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Classic bike values


Sakura

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VOC Member
I have it on good authority from a well known classic bike dealer friend that classic bike values have dropped between 20 and 30 percent this year. Large quantities of bikes coming up for sale, many from deceased owners. Mainly heavy 50s bikes, A7s, A10s, Meteors, Red Hunters etc. Has the bubble finally burst and how will/have Vincent's be affected? Collectors beware (although I doubt there will be many reading this)
 

genedn

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VOC Member
I think there are a number of factors to consider. Where you live in the world, condition of the machine, originality, can it be ridden any distance without puking oil everywhere, etc.

The prices in North America in the last year have flattened off on some machines, but others have fetched good prices. I believe context is a major factor. What is the buyer looking for and what is the seller looking for.
 
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peter holmes

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VOC Member
This might be a good thing. Perhaps I can ship my bike to the UK for another month of touring and not be worried when leaving it parked outside a restaurant, B&B etc.

Glen
I would not be that optimistic, just because your bikes value might have dropped by £10k I sure there are plenty of scum out there that would be very happy to steal it from you.
 

vibrac

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VOC Member
I think 10% fall is an over estimate. Of course values can be talked down and then up again that's how some make their money. I am afraid it's only a tempory lull, one only has to see the current retail slump ,(what another black Friday!) All caused perhaps by the ' current difficulties'. Soon perhaps to be resolved (or not.)
It don't bother me yet, but then I bought most of mine in the sixties. Any reduction is a good thing
 

greg brillus

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VOC Member
I think it is a global thing.........It is quite possible that it may go on for some time, many countries with zero interest rates, we here in Australia not far off that ourselves......... There can only be a very small percentage of investors interested in putting their money into valuable old bikes. After all, how many Black Shadows do they need..........The availability of spares is currently excellent, helped no doubt by enthusiasts of the marque, but again these folk are slowly thinning out. Finding skilled workman to carry out repairs is another problem. I think the general high cost of living and general lack of spare funds will impact even these bikes........It may be just a cycle we are going through, but the signs seem to be pointing otherwise.
 

Gary Gittleson

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VOC Member
I think there's another factor. Most of us are getting up in years. That seems to be true for owners of vintage bikes of all sorts. By and large younger folks, if they have any interest in motorcycles at all are into the new stuff. So as we age out, a glut of bikes will inevitably wind up on the market. I think that process is already playing out. It will only increase.

Gary
 

genedn

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
I think there's another factor. Most of us are getting up in years. That seems to be true for owners of vintage bikes of all sorts. By and large younger folks, if they have any interest in motorcycles at all are into the new stuff. So as we age out, a glut of bikes will inevitably wind up on the market. I think that process is already playing out. It will only increase.

Gary
I am not that old and tend to disagree. I have a number of friends who collect old bikes. If you are talking about the US and Vincents I tend to agree. I also agree there has been a glut on the market for sure here in North America over the last couple of years.
 

vibrac

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VOC Member
I disagree too. Apart from the fact that the very young are being brainwashed green by the non technicals at an alarming rate, it was the 1980's when I bought my first 1920's bike which was after 20 years of riding so I guess riders need to be mid 30-40's before they appreciate Vincents but it won't happen at current silly prices.
I also don't buy the future environmental ban argument but that's because I have read about Carbon Engineering Ltd and I can see carbon neutral Vincents in 2050
 

