BMW Motorrad Spezial

Interview: Jared Zaugg

Legend Of The Motorcycle founder Jared Zaugg
Jared Zaugg may not be a household name, but he’s the man who put high-end motorcycling on the map. He was one of the founders and the driving force behind the Legend of the Motorcycle concours d’elegance—widely regarded as the world’s premier motorcycle event. It was the show that for the first time put bikes on the same level as collectors’ automobiles. After three successful years, the Legend Of The Motorcycle was ‘retired’ in 2009.

What was the first motorcycle you bought with your own money? Completely mine in every formal way, from the purchase price, name on title, registration and insurance, was a 1970 BMW R60/5 Toaster Tank. And within 45 minutes I was on the open road heading out solo across western America. Foolish in hindsight, but one of those experiences I count among my very best.

What do you think is the most beautiful production motorcycle ever built? I remember being invited to view a private collection of over 200 rare motorcycles in the Alps of Europe. The exterior of the house was purposefully non-descript but when I entered the “sanctum” I was literally overwhelmed. Motorcycles of every era—racers, production bikes, superchargers—the rarest of the rare, even a dozen Megolas (!) were lined up wall to wall in row after row. I was totally overwhelmed and literally stunned. And yet what grabbed my attention among all of this was a 1929 Neander (below).

Neander motorcycle
Uncommon and over-looked, this highly innovative, uniquely styled and achingly beautiful machine was ahead of its time. Lightweight pressed steel frame, powerful MAG motor, pivoted front fork, never painted, always cadmium plated, nimble, fast, graceful and successful at racing (under Opel), this machine transfixed me and I’ve coveted one ever since. To me, this bike ushered in the era of the most beautiful motorcycles, the 1930s.

What motorcycle do you despise? Any theme bike.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? I try not to take myself too seriously and I’ve realized that happiness is a collective of moments. I’m always looking for happiness and I always find it—after the fact—in the simplest of things.

Electric motorcycles: Yes or No? Yes. They have their place and that place will continue to grow. Besides, the massive, instantaneous torque is unreal and the silence contributes to that connectedness to the road that only a motorcyclist knows.

What is your favorite journey? One that is born of spontaneity.

Which ‘everyday’ modern bikes do you think will become future classics? The equivalent of the Honda CB750 or Moto Guzzi V7 Sport, if you like? Ducati Monster.

Who are your real-life motorcycling heroes? Tazio Nuvolari. (Painting by Nik Coole below.) One of the greatest motorsportsmen the world will ever know.

Tazio Nuvolari by Nik Coole
Are you optimistic for the future of motorcycling? Yes. And just when it seems like innovation is static along comes a John Britten (V1000 below) and turns the world on its head. Creativity can never be permanently stifled.

Britten V1000 superbike
What is your current state of mind? To quote Nina Simone, I’ve got alotta living to do before I die and I ain’t got no time to waste!

With thanks to M. Charles Lucas.

  • Eric

    love this guys outlook on things, good post

  • Best interview yet. Dude you should interview a random site subscriber. Just a true “nobody” if you will.

    • DS

      agree. would highlight the power of the web & our shared hobbie

  • Davidabl2

    As to the bike he’s sitting on in the first pic…beauty’s in the eye of the beholder for this one.

  • Harry Farquhar

    Just when I think maybe you should stop with the interviews already you hit one out of the park nice job don’t let it go to your head.

    • Ha. I have to credit one of our readers, M. Charles Lucas, for suggesting Jared. An inspired choice.

  • Lars

    Excellent! I love this guy.

  • great stuff! Lol’d at “any themed bike”

  • KIK


  • I miss a question..
    why did legend of the motorcycle stop?

    • JT

      Lack of sponsor dollars as we headed into the recent craziness. I had the opportunity to attend all three of those shows and every year had me proclaim, “too good to be true”. All the best bikes from their respective marques in a beautiful setting right on the ocean. All the roads leading to the show were excellent moto roads. Plus, there were motorcycle luminaries mingling everywhere. They have since tried to recreate the format up in Carmel and at Pebble Beach, but I don’t think you can ever come close to what JZ accomplished. Motorcyclists are humble people with wild hearts that are passionate about machinery. Trying to incorporate with the “car set” just makes it more about how much something is worth.

      • RKnight

        “Too good to be true” says it all. Great to see Jared recognized for the unmatched, world-class event he put together that so many of us enjoyed for three years and keep hoping might return . . . no other copycat exhibit since then has compared to the true celebration and passion of the art of motorcycles, collectors and riders as Legends did.

  • Southsiders Mc

    Big respect for mr Zaugg, who organized the greatest motorcycle event ever, that changed my motorcycle life…

  • Nicholas

    Legend real was a landmark event and the motorcycling community has a lot to thank Jared for.

  • DS

    The ’29 Neander has an amazing looking v-twin!

  • Domagoj Kuna

    Finally, an interview!
    I really enjoy motorcycles shown here, but interviews are what I enjoy the most.
    Keep it up!

  • Hadden

    He’s my uncle! Woo! Go Jared! (my dad still has that “Legend of the Motorcycle” metal plate on his car!)

  • mmm, another good one. What you might not be able to tell from the interview is extent of Jared’s love of motorcycles and motorcyclists. Sure, everybody likes bikes and all that, but with Jared, I always get the sense that he has very deep feelings for the people and the industry as well as the pretty bikes and the cool technology. He and Brooke hosted the Legends so that everybody could enjoy the stuff just like he does, not so that he or anybody else could become famous or make money. But with high standards some difficulties can present themselves, and Jared stuck to his principles. When some of the big investors and advertisers backed out, he didn’t scale back the event to become another Saturday show in a parking lot. He retired it with dignity, at the top of the game. I’ll keep pestering him to bring it back one of these years, hopefully we can all experience it again soon.

  • Dr B

    Great Interview. JZ knows the globe, Legends will be back.

  • Cbzaugg

    Jared is a creative talent. He is sincere, humble and courageous. He is a visionary for the motorcycle world. He and Brooke have high moral standards.He is an eternal optimist and looks for the good in everything and everyone. He and Brooke always strive toward perfection in any endeavor. When they take on a project they give it their all. Even though the “Legend” took off in a tough economic time, the three shows were the best in the world.

    • Paloma

      COOL, that was motivating… It seems like you know them very well :)

  • Marina

    That’s my best friend’s uncle!!!!!

  • Pam

    Nice article Jared. You definitely look like model material on that bike! The smile tells the whole story.
    Aunt Pam