A lot of owners of vintage motorcycles will tell you that there is nothing like it. They just love their vintage bikes and proudly restore them to their former glory. When you ride a vintage bike, you are certainly going to turn some heads. Here is your guide to buying and owning a vintage motorcycle.
How Old should your Vintage Bike be?
This is not an easy one to answer. If you want a real vintage bike going back before the 1960s, then you will see these classified as collector’s items and they can be pretty expensive to buy. It can be a real challenge to find parts for really old bikes as well.
We would recommend that you purchase a vintage bike from the 1960’s or 1970’s. You will probably pay a lot less for a motorcycle from this era and some models will definitely be fairly rare. This means that their value will be on the increase and you will find it a lot easier to obtain parts.
You need to do your homework here. Just because a motorcycle is from the ’60s or ’70s does not necessarily make it rare and of high value. If you are interested in vintage motorcycles from the rarity and increasing value standpoint, then you need to purchase the right bike. So search for motorcycles that were rare during that period.
Check the Authenticity
The last thing you want to do is to spend a lot of money on vintage motorcycles only to find that they are not the genuine article. There are all kinds of strokes that people can fool to sell a bike as vintage and authentic. A classic is where the motorcycle does not have the original engine for some reason.
Always get the engine number of the bike that you are thinking of buying. With a little research, you can see if the engine checks out as the original or not. Never buy a vintage bike that has a plate covering over the original engine number. It doesn’t matter what the owner tells you as a reason just walk away.
Another thing that you can check is to see if a motorcycle has a matching engine number and frame number. Some bikes had this arrangement. If you feel that there has been any tampering with the engine number on the bike or it appears marred then move on to the next available bike.
Is the Paperwork in order?
All motorcycles should have a title however old they are. Yes, sometimes a title can get lost and there are ways that you can overcome this. But we recommend that you always choose from vintage motorcycles that have genuine titles.
If you have your heart set on a bike but there is no title then ask the seller to use a title service to obtain one and you will pay a small deposit. Check for any hesitation on the part of the seller here. They should be happy to do this if everything is in order.
Does the Motorcycle work and is it Complete?
Buying vintage motorcycles that run is a lot better than ones that don’t. OK, you may want to embark on a restoration project, but you can be looking at spending a great deal more on a bike that does not run. This is especially important if this is your first vintage bike.
The next thing to look for is completeness. Is everything there as it should be? Are the parts mainly genuine? Try to get a fully assembled motorcycle rather than a box full of parts. It is a lot easier to work on a fully assembled bike.
If you go for a Harley Davidson as a vintage motorcycle, then you are probably going to find that spare parts are easier to obtain and cheaper. That does not mean that you should discount the idea of buying a vintage Japanese or European bike.
A lot of motorcycle stores have parts for foreign bikes going back many years. Yes, they will probably be more expensive, but you need to look at the value of the bike overall here. If you have an old Triumph and you have to order some parts from the UK, then it can still be worth it.
We Love Vintage Motorcycles
At Barnett Cycles, we love vintage motorcycles. We can supply a wide range of parts for old bikes made in the USA and elsewhere. Contact and tell us what you need and we will do our best to find it for you.