ROT Rally

by -
Date(s) 05/05/2023 - 05/07/2023
3507 Chapman Ln
Austin, Texas 78744
More Info Official Website

First, R.O.T. Biker Rally Sucks!! Next, the 2023 R.O.T. Rally will be held at the Austin Speed Shop. So in a short period has gone from the gigantic Expo Center to the comparatively tiny Speed Shop!!

At this point, the biggest draws of ROT are not happening. And if they changed the name, people wouldn’t even guess it was the Republic of TX Rally. The good news with this location change is that campers, attendees, and vendors won’t be screwed over.

2022 Biker Rally Review

Just when you think the Republic of Texas Motorcycle Rally (R.O.T.) couldn’t get any worse, it did!! The 2022 motorcycle rally was just terrible. Here’s just a handful of low-lights:

  • There was no electricity for the first couple of days, even when you paid.
  • No beer at the Rally because the promoters did not secure a license.
  • The R.O.T. biker rally promoted as a big deal was dead.
  • Plus, they did not have the permit to have more than 2,500 attendees. And guess what? Even on Saturday, the R.O.T. motorcycle rally was not full.
  • It was held in Bastrop, farther away from one of the biggest R.O.T. attractions partying in downtown Austin.

How was the 2021 R.O.T.?

As you may know, the Rally has declined for many years. But after the 2021 R.O.T., there is no way to describe the Rally except as terrible and overpriced. And this is not just our review/opinion; go to Facebook and read all of the R.O.T. Rally’s reviews.

Now there was an ownership change a few years ago. But this was good because it was the last hope for the Republic of Texas (R.O.T.) “Motorcycle” Rally to recover. Now the previous R.O.T. owners have tried for years to improve it. But the biker rally got worse as the prices and quality went downhill quickly.

Next, let’s take a look at the wreck in 2020. Now you probably have heard that the 2020 R.O.T. was canceled.

You may have heard in different R.O.T. Biker Rally reviews and posts that no refunds exist. So some people put out a huge amount of money for a specific R.V. spot and tickets. And eventually, they were told, “Too bad, sorry, you can use the R.V. spot and tickets in 2021.”

Of course, no one was thrilled. Some felt like they were forced to loan R.O.T. money. Plus, not everyone could return in 2021, so they were screwed out of a lot of money.

Then in 2021, the R.O.T. Rally venue changed to the race track. And it was a wreck. The people who paid for a specific R.V. spot did not get it. But instead, they were put wherever the unorganized staff wanted them.

Also, at the 2021 R.O.T. Biker Rally, not everyone was allowed to ride their motorcycle in. So yes, many people had to park their motorcycles and take a shuttle!! But golf carts were allowed to bring yours in if you paid the ripoff fee. Or you could rent a golf cart at R.O.T. for ripoff prices.

And the bands at R.O.T. were not worth half the price. Also, at the 2021 R.O.T., the number and quality of vendors were terrible. 

Now, if you liked the R.O.T. motorcycle parade to downtown, you were hugely disappointed. And this is because, in 2021, it was slowly riding in a traffic jam around the Circuit of Americas.

Next, the below information was written before the 2021 R.O.T. “Motorcycle” Rally. And some new attractions were mentioned at the 2021 R.O.T. Biker Rally. But over the years, R.O.T.’s marketing hype has been just hype. Subsequently, we are waiting to see what happens.

Also, the price of a ticket has not been worth it for a large number of people. And this has been the case for some time at the R.O.T. Rally. For instance, the price went from $79 in 2017 to $99 in 2018 and 2019 and then $149 in 2020 and 2021.

As you can read in this thorough review of the bike rally, the value has not been there for endless reasons. One huge problem has been with the quality of the bands. In 2021 Artimus Pyle of Lynyrd Skynrd and Blackberry Smoke will be the headliners…but this is with a ticket price of $149. Yes, $149.

Now when you compare either of these bands to Z.Z. Top playing in 2018 when the price was $99… there is not any comparison. Most people could not name the band that Artimus Pyle is from. Subsequently, this is not a solid indicator of any amazing changes by the new owners.

Below you can read our 2020 R.O.T. Rally information and review. This will give you a better idea of the event’s challenges and problems. Plus, it will help you see if attending or vending is worth it – and it isn’t.

On top of our review, you can look at the R.O.T. motorcycle rally’s Facebook page to read reviews and comments. And you will find endless negative reviews.

2020 R.O.T. Rally Info

First, the R.O.T. Rally did not happen in 2020. Next, below is Our R.O.T. Review BEFORE the cancellation. But you will find that this is great information for 2021 as well.

