What's better; money in the bank or one of these beauties in your garage appreciating in value?
Our used bike expert Neil Murray looks at some of the best bikes currently gaining value today. If any of the below take your fancy, visit MCN Bikes For Sale website or use MCN's Bikes For Sale App.
Triple-distilled pure essence of classic, and one of the most beautiful motorcycles ever built. Fundamentally, it was a reworked 851/888 engine in a new set of clothes, but its amazing looks were complemented by its dynamic abilities: this and the models that followed it won just about everything going. As Ducati developed the model into the 996, the 916 lost value and you could have picked one up for maybe two and a half grand. Now entry level is a grand more than that, and top bikes are well into five figures.
What you’ll pay now: £4000-£15,000.
But should you? If you want an appreciating ornament, yes. But a 996 is cheaper and makes more sense.
Old oil-cooled 750 is already a sought-after classic and you’re going to need £4000 or so for a really good original one (especially if it has the original exhaust). The 1100 is a big tall bike and a dinosaur by today’s standards, and 18in wheels limit tyre choice, but it’s still a 160mph machine with a stunning pedigree and great stability. The later water-cooled bikes were definitely faster, but got peakier and acquired some handling quirks which made them harder to ride. Torquey, fast, easy to maintain.
What you’ll pay now: £3000 plus for an original Mark One.
But should you? Hard to say – the L model is much cheaper and likely to appreciate quickly.
When it appeared, it was the size and weight of a sports 600 with an engine that was half as big again and made 50% more power. We’re talking the original 1992-94 bikes here: people are just starting to buy and restore them, or seek out immaculate originals, and when that happens, you know prices are going to soar in the next few years. OK, so the 16in front wheel limits tyre choice, and it may seem a bit tame alongside modern stuff, but this is the stuff of legend. And it has a simplicity lost by the modern Blades. Buy the best, most original you can, rather than hunt for parts.
What you’ll pay now: £2000-£4000.
But should you? Yes. Ones with Urban Tiger paint are the most affordable but will also appreciate.
Ducati GT1000 (2005-08)
Ducati’s Sport Classics were rather ignored when they appeared, as few saw the point in a modern take on the 1970s naked 900GTS. Now, of course, they’re the most sought-after retros and prices are soaring. The Paul Smart model is already silly money – the GT is certain to appreciate.
What you’ll pay now: £5000-£15,000 depending on model.
But should you? Yes. Buy the GT – it’s decent value and prices are only going to go one way.
Matchless G80 (1987-92)
Les Harris needed something when his five-year licence ran out to build the old Meriden Bonneville in 1988. So he took the worthy but unexciting Rotax 500 OHC single and dropped it in a traditional cradle frame. A few years ago, you could pick these up for a couple of grand. Now, privately, they’re twice that.
What you’ll pay now: £3000-£4000.
But should you? No. If you want a nice road thumper, buy a Yamaha SR500.
Don’t laugh. This was one of the best Japanese customs ever. Neat, low, lovely soft torquey engine, economical, cheap to insure, it actually handled and stopped. You can bob it, show all the taste of a stoned magpie with extra chrome, or add a screen and leather panniers and make it a budget tourer.
What you’ll pay now: £1000-£2500 (avoid anything under a grand).
But should you? Yes, especially if you’re short in the leg.
Triumph Speed Triple (1994-96)
This was Triumph’s Jota: a tad heavy and ponderous, but fabulous looks and the performance to back it up. It only ran for a couple of years, so there aren’t many around. Triumph also built a 750cc version to use up some spare engines.
What you’ll pay now: £2000-£3000.
But should you? Yes. Don’t be fooled by people who think the 750’s rarity means it’s more valuable.