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10 collectible motorcycles to watch

Just like cars, motorcycles are treasured collectibles. Despite their desirability, however, they trade hands on average at far lower values than cars. The car auction record, too, is nearly 50 times that of the motorcycle auction record. Generally, the lower end of the bike market is full of nostalgia-driven purchases; the top is littered with historical significance and racing pedigree.

 

Based on digital views of our newly-released Hagerty Motorcycle Price Guide, here are the 10 bikes in which Hagerty is seeing the most interest, arranged by price from low to high.

 

Read the full article on Hagerty.com:

https://www.hagerty.com/media/motorcycles/10-collectible-motorcycles-to-watch/

Replies (52)

Replies (52)

I would nominate Yamaha's RD 350. A nimble 2 stroke (before they were banned from the street) that handled extremely well and could outrun most bikes with 150 more cc's. I had a 1970 and still regret selling it. Would love to find a Kenny Robert's edition. They were great bikes.

New Driver

My list is so big I'd get banned, but here's some star attractions and some of the reasons. As mentioned already the Kawasaki Mach IIIs in 500 or 750 (H1 and H2). Spooky fast. 65 Electra-Glide, 1st and only electric start Panhead. While we're on Harleys, a 72 Superglide in black "Sparkling America", and a 71 XLCH Sportster in red, white and blue Sparkling America. Sportsters through ealry 73 stayed true to their roots. Superbikes? The 1st year V65 Magna changed the paradigm and Pee Wee Gleason made it the world's fastest,  which then was answered by Yamaha with their nearly insane VMAX. Posted also below is another personal fave from the UK, Norton 750 Commando. I could simply look at it every day. Back to superbikes, those "in the know" are familiar with the Suzuki GSXR 750...from 1985...the venerable "Slab Side" which was basically a road legal GP racer. 85s has to be imported and we didn't get a US version until 86 or 87. Everything about it is pure detail and engineering and is often missed by collectors, but try to find one. An 85, that is. Pure madness and racing success has to be the o e and only Yamaha TZ750. A legend, the winner of the Daytona 200 9 CONSECUTIVE years. Again, beautiful and engineered to dominate. I think that engine went on to become the basis of the Yamaha VMax 750 snowmobile power plant. It too was an animal in it's class although a bit heavy. Just to dream a little, gotta throw in a 30s Brough Superior. It isn't really "this" or "that", but where it came from and how it looks is just enough to earn a spot in my lottery-winning dreamscape. Again, too many to list for my ultimate stable. Did I hit anyone else's views here?

Passenger

I was really hoping to see the Norton 750 Commando's mentioned in the article, we just picked up a garage kept original, survivor 1973 750 Commando that hasn't been run since the early 80's.  Not a bike motorcycle guy but couldn't let it go to someone that wouldn't look after it properly. If your a Norton collector look me up, may let it go to the right guy.

Hagerty Employee

A very nice bike From Suzuki the "650 Tempter" with a 4 stroke air cooled DOHC Parallel twin Could make the list. Sold for only two years in the states 1983-84. A really fun bike to ride. 

 
 

 

 

Pit Crew

2004-05 Honda Rune. Honda went where no manufacturer had gone before. They actually took a concept vehicle to production. Allegedly it cost $100,000 for them to build and they sold it for $27,000. Gorgeous motorcycle.

Navigator

Some of the slash 2 BMW's used in courier service in D.C. by Metro Messenger had over 300,000 thousand miles on them.

Pit Crew

The Honda CB750 in the picture looks identical to the one I owned back in the early 80's. I bought it barely used. That was a great bike and never spent a dime on it.  Meanwhile, my Dad had a 75 Harley that constantly leaked oil, always needed something, and constantly out of tune (my Dad was a mechanic, so it wasn't his skill that was lacking).  His was a hate-hate relationship.  One weekend I guess he got tired of me talking about my bike and next thing I know, a brand new Goldwing was sitting in his garage. This a was monumental change of heart because he was ex-GM union worker and at a time he wouldn't let me park my "fereign" car (280Z ) in the driveway! If a bike can change that attitude, it deserves special recognition!

Pit Crew

How about the 1974 Kawasaki 750 mach IV triple 2-stroke (widow maker). Bought mine in 11980 and sold it for dirt cheap to get out of of my mom's garage (I wish I had it now).

Passenger

The 71-77 Suzuki GT750 triple WATER COOLED two-stroke should be on here as well. That was a rocket! I had just got my GS1000G when a local shop had one recently restored. i was over talking to the guy when he showed it to me, then asked me if I wanted to take it for a spin! I got on and drove it like normal. Noticed the light poles seemed to be going by awful fast.... Looked at speedo and I was doing 70 in third gear, two more to go!!! I was still in city limits, in a 45 mph zone, so immediately slowed, but it impressed the heck out of me that I was just shifting like I would have on the GS1000 and it accelerated so darn fast!! He wouldn't trade me even...