This year will be the 25th year of the bike rally. Next, the R.O.T. Biker Rally in Austin is on the LightningCustoms.com’s Major Motorcycle Rallies List.

First, let us mention that the below R.O.T. Rally review is informational only. Importantly, this is simply what is and is not happening at the event. And this is not what we want to see happen at the Rally. We would love to see the Republic of Texas (R.O.T.) Biker Rally gets back to what it was years ago. And a decade ago, it was a pretty cool, larger motorcycle rally.

R.O.T. Biker Rally Review

Next is one of the most popular questions – is R.O.T. Rally worth the price?

To give you the bottom-line answer, R.O.T. is worthwhile if you want to party and camp all weekend. But f you are not going there for both reasons, the R.O.T. Biker Rally is not worth the price or your time.

So what is the basis of our review of the biker rally? First, we have been religiously attending the Republic of Texas Rally in Austin for the last 16 years. In addition, we have spoken with tons of attendees and vendors over the years. Also, since the Rally is in our backyard, we can hear the opinions of R.O.T. Rally from people who go regularly. Subsequently, the basis of our review is also not what we want to see at a motorcycle rally.

There have definitely been many changes in the motorcycle world and rallies over the last 16 years. As you have seen, many bike rallies that have been going on for 16 years have had considerable declines in their attendance. Other rallies that were around back then have now shut down. Subsequently, we are not signaling out only R.O.T.

Comparison of R.O.T. to Sturgis or Lone Star Rally

Although you will hear or have read from R.O.T. Rally’s promoters that the event is similar to Sturgis, there are none. Except there are both humans and vehicles with motors at both bike rallies.

Specifically, the attendance at the R.O.T. Biker Rally in Austin has gone from approximately 45,000 to about 10,000 people. Importantly, this is the number of attendees that pay to get into the Expo Center (the official venue of R.O.T.). On the other hand, the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally gets around 500,000 attendees per year. So there is no comparison when you look at the attendance.

Next, how does the attendance at R.O.T. Rally compare to other motorcycle rallies in Texas? Again, there is no comparison. Notably, the Lone Star Rally is the only motorcycle event in Texas that attracts over 25,000 people. And every year, Lone Star gets around 400,000 attendees. Again, the Austin biker rally receives a little over 10,000 attendees at the Expo Center. So clearly, there is no comparison between the number of attendees at these rallies.

R.O.T. Rally’s Attendance Numbers Explained

Also, let us explain why there are vastly different attendance numbers for the R.O.T. You might have heard that the Republic of Texas Biker Rally’s attendance is 150,000 to 200,000 people. But this is a number from the promoters, and it is the total number of “participants.”

And the vast majority of the “participants” at R.O.T. Do Not go to the Expo Center. Instead, there are a huge number of riders who come to the Austin area but do not go to the Expo. These riders come out to enjoy all of the free things in Austin.

Second, the “participants” number also includes the large number of locals who do not ride. And there are a lot of locals that come out to look around in downtown Austin. But still, they are part of the R.O.T. Bike Rally “participants.”

We clarify the disparity in the numbers because it can generally be confusing. In addition, if the official R.O.T. motorcycle rally venue has 150,000 to 200,000 attendees, you might expect the attractions of a giant biker event. But there are not huge attractions at R.O.T.

Also, vendors do not want to misunderstand the attendance at R.O.T. Rally. Or they might think they will make tons of money because of the number of “participants.” And if they do not know the actual numbers, they will be in for a huge disappointment.

In addition, there are no similarities in the quality of attractions when comparing R.O.T. Biker Rally to either the Sturgis or Lone Star. As you will read below, there just are not.

Next, we get input and hear comments about Austin’s R.O.T. Rally being a “golf cart rally.” Whether you think golf carts are good or bad, there are tons of golf carts. More people ride around on golf carts in the camping area than motorcycles. Just look at the pictures and videos, and you will see our R.O.T. review is correct.

Also, the reason why there are so many golf carts at the R.O.T. Biker Rally is simple; the promoters allow it. Not only do they allow golf carts to be brought in, but they also have a golf cart rental company at the Expo Center.

 So is the motorcycle rally worth the price?

Again, the answer is that it depends. Again, the cost to attend the 2019 R.O.T. Biker Rally was $99; in 2020, it was $149. The entry fee was free tent camping. So it would be a good deal if you went to camp and party all weekend in a tent.

If you want to bring an R.V. or trailer, luxury is more expensive. It might be worth it, with the temperature regularly being in the high 90s or over 100 degrees in Austin.

