Maybe it’s the world the way it is now, but so many classics are falling out of favor and for no good reason at all. Take the beloved classic motorcycles of a few decades past, which compared to new motorcycles have a huge cost range depending on where you are. Considering the prices out there for some vintage and classic motorcycles, you’d be rather surprised to find out what many sellers are charging for some of the rarest motorcycles on the market, or should we say ancient market.
Some vintage Harley Davidsons can go for the astonishing price of forty to even fifty grand, and although that seems like a shock, it’s to be expected with such bikes. Another example: A 1977 Ducati 900SS can go for $40,000! Rare bikes are definitely pricey, and to some extent, they should be. The classic finds you'll see in this article are definitely a shock, to say the least, and still much lower than the examples we just offered.
The names Triumph, Norton and Honda are synonymous with a good quality bike, but many sellers are just giving some of these old models away; you’d think they were worthless. And in the grand scheme of this ever-advancing society of ours, maybe some of these bikes have gone out of favor and fallen way down in valor, but they’ll never be garbage for the gearheads that loved them back then and will always and forever adore them.
Take a look at these gems that are so cheap, many would think them worthless when they get a look at the price tag. But we know better, don’t we, dear readers? We know better.
24 Suzuki GS 750
In the mid-seventies, this particular bike was released by Suzuki to absolutely rave reviews. It was the very first four-stroke bike to be put out by the company and that had people a little more than excited at the time.
Many other versions of this bike went on to become extremely prominent in the world of racing, taking home many important championships of the era, particularly the AMA Super Bike Championship.
It was built between the years of 1976 to 1987 and despite being quite pricey back in the day, it can now go for a surprisingly low price of only 2,500 dollars—an entry cost that can definitely be considered dirt cheap for such a classic bike.
23 Moto Guzzi Ambassador 750
When it comes to classic bikes, the name of Moto Guzzi speaks for itself, carrying with it class, a definitive sense of power, and style. But you wouldn't think that's the case when you see what some of these can go for today. The Moto Guzzi Ambassador 750 has been labeled "very hard to find," and has been called the quintessential Italian bike ever built. Of course many would disagree with that, but we have to admit, it is definitely a beautiful motorcycle.
Produced from 1968 to 1972, it was a huge hit with North American clientele, and understandably so. It was the perfect cruiser and had an electric start—the first bike in production to have such a feature, eliminating the dreaded kick start. You can get your hands on one for a measly 2 grand or just a tad over. For a bike that's hard to find, they're just giving it away.
22 Triumph Trident
There'll be a lot of motorcycles in this article that'll shock you, including the names of vintage beasts that have always called to mind the cream of the crop and the best. Triumph is no exception to this, as the company is respected by motorcycle enthusiasts the world over.
Founded in 1885 and closing its doors in 1984, just a year shy of its 100th birthday, the company was responsible for many great bikes, like the one pictured here.
The Trident was considered a very smooth ride because of its added third cylinder, as opposed to the twin the company had used previously in other models. You wouldn't think it, but this puppy can be yours for just under 5 grand. Now for what this bike is and its history, that's essentially worthless we're afraid.
21 BMW R75
BMW is obviously a trusted name in the automotive industry, but over the years, many have been quite skeptical of the motorcycles they produced. The naysayers and worry warts needn't have worried, however, as the company has definitely produced some gems on two wheels over the years. Case in point, the BMW R75 pictured above.
If I told you you could have one sitting out in the driveway for around 3,500 bucks, would you believe me?
Produced from 1970 through 1977, this motorcycle definitely has that vintage look we love so much about these bikes, and it definitely packed a punch and came complete with an air-cooled boxer engine--a design that would later spawn some pretty impressive bikes.
20 Honda CB550
Now Honda bikes have always pretty much had a reputation of being relatively cheap motorcycles, and we'd have to say that that reputation was earned for good reason. But at the same time, that doesn't mean that they didn't build quite a few classics that are worthy of every motorcycle enthusiast's praise and adoration. You'll see many of these examples as you read on.
