978 Suzuki Wetbike that pretty much looks like it works on a hydrofoil design.
Even if you only have a passing interest in bikes, if you’re ever in Knysna and have some time to spare, I recommend paying this place a visit. There’s such a nostalgic feeling here, and you can easily spend a few hours drooling and reminiscing over all the cool stuff hidden inside.
The collection currently consists of over 140 bikes, and it’s still growing – Colin is always on the hunt for the next barn find. Which bikes here bring back some awesome memories for you?Cutting Room Floor