Intermediate Driver

The Honda CA77 305 Dream and the later CB350 (and on/off and off road variations) were so popular because that power/size (displacement) was perfect for an all-around transportation bike -- at least for one adult around 200 pounds. It was powerful enough to cruise the interstate at 65-70 (again, with one!), and scoot out of the way easily in city traffic. Even with two on it you could run around town comfortably. Though I wouldn't want to take a long interstate trip with a rider, you could take hour long trips easy enough.  I had a Honda 175 twin from the early 70s. It was great around town, but struggled to maintain 60 on the interstate -- didn't up any sizeable hill.  Had a 250 and 315 Suzuki two-stroke. The 250 struggled on the interstate over 55 mph like the 175, but it was "well worn" when I got it. The 305 fared a bit better, but was also "well worn". In fact, the 315 became the 250... bottom end was the same, 250 just had smaller bore. When the 315 (Suzuki model was a T350) burned a hole in the piston due to timing being so advanced to get it to run I discovered the advnaced timing was necessary due to cylinder wear -- not much compression until near the top!! You could nearly ring the cylinder like a bell with the piston and rod as clapper! A local bike shop had a wrecked 250 and noted that the bottom end looked the same -- so we did some quick measurements. Low and behold the 250 pistons and jugs bolted right up, and I was back up and running!!  That 250 had some wear on it too though...  Got a Suzuki T-500 two stroke after that -- only stopped running it because the CDI ignition started going out and would be expensive to replace. Plus it needed tires and a new seat! A friend of a friend said I needed to look at the 1980 GS1000 he had parked a few years ago. This was around 1993, and I figured he wanted more than I wanted to put into it at the time. He had a 14 year old that was asking about the bike, knew it needed some work from sitting for 4-5 years, and made me a deal I couldn't refuse!! Got it for half what I thought it was worth. cleaned carbs, rebuilt brakes, drove it until 2015.

Intermediate Driver

The value of these bikes is in their originality.  The example you show of the CBX1000 is a long way from original.  I can supply an image of an original CBX if required.  The International CBX Owners Association (ICOA) is a unique club for not a Manufacturer, but just a model motorcycle following.  Check out www.cbxclub.com

Passenger

I mowed lawns in 1973 to buy my first motorcycle. I was fifteen. My buddy and I ordered two new Suzuki GT 250 Hustlers. They came two in a crate from Japan , end to end , front wheels removed and tucked inside. We ordered a crate. $1380 + Tax each. Dad wouldn't let me open the crate until I got my drivers licence. I passed my exam on my sixteenth birthday. When I drove home in Dads car he was standing in the garage with a crowbar to help me open the crate. He mounted the wheel on the front fork himself. I fueled it, checked the oil level , got on it, and drove it from Truro Nova Scotia to Cape George Point, Nova Scotia. ( look it up ) My ass and wrists were numb from the two stroke engine but I was absolutely in heaven . 

New Driver

Where is the 1975 Honda GL1000?

Passenger

how about a Suzuki GT750 very reliable water cooled 2 cycle mine turns heads every time i drive by  you cant beat the sound of a 2 cycle with expansion chambers

Passenger

Had a red 79, and a white and blue 82 Honda CBX.   Payed almost nothing for them.  As the sellers smurked when I bought them.  I loved the 79 as it was smooth like a turbine and well balanced.  As 30 some years went by I understood the disdain from previous owners.  And I sold both of them with the same smurk I remember receiving years before.  The carbs, kept me constantly busy as the maintenance alone was never ending.  You couldn't clean and rebuild the carburetors  often enough to keep them running smooth all the time.  Believe me, nothing more irritating than a 6 cylinder bike running on five!  I've noticed the price is now 6 times what I payed.  And also a lot of these look real nice as mine did also.  But they don't start them ever.  And it has little to do with preserving the miles and more to do with preserving your labor and time off.  Loved the bikes but they are true time bandits!

Pit Crew

My Dad's friend had a Honda 305 Scrambler back in 1968. It had the twin side pipes that had the "snuffers" on the end of the pipes that you twisted open for that straight through LOUD sound. Later models came with 2 into 1 muffler that made it quieter . 

Passenger

Having worked at the local Honda dealership in high school when it came out, the Honda CB450 was a step ahead at the time. It was, I believe the first bike with DOHC and also used a unique torsion bar rocker system. It wasn't the fastest bike nor the pertiest, but it was very unique. this was the simmer of 67.

Also, why no 2-strokes? I had a suzuki X-6 that was a rocketship. 

