High Pipe Scramble

Scrambling at 7,500 ft in the High Sierras

What’s better than waking up to the smell of cool fresh mountain air knowing you’re going to spend the day on two-wheels watching and doing things of questionable judgment? Well nothing, except retelling the tale over frosty mugs of local brew. And that is exactly what a typical day at High Pipe Motorcycle Festival is like.

High Pipe is a three-day, bring-what-you-got good time. Largely billed as a scrambler event but welcomes all-comers. And a little bit of everything showed up, from dual-sports to sport-tourers and everything in between. Including a pair of 1948 Indian Chiefs and a guy powering his girlfriend's 2016 CBR300R up the dirt-road hillclimb event! Entertainment factor was high watching the CBR pilot blast through the Bridgestone Hillclimb event, somehow avoiding harrowing crashes time after time. It's a good bet the (now ex?!) girlfriend makes a more thoughtful choice choosing her next partner.

BMW R nineT static 3/4 view
Three-day-old BMW R nineT Urban GS at the High Pipe Festival in a trial by fire.Jeff Allen

If what you truly lust after is a good ol' fashion hand-built scrambler, High Pipe did not disappoint. A built on a budget Suzuki DR650 Craigslist find carried owner Stephen Clark to hillclimb glory. A couple on a Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled ran the competition as a team, finishing in the top five, two-up! Then there's the three-day-old BMW RnineT Urban GS getting flogged off-road as if it was stolen. And taking the silliness to the next level were a pair of Honda Trail 110s, complete with plastic milk crates bungeed to the tail rack.

In addition to all the motorcycle shenanigans, displays from EagleRider, Bell Helmets, Alpinestars, Rev'It, Klim, Rever and Bridgestone showcased great aftermarket products, while a variety of demo rides were available at the Husqvarna, BMW, Scrambler Ducati and Honda display booths.

It was a festive 3 days filled with bikes, gear, bands, beer and more bikes. All the essential ingredients for a good ol’ fashioned scramble. So if you’re interested in a badass bike weekend that’s more about what you can do on your bike, than what bike you’re actually riding. Better start planning now for next year.

custom triumph bonneville scrambler trail action
Huck-a-buck on a custom Triumph Bonneville Scrambler.Jeff Allen
2 up off road motorcycle action
Two-up on a Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled and still managed a top-five finish in the Bridgestone Hillclimb competition.Julia LaPalme
off road rider covered in mud
Someone please tell this guy not to follow so close.Jeff Allen
Ducati brought out the Scrambler demo fleet for High Pipe Festival goes to test ride.
Scrambler summer tour demo area.Jeff Allen
honda motorcycle demo ride area
Honda rolled out CRF250 Rallys and a fleet of Rebel 500 and 300s for demo rides in the High Sierras.Jeff Allen
1948 indian chief motorcycles
A pair of '48 Indians, the original go-anywhere machines.Jeff Allen
camping at the high pipe festival
The place to be. Fall asleep next to a roaring river.Jeff Allen
honda cbr300 off road action
When the weekend was over, somehow the paint and bodywork on this Honda CBR300R were unscathed after its epic run up the Bridgestone Hillclimb course.Jean Turner
suzuki dr650 off road action
Suzuki DR650 handbuilt scrambler. This Craigslist find carried its owner to glory on the Bridgestone Hillclimb.Julia LaPalme
honda cb450 off road action
Honda CB450 fitted with CL pipes.Jeff Allen
bell moto 3 helmet demo area
Grab a Bell Moto 3 to try and hit the road for a demo ride.Jeff Allen
honda trail 110 off road action
Honda Trail 110. Nice milk crate, mister. Whatcha got in there?Jeff Allen
motorcycle riders relaxing by the fire
Evening festivities included bands, beer, and bench racing.Jeff Allen
guy holding the winners cup
The spoils of victory. Stephen Clark drinks from the cupJeff Allen
people receiving free swag from motorcycle companies
The free swag was flowing. Giveaways from Alpinestars, Rev'it, Bridgestone, Bell, Klim, BMW, Honda and Ducati.Jeff Allen