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What *Really* Happened At The 2017 HighPipe Motorcycle Festival

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What exactly goes on at HighPipe Motorcycle Festival? It’s a fair question, especially given it was the first event of its kind. HighPipe is a celebration of the go-anywhere, do-anything motorcycles—a throwback to the golden days of motorcycling. With the resurgence of these classic steeds (and skinny jeans, mustache wax, flannel shirts, trucker caps, etc.), it was high time for an event like HighPipe, a tribute to classic motorcycling.

Riders and bikes of all types convened at China Peak Mountain Resort in the Sierra Nevada mountains of Central California for three days of epic rides, skill-building challenges, bike testing, product demos, food, drinks, and entertainment.

Here’s a little of what you missed.

The only thing better than riding your motorcycle in the mountains on a weekend getaway is riding someone else’s motorcycle in the mountains on a weekend getaway! HighPipe participants got the opportunity to test ride brand-new motorcycles from Honda, Ducati, and BMW during the three-day event.

The Ducati Scrambler bus kicked off its “School’s Out Summer Tour” with a trek up to China Peak. HighPipe was the perfect place for the Ducati Scrambler school bus to make its public debut. The big yellow bus rolled in, packed full of Scrambler motorcycles, including the Classic, the Icon, the Sixty2, the Café Racer, and the newly released Desert Sled. Participants were treated to test rides with the Scrambler team on the winding mountain roads. Check out the Ducati Scrambler “School’s Out Summer Tour” in this video. (Of course, shot at HighPipe!)

Honda also offered up a host of bikes to test out at HighPipe, and its featured mounts for a relaxing back-to-basics ride through the mountain roads were the Rebel 500 and Rebel 300. On its own the Honda Rebel is a stylish mount, but it also presents somewhat of a blank canvas for you to customize. Proving this were a couple of examples from Honda of how Rebels can be stylized. So if you’re looking to add your own signature to your ride, take a look at the Honda Rebels.

Big Red also offered up the Africa Twin and CRF250L Rally for test rides, giving participants a chance to explore a wide range of do-it-all motorcycles. (See? HighPipe Moto isn’t only for scramblers.)

BMW got in on the fun with multiple R nineT models for some lucky test riders to swing a leg over, from the classic Scrambler to the stylish R nineT Urban G/S. HighPipe marked one of the first American appearances for the new Urban G/S, which promptly got not-so-urban on the mountain roads of the High Sierra.

Participants also got to get their grubby mitts on gear and apparel from HighPipe Moto sponsors like Bell Helmets, Klim, REV’IT, and Alpinestars. Events like this offer participants the unique possibility to see, touch, and try on gear, and chat directly with representatives from the companies about their offerings. In some cases, people had the chance to ride with the gear, such as Bell helmets.

A helmet purchase is a sizable commitment, and Bell understands that it’s hard to hand over your cash before you’re able to try out the product (or in some cases, even see it). At HighPipe Moto, riders could get professionally fitted with a helmet of choice, fitted with a Transitions shield if they wished, and then take the Bell helmet for a spin—no pressure to buy, merely the opportunity to test out products, bikes, and gear, just like the editors at your favorite motorcycle publications get to do.

The Bridgestone HighPipe Hillclimb by Rever was the highlight of Saturday’s festivities, with brave participants taking on the slopes of China Peak in the first-ever HighPipe Hillclimb. More of a spectacle than an actual competition, the HighPipe Hillclimb saw an incredibly wide range of motorcycles take to the hill, including a Honda Trail 110 (complete with a full utility crate) and a Honda CBR300R—street tires and all (he was actually top five if you can believe it)!

The event, put on by the good folks at Rever, started out with a road-style hillclimb then looped around at the top of the hill and connected to some mountain bike single-track (yep, that happened!) taking contestants back down the slope. It was a test of skill for every rider, even the experienced off-roaders who found it quite challenging to manage a larger, heavier machine in the dirt.

After a few hours of hill climb shenanigans, a fair amount of tip-overs, and lots of heckling from the peanut gallery, the “champions” were crowned. Not only was the sheer prestige of HighPipe Hillclimb victory at stake, but sets of brand-new Bridgestone tires were awarded to the winners.

HighPipe Moto brought out all types, from dual-sport and adventure riders to cruisers. A pair of beautifully restored 1948 Indian motorcycles were the focus of much attention. Rider David L. of Fresno, California, explained that while his vintage cruiser may not be considered a “scrambler,” his bike was considered a do-it-all motorcycle by 1948 standards. Well put, David. #AllPipesMatter

Check out the video to see more of what went on at the first-ever HighPipe Moto Festival. We’ll plan to see you there on June 15-17, 2018!