What bikes are the most collectible in 20 years time?

What are some good bikes to hang onto for a while ? I feel like there's many bikes out in the public that won't be desired because of styling going out of date.

Is early 70s Honda cbs and xs650s still going to be the holy Grail?
 

teazer

Active Member
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Neither of those is exactly the Holy Grail. They are popular but that doesn't necessarily make them collectible. CB twins are popular because they made a ton of them so no-one cares much if they are hacked to death. Collectible bikes are typically rare and often first in a series, so any Vincent, first year of CB750 for example.

Styling comes and goes and what's ugly today or trendy may fall into favor or out of favor in the future.

Certain 2 strokes are somewhat collectible. Unusual bikes, including the first series of Katanas are collectible because they were so different and today they are uncommon. After all , who wants to buy something that anyone else can buy? Collectors are looking for something Iconic and different. Maybe small production runs, or not sold in the US. They want to talk about the one of a kind or only one left or really rare.. etc.

But if you want a bike as an investment, your are likely to be very disappointed by the ROI.
 
Yeah, there is no telling. I've seen people trying to sell a bike as rare and collectable, but the reason not many are around is simply that they were garbage new, so they either died or didn't get bought. If it was crap 20+ years ago, it still is.

Now other bikes, moto guzzi 125, ducati bevel drives, etc are collectable because there just aren't many because of the price when new.
 
I think what makes the Japanese bikes desirable is the fact they are reliable and easy to get running and restore and ride. I think they will be a classic that people can still actually ride in 100 years down the road. Some of the very first Harley Davidsons are worth a ton of money but nobody can ride most of them.

The 68-72 cb350s and the xs650 standards I feel like people can still be seen fixing them up in 50 to 100 years... Which is crazy to think about. The styling was only good during these years then they ruined the flat frame and tank design with the "specials".
 

teazer

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Ducati bevels were never a great bike until Paul Smart and Bruno Spaggiari managed to do OK in a couple of endurance races. After that the SS series became more desirable but the electrics and build quality were far from Japanese level. They created a racing history and image and then A certain Mr Cook Nielsen ran Old Blue onto the box, followed by guys like Jimmy Adamo and so on. There were not a whole lot of bevels made and even less running or reliable which is why they are mainly in collections rather than being ridden.

https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/16253/lot/360/

Cb350 was another not very great bike compared to say the CB77 that preceded it, but it was cheaper to manufacture and they sold them by the million. People started to turn them into Cafe Racers, which back in the day would have generated close to zero respect, but this time around, it seemed that they were everywhere as the working man's cafe racer. They were cheap and plentiful, and started to appear as a novelty in things like Pipeburn and before we knew it , every young stud that wanted to be cool, had to build a CB350 Cafe Racer.

That's not to say they were bad bikes and they could be made into very competent race bikes, but they will still be made into cafe racers as long as they are available and people think they are cool. They tend to be reliable because they were well designed and manufactured. That's a huge generalization of course, but works for this purpose.

Collectible. Not so much.

Motorcycles are designed to be used up and thrown away. Replaced with the latest shiny toy - bigger, faster or whatever.

Soichiro Honda would be rolling in his grave, pissing himself laughing if he saw people idolizing his old bikes. Not talking about the race bikes. Those deserve to be revered.

Let's also not forget that SPECIALS were sold basically in the US because of the market for bikes for the long flat straight roads and the fact that the US market was for toys. In Europe people ride bikes as transportation, which few in the US ever did. So that was what the market wanted back then, so that's what it got. Yamaha didn't ruin teh XS650 by making Specials. They gave the market what was selling. The market changed so did styling. They are just commodities to be made and sold and replaced or modified, and especially to be ridden.
 

DesmoDog

Member
Ducati bevels were never a great bike until Paul Smart and Bruno Spaggiari managed to do OK in a couple of endurance races. After that the SS series became more desirable but the electrics and build quality were far from Japanese level. They created a racing history and image and then A certain Mr Cook Nielsen ran Old Blue onto the box, followed by guys like Jimmy Adamo and so on. There were not a whole lot of bevels made and even less running or reliable which is why they are mainly in collections rather than being ridden.
While not exactly false this is more than a little misleading. I realize your endurance race comment was tongue in cheek but to the uninformed, the bevel 750 SS was Ducati's first twin and won it's first race out of the box. So Ducati didn't have to wait long for Smart to "do ok" on one. That bike created the Super Sport series for Ducati and the public had to wait two years before they could buy a street going version of it. The race didn't make it more desirable, it didn't exist before that day.

