Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Comprehensive Vintage Motorcycle Price Guide: 2010/2011 Edition

I could have used The Comprehensive Vintage Motorcycle Price Guide last winter when I co-authored a book about landmark motorcycles (365 Bikes You Must Ride). Searching for current market values on many of the book’s older bikes sometimes was a real headache. This handy pocketbook-size price guide would have alleviated, or at least minimized, that malady.

This is the fourth edition of the VJEMC’s price guide, which includes many of the popular collectible brands from ACE to Yankee; sorry, Zundapp didn’t make the cut. Also missing is Britten, although the argument could be made that the Kiwi bike is neither Japanese nor European, although various other brands like Hodaka, Harley-Davidson, and Indian are in. Italy’s famous Gilera marque is also MIA, which seems odd considering the recent popularity of small-bore Italian bikes, thanks to increased interest in Moto Giro-type events.

Anyway, the featured 55 brands in the Price Guide are listed in alphabetical order, with pricing based on a six-level grading system, 1 being Perfect/New, 6 denoting a bike in Poor condition. Got your eye on a 1968 Suzuki TM250 that you rate as a 4 (Good)? According to the VJEMC’s new pricing guide, it can be yours for the princely sum of $1,000 if you and the seller are, in a manner of speaking, on the same page.

The contents also include an opening chapter (“The Price Mart Showroom”) that addresses current trends and forecasts for today’s vintage-bike market. The editors give opinions on what’s hot and what’s not, and share some very interesting observations in the process. For instance, their previous prediction that Indian models would fetch high prices seems to have panned out. They also feel that Triumphs, especially those rated 1 or 2, will see a comeback in coming months, and Ducatis have become a hot commodity, too.

While the 222-page Price Guide is by no means the absolute and final answer to nailing down specific prices for collectible bikes, this softbound tome should help you decide whether to continue bidding on a particular bike or walk away. Of course, as we all know, sometimes even the most logical arguments can be overlooked when we just gotta have the bike no matter what. After all, that’s why we refer to acquisitions of older bikes as collecting rather than buying. —Dain Gingerelli

The Comprehensive Vintage Motorcycle Price Guide: 2010/2011 Edition
Compiled by The Vintage Japanese and European Motorcycle Club
Published by Whitehorse Press

1 comment:

  1. "Do you prefer leather or textile riding gear?" That's a loaded question. I prefer leather but can afford textile.