Why have Spanish motocross and trials motorcycles gone up by over 100% since last summer?

What on earth is going on with Spanish dirt motorcycle prices? Why have Bultacos, Montesas and Ossas all gone up by over 150% since last summer? I was paying between £800 and £1,350 for very clean, original Spanish motorcycles with matching engine and chassis numbers. Now, such machines are £2,500 and upwards on any of the auction websites, and do bear in mind that these may well not be good original machines. So why the sudden increase in prices? For very good reason and, like many under valued classic motorcycles, they will continue to increase in value.

Quite simply the cost of buying and restoring an investment grade Spanish trials or motocross motorcycle was around £4,000-£5,000, including buying a donor motorcycle. That does not include paying someone to do the long, arduous restoration work.

It seems that more and more uninformed people trawled auction sites, bought bikes made up of numerous parts from other motorcycles, and spent a king’s ransom “doing them up in their shed”. They subsequently found out that engine and chassis numbers did not match. Then they discovered that after investing £4,500 on the bike, and an immense amount of their time and passion, that it was only worth about £800!

Now it seems that all of the decent machines have been snapped up by the shrewd people with a good eye for these old competition machines and sellers now want nearer the true value for their bikes.

All Spanish trials motorcycles have a very distinctive look. Even Spanish motocross machines look unique, handle superbly and, for the time, went like stink.

Like all classics, Montesa and Bultaco had competition success. In 1965, 67 and 68, motorcycle legend Sammy Miller won the Scottish six days trial. Montesa won the Scottish Six Days Trial in 1980. Sammy Miller was instrumental in the design of the Bultaco Sherpa and developed a motorcycle that destroyed the competition and set a new standard. Ossa had success in road racing and in trials, in the early 1970s. They were ridden by road race legend Mick Andrews and they are also great motorcycles. So they should be of similar value to the Bultacos and Montesas, however they have not yet caught up.

Bultaco and Montesa also produced championship winning motocross machines. Bultaco made the Pursang and Montesa the Capra, superb handling, fast (for their time) machines that won races. These two brands offer all the ingredients that highly investable, classic vehicles always possess-

  1. They revolutionised the motorsport.
  2. They all won championships and have a racing pedigree.
  3. They are very attractive motorcycles.
  4.  Good ones are rare.
  5.  They elicit nostalgic memories in those who raced them or were around them.


Finding a good competition motorcycle is very, very difficult indeed. To try and get any forty old competition machine with matching engine and chassis numbers is almost impossible. Engines blew up or got smashed to pieces on rocks and were replaced with used motors from another crashed motorcycles. Finding parts for these machines can be challenging at the best of times. Pistons, seals and rings are available, but try getting a crank, gears, or original petrol tanks. The cost of buying and restoring these motorcycles is still way in excess of the cost of buying a machine that has already been restored, even at these new prices. So clearly there is a long way to go before prices catch up to true values. Also bear in mind that once prices catch up with values, then the cost of spares increase.

As an alternative investment, the returns over the last year are clearly making these motorcycles one of the best performing assets. Not only are the returns phenomenal, but they are also tax-free. All classic motorcycles, if part of a private collection, are free of any tax liability. You can see a otter from H M Revenue and Customs confirming that here.

People are waking up to the true cost of the privilege of owning these gorgeous motorcycles. Those selling them are no longer prepared to give these classics away and want closer to their value, so prices have risen. They are a great investment and a lot of fun to own.


Paul Jayson

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