Ernest Michaux invented the first-ever motorcycle in 1867. It’s maybe not so surprising when you realize he’s the son of Pierre Michaux, the man who invented the bicycle.
Of course, Ernest’s version of the motorcycle was steam-powered. It wasn’t until 1885 when two German inventors, Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach, made the first modern motorcycle with a diesel-based engine.
From there, it didn’t take long for motorcycles to be introduced to America and become a cultural icon. Once Harley-Davidson was founded in 1903, motorcycles were cemented as a part of Americana.
If you’re a motorcycle enthusiast and looking to attend a rally, then you’re probably wondering what and where the largest motorcycle rally is. In this article, we’ll cover some of the biggest rallies around, so be sure to keep reading!
The 10 Largest Motorcycle Rallies Around
Motorcycle rallies are a centerpiece of the motorcycle subculture. It’s a way of living for many. For bikers, it’s as important to them as the air they breathe.
For many bikers, rallies aren’t something you attend every once in a while. Rallies are akin to a religious experience, and many drive their motorcycles across the country and visit each and every one.
If you’re looking to start attending a rally, here’s our list of the top 10 around to go to:
1. The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally
This rally is held in Sturgis, South Dakota, and is adults only. You can find loads of live music, indoor motorcycle shows, dirt drags, and even a charity poker event.
The year 2020 will mark the 80th anniversary of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. It’ll be held on August 7th through the 16th this year.
Founded in 1938, the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally welcomes motorcycle enthusiasts from all over the world. It started off as a weekend celebration with less than two dozen racers and has since exploded to include thousands upon thousands of participants.
At the Sturgis rally, you’ll have the chance to hear both local bands play, as well as some of the biggest names around like ZZ Top and Willie Nelson.
Once you’re done at the rally, be sure to check out the Sturgis Museum. Here you’ll find all the information you could ever want on the Sturgis rally and motorcycles in general.
2. The Bike Week in Myrtle Beach
Otherwise known as the Harley Bike Week.
Founded in 1940, the Myrtle Beach rally takes place in South Carolina during Spring. Over 200,000 people attend the rally on an annual basis. It’s estimated that the Myrtle Beach rally is the third-largest rally in the United States.
Once named in the “10 best bike rallies in the U.S.” by the Travel Channel, there’s something for everyone at Myrtle Beach Bike Week.
This rally is always held through the Memorial Day weekend. For 2020, the rally will be held from May 8 to May 17.
3. Daytona Bike Week
Each year, the Daytona Bike Week is held in Daytona Beach, Florida. It’s comparative in size to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and sees tens of thousands of people attend its 10-day event.
The Daytona Bike week occurs in the first week of March. Since 1937, it has garnered more and more attention. In 2020, the rally will celebrate its 42nd anniversary.
4. The Republic of Texas Biker Rally
Founded in 1995, this is one of the younger rallies around.
Held in Austin, Texas, the Republic of Texas Biker Rally grew at a fast pace since its inception. Now it can almost compete with long-time rallies like Sturgis and Myrtle Beach.
In 2020, the Republic of Texas Biker Rally will be held from June 11 to June 14. It’ll be its 25th anniversary.
5. The One Moto Show
If the massive crowds at Sturgis turn you off, and Daytona Beach is too humid for you, then The One Moto Show (OMS) might be for you. It’s held in Portland, Oregon, from February 7 to February 9.
The rally takes place over a brief weekend inside the Veterans Memorial Coliseum. You’ll find plenty of local bands performing, old-style chops and bobbers, and plenty of food vendors and entertainment.
The One Moto Show was founded on the idea of being an inclusive event showcasing the weird, rare, and classic in bikes.
One Moto started off as a small event for local bike enthusiasts and soon grew to an immense size.
6. Bama Bike Fest
Held in Forkland, Alabama, this is one of the few rallies that occur more than once a year. In fact, it’s held three times per year.
The Bama Bike Fest is adults only and focuses heavily on Harley-Davidsons. There’s free camping at the Bama Bike Fest and has something of an old-school feel with its huge campground with hot showers and live music.
7. Laconia Motorcycle Week
The Laconia Motorcycle Week rally dates back to 1916. It’s held in Laconia, New Hampshire.
If you’re wondering why the name sounds familiar, this rally was once infamous for an outlaw/police riot that happened in 1965. Now, though, the Laconia Motorcycle rally is a family-friendly event.
The Laconia rally takes place from June 13 to June 21 in 2020.
This rally takes place in Illinois and is yet another adults-only event. The Hogrock rally boasts a huge center stage that features non-stop live music and entertainment.
The Hogrock has a southern feel to its party atmosphere. You’ll find a wide range of events to take part in at the Hogrock. Whether it’s karaoke or mechanical bull rides or helicopter rides, there’s plenty to keep you thrilled.
You can attend the Hogrock from June 11 to June 14.
9. Bikes Blues and BBQ
Down south, Bikes Blues and BBQ goes by “Rumble in the Ozarks.” This rally is family-friendly and takes place in the Ozark Mountain foothills of Fayetteville, Arkansas.
This is one of the few rallies that take place further out away from massive cities, and the scenery is stunning. Enjoy a ride on a motorcycle while you admire the misty mountains.
You can attend this rally from September 23 to September 26.
10. Four Corners Motorcycle Rally
A Labor Day weekend rally, the Four Corners Motorcycle Rally takes place in Durango, Colorado, from September 4 to September 6.
The location of this bike rally makes it worthwhile. The rally is situated near the Four Corners Monument, where the states New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado all meet. It’s also close to the Mesa Verde National Park, Monument Valley, and the San Juan National Forest.
If you’ve been looking for an excuse to take your motorcycle cruising across the most beautiful mountain range in the United States, then this rally is for you.
Which Is the Largest Motorcycle Rally?
According to data gathered by the South Dakota Department of Transportation, the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is one of the most massive rallies in the world. It welcomes over 500,000 or more people to the seven-day event each year.
The Sturgis rally is considered by many to be an absolute must for rally-goers. If there’s only one rally you can attend for the whole year long, then make it the Sturgis rally.
How to Prepare If It’s Your First Time
There’s nothing more intimidating or exhilarating as attending your first motorcycle rally. It’s even more daunting if you’re alone. There are several tips you should be aware of to help you prepare.
Many rallies get crazy busy and draw in hundreds of thousands of people to an oftentimes small town. If you plan to stay at a hotel, book early. Also, make sure to get a map of the area. The last thing you want is to get lost.
Do your research and make sure you’re prepared. Many of the vendors and events require cash, so don’t show up with a credit card and nothing else.
Since these rallies also tend to pull in massive crowds, think about how you’ll deal with parking. It can often be an uphill battle to find any nearby parking, not to mention the fees you’ll have to pay. Make sure to budget appropriately.
So long as you do your research and prepare for the trip, your first time going to rally will be a successful adventure full of excitement.
Find a Rally for You
There are a multitude of smaller motorcycle rallies across the country. Just because it didn’t make our list doesn’t mean a rally isn’t worthwhile or fun. If larger crowds aren’t your thing or traveling long distances isn’t possible, look into smaller, local rallies near you.
Starting your own motorcycle club is another great idea to consider. It’s the perfect way to meet up with other like-minded people who love bikes the way you do. You might even start attending rallies together as a group.
No matter which rally you go to, from the largest motorcycle rally to the smallest, all have something to offer everyone. If you love motorcycles and haven’t yet been to a rally, check one out as soon as possible!
If you love motorcycles and reading about them, check out our Rides & Routes section for some great reads on where to go cruising next. You’ll be sure to find inspiration for your next trip.