Editor’s Note: We love scouring the internet for reasons to spend money we don’t have on cars we daydream about owning, and these are our picks this week. All prices listed are bid amounts at the time of publishing.
It’s true that some classic motorcycles can fetch prices that would make car collectors blush, but if you know where to look, there are some real affordable gems. Unlike classic cars, pristine old-world motorcycles can often be had for next to nothing. Because of the smaller market for classic mass-produced motorcycles — and, well, because they’re just smaller objects in general — there are great deals left, right and center. Most of the more affordable bikes run on the smaller side, but whether you’re a seasoned rider with thousands of miles under your belt or your motorcycle license is still warm from the printer, you’ll be able to appreciate these achingly beautiful and incredibly affordable vintage bikes.
1973 Ducati 750
What we like: Sure, an $8,000 asking price is flirting in territory close to a brand new Ducati Scrambler, but this bike comes from the era that the Scrambler is trying to emulate. Plus, old Ducatis are, for the most part, incredibly expensive — this is a steal.
From the seller: The bike has undergone some minor restoration work — the electronics rewired, new battery fitted, the 40mm Dellorto carbs overhauled and new chokes fitted. In addition, the bike has received new exhausts, a full service and the fuel tank has recently been ethanol proofed.
Mileage: n/a (restored)
Location: Manchester, NH
1957 Zundapp KS601 EL
What we like: Seeing as Zundapp went kaput in ’84, finding replacement parts for this one will be a little more difficult than most for most bikes, but this particular KS601 EL has been in a private collection for eight years and has been under the care of a dedicated mechanic. It’s definitely unique and in incredibly good condition for a ’57.
From the seller: Approximately 5,000 were produced including the U.S.-only Elastic model, which was updated with more power and a different rear frame design to accommodate a revised rear suspension. This example has spent eight years in the seller’s Indiana collection.
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
1971 Honda SL
What we like: Apparently it’s still a really big secret that you can get vintage scramblers and dirtbikes in perfect condition for next to nothing. Capitalize, now.
From the seller: With just over 5,000 original miles, the bike is in a very original condition — all-original motor. All-original electrical system, including wiring, regulator and rectifier.
Location: Brighton, MI
1981 Husqvarna 430 WR
What we like: This is effectively a brand-new bike — straigh out of ’81.
From the seller: Engine and transmission rebuilt in 2013 by Hanson Racing Technology. $2,000+ on rebuild and 2.0 miles on rebuilt engine and transmission.
Mileage: 2 (rebuilt engine)
Location: Westlake Village, CA
1963 Honda CB77 Superhawk
What we like: It’s hard to beat a well-executed black-and-chrome paint job. This one just happens to be on a professionally restored Superhawk.
From the seller: I bought this motorcycle about a year ago as a somewhat emotional purchase. Since reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, I’ve always wanted one. I bought this bike through a serendipitous meeting, sight unseen, and ended up spending thousands on restoration to get it running. The work was done right by a vintage Honda expert.
Location: Los Angeles, CA