Now back to the four-day pass for the 2020 Rally going up from $99 to $149. So how could this dying Rally’s price go up 50%?? The price has increased, but the event gets fewer attendees. And there is no gigantic change in attractions. Also, no huge name band will play at the 2020 R.O.T. A great example is that Steve Miller Band is headlining in 2020.

To clarify, we are not saying Steve Miller’s band is terrible. Our point is that Steve Miller is not a big headliner for most people. And nowhere near as popular as Z.Z. Top. Also, this highlights R.O.T. Rally’s practice of not getting top-shelf entertainment. Compounding the problem is that even with a lesser band fee for the Austin bike rally has gone up 50%!!

In addition, the cost of one beer at the Rally is ridiculous! It was $8 per beer at the 2019 Biker Rally. Also, a bottle of water and soft drinks are extremely expensive. But the good news is that you can BYOB to R.O.T. With the number of food vendors and the subsequent options way down, you should also grab something to bring in to eat.

Camping at the Bike Rally

First, the “camping” has been and still is one of the best parts of the R.O.T. Biker Rally. Although some people still do primitive camping, trailers, and RVs have drastically risen. You will see what we mean if you look at the pictures on R.O.T.’s Facebook page. Also, along with the huge drop in the overall attendance at the Republic of Texas Rally, there has been a drop in the number of people in the R.V. / camping area.

Now at night, the camping area at R.O.T. gets a Rating. So it can get pretty wild. We think this is good. That being said, allowing kids in the non-camping area did change the rules, as it should.

Next, there are some things to check out at the R.O.T. Rally for those camping and those not camping. Now there are not a lot of amazing attractions, but there are some things to check out.

First, there are some pretty cool bikes on display. But they are not the badass bikes from huge name builders at the event years ago. Also, at the R.O.T. Biker Rally in Austin, there is a bike build-off, motorcycle giveaway, bike show, supermoto, flat track racing, and contests.

So if you go for the cool traditional attractions you see at a large rally, R.O.T. will be disappointing. There is not enough to do for even half a day at the Republic of Texas motorcycle rally.

Next, there has been a drastic drop in the number and quality of vendors at R.O.T. Also, there are not a lot of huge vendors at the R.O.T. Biker Rally. In addition, there are very few big rigs at the bike rally.

As you know, big rigs bring out solid displays and cool bikes. In addition, they bring out lots of parts, accessories, and other biker products. Without the big vendors and big rigs, there has been a decrease in the value of even going out to the Expo. This is because there is now a lot less to see and not nearly as much to buy at the R.O.T. Rally.

Quality of Bands at R.O.T.

Notably, and not in a good way, is the quality of the bands at R.O.T. Rally. For a long time, the quality of the band lineup has been declining. First, there are often unknown bands at R.O.T., Or there are unknown members from relatively well-known bands from the 60s to the 90s playing in hybrid bands.

Now that did change in 2018 when Z.Z. The top was at the biker rally. Now the price did go up from $79 to $99. But there was hope that Z.Z. Top playing would help the Republic of Texas Biker Rally’s experience and attendance. It did not do much for either of the above. Many people we spoke with said fewer people at the motorcycle event.

In 2019, the bands playing at the R.O.T. Bike Rally returned to the circuit bands you see at other events. In addition, there were also more hybrid bands. Then to make matters worse, the price did not go down even with the lower-quality music lineup.

Headlining Band for R.O.T. Rally in 2020

Again, the 2020 headlining band for R.O.T. is the Steve Miller Band. As we said, they are not a bad band but not as popular as Z.Z. Top.

Now, the 2020 R.O.T. Biker Rally cost should go down from $99. But instead, it has gone up to $149. So the 2020 fee has gone up by 50%??

Daily Overview of R.O.T.

So what is going on at R.O.T. Rally by each day? Thursdays are always somewhere between dead and slow at most four-day biker events. And R.O.T. follows this pattern. Usually, a motorcycle rally starts picking up Friday in the afternoon. Again, this Rally follows this pattern.

But here’s a big problem at R.O.T. Biker Rally. And it is something a little different than what you might expect. Notably, the parade is going downtown in the early evening on Friday. If you like riding in a parade, this one to downtown Austin is good. The partying downtown, which is FREE, is by far the biggest attraction at the Austin rally.

But the consequence of having the parade is that buying a day pass for Friday is not worth it all. This is because most people are either in the camping area or downtown during the motorcycle rally’s busy hours. Subsequently, not much is going on at the Expo Center if you are not camping at R.O.T.

Also, this means that buying a full-weekend pass doesn’t have the same value. This is because you are paying for four days. But you only get whatever is good during the day and night on Saturday at R.O.T. Rally.

