Can custom motorcycles be a good investment?

Custom motorcycles can be a good, and often fun, investment. They won’t ever increase in value like a Green Frame or MV 750S, but certain ones can increase in value. It all depends on the original idea, the engineering and how well that original idea has been executed. Some custom motorcycles should have remained on the back of the fag packet they were first conceived upon. That fag packet should have then been discarded and forgotten about. However, there are those few that were born out of a beautifully creative spark that ignited the creator’s imagination at every single point on the motorcycle. The engineers translated that creativity into 3D objects and the builder worked out how to make them all work together. Those are the custom motorcycles that people want to own and they are the machines which are great fun to own and that will increase in value.

IMG 4075 1


The provenance is then built up around the motorcycle by it winning shows and being featured, so awareness is raised about that bike’s existence. The story of the motorcycle is of interest, no one will pay large sums for a bunch of parts assembled from a custom parts catalogue. Such machines only ever devalue over time, then get bought up very cheaply and rebuilt into a new creation over time. A Harley-Davidson built from a Custom Chrome catalogue will not rise in value compared to a similar machine built by the legendary Arlen Ness. However, some customs have great provenance, like the Martek Suzuki Turbo owned by former front man of The Prodigy, Keith Flint. The motorcycle is a true, finely engineered custom motorcycle with 200 BHP on tap and a provenance that is truly wonderful. This type of motorcycle will always steadily increase in value. The engineering is stunning and the provenance is staggering, so it will always be desirable.


Unfortunately, many people are buying classic motorcycles and grinding every lug off the frame, sticking an ironing board seat and ace bars on. They get the clean lines they’re after, the airbox is binned and the bike looks incomplete. These machines will only ever decrease in value and there’s no chance it could ever be restored due to the frame being so butchered. Most restomods seem to look like a sad facsimile of the original destroyed motorcycle. Many owners are building café racers like this and are, for a while, getting away with charging an awful lot for very little. The long-term prices for these fad driven motorcycles look doomed to plummet, unless it’s an exceptional machine and nearly all are not. There have been exceptions, there is one particular Honda CBX1000 custom café I know, called The Beast, that is just gorgeous.

Superlight swing arm

Creative custom motorcycles

When a truly inspirational and creative custom comes along, it’s so refreshing. We have a beautiful Titanium framed Ducati 1000 that has been hand crafted from the ground upwards. The styling is beautiful and the engineering is incredible, with a hand-made Titanium frame and swing arm. The theme of the entire motorcycle is lightness and strength. The motorcycle has guile by the bucket load and demands attention. It begs you to ride it, just to see what it’s like. Although the switch gear can be easily acquired elsewhere, it is of the highest quality, but everything else is pretty much unique to this motorcycle. The engineering on this motorcycle is eye waveringly excellent.

Keith Flints Martek RHS with cup


A stunning custom motorcycle must have examples of exceptional engineering all over it. The welding must be exceptional and the design needs to be inspirational. It goes without saying that the paint must also be exceptional and of the greatest quality. The swing arm of the Superlight Titanium Ducati we have for sale is just breath taking, it is a work of art. The owner spent an absolute fortune getting this motorcycle completely perfect in every detail. This is the sort of motorcycle that will become highly sought after in the coming years. It is a showcase of outstanding and exceptional design and execution. Our mechanic’s own custom Harley Evo has incredible engineering features and rides beautifully. We are also selling a stunning piece of engineering in Sneaky Pete. The motorcycle is built around the motor, which is a Dog eared J.A.P. 1100. This motor is what people pay hundreds of thousands of pounds for to own a Brough Superior SS100. The motor was built new by the sons of J. A. Prestwich using the original dies and new old stock parts. This is a really interesting motor and everything has been built around this unique and very special motor.


Motorcycles built by the now deceased (in 2019) king of custom motorcycles Arlen Ness will always command high values. This man revolutionised custom motorcycle building creating new styles such as tail draggers, baggers and turbo charging old Shovel heads and building a rolling work of art around these motors. People are starting to charge high prices for old 1970s chopper frames such as Uncle Bunt and the nostalgia, to those who know, inspires buyers to pay those prices. Allen Millyard is another great name, but to call his creations custom motorcycles would not do them justice. In fact it seems that Allen Millyard is Europe’s very own Arlen Ness as both of their creations are more than an average classic motorcycle. Allen’s creations have increased in value impressively over the last few years and continue to do so. The writing is on the wall for only the best custom motorcycles to be chased down by collectors and investors and there is history and a line in the sand for this phenomenon. 

Millyard Kawasaki 350 four headers SQUARE

Future prices

It is obvious to see how the most beautifully engineered custom motorcycles with great provenance will become great investments. These machines are also great fun to own and the precedent for this has been set, but it’s a very young market. The Captain America custom Pan Head Harley (reportedly) used in the film Easy rider made US$1.65 million after auction fees in 2020, as you can see here. The Martek Suzuki we are selling, owned by ex-Prodigy front man Keith Flint is clearly fantastic value, as it has all of the ingredients to become a very high value motorcycle. Everywhere you look the engineering is stunning. It makes 200 BHP (it has been set to a low BHP to keep it as reliable as possible. The present owner found it in a poor and rundown state and has spent a fortune ironing out original flaws and getting it up to the specification it deserves today. It also has unparalleled provenance, having been owned by an iconic character who blazed a trail others could only try to follow in life and in music.

Flying Millyard

Buy or build the right custom motorcycle

Make sure that you build or buy the correct custom motorcycle and hold onto it. Build up the provenance, win shows, raise awareness of it and make sure it’s ridable and reliable. It is easier and quicker to restore a motorcycle, which is a very lengthy process in itself, than it is to build a quality custom motorcycle. If you want to know more about dabbling in the custom motorcycle market, call The Motorcycle Broker.

Paul Jayson

Tags: , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Featured in

The Motorcycle Broker
The Motorcycle Broker
The Motorcycle Broker
The Motorcycle Broker
The Motorcycle Broker
The Motorcycle Broker

Download your FREE Top 10 Classic Motorcycles Investments guide

Simply join the Inside-line Members club, it's FREE!

Vintage Motorcycle Investment PDF

Don't miss a post