Every month we take a closer look at the classic motorcycle market with a range of industry experts. This month, Paul Jayson from The Motorcycle Broker and our very own Scott Redmond look at the high and low ends of the marketplace.
New section looks at what’s happening out there.
I’m often asked what is driving prices at the moment and it tends to be demographics, the cost of restoration and availability. There are other pressures, but for now let’s just focus on these ones, for the sake of clarity. We all remember, in the not too distant past at all, when Ducati 916/996 SPS and Honda CBX1000S in immaculate condition could be picked up for around £5000. Oh for a time machine. But why are these prices rising so rapidly and will they continue to do so? Quite simply it’s about the huge number of people desiring such machines and so few of them available. In the UK alone during the 1970s we were selling about 350,000 new motorcycles a year until 1983. What is clear is that there are a lot of 50 somethings around who grew up with Japanese and Italian superbikes from the 1970s onwards. Those that hanker after machines from this era are cash rich, as they bought property, their kids have left home and they rode these superbikes back in the day. Many of them were riding motorcycles throughout, and are now bored with 200mph modern machines; others are returning to motorcycling. Most people chasing after classic motorcycles are seeking the machines of their youth. So in the UK alone, there are probably around one million riders with the money and the desire to own such machines from the CMM ‘core’ era. In the rest of Europe, there are probably 10 times as many... When there are fewer than 2000 916/996 SPS available to buy or restore and 10,000 Honda CBX1000S available to buy or restore, you can see how demand severely outstrips supply: this forces prices upwards accordingly. None of these figures takes into account new markets such as China, or large markets such as Japan and the US where values are starting to take off as well. As prices of the machines increase, so does the price of spares. Is this a bubble and will prices cascade downward? I don’t believe so, no. Because more and more people are remembering these machines of their youth and are viewing them as classics. Once people’s views have changed from such a machine being an old bike to a classic, there is nothing that will change it back. Such machines elicit desire in so many people and bring back fond memories and no one can change that. At the moment prices are only just starting to catch up with the cost of restoration. Is there anything we, as motorcycle enthusiasts can do to keep prices down? No. These machines are undervalued and will increase according to supply and demand and the cost of restoration. Many bikers are now using these machines as a ride-able pension. They are getting the joy of riding these machines and the tax-free returns, which are better than any pension fund can offer. All we can do is to get into ownership while these machines are still relatively affordable.
Demand for the original CBX has always been way up on the Pro-link. Original 916 Strada or first SP model... going up...