It’s almost mystic – that love and enthusiasm for collectible motorbikes. Whether you’re new to the world of collectible motorbikes or could stock a showroom with your prized possessions, there’s nothing quite like that feeling of finding a hidden gem or finally being able to afford that long-desired beauty in mint condition. Let’s take a look at collecting – from a few record prices to where to find collectible motorbikes and the parts needed to restore them.
Legendary motorbikes and holy grails
In 2015, a 1915 Cyclone once owned by Steve McQueen sold at auction for US$852,000; the association with the ruggedly handsome, super-cool actor hiking up the price. It’s an example of how the value of a bike can outshine its apparent worth if it has a story to go with it. The British Vincent Black Lightning has been celebrated in song, its legend enhanced by the fact that only about 30 were made. Indian motorcycles from the 1930s to the 50s are highly desirable because of their other-worldly appearance, the 1953 Chief being a collector’s dream. Legend has it that the US president gave a number of Chiefs to the Shah of Iran in 1951, such was their prestige.
Finding collectible bikes in Australia
In Australia, collectible bikes include Triumphs from the 1960s, which typically sell for around $15,000. A 1927 Harley Davidson, found in a barn, set an Australian auction record in September 2015, at $600,000. Sites like JustBikes, The Vintagent and The Old Classic Motorcycle Warehouse (British makes) are all good places to start if you want to find out the prices and models available to buyers in Australia. Beyond that, you are looking at importing bikes from overseas.
Looking for spare parts – and advice
The 1927 Harley mentioned above was in a sorry state, as you might imagine. Bringing a bike back to life takes care and attention – and experience. You need to track down just the right part, but sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. Finding Triumph motorcycle parts, or an oil filter for a 1953 Harley can be difficult, especially when your local mechanic stares at you blankly. Or if you phone or email a bike shop with a query and get nothing in return but one-sentence answers all beginning with ‘no’. Finding the right contact is worth its weight in gold.
The thrill of finding your dream bike at an auction, on a website, or sitting in someone’s yard with a ‘for sale’ sign on it is an experience that never leaves you. But like any hobby (or obsession, depending on how you see it!) collecting motorbikes is about the gradual accumulation of knowledge, and seeking out those who already possess it.
At Brookys, we are motorbike enthusiasts with plenty of experience, backed by a huge range of parts and accessories. So the next time you’re looking for elusive parts, or need advice on the best option, contact us.