The 550 seen here is, and never was, an exception to the statement we just made, as the bike was definitely a treat. In 1974, Honda had wanted to downsize the previous model known as the 750, and after a few failed attempts that just weren't working, they finally hit the mark with the 550. And today, it can go for a measly 2,500 bucks!
19 1963 Honda Super Hawk
Here's yet another beautiful Honda. Known as the Super Hawk (a perfect name for a motorcycle), it burst onto the market with rave reviews. In its day, it was always affordable, as all Honda motorcycles are known to be, but this one was definitely special, as you can see.
It dates way back to 1963 and as a model, it stands in a class all its own.
It speaks of its era but at the same time it showed shades of the future and just where the Honda motorcycles to come were headed. Believe it or not, a beauty just like this one can be yours for just about 6,000 bucks! All that history, all that epic machinery and it can be yours for under seven grand! It should be much more expensive than that.
18 1981 Husqvarna
Here's a nice little monster on two wheels that's more than affordable. It's so cheap, you'll still have some money left over to remodel it at will. That's exactly what one enthusiast did. He found one of these in pretty good condition and decided to fix it up, adding a $2,000 engine and transmission—a cost pretty much "up there" for a bike that can definitely be purchased for almost nothing these days, even for a classic such as this one. This particular motorcycle enthusiast is selling his remodel at about 4.5 grand, but like we said, expect to pay way less if you want one of these in your collection as it left the factory.
17 1971 Honda
Now compared to the '63 Honda we featured earlier, this one is even more affordable if that six thousand was a little too pricey for you. You can get your hands on this one for a mere two (2!) thousand dollars and again, we're at a loss. These prices are way too cheap for such vintage classics. Especially when you consider the prices that some collectors pay for vintage bikes that have unknown names and histories that don't go way back.
The original bike—especially ones that haven't had any work done on them—are all affordable and have a reputation of having a rather smooth ride. So coinciding with the amazing price tag, you too can be cruising down the highway pretending to be on The Sons of Anarchy. And for almost nothing at all.
16 1957 Zundapp
This find was even more of a shock, as the Zundapp motorcycle company is, and rightfully can be considered, a legend in the industry. Many collectors have paid top dollar to have such a bike featured in their collections. And that's if they're fortunate enough to find one. Only 5,000 of these bikes were manufactured, rendering this bike extremely rare. This model is a 1957, and the early year only adding to its rarity, and the chances of finding one of these makes it extremely unlikely indeed.
The company closed its doors in 1984 and again, this only further raises the bike's worth—or at least should.
You'd think that this bike would easily go for over 15 to 20 Grand, right? Especially considering these aforementioned facts, right? But nope. You can get one for a surprisingly low 4 grand!
15 1973 Ducati
Old Ducati motorcycles are, for the most part, quite expensive. And restored versions of the classic bikes are even more expensive. Any collector knows that. The name carries with it a rich history of exceptional bike building—a lineage that's hard to beat and always was.
One of these was recently restored by a collector and a lot was put in during that restoration process, including a new battery and a complete rewiring. He's now selling the motorcycle for 8 grand. Now we know that seems expensive, but trust us when we say that that is seemingly worthless when looking at the standard price of a classic Ducati such as this one. If you're interested, get down to Manchester, New Hampshire (where the bike is being sold) and let the negotiating begin. You could probably walk away with this epic bike for under the asking price.
14 1975 Moto Morini
It's been called a jewel—a definitely rare bike to find—but when it's found, collectors rub their hands together in anticipation of the first ride, provided it runs of course. The base price for one of these is definitely low, especially if no extra work was put in or a lot needs to be put in to get it road ready that is. But you can get your hands on one of these for around three large (that seems to be a common number for these rare bikes), and that's getting away easy for such a classic. Produced from 1975 to 1983, the bikes had quite the name for themselves and were decent competition for other Honda and Suzuki models of the era.
