Gizmag: top 100 motorcycle auction prices

Date 07.4.2015

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  • Motorcycle Trader

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Gizmag: top 100 motorcycle auction prices

Ever wanted the definitive list in one fell swoop? The Monty Python Instant Record Collection for motorcycles? Well pine for the fjords no longer because it exists.

The team at e-magazine Gizmag provides an online compendium of the 100 most-expensive motorcycles sold at auction.

Thousands of hours have been spent trawling auction results across the world and the Gizmag team intends to keep the list of top-priced bikes up-to-date as new data becomes available.

The list starts at the most expensive sale and ranks the bikes, one to 100, in declining selling price. Also included are bikes that had great auction expectations but were passed in. These are ranked as ‘00’.

In first place, with an eye-watering price tag of $US1,620,000 ($A2.07m) is the Captain America Harley-Davidson chopper from the 1969 movie Easy Rider, sold in October last year.

Second in the rankings comes in at ‘just’ $US580,000 ($743,000) for a 1910 Winchester 7hp.

The most valuable ‘00’ bike listed is a 1964 Honda RC164 250cc Racer. Honda works rider Jim Redman campaigned it successfully for most of the 1964 season, including wins at the Dutch TT and Isle of Man TT. The bike’s race success sadly didn’t help push it into the expected selling range of £380,000-420,000 ($730,000-$800,000) and it was passed in at a Bonhams auction in 2006.

Another ‘00’ entrant is something of an oddity – an 1894 Roper Steam motorcycle (pictured right) – which, despite a $US425,000 ($550,000) bid at auction two years ago, was passed in.

Each motorcycle in the list includes a commentary varying from a few lines to several paragraphs with archival photographs. Good use is made of hyperlinks to further information such as the auction house website, a history of the bike or details of a notable rider.

A companion Gizmag article analyses the information accumulated from the research and turns up some interesting statistics.

British bikes surprisingly command less than half of the top-100 prices despite being exported throughout the world in their prime. Brough Superior and Vincent-HRD bikes accounted for a majority of them.

Motorcycles from other countries include 35 from the US, 12 from Germany and 11 from Italy. A Japanese bike is yet to make the top 100.

Celebrity plays a part in increasing a motorcycle’s perceived value and eight of the top 100 came from the late Steve McQueen’s collection.

He starred in several films of the 1960s and ’70s and performed many of his own stunts on two and four wheels. Then there’s the celebrity status of the bike itself, such as the Captain America chopper which stars alongside Hopper and Fonda.

Statistics show two thirds of the top-100 bikes are V-twins while singles and flat twins account for just eight per cent apiece and five per cent for parallel twins. A six-cylinder has yet to break into the ranks. Other trends examined include the country of sale, the most sought-after vintages and the auction houses that sell these big ticket bikes.

– Follow the link to read the Gizmag article on the 100 most-expensive motorcycles sold at auction.

– Also, the Gizmag analysis of the 100 most-expensive motorcycles sold at auction.