Classic Bike Prices

Posted: February 26, 2016 in British Bikes, classic bikes, motorcycles, Norton Commando, vintage bikes, Vintage British Bikes

Well, it had to happen.

It seems the price of a decent old nail has risen to that level where sanity intervenes and slams the brakes on those two wheeled daydreams we all have.  For years, the best Commando in the US could be had for $2500. Now a seized boat anchor off EBay that “Ran When Parked” can easily bring $5000. Go figure.

Most every vintage bike I look at these days seems over priced, so I guess I’ve somehow fallen off the conveyor belt of reality and have to be content on the sidelines watching people shovel money into the jaws of the monster called “collecting” .

The reason I’ve had more than one old bike in the garage was to experience a small part of what the original owners felt when they kicked their pride and joy into life back in the day. It also reflects the technology that was available along with the flavor of the culture responsible for making it all relevant.

You really get the flavor of what the times must have been like when weak, unreliable 6 volt electrical systems were considered acceptable technology. Science and metallurgy got a boost from military funding but it took a while to translate into motorcycling. It’s challenging to overcome the foibles and pitfalls of obsolete machinery but also satisfying to take it for ride and feel like you had a part in keeping history alive. I personally feel that actually owning a piece of vintage machinery is the only way to really get a feel for what the builders were up to.

Anyway, the collector car hobby has been through this already and now pretty unremarkable air cooled Porsches are commanding astronomical sums.  Time marches on and I do realise that things cannot remain static. So I guess it’s my turn to hand over the reins to the collectors and wave goodbye to any vintage bike bargains. It was fun while it lasted, but now it’s getting hard to justify spending  what feels like too much money just to be a temporary custodian of a piece of history.

Bitter? No, just feeling like I’m becoming irrelevant in a hobby I enjoy.


after a quick scan of craigs list I came a cross an absolutely mint 1976 Honda 750 four, original exhaust, sparkling paint and chrome.

I may have to have a look; the price is reasonable, maybe I spoke too soon!

  1. Wayne says:

    I have a tendency to agree with you. While websites made it easier to find bikes and parts it now seems that everyone thinks their rusty old junk is worth a fortune. I suspect that much of it will not get sold and the market will settle a bit before all is said and done. It is interesting that it only took a couple of years to get so out of control.

  2. Good point about the internet making parts (and bikes) more available, which in turn helped the market to eventually get bloated out of proportion. So I guess it was a double edged sword that in the end kept a lot of good stuff out of the Dumpster.

  3. Brian says:

    Seems like yesterday ( 1988) when I saw the ad in the Charlotte news paper; NORTON COMMANDO COMBAT $800…. I had been on the the lookout for what was then my dream bike, a 750 Bonny. I had reservations about the bike in the ad, admitedly I was familiar with Norton but not the Combat. I was picturing a military green bike with a sidecar and knobbies…. I called the guy and was invited to come take a look. ” The motor is free but it hasnt run in about 2 years, my kids used to ride it around in the yard, its never been wrecked”
    When I got there we went into the garage where he lifted a sheet and exposed THE coolest sexiest machine i have ever laid eyes on. A hole opened in the roof, a golden ray of light sent by god himself beamed down directly on the bike and a band of angels sang Voodoo Chile…. I forked over $800 and the rest is history. That bike has repaid me 100 fold in returns and continues to be a source pride and joy, fear and loathing.
    Yesterday i received a new set of pipes from Duane at Commando Specialties to replace the 2-1-2 mod someone had done back in the day. I cant wait to get wrenchin.
    And the Bonny?
    Yea, they’re ok……

    • When you get hit by the thunderbolt, you know. It can be a bike a car or the girl next door but the result is the same; you’re hooked. Unable to be sidetracked by logic or reason you will follow the impulse to whatever the conclusion turns out to be. Sometimes good, sometimes bad but always a path you have to follow.

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