13 1967 Norton Commando
The Norton Motorcycle company was founded in 1898, shut down in the 1990s, and then relaunched in 2008. But the UK company produced some stellar bikes and their name carries with it a lot of value, especially when looking at their body of work through the last century. Some of their models—especially those from the early portion of the 20th century—can go for extremely high prices. From 1967 to 1972, they produced the Commando, pictured above, and it surely didn't disappoint when it surfaced. These days, the bike can go for as low as five thousand, and that's despite the fact that it has been labeled as a perfect collectible.
12 1986 Yamaha
Now, by no means can anyone call this bike a terrible bike. No way, no how. However, Yamaha has gotten a reputation for being a relatively "cheap" bike company over the years, but many riders have indeed trusted it as their bike of choice for years. It definitely had some success in the 1980s, particularly the model shown here, but mostly in Europe and Japan; it did not fare well in USA. But over the years, bikes such as this one have garnered for themselves quite the reputation, and an asking price of only two thousand dollars is definitely quite low for a bike that has now been rendered a classic.
11 1975 Laverda
Laverda fits on our list as yet another Italian company that offered a bike that was affordable and still inspiring—performance-wise that is. The name is now a respected brand and the bikes the company produced are indeed classics. There was one particular model, the 1975 pictured here, that was up for auction by Bonhams a little while back.
It was estimated to fetch around seven thousand bucks, but unfortunately, the crowd didn't meet that bid and it went for much less.
Classic bikes are like classic heroes that over time have been forgotten, with all their epic and amazing attributes having been utterly lost to the passage of time. How can such classics be rendered so worthless and yet so many others cost an arm and a leg?
10 1970-74 Bultaco Pursang
Now here is a Spanish model, whose company Bultaco was based in Madrid, that most motorcycle enthusiasts will know, or should know. It gained some notoriety for itself after securing a win for motocross MXGP racer Jim Pomeroy quite a few times over, and for very good reason.
The Pursang is a quality bike that over the years has become quite the collector's item, and asking prices may seem high to the average person, but to a collector, these prices are almost too cheap to be real. Auctions in the past have suggested the bike's value at around seven grand, but the bike was never actually sold for that price and had to practically be given away, it seems.
9 1972 Moto Guzzi Eldorado
Let's face it, folks: Moto Guzzi definitely makes an exceptional bike. Founded in 1921, the Italian manufacturer has produced some incredible models over these long years and their reputation is that of a respected brand. This Eldorado featured here is definitely not an exception to the classy, exceptional products they've brought to the market time and time again. That's why many have questioned why these bikes sell so cheaply nowadays. It's like some weird alternate universe where things go way different than expected. It just doesn't make sense. A bike like this one, with such a storied history can actually go for 4,000 dollars? Since when (Interestingly enough, the California Highway Patrol used this very model throughout the sixties.)
8 1989 Honda
The prices that the bikes on this list go for are sending out the wrong message. Now, these bikes might be going for such prices simply because the sellers are in dire straights, or just in it to make a quick buck, but any serious collector will tell you that these listings were not thoroughly researched, and if they were, these prices definitely don't justify the lineage some of these bikes have.
Most of them have been rendered worthless hunks of metal if these prices are to be trusted.
An example of what a classic bike should go for is 25,000 to 40,000 dollars, and yes even some of the models on this list. But alas, this is the state of affairs as it stands and it's quite sad indeed. Take this Honda sports bike here ... at one time going for a mere $2.5k.