On Saturday, there are the attractions we note above during the day at the R.O.T. Rally. Then at night, there are bands. And the camping is pretty wild whether you like golf carts or not. But Sunday is like many bike rallies – it is just vendors breaking down as fast as possible starting in the morning.

Vending at the Republic of Texas Rally

As we noted above, since almost everyone, not camping leaves to go downtown, there is not much going on Friday evening at the biker rally. For vendors, this is a train wreck. Because when people start showing up, they all leave to go downtown. So this means what should be the second best day of sales, Friday, is really poor at R.O.T.

We have seen the Expo as such a ghost town that even R.O.T. Rally shuts down its merchandise booths. And we had seen this by the time it was dark on Friday. As you know, merchandise sales are a huge source of revenue for all biker rallies. So when a rally stops selling its products, it is time for vendors to close.

Also, not many things are going on for non-campers on Friday at R.O.T. And there are very few people in the main area after the parade leaves. So this is another large number of the vendors closed. Subsequently, for attendees/potential shoppers at the Expo, drinking $8 beers with nothing going on does not happen.

Then on Saturday, there are some shoppers at the R.O.T. Biker Rally. But there is not the number you would expect for a rally with around 10,000 attendees. Again, most attendees are there to party and camp, so they are recovering on Saturday. So this makes the number of shoppers much lower than expected at the Expo Center.

Compounding poor sales at R.O.T. are the bands. And this is because, by the early evening, the people are going to watch the bands and not to shop. Again, when vendors arrive on Sunday, it is time to pack up and not make sales.

The bottom line for Vendors at the Biker Rally

So is it worth it to vend at R.O.T. Rally? Well, that answer is simple – NO. Like you see at most four-day rallies, Thursdays are dead at R.O.T. Then, when there starts to be some foot traffic on Friday, everyone quickly leaves for the parade or goes to the campgrounds. So Friday is dead. There is also not much foot traffic, even on Saturday at R.O.T. Bike Rally. And then Sunday vendors are packing up.

In addition, there is the extreme heat during this time of year in Texas. Also, there are huge swings in weather this time of year in Austin, like torrential winds. Next, there are dirt pathways on at least one of the edges of most vendor spots. Subsequently, inventory can take a lot of damage and/or get dirty. All of this makes it miserable being a vendor at the R.O.T. Rally.

Next, there is a solid chance that the Republic of Texas Austin Biker Rally will not be profitable enough to show up. Also, we have a friend who has worked for beer and alcohol concessions companies for years. And we were told that even the Rally’s concession sales were down by over 30% or more from 2018 to 2019 at the R.O.T. Biker Rally.

Then you add in the low attendance. Also, you add in the large percentage of people who are there who are not shopping. Plus, you consider that Rally’s schedule is not vendor-friendly. And vending at R.O.T. Rally is terrible.

Again, it is not just our opinion. For instance, the big rigs and larger vendors are not at the R.O.T. Biker Rally. Also, there are many empty spaces that were overflowing during the bike rally in the past.

Next, there are a lot of small mom-and-pop vendors. Some of which are in Walmart canopies. And they are like flea market vendors, cheap products vendors, non-biker companies doing promotions, etc.

As always, vendors vote with their dollars and time. And with the above, the vendors vote a big no on R.O.T. Rally. Also, there are many more profitable events than the Austin bike rally.

Finally, vendors look for rallies to attend before their next big event. But a large number of R.O.T. Rally’s vendors said they would instead take the weekend off. It is because putting in a huge effort in the extreme heat during Austin’s R.O.T. motorcycle rally is not fun. And doing it all to lose money or make very little money honestly makes no sense.

Should I Go to R.O.T. Rally?

Again, from what we have seen at R.O.T. and what attendees have to say, the bike rally might be worthwhile if you are going to camp. But if you are not going to camp and party, R.O.T. Rally in Austin wastes your time and money.

Now you add that the entry fee is $149 for the 2020 R.O.T. Biker Rally. And if you are traveling a long distance, it is not worth it. Also, most people who were not camping and bought a four-day pass were unhappy. Just go to R.O.T. Rally’s Facebook reviews, and you will see our review is the same. Sorry for the downer information, but knowing before wasting your time and money is better.

Other R.O.T. Information

NOTE – During the entire R.O.T. Biker Rally weekend, it is a “no refusal” in Austin. And this means you must take a D.U.I. if a cop asks.

– BYOB to R.O.T. for sure.
– FEES – A four-day pass for the 2021 Rally is $149.

ROT Videos