Sakura

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Recent experience is that older (70+) riders are either selling up whilst bike prices are still relatively high, or trading down to smaller bikes. Remember my original post focused on heavy 50s bikes. My friends in their 50s have only a passing interest in British bikes, they want the Japanese bikes they lusted after in their teens. There is a definite lack of interest in motorcycles amongst young people anyway. Japanese manufacturers are seeing a downturn in sales, it's a changing world. Incidentally, it's not a 10 percent drop in values, this year it's between 20 to 30 percent
 

vibrac

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
For my 10% max I was just using Bonhams records. For instance at Stafford in Oct a 51 Rapide sold for £ 26,450 with some doubt about numbers, ie, a good riders basis the sort of thing that I would snap up if I needed one. The key thing is by the stated mileage and pictures it had not been used or touched since it was bought at Bonhams in 2012 for £31,050 so thats about 15% drop . But (and this shows how easy comparisons are difficult) in the first sale the discrepancy in the numbers was not mentioned while they were in the second. The other points are
1. we are in that example looking at values over 7 years I have no doubt that using a shorter measure a larger fall might be quoted but realistically one owns a Vincent for a longer span than a year or so.
2. Its worth taking inflation into account which is what I tried to do in the charts 1955-2017 at the back of my book The Black Shadow. I think a little research is worth a lot of scuttle-buck.
 

Sakura

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
My 20 to 30 percent is mostly in regard to common or garden bikes. I suspect that quality classic bikes are suffering less and 10 percent for a Vincent may well be right. I think interesting bikes, particularly V twins, will always have a value. However, it may be that some grey porridge will revert back to having next to no value. I well remember the early to mid 60s when most old bikes were worth next to nothing. I bought a Rapide and Blacknell sidecar for £30.00. All it needed to get it running was a decent fibre timing wheel. An immaculate RE Works Replica Trials Bullet for £15.00 etc, etc. Times change. From a personal point of view I would be happy if my Rapide was worth £5000, a Shadow, £6000 etc. It would be a financial loss for a start but think of the other bikes that you could have for little money.
 

Albervin

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VOC Member
I think we all need to look at Vincents as a world tradable item. The variations in exchange rates can have a big impact on whether you can sell for a profit or loss. For example, a 10% reduction in price in USD this year will translate to less than 5% in AUD values. If Brexit happens in our lifetime then we may also see varying terms of trade and (possibly) a drop in VAT in the UK. Stranger things have happened in these strange times.
 

Magnetoman

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VOC Member
I think we all need to look at Vincents as a world tradable item. ..., a 10% reduction in price in USD this year will translate to less than 5% in AUD values.
Australia seems to be pretty serious about imposing its 'zero tolerance' policy on importation of anything containing asbestos, which should skew the prices there. Even when exchange rates have a favorable change, there won't be much of a supply of certified asbestos-free Vincents to pour into the market from overseas.
 

Sakura

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
So, what do real classic motorcycle enthusiasts (everybody reading this post), not collectors or Johnny come lately ("I had Vincent in the 60s, you know, the one with twin discs on the front wheel") think of my last statement on values?
 

greg brillus

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VOC Member
I think the bikes are only worth what someone will pay........And it is quite possible the number of "These People" are thinning out. With the changes in the world economy...........What use to be classed as a solid investment is not necessarily the case anymore. Yes the younger generations might take an interest in our bikes, but i think by the time they do it might be too late.
 

Albervin

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Firstly Magnetoman. Greetings. I imported a Black Shadow into Australia two years ago. I will not confirm or deny there was a substantial amount of asbestos in the AM4 brake linings. The bike sailed through customs.
Sakura. Yes and no. I think quality will always win out as investments and for long term owner/collectors. Grey porridge has merely benefitted from the trickle down effect. I always rebut the issue of young people vs old bikes by looking at the prices of veteran and vintage vehicles; they are on the up. Not sure what is happening but any quality pre 1920s machinery seem to be doing just fine and the mid 20s to 30s stuff seem to be holding station. The availability of parts for Vincents is a major plus when selling compared to Douglas, Sunbeam and Raleigh. I have no idea what Brough owners can get. What also interests me is I know a few 30 and 40 somethings who rent but own significant machinery. Priorities are changing maybe.
 

