Classic motorcycle price drivers

Classic motorcycle price drivers are quite simple- supply and demand. However, the supply and the demand have quite interesting factors behind them and when you study them, as we do, it’s plain to see that there’s plenty of headroom for investors. There is incredible demand on an unprecedented scale which is driven by demographics and rarity on a scale that most people don’t understand. The area of the market we mostly focus on is from 1965 to 1999, with some exceptions, because during this period the entire world was riding motorcycles like never before. You can understand the size of the UK market alone during this period, which is a very small market, by reading this article I wrote back in 2015. This phenomena was a global one for three reasons 1 Car insurance was prohibitively expensive for drivers under the age of twenty one and motorcycle insurance was much more affordable. 2 Small and medium capacity Japanese motorcycles were reliable enough to get owners to work every day and were affordable. 3 The introduction of purchase credit for motorcycle owners who had been in a job for six months or more, spread the cost of buying a motorcycle over three years. It was cheaper and more convenient to buy a motorcycle to get to work than to take the bus or train. This meant that young working people could buy a motorcycle and have independence between the ages of sixteen (for 50cc riders) and twenty one.

Honda CB750 sand cast RHS
It’s very difficult to find an investment grade Honda CB750 Sandcast

Global demand for motorcycles

The global demand for motorcycles was unprecedented because the world rode motorcycles from about 1968 until 1983 and Britain was a very small market. Ignoring the great high volume markets for small capacity motorcycles, such as many African nations and China, medium capacity Japanese motorcycles enjoyed a popularity never seen before. So many people in their teens and twenties started to ride a motorcycle as their sole means of transport. This opened up an entirely new lifestyle around rallies, camaraderie, challenges such as doing the ton on the North Circular Road by the Ace Cafe, race meetings turned into camping holidays with friends and memories of independent and exciting youths were created among those who rode motorcycles. Many people travelled to places on their motorcycles, they never would have gone without one in their lives, and wild memories and adventures were had by young people who later went on to a more sensible, sedate lifestyle once they could get insured in a car age twenty one. Never again would medium sized motorcycles, and Superbikes, be in such demand (until now as china is allowed large capacity motorcycles for the first time).

74 MV Agusta 750S salon prive 2018
1974 MV Agusta

Classic motorcycle demand is enormous now

Classic motorcycle demand is enormous now for motorcycles from the era 1968-1999 because of this phenomena. The many owners of motorcycles from that era have had nearly a lifetime of work, their kids have left home and they want the motorcycles of their youth. They want the big Superbikes of their own generations that they could not afford as a youth. You have a perfect storm for acute demand for some incredibly rare classic motorcycles. The number of people with the wealth to buy these machines far exceeds supply as these motorcycles were rare when they were new. Each day there are more and more customers who want the Superbikes of their youth, due to this demographic drive I’ve been explaining. The demand is also compounded by classic car owners noticing the incredible value in classic motorcycles and investing in these Superbikes which are in such high demand, as you can see in this article and this article here. Add to the incredible upward pressure on prices due to these demographics China entering the market, profits will be magnificent in the coming decade. Chinese investors really understand the collectibles market and nearly all investment grade classic motorcycles will make their way to China over the coming decade or two. This will radically change the market and it’s very slowly starting already, as China is allowing the importation of motorcycles made outside of China for the first time since 1997. They are also desperate for the large capacity Japanese, Italian, American and German marques to the point of fuelling a world shortage of modern large capacity motorcycles.

1975 MV Agusta 750S
1975 MV Agusta 750S ridden hard on loose chippings

Classic motorcycles are incredibly rare

Classic motorcycles are incredibly rare from this period in time and trying to find investment grade examples is seriously challenging. When you realise that there are only about 5,000 Honda CBX1000s worth buying worldwide, 1,000 Sandcast Honda CB750s, 120 Ducati Green Frames, 130 MV Agusta 750 Sports, 800 1972 Kawasaki Z1 900 and 400 1976 Ducati 900SS it becomes clear that these motorcycles are incredibly undervalued. They are often only 3-10% of the value of the equivalent classic car. There are millions of people with the funds to buy into the motorcycles of their youth, but there are so few of them available globally. This means that prices must increase really substantially now, as they have been over the last ten years. The profile of classic motorcycle investment has been lifted and it’s attracting new investment from all over the world. There just are not enough investment grade examples to go round if the prices increase ten fold, so it’s clear that there will be massive price increases, especially in such a time of fiat currency devaluation.

