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Advice from Randakk: Current Vintage Motorcycle Marketplace

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Advice from Randakk: Current Vintage Motorcycle Marketplace


Post by randakk »

Recently, two very nice GL1000s fetched $15,000 each on the Bring-a-Trailer (BAT) auction site! One was a very nicely restored ’76 GL1000 Yellow bike with 7K miles. The other was a mostly original ’78 GL1000 showing 2K miles.

'76 GL1000 Yellow BAT $15K.png
'78 GL1000 BAT $15K.png

The yellow bike is the more expected result. It’s believed that only 500 or so yellow bikes were made. That makes it more scarce than even the ’76 LTD model (2,000 made). But, the result for the ’78 bike is a bit harder to understand. It’s a very nice example, but the later GL1000s have never been considered highly collectible. That was then. What’s going on?

Recently, all vintage Japanese bikes have zoomed up in value …especially on high end auction sites like BAT. Example: a nice ’75 Yamaha RD125B just sold this week for $6,900. That’s about 7 times what it sold for new! Some of this may be “pandemic” related. Working on vintage bikes is a “safe” hobby. Demographics are part of the answer too. There’s large cohort of retired, Baby Boomers with time (and cash) on their hands. Thanks to the robust stock market, retirement accounts for many of them have been plumped up. Now, some of them can afford to buy bikes they lusted after when they were poor teenagers.

BAT is a “curated” site, but they are finally "loosening" up on the types of bikes they will list. Vintage motorcycles are suddenly “in” and much cheaper to own that a Ferrari. I told BAT years ago that they were missing a big opportunity vs. EBAY by not pursuing the vintage motorcycle market. Finally, they’ve seen the light. Many aspects of buying vehicles via EBAY, Craigslist , Facebook, Cycle Trader, etc. are horrible. Scam artists have crowded out many honest sellers. BAT is capitalizing on these realities.

The BAT platform is not only curated … it’s also moderated. They allow a free flow of questions and answers with sellers during an auction. They also make it very easy to post videos of vehicles running, riding, cold starts, etc.

Best of all, auctions are automatically extended at the end so long as there are active bidders. This continues indefinitely until there are no more bidders. This protects bidders and sellers. No more "sniping" like on EBAY!

Back to what this might mean to GL1000 owners. I’ve owned and sold so many GL1000s I’ve lost track. I also like to modify and “improve” the performance of some bikes I own. This is almost always a “black hole” of money deal and a poor investment when it comes time to sell. The worst I ever did financially on selling a bike involved several highly modified “performance” bikes …included a couple that were supercharged. I got back about 1/4 what I invested in those bikes. Fun to own and ride, but painful to sell. :)

I also happen to like “cafe” bikes, but those are also very hard to sell no matter how nice. Why? Simple: people want to build their own dream bike …not buy yours.

So if you spend time studying auction results …especially on BAT, one fact is undeniable: Buyers crave ORIGINALITY! They bid accordingly. Right now, there are more buyers than sellers for original collectible bikes. The definition of “collectible” expands very day. It used to be fairly easy to snag decent, original GL1000s that were easy to resurrect. Now, such bikes are very hard to find. I “walk” on 90% of the bikes I consider.

My advice: in the current market, you’ll do much better selling a bike if it’s as close to “stock” as possible. I’ve proven this many times in my own transactions.

If you’re tempted to modify your GL1000 (as I’ve been known to do), keep all the parts necessary to return it to 100% stock condition! You’ll be glad you did one day. And for God’s sake, don’t pull out a Sawzall and hack up your frame …as I’ve also been known to do! :)
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Last edited by randakk on Mon Aug 30, 2021 3:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Advice from Randakk: Current Vintage Motorcycle Marketplace


Post by Oldewing »

Nice to see some money coming for these bikes. Stock has always been the better way to recoup your monies, but not nearly as much fun.

Nice also to "see" you again buddy.
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Re: Advice from Randakk: Current Vintage Motorcycle Marketplace


Post by Rat »

Oldewing ... your 'new' ‘82 GL1100 will be right up there one day ... or when it’s finished ...

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Re: Advice from Randakk: Current Vintage Motorcycle Marketplace


Post by 5speed »

I did the keep all the original parts for my 76 (I had the rear fender panted but have the original) and with the exception of the paint job it would take minutes to return it to stock configuration.
Same with my 82 standard. It has interstate hard bags on it and a fresh coat of paint that unless you are a goldwing aficionado wouldn't know it isn't the factory color.
I've been watching the market for third gen camaro's too and they are starting to creep up in value.
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Re: Advice from Randakk: Current Vintage Motorcycle Marketplace


Post by Sidecar Bob »

High sale prices are OK for investors but for people who just want to keep the ones they have on the road it means that our costs will also increase, possibly beyond what some of us can afford. This is not good for enthusiasts.
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