BigEd

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VOC Member
VOC Forum Moderator
So, what do real classic motorcycle enthusiasts (everybody reading this post), not collectors or Johnny come lately ("I had Vincent in the 60s, you know, the one with twin discs on the front wheel") think of my last statement on values?
I understand that "the bottom line" i.e. money, is perhaps the most important issue for many people. For some it may the only issue. This obviously does not just for motorcycles but for many decisions we have to make, some large e.g. maybe purchasing a home and some small, e.g. do I buy a large coffee or regular.
I like to think that I fall into Sakura's "real classic motorcycle enthusiasts" category. I own a Vincent because I want to ride it, not as an investment. If personal circumstances mean it has to be sold because I need the money then naturally the more I could get the better but as Greg so rightly says, "bikes are only worth what someone will pay ".
For anyone that has a Vincent or Vincents stashed away watching markets and exchange rates go up and down, I suggest they will only ever know the true value of a Vincent by actually riding it.
 

Sakura

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
I always rebut the issue of young people vs old bikes by looking at the prices of veteran and vintage vehicles; they are on the up. Not sure what is happening but any quality pre 1920s machinery seem to be doing just fine and the mid 20s to 30s stuff seem to be holding station.
[/QUOTE]
I agree that this does to seem the case. Remember, my original post quoted 50s bikes mainly. Mid 20s to late 30s bikes are quite rideable and have more of an "antique" look about them as opposed to many stodgy 50s bikes. This, of course, is all conjecture, only time will truly tell.
However, only Greg has come close to answering my question, do you really care about the monetary value of your bikes? Personally, as stated, I don't, only relatively, in that I wouldn't sell for less than current values to enrich someone else.
 

Magnetoman

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
I imported a Black Shadow into Australia two years ago...
The "total" ban on asbestos has been in place since 2003, but my understanding is that it was only about two years ago that someone in power decided they needed to enforce it. Yours may have sneaked in just under the wire. By the way, the regulations are quite clear that even if you only temporarily send your bike out of Australia and then try to bring it back, that counts as importation and no asbestos is allowed.

There are too many points in this overall thread to pick quotes out of them, so I'll just make some random comments.

Overall, a decline in new motorcycle sales started at the time of the recession a decade ago and has continued. There are a mix of reasons for this. For example, the incredible array of motorcycle-related shops around Ueno Station in Tokyo already had nearly vanished as of a decade ago, heavily influenced by a change in Tokyo parking regulations that no longer favored motorcycles.

The steady rise in prices of Model T Fords that had continued for years hit a wall c1990 when people who had wanted them in their youth started rapidly aging their way out of the market. Younger people weren't there to take their place since the brakes and lack of h.p. of those cars made them suitable only for the occasional Sunday drive on quiet neighborhood roads. That is, in the modern world they were only good for looking at, not for using. I think it's a relevant aside to point out my 1928 Ariel 500 single had problems keeping up with traffic only on two 75+-mph segments of road when crossing the U.S. in the Cannonball last year (it actually could have kept up at that speed, but I was afraid reliability would suffer if I hammered it that hard).

A, say, BSA A7 can accelerate and brake with modern traffic but it's a motorcycle only someone who owned one 'back in the day' could love. So, it's not surprising if A7 prices start dropping as those starry-eyed oldsters age their way into retirement homes. Whether a BSA Gold Star suffers the same drop in price is subject to additional forces.

As to the question, do I really care about the monetary value of my bikes? The answer most certainly is 'yes'. All the money I squandered on motorcycles over the years is money my family didn't have available to squander on other things. So, I'd like to think when they sell off everything when I'm gone they can recoup as much of that squandered money as possible, and that they end up with roughly as much cash as they would have had if instead that money had been in stocks. That said, the bikes that bring the highest prices at Las Vegas auctions are shiny and in pristine external condition, so the fact I ride mine decreases their value. I mentally count my bikes as being worth as much as the highest prices paid for similar models at recent auctions, so the higher those prices, the better. But I know each of my bikes are worth a few dollars less because I ride them.
 

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