“One’s waste is another’s treasure,” goes the old saying. In the world of vintage motorcycles, what is trash and what is treasure can be in the eye of the beholder. And it goes without saying that this can have a huge impact on the asking price.
Fortunately, for those of us who are not only interested in vintage motorcycles of almost any brand and country of origin, there is a source of information on how to determine what is waste and what who is a treasure and how much it can be worth.
The complete vintage motorcycle price guide, 2020-2021 edition, which is compiled by the Motorcycle and Model Railroad Museum of Wisconsin, is this resource.
We told you about a previous edition of the book in 2016, which covered model years 1901 to 1996. It included data on 70 brands from around the world, covered in 240 pages.
The latest edition is enhanced with a cover of 91 brands (including some scooters), vintage from 1901 to 1999 in a handy 432 page paperback.
The book includes a fascinating section called “Price Mart Showroom”, where information on sales and price trends in motorcycle categories is offered to help potential collectors / investors know where the best investments are. The book says its sales and status data comes from more than 400 contributors around the world, including brand experts and bike show judges. Price data is based on actual selling prices, auction results, trade and internet sales information.
It includes a very useful section on the six conditions or grade levels used to assess the relative worth of the condition. Here is an example of how it can be used to help a buyer or seller determine the right price range for a given bike:
Let’s say you’ve always wanted a vintage Triumph motorcycle. And, out of the blue, a truly special quality copy went on sale at a private party near you – a limited edition 1977 Triumph 750 Bonneville Silver Jubilee (example for illustration only – none image or similar example is not included in the book)!
The bike is super clean, with only around 6000 original miles on it. It runs and drives like new but the mufflers are not original and it has been converted to an electronic ignition system from contact break points. Otherwise it is notch and dent free, the paint, chrome and unique blue seat upholstery with red piping are original and premium. Everything is working.
You saved some money, but not full blast, and this is a very special bike that won awards at the bike show, so how much could such a gem be worth?
The complete 2020-2021 edition vintage motorcycle price guide is a great place to start sorting it out. So, let’s give it a try. First of all, it would not be considered a condition 1 bike, i.e. perfect, like new, in a showroom, as it has ridden several thousand kilometers and has undergone some modifications by compared to the original. That’s okay if you’re a buyer with limited resources, because if that was condition 1 it could be worth around $ 15,000, maybe out of your price range.
But given what we know, it’s a good candidate for a condition 2 – excellent – meaning it has had limited road mileage and appears to have little to no wear and tear. In this category of condition, it could earn around $ 12,000.
Here’s where paying attention to things like the non-original exhaust system and other changes from the original can affect the value. This example, with non-original exhausts (although they look great), and a modified ignition system may be a stronger candidate for Condition 3, which is very good, but not necessarily perfect in the whole or completely original. A condition 3 would be in the price range of $ 9,000, based on the price guide.
There are three condition levels below these three – condition 4 is good – a basic and serviceable machine, but with some visible wear and can show its age, may need some parts, but may also be noticeably damaged. ‘origin. Condition 5 is Fair — a bicycle in need of major repair or restoration; the paint may need to be re-sprayed, the chrome may be pitted or discolored, but the machine is basically sound. Condition 6 is bad, entering basket territory. These don’t work, usually incomplete, but can be complete with a lot of visible corrosion, the paint and chrome are bad, the rubber and plastic parts are cracked, faded, or broken, and the bike may be a better candidate. as parts bike than as a restoration project.
Of course, ultimately what the seller is firm on and what the buyer is willing to pay are the criteria that will ultimately determine the sale price, or whether a sale will take place.
The book can be a huge asset to both the serious collector / investor as well as the casual and occasional buyer of motorcycles or scooters.