Anyway, Smart's result at Imola didn't "create" Ducati's racing history. It brought it to a new level of course, but bevels had been winning races for decades as small displacement singles before the twins were debuted. The go fast versions of the bevel singles are also collectible/valuable, though not to the same level as the '74 750SS. That said, those singles formed the basis for the new twin.

Someone mentioned bevels are rare due to their cost when new. That's not entirely true either. Ducati has always been a small company. Not to be Captain Obvious but they are rare because not many were built, which is also one reason they have always been a little more expensive that Japanese bikes. Until recently, Ducati could only build 40k bikes per year. They had one factory (disregarding Mototrans for simplicity's sake) and that was it. A few years back, Ducati built their one millionth motorcycle. That same year, Honda built it's 300 millionth motorcycle. Both companies have been building bikes for roughly the same amount of time. It's not like Ducati could have built 300 times as many bikes if they charged less. They physically could not build a lot of bikes, regardless of cost.

More bevels in collections rather than ridden? I'm not so sure that's true. A shitload of bevels are still being ridden. '74 SS's? Hell no, but how many people do you know that are riding $100k Japanese bikes? The bevel twins make great riders. They are only as unreliable as the owner allows them to be. In the years I had my '74 Roundcase (A GT, not an SS) it virtually always started first kick (unless the kill switch was off, but I digress...) and only let me down once - when a ground connection I had built failed. FWIW - contrary to popular belief, most bevels are NOT desmos, Ducati didn't go to Desmos exclusively until 1980 or so. My bike, like many bevels, had rockers with screw adjusters. Setting the valves didn't require any shims or magical talents. High maintanence? Ok. Highly unreliable? Not a given, depends on the owner.

Anyway, they're 40+ year old bikes at this point. Any issues they had when new have well known fixes at this point. The 750 bevels are known to go high miles with no issues if maintained. The larger bikes have more fragile lower ends but if not abused (lugging them is worse than revving them) they will last too.

I'll give you they do not tolerate abuse like a Japanese bike, and there are few secret handshake type things that are helpful to know, but the bevel community has a rabid fan base and surprisingly good parts supprt (if you aren't stuck on having 100% originality for things like textures of surfaces, etc).

The problem with bevels is they've been discovered. When I bought my 750 I paid $750 (it was pretty rough). Five yers later that same condition bike would be worth closer $5k. I spent a little over $10k rebuilding mine and still made money when I sold it. I enjoyed riding mine a lot but could never get over what other bikes I could buy for the same money. I sold it and used the money to fund other toys (including an 851). I still have a couple bevel singles around as project bikes but will likely never have another bevel twin.

THAT rave/rant/ramble out of the way...

I'm not sure what people consider "collectible" to mean. If you like it, is it collectible? Or does collectible mean prices get out of reach? As already noted, as an investment they pretty much all suck, save a few rare examples.

20 years isn't really long enough to define a collectable IMHO. Nothing pedestrian from 2000 is collectible right now. Sure there are super limited production whatevers that are but nothing that the average Joe may have bought in 2000 is all that desireable right now. But I suppose the OP meant 20 years from now regardless of model year? And things that aren't already expensive right now? There may be some '90s stuff that is starting to catch on - sticking with Ducatis I think the '90s Super Sports are starting to go up in value but will never catch fire. Maybe the Super Light in the USA, more so than the rest of the world. The 851/888 may catch on (I hope so, I still have mine!). The 916 series gets talked about a lot but save the homologation specials they haven't caught on either. I had a very clean/original one owner (me) low mile 2000 996 monoposto that I sold a couple years back. Very little interest in it and I didn't price it that much above the going rate for a molested version.

Aside from something like sandcast 750s, CB whatevers and XS650s never were and never will be the holy grail BTW. Think bigger than that. RC30s aleady got away (DAMN I wanted one of those, should have looked harder for one in the 90s!) so what's the next Honda to take off? It won't be something they made hundreds of thousands of. It won't be something everybody had, it will be something everybody wanted but bought something else instead for whatever reason.
 
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teazer

Active Member
DTT BOTM WINNER
Now that's a nicely thought out response. Lots of valid points. Ducati did indeed have a great race history with their singles and they are still winning historic races. My brief history of Ducati time was a little tongue in cheek for sure. Let's call it an exercise in rhetoric.