1976 Ducati 900SS
The 1976 Ducati 900SS is an incredibly rare classic motorcycle

Only investment grade classic motorcycles will deliver big profits

Only investment grade classic motorcycles will deliver big profits, the market wants authenticity. As I wrote in this article recently the only machines that will really deliver the profits, and fun, are the investment grade examples. Most of the machines in the market aren’t investment grade or need a fortune spending on them to turn them from an office ornament into an investment grade example, as you can see in this recent article. Investors don’t want an office ornament that won’t ever run, or something that looks shiny and nothing like the motorcycle when it left the factory. They demand authenticity, as they are really investing in stories and motorcycles that remind them of their youth. The same way that art investors don’t want to invest in a photograph of a Picasso painting, they want the real thing. Finding investment grade examples is incredibly challenging and the price has to be paid for them, there are no bargains. So many people bring us motorcycles to transform into investment grade examples and I have to turn them away, as it is much cheaper for them to sell the motorcycle as is, take the loss and start again with an example that we find through our network of collectors.

Honda CBX1000 Front right

Which classic motorcycle to invest in?

Which classic motorcycle to invest in is a question many don’t like the answer we offer in response to this. We always play safe when asked this question, as we are classic motorcycle investment brokers, not classic motorcycle speculation brokers. Trying to guess the future with motorcycles that just were not iconic is a great way to watch your investment stagnate. If you want to know in further depth I suggest you download our free magazine called The Inside Line and you do that by joining The Inside Line on our website, it’s free to join. To give you an idea, here is a starter list of sure fire winners. For the Ducati marque- 1974 750SS green frame, 1976 onwards 750 and 900SS, GT750, 750 Sport, first 200 Mike Hailwood Replicas, 851, 888 SP, 916/996 SP/S, Desmosedici and many racing motorcycles. Honda offer the Sandcast 750, CBX1000, CB1100R, RC30, RC45 and many racing motorcycles. Kawasaki offer the Z1 900 range, Z1000R, Z1000 turbos, the W650 and many racing motorcycles. Suzuki offer the GS1000S, GT750, RE5 and many racing motorcycles. Yamaha XS650, XS1100, RD series and some great racing motorcycles. Laverda offer the SFC750. These are all from the era 1968 to 1999 and offer incredible profits in the coming years.

Suzuki RG500 MK4 LHS

How to find an investment grade classic motorcycle

How to find an investment grade classic motorcycle is not an easy task, contrary to the belief of many buyers. If it was as easy as many think, we wouldn’t have bothered starting The Motorcycle Broker, we would just be buying shiny motorcycles and selling them. Just look at the car market with the largest classic car dealer in the UK being prosecuted for fraud and going bankrupt. Read the entire article and you’ll see how the problems started with inflating prices of vehicles that weren’t investment grade and claiming them to be genuine. The other issue is that companies the size of JD Classics have to replace all of the stock they sell very quickly. There just aren’t the number of investment grade classic cars to replace the stock that’s sold, so the business model of holding stock to sell is seriously outdated. That’s why we track down the investment grade classic motorcycle you desire, rather than selling you what we have on the showroom floor. Owners of vehicles have been buying stock that isn’t investment grade and rotating it since people first started collecting vehicles; it always results in disaster and is discovered at some point. The only safe way is to pay the cost of an investment grade example in the first place. Owners know what they have and there aren’t the bargains out there for genuine machines, only the ones with something to hide come at a discount. At The Motorcycle Broker we only buy and sell investment grade classic motorcycles for our discerning clients. If you want to invest in classic motorcycles, call The motorcycle Broker on 01803 865166, 07971 497615 or Email [email protected] to book a free Zoom consultation or come and visit us by appointment to see our work in person.

Paul Jayson

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