7 1968 Triumph
In 1993 action superstar Jean-Claude Van Damme decided to go another route, opting out of classic martial arts flicks and deciding to try his hand at some more serious work. Well, what came of that venture was Nowhere To Run, a film that has been rendered a cult classic by now and was still able to win JCVD some accolades in the acting department, since from reel to reel, the dude doesn't deliver a single kick in that movie. What portions of that film represent much more important stuff to us here at HotCars is the fact that there was an absolutely gorgeous vintage Triumph in that film, and the bike plays an integral role in the unfolding story. Van Damme's character works on the bike after finding it in a barn as the story and drama unfold around him. It wasn't exactly the model shown here, but came quite close. These days, a 1968 Triumph like that can go for about $12,000. Does it seem expensive? Hardly. These bikes should be going for much, much more.
6 1963 Vespa
Now if you're not into scooters, please hold on a second. Scooters are most definitely an integral part of motorcycle history. And besides, in some parts of the world, scooters are the only way people can get that need for owning a motorbike out of their system, as insurance and license plate fees are astronomically higher when it comes to actual motorcycles above 60 cc of displacement. This is the case in Montreal, Quebec, unfortunately, so many users own scooters and get their motorbike dreams realized that way.
In so saying, Vespa is the leader of the scooter game. The Italian company has produced many models over the years, and created a trusted name. It started out in 1946, and a 1963 Vespa can go for 3,000 dollars, but at the same time a brand new one can go for the same price. This makes no sense, as a classic should always out-value a new model—especially in collector's circles.
5 Vintage 1978 Garelli Super Sport XL
This is where the money game gets even more surprising. What you see here is definitely a classic motorbike. And yes, it falls in the "moped" category, but that doesn't change the fact that it is definitely a great piece of classic machinery that comes from an era where the motorbike represented freedom and the open road.
Now when it comes to mopeds, the Garelli name is a trusted one and for good reason.
But that doesn't change the astonishing price tag on this little dude. You ready? If you want one of these, you can get one for an incredible 475 dollars! Don't say I didn't warn you.
4 1969 BSA Thunderbolt
Considering that a lot of bikes from the same era (the late 1960s) are now going for anywhere from 12,000 to 30,000 dollars, would you say that a measly 6 grand, give or take, is expensive? For a BSA of all things? If we can venture a response—and an educated one at that—we'd conclude that the price is astonishing, as a classic ride like that should cost much more. But there it is ... in black and white; the cold hard truth staring us right in the face. Some of these prices undoubtedly render these monumentous bikes as seemingly worthless, but that doesn't change the fact that they are impeccable machines.
3 1969 Honda PC50
The Honda PC50 was a motorbike produced by the Honda Motor Company from 1969 to 1977. It had a two-stroke, 50cc engine. Definitely not much in the power department, but still, it established itself in those days and has definitely become a classic scooter over the years. And any of you who have ever had the chance to have ridden one know that it has a cycling option as well—hardly a plus for gearheads, but it sure helped sell a lot of units back in the day. The going price for this bike is between 600 and 900 dollars, with a high chance of negotiating down those prices. You can own a piece of history for much lower than the price of your monthly rent in some cities.
2 1970 Bridgestone
Bridgestone is known for making tires and not much more. But as it turns out, the company actually produced some motorcycles of its own in between the years of 1963 and 1973. At the time of their inception and subsequent release, sales were not that great considering the market and how expensive these bikes actually were.
But over time, they've definitely garnered themselves a decent reputation and moreover, the eligibility to be called a vintage classic.
But as we've seen in this article, that eligibility doesn't necessarily promise a whole lot of financial value. You too can own one of these historic bikes, and just for about 3,000 dollars.
1 1987 Yamaha QT50
And here's one more for you moped aficionados out there. Yamaha has produced some quality vehicles over the years and their reputation is definitely warranted. The company was founded in 1955 in Iwata, Japan. This particular model went into production in 1979 and production ceased in 1992. The 50 within this bike's name is in reference to the 50cc engine, obviously.
And if you want one of these historic mopeds, one can be yours for the measly price of 299 dollars.
That's cheaper even than a brand new gaming console! Weigh your options: 1) Sit and play games all day long, or 2) Take a ride on some relaxing streets by the river? The choice is yours, dear readers.