Welcome to Netrider ... Connecting Riders!

Interested in talking motorbikes with a terrific community of riders?
Signup (it's quick and free) to join the discussions and access the full suite of tools and information that Netrider has to offer.

Classics: riding for free

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by mattb, Apr 6, 2012.

  1. Well, "classics", but also interesting older bikes...

    I sold my '78 Yamaha SR500 this week. Five years ago I paid $3k for it. This week I sold it at a friendly price in today's SR market, to a mate for $4k. I can't remember how many kms I rode on it, but it was in the tens of thousands and it gave me a lot of joy.

    It's as though the motorcycle fairy (NiteKreeper?) came along and said, "Here, have a free motorcycle for five years. No, let me restate that: have a passion-arousing classic bike with heaps of character and kudos, for free for five years. And now that your five years is up here is your $3k back, and we'd like to give you $1000 as a parting gift."

    Not bad. And I'm sure the current owner just bought himself a free bike.

    This applies also to interesting older bikes: a few years ago I sold a Suzuki GR650 after having 18 months of fantastic riding on it. Although they went on to sell for $2.5 -$3k for a while just afterwards, at the time I happily sold mine for $1500...after having paid $1500 for it originally. I bought it without rego etc, and sold it the same way. That was a great 18 months of free riding.

    (As an aside to this topic, My '98 Hornet 600 was hardly a classic nor an old interesting bike, it was rather an example of the seller wanting to get rid of a bike in a hurry. I bought it with rego for $2.7k. 18 months and 30,000km later I sold it unregistered for $3k.)

    I just paid today for my next bike, $4k. They don't make them anymore and they're definitely classics. I expect it'll just keep my money warm for me until I need it again in a few years....

    In the meantime I'll enjoy riding free, for free.
  2. You've still got to maintain an old bike in the meantime, and that's not always cheap. Still nice to recover the purchase cost towards your next bike though.
  3. There's two points to make there:

    One, it doesn't have to be that bad: very little has gone wrong for me. Japanese bikes were very well designed and built in the 1970s, and the air-cooled bikes of the '80s mostly continued in those designs and engineering. So not much goes wrong, and when it does it is simple to fix.

    Second, modern bikes have a lot of complicated throw-away expensive parts, and the servicing is often complicated (excluding dodgy home mechanics like me) and therefore the servicing is much more expensive to pay for. Older bikes seem to have been designed with home mechanics in mind. Older bikes - UJMs - also tend to share parts universally between models and beyond brands a lot of universal parts fit. These parts are typically cheap new, and they're also readily available used.

    One major reason that I sold the Hornet was because I felt financially unsafe - if something went wrong, it was so much harder and difficult and expensive to fix. Compare this to the SR: I stripped the drive shaft. It was completely my fault and I've met no other person on the international forum who has done so. I bought a low km replacement engine for $650 and with some mates and some beer we fitted it ourselves in an evening. And this is coming from a fellow with poor mechanical aptitude. Again, if the coil needed replacing, a universal part was available from PStevens for $33...a replacement new Mikuni carb could be bought for $80 from US eBay...and so on....

    If I were to add up the money, I've not spent very much in servicing costs over the years. It's generally just fluid and filter changes done by me, tappets done my me, a bit of problem solving leading to a dodgy wire connection, all done on the footpath because it's so easy. My only expense has been chains and tyres, which are 65 to 50% cheaper than a modern sports bike, for the same wear and quality.
  4. You don't need to sell me on simple jap bikes, I do almost all my own work on my GS, including swapping in a later model motor I picked up for $500, and it's been great to run around on a budget.

    It's still not completely "free" though, even if I do recover most of the purchase price when I upgrade. The whole thing probably still works out about the same as buying weekly bus passes and it's a lot more fun.
  5. I have a friend that has a vf1000, he loves that thing, his first big bike and has owned it since new. He had recently rebuilt it completely, suspension and all and he sourced parts very cheap and i bet maintenance is just as cheap.
    Mean while i have a vtr1000, parts are very hard to find new and often expensive, even tho compared to its super sports cousins its fairly simple and because of the narrow v-twin profile the engine is hard to work on for servicing. Its not even a very modern bike either
  6. I agree, but I don't count wearing parts (tyres, chains, fluids) or petrol which cost so little comparatively anyway, I mean the bike itself is free. The thing I do note however is that, as we here are all agreeing, even when compared to the running and repair costs of a newish bike these older things are still so cheap to keep on the road.

    But just to focus on the bikes themselves...they're friggin' free! How crazy is that?!
  7. Crazy... or a stupidly inflated market, supported by those in the know, at the expense of those that don't?

    Fair enough for "Classic" bikes, I guess: collectors should be paying a premium for something that is basically nostalgic memories. However: people are still trying to get "free" use out of NEW bikes: they ride for 10's of thousands of K's, for few years, and then DEMAND that people pay practically full Price!

