Many old motorcycles and motorbikes are still functional after many decades in service. Four to five decades after their release, several antique collectors’ items can still be driven. Furthermore, some of them can even be repaired, modified, and customized with replacement or new parts to run like new. Not all motorcycles are worth the trouble, but there are a few that are a good value, such as the Kawasaki W800, the Royal Enfield Bullet, or the Vincent Black Shadow.
Many of these bikes have been around for decades, but the quality and performance has not decreased. Unfortunately, some of the prices have increased, but many collectors often find these bikes to be a valuable investment. Many of these bikes also boast a rich heritage or a notable history, being revolutionary in some way or another at the time of their release. A lot of them have also won awards or broken records.
15 Kawasaki Z1/Z1-B/KZ-900
The Kawasaki Z1/Z1-B/KZ-900 first appeared in 1972. At the time, it was the most powerful Japanese four-cylinder, four-stroke bike, winning several motorcycling awards and establishing Kawasaki as a versatile manufacturer. It could travel up to 130 mph with an 82 horsepower engine. It also featured a disc and drum braking combination.
14 Kawasaki W800
The Kawasaki W800 is a parallel-twin motorcycle known for its quality performance, aesthetic, and dependability. The Kawasaki W800 was an effort to bring heritage styling to the company’s modern lineup. When it debuted in 2011, it featured an easily-modifiable chassis and a shaft and bevel gear-drove overhead cam. It became fan favorite, because even when the company wanted to end it in 2016, it was brought back due to popular demand three years later.
13 Velocette Viper
The Velocette Viper had its heyday in the 1950s and 1960s, but this classic bike has massive collector value, as many collectors prize this bike above all others. It features glass fiber enclosed panels and an engine with high compression pistons. A few special models even featured an extra-large three-gallon gas tank.
12 Royal Enfield Bullet
The Royal Enfield Bullet is one of the most popular motorcycles ever produced, known for having the longest continuous production run of any motorcycle in history. This motorcycle began production in 1948, but even earlier versions that collectors prize were made back in 1931. The original model features a 350cc four-stroke engine and a cool chrome finish.
11 Ducati 860GT/GTS
The Ducati 860GT/GTS was created by Giorgetto Giugiaro, famed designer of the original Maserati Ghibli and DeLorean. While it wasn’t a sales success in America due to its unusual styling, it became affordable for that very reason. This bike had successors that were even more popular, featuring engines with even greater horsepower.
10 Royal Enfield Continental GT
The Royal Enfield Continental GT is of the leading proponents of the modern cafe racing movement, being arguably the most important variant of the company’s lineup, as they make said lineup a favorite for customizers and aficionados. The Royal Enfield Continental GT showcases a minimalist outfit, wire-spoke wheel layout, and agile silhouette.
9 Honda CB750
The Honda CB750 is known for being an iconic motorcycle across the globe, largely because of its dependable machining, illustrious power plant, and beautiful aesthetics. Its base model may not be visually appealing, but it can also be easily customized, leading it to be a fan favorite for projects.
8 Suzuki Katana GSX-1100S
The Suzuki Katana GSX-1100S is a low-riding, 1100-cc four-cylinder in a racing crouch. Unlike most of their motorbikes, Suzuki asked a European company, Target Design, to design the Suzuki Katana GSX-1100S. Hans Muth, Hans Georg Kasten and Jan Fellstrom were reportedly given free rein on designing the bike. While Suzuki used the Suzuki Katana GSX-1100S’ success to market a range of similar models, the original Katana’s impact, presence and design was never equaled.
7 Norton Commando
The Norton Commando was distinguished and manufactured in Britain, designed by a group of engineers who left Mercedes-Benz. It was even named “Machine of the Year” each year from 1968 to 1972 by Motorcycle News. The Norton Commando is known for its innovative framework, known as the “Isolastic System.” This breakthrough solved the long-held problem of engine vibration and revolutionized motorcycles. Further, the Commando has also proven to be a popular racing motorcycle.
6 Vincent Black Shadow
The Vincent Black Shadow was built in 1948, known as an innovative motorcycle for its time. It was hand-built and showcased many unique features, including a stressed engine and extensive use of aluminum. This bike even held the record for the fastest production bike ever made for nearly 20 years.
5 BSA Rocket 3
The BSA Rocket 3 was built Birmingham Small Arms (BSA), who also produced weapons for the British military. They made the transition to manufacturing motorcycles during the 1930s. The BSA Rocket 3, designed by Triumph in Meriden, England, was manufactured by BSA at its Small Heath factory. This motorcycle showcased a twin-leading shoe-drum front brake and 120-plus-mph top speed.
4 Honda CB750-4
The Honda CB750-4 was known as the first Japanese superbike. Many riders complimented it for being stylish, quick and powerful, and Honda marketed it as an affordable, easy-to-maintain machine. Further, at the time of its debut, it only cost $1,495. The Honda CB750-4 featured five speeds, electric start and a front disc brake.
3 Harley-Davidson XR750
The Harley-Davidson XR750 features the Harley-Davidson badge of heritage character, known for an extensive history as one of motorcycling’s most dominant companies. The XR750 debuted in 1970 and was prominently showcased for four decades. Harley-Davidson designed this particular bike to remain competitive in the newly-adapted AMA Grand National Championship. This bike accumulated the most wins out of any other cycle in the history of the American Motorcycle Association.
2 BMW R32
The BMW R32 is one of the oldest motorcycles ever made, even to the point where it’s considered an antique. It’s also a widely-known collectors’ item, as it was BMW’s first foray into motorcycle production after the company was banned from building airplanes after World War I. It debuted in 1923 with an appearance between a bicycle and a moped.
1 Harley-Davidson Sportster
The Harley-Davidson Sportster has been available in various iterations since 1957. this particular bike is known for being lighter, more agile, and better-looking than the company’s classic big machines. It gained the improved “Evolution” engine in 1986, with a five-speed gearbox also offered in 1991. Many accessories are offered for the Sportster, as it is easily customized.
Sources: goliath.com, hiconsumption.com, thedrive.com,
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