Pit Crew

I traded my first car a 68 Camaro for a 72 H2 750 and pushed it home my father whooped my ass I busted my ass all summer dumped almost $1000 in performance parts into it and the next summer I raced anything on wheels at the track or on the street I got my money back and then some plus a few nice helmets for the shelf in the garage I loved the smell of aviation fuel and 2 stroke oil laying down times in the low 10s well worth the beating for the best memories of my life 

Passenger

My concern with this list is that with a single exception, all of these motorcycles have been "discovered" by collectors. The CB350 Honda is ubiquitous and generally unloved, I'd hardly consider it a candidate for future love.

 

What I would add are purebred competition machines. Similar to race cars, these will always be valued as pinnacle examples of their era. Air cooled Yamahas, the TAs and TDs, for example. Honda's equivalent RS series as well. Also, lesser known but very successful racers like Bultaco's TSS grand prix bikes. In the lower price ranges, but rapidly gaining in value are European motocross motorcycles; Maico, Husqvarna, and the Spanish brands, etc. Most of these are priced below British examples of the same, like BSA Gold Stars, etc., yet are more rare and generally have great histories. All the requirements for future positive valuations.

Pit Crew

Surprised there wasn't at least one Triumph on this list.

Passenger

What, no BSAs?!! The Gold Star from the '50s were just as historically significant to the British bike buyer as the Harley Knuckleheads were for the Americans. Plus, it had a significant racing pedigree. Then, in 1969, the Rocket 3, along with it's stablemate, the Triumph Trident, were the first to be acclaimed "Superbike!" by the motorcycling press, beating the CB750 to market by just weeks. Though they had one less cylinder, used pushrods to operate the valves and drum brakes for stopping, they never-the-less were quicker, handled better and stopped faster than the offering from the Japanese upstart. They took the first three places at Daytona in 1971, and class wins at Isle of Mann from 1972 to 1975. The Gold Star has occupied, along with the Vincent and Brough-Superior, the top tier of motorcycle collectibles for decades, while the Rocket 3 has shot up in value over the past few years. Triumph Tridents are still relatively affordable, for now....

Passenger

I have a 1981 Yamaha 400 Special II. How do I find out what it is worth and where would I sell it. 2 tank dents and the the pipe between the dual exhaust is cracked at the weld. 

Passenger

I would nominate the Maxim X, Fazer and the FZ 750 from the 80s. Over 100 Horsepower from the 5 valve engines. I owned one of each and they could eat 1100s of the day for dinner. Also, the 85 V Max, 145 horsepower, unheard of in those days. And I had one of those as well. You best hang on tight when the V Boost kicked in. I know that there are new bikes that eclipse their performance, but back in the good old days, they were exceptional.

Passenger

When I was in high school, I thought the 250 and 305 Honda Scramblers were the neatest looking and the best sounding motorcycles around. I never owned one but I thought of them a lot.  A few years ago I found a 67 cl 77 scrambler in very good condition.  I bought it and added a couple of minor things it was missing to make it 100% original.  Every now and then I start it up, 1st. or 2nd. kick, and take it for a ride on the paved country roads around here.  The sound of the sweet exhaust  brings back the mystic that I've always had for this Honda.

Passenger

So, all the Honda 350s get lumped into one, but the 77s get individual entries. The CB750 and CBX makes 7 Honda’s in a list of 10. Z1 and 2 different /2s makes 10, with 4 more on your list. Now, we get to the really funny stuff. Indian Chief, HD EL/FL knucklehead, and Vincents? Those bikes have been collectible since they were practically new. What’s the point in “watching” them? Usually an article like this offers some insight or speculation of what’s happening in the collector market. You just googled “collectible motorcycles” and checked the Wikipedia page. 

New Driver

what about a 1960's  Triumph ? either a Bonneville or Daytona  , classic English greenlane bikes

Passenger

I would nominate the Bridgestone 350 GTR/GTO. 10K built between June 1967 and March 1971. Only sold in English speaking countries and not in it's home country of Japan.

Passenger

Not a single British bike? Norton 750 Commando, or better yet the F1 with its rotary engine. Or a Triumph Bonneville?

Passenger

Sorry to nitpick, but I wouldn't want your readers overpaying for a couple of the Jap models. Like the Honda 350: The SL is worth way more than the CL, which is worth more than the CB. The prices on the CA77 and CL77 listed would be for a Barber Museum entry. The first two years of the CBX are worth way more than than the last two. And the CB750 is the Holy Grail....if you have a 1969 sandcast model, otherwise, not so much.

Other commenters are correct in asking, "Where are the two strokes?"

New Driver

I thought the last knucklehead was 1947, not '52.

New Driver