    Really starting to understand why that guy said "The 2 most abundent things in the Universe is Hydrogen, and Man's capacity for stupidity"
  8. I've done the same with cars. Had a 68 Fairmont that I drove for about 14 years (daily driver) which I sold unregistered for 200 bucks less than I paid for it. Owned it for about 18 years. Dunno how many miles I put on it as the odo didn't work. went all over the state in it without thinking twice.
    Sometimes it's nice just to buy a new, or near new vehicle though. Bought a couple of brand new bikes and never regretted it. Both dirt bikes interestingly enough. I enjoy the actual maintanence side of motorcycling, so replacing a few bearings, modifying the suspension and a bit of engine work counts as a bonus rather than a negative in my book.
    I just like things with engines I guess :)
  9. I guess it comes down to how well you look after your bike. If you give it a regular clean, don't drop it (or get whatever shows up fixed - fix it yourself), do the basic services (or get them done), any second hand bike that has 5 years + on it should keep its value fairly well.
  10. I've also done the same thing with cars in the past, with muscle cars the buying and selling of parts is pretty profitable. I bought a part for $250 in 2003, used it on my car for ages then sold it last year for $1,500.

    Even on my daily car it's a 2007 model, cheaper than my bike to service, register and better fuel ecommony. I'm going to sell it in 6 months and I'll only lose about 3-3.5k (say $700 loss per year) depending on final sale price. That's was an almost brand new car and I've put the best part of 100,000km on it, one set of tyres at 50k, minimum servicing only, nothing's ever failed on it. When I sell it I'll probably buy another one that's a year old with low kms on it again and wait for a bargain.

    People are too quick to buy stuff. If you wait for the right vehicle to come along and you have the cash you can get a amazingly good deal.

    I've bought 2 vehicles before where I paid cash and picked up the night before the seller got on a plane for that big holiday. Both were low km, late model vehicles well under market value. One was my now track bike - 2007 cbr600rr 10,000km slipon cosmetic fairing damage, long rego 6k. That was in 2010.
  11. I agree totally Matt. Both the R65LS and the Katana 550 were inexpensive and have given me very cheap motorcycling.

    Neither have had any major work done - the most expensive was chain and sprockets on the Katana when I bought it.

    I'm actually contemplating selling the Suzuki at present - I've run out of room in the garage and I have the postie bike to put together - but I really don't want to. If I do I'll probably make a few dollars on the sale price (probably just about enough to cover the battery, chain & sprockets) but that's not the point. I's fun...
  12. I completely agree as far as the money side of thing goes. All of 3 my bikes have been older (1980s) Japanese bikes that I have bought for under a grand (by necessity as much as choice). I almost doubled my money when I sold the second one, and I came out about $300 down when I sold the first, but that was only because I crashed it.

    The only issue that I have owning a cheaper older bike is the reliability issue. Things do go wrong with older bikes, and it can be a problem if it is your only method of transportation.
  13. It does help if you can pick the bikes that are going to be classics vs those which are and always will be cheap hacks. The choice is not necessarily obvious.

    20 years ago, SR500s were cheap hacks that noone wanted. Now they're classics. Air-cooled strokers were junk that could be had for the price of the fuel in the tank. Now they're not.

    Actually, thinking about it, just buy anything with an air-cooled donk and at least some spares backup and you probably won't lose out if the market keeps going the way it has been lately. Want something more sporty? Early GSXRs are probably about as cheap as they're going to get.

    For me, there was a Rickman Z1 in Just Bikes this month. No bargain I'll admit, but considering what pukka Z1s are fetching these days, I can see a certain amount of potential in having one that actually works :D.
  14. I refuse to add up the amount of money I have spent on my yet-to-be-a-future-classic, I fear I will break down, my dog will run away & my wife will divorce me :)

    At a rough guess, though, it would be 2 to 3 times the purchase price.

    Which I will never get back.
  15. I'm certainly not advocating buying the bike because of the re-sell price - I have never bought for any other reason than because I want to ride it and it looks to be in good nick. But it's just so nice to look back and see how it has worked out.

    It's a bit funny, the whole speculative buying thing. All these fellows buying Brit bikes as investments, hence pushing the prices up steeply over five to ten years (just like property!) - a prise rise driven by the belief that they will rise in value. Many of the owners are not young, however, and it will be interesting to see what the market is like in the coming decades as all these bikes flood back out there from their dying or retiring-too-old-for it owners. (At the same time as that happens, if it does, the people who actually know how to work on such bikes will disappear too!)
  16. Then there's how the other end of the market capitalises on the recognised demand... supply more new retro styled bikes. That includes doing "custom" makeovers on the more accessible newer bikes... demand on these models then acts to make the newer retro's less depreciable.

    Life is generally easier in the shallows of the oceans, and it's much the same for biking. Position yourself between the crashing forces of the wild surf and the depths, where there be sharks, and life will generally be much easier. Fortunately, for some, almost every rider aspires to being a shark or a whale; enabling the mid sized fish to swim blissfully untouched by predators... most of the time.
  17. i did it with my 1986 xr250,
    bought for 1.2k, riden for 6 months. did the rings and a new timing chain for $200 (as well as $200 in plastics... N.O.S.) and sold it for 1.5k, i call that a profit, as i wright the expenses off as running costs (would have had to have done work on anyother bike anyway)

    i ended up selling it back to the orgiginal seller i bought it off. who i was riding with when the engine went.... (why i did pistons and timing chain)

    next bike (at this stage.... still got 12mths or so) i hope to be an rd350.... if i find one for a price i can afford,:(
    i definetly wont make money back with what i want to do with it...... (fzr250 hybrid)