Honda's RC30. I remember seeing my first RC30 in a Texas dealership on a business trip from Australia. I couldn't afford it, but sure wanted to take it home and just sit and look at it. The lines, the colors. It was exquisite for its time. What I also saw was a 700 or 750 Fazer that some lunatic mechanic had squeezed an FZR1000 Genesis motor into and that looked like more fun that a barrel of monkeys.

851/888 is already an appreciating classic. A buddy of mine had one that he sold a year or so ago because he never rode it. Claimed it was a PIA to start and not a lot of fun in traffic.

You are also right that limited edition bikes will be more collectible because it appeals to people who like to claim that they have something special that no one else has or could afford. But that's a mind set that eludes me.

I am happy pulling bikes apart or building bikes for a pile of parts, and if anything goes up in value while I own it, that's a bonus.

But I suspect that the OP may not have actually meant what we are talking about. I suspect he was talking about bikes that the average young guy might want to buy to modify and ride. If bikes are still legal in 50 years time, then people will be buying bikes made say now or the next 20-30 years. Maybe only electric bikes by then. Maybe the last RD350 or CB360 on the planet will be valuable as some sort of reminder of the "good old days"
 

spotty

Vmax...why,yes i think i will
early gsxr's
vmax's ( both models )
H1, H2's, RDLC's, cos two strokes don't really exist any more and they're never going to come back, theres not many left and they wear out quick if ridden properly
pretty much any street version of jap race bikes, RC51's, RZ500, RG500 etc

in general, any bike that broke the mould or heralded a great leap forward, so even early ZZR's, early 'busa's ( the first two leaps into hyperbike territory )
 

irk miller

You've been mostly-dead all day.
DTT BOTM WINNER
Pretty broad question, but some of my selling experience has shown that survivors of all ilk can draw value for guys that collect. An example of a survivor I did well with is a CB750f that was stored since 1981 in a climate controlled, finished basement. It had all the factory markings and was in pretty mint condition. Granted, the value is still pretty low in that it sold for $3500, but for an unrestored survivor I think that's doing pretty well.

This summer, I worked on two BMW R69's. One was an S, the other not. Both bikes were in excellent condition. One (the S) was restored 10 years ago and mint, the other was completely unmolested and in about 8/10 condition. The S sold for $18k, while the other sold for $12k. Those bikes can see themselves into the $20k range when the market is right. I think the S could've sold for more, but it had the fairing, which narrows the market and the seller took the best price in the shortest time. In general, though, most BMW's find themselves in a pretty good collector market and they have the strong following to maintain that. I would exclude K and F bikes, though.

The last recent example is a CZ360 I bought and sold to a shop that intended to restore it. I got the bike for $400, sold it for $1600, and restored they can draw $14k plus. CZ did extremely well in the motocross scene in the late 60s, early 70s, having won world championships. As such, they draw a collector crowd. Early Greeves, Husky and such can be that way too. Bikes like that can draw the money when they're restored or survivors simply because they survived when normally off road stuff didn't.
 

Brent

Member
Those R69's were pretty limited production and likely few and far between in the US which helps drive the price.
It is interesting, with the internet, seeing the regional difference in pricing of old bikes. Models that were released in Europe and Asia that we didn't see in NA skew our view. I rode into Houston in '81 on a 500 Pantah and there was no Ducati dealer in Texas. Most bikers I talked to there had never heard of them, so there will be few "memories of youth" purchases of Ducati's by baby boomers in Texas. My understanding is the Pantah was a much loved bike in Europe and should support a much better price among those reliving their youth, which is the basis of most peoples collecting. Some collect for profit, most I believe do it for memories. Owning the trends of their youth.
If collecting was only about rarity old pony cars and CB Honda's would be worth nothing.
 

jbuenavides

New Member
It will be hard to tell since there will be new motorbike models that will be released in the future. I think it will depend on the features and brands.
 

Rider52

Member
The first Honda CB750s just turned 50 years old and now the prices are rising. The sandcast has always been collectible and expensive. Now people are showing interest in the early K1 bikes built at the original factory. The first K0 & K1 bikes were almost handbuilt and show a lot of variation as opposed to the later bikes assembled at the new factory.
 

pidjones

Active Member
I'd say the most valuable 1999 models today were rare in 1999. Small runs from small manufactures or maybe super innovative developments (even if they didn't work that well).
 
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