Collectible motorbikes can preserve capital.
And Edward Doering, director of the Motorcyclepedia Museum in Newburgh, N.Y., says the closer the bike’s condition is to the day it rolled off the factory floor, the better.
“Original paint is important, as are decals and accessories,” he says. “Collectors want every nut and bolt [to be] original. Bikes restored years ago may have value, but auctioneers say [such bikes fetch] about half the value.”
Provenance matters, too.
“Some of the most coveted bikes among serious collectors are factory works bikes with documented race-winning or record-attempt histories,” says Daniel Wade of U.K.-based Paul Fraser Collectibles. “They were generally hand-produced in limited numbers.”
Serious investors should expect to pay at least $15,000 for motorcycles with original parts and finishes, says Wade. If you’re buying with an eye to potential profitability, stick to flagship brands such as Indian, Triumph, Brough, Vincent, Harley-Davidson and Ducati.
Doering notes younger collectors are buying bikes from the 1960s and ’70s, the era in which they grew up. These are nostalgia purchases. “Many now sell for only a couple of thousand dollars and could double in value pretty easily.”
As for how much of a portfolio to allocate to bikes, a Barclays study finds wealthy people hold an average of 9.6% of their net worth in collectibles. Doering suggests motorbikes could be a more daring “25% of your investment portfolio.”