What Makes a Motorcycle a Classic? Image
Motorbike History

What Makes a Motorcycle a Classic?

There are many of us who are curious about Classic Bikes. The collection of words that float around the topic tend to leave us very intrigued to say the least. There are a variety of descpritions to define a classic motorbike such as such as, Retro, Vintage, Antique, and Modern Classic just to name a few. At We Buy Any Bike

We are going to clear the air a bit on what really defines a classic bike.

Classic Motorbike

How old does a motorcycle have to be to be defined as an actual classic?

We thought we’d start with the most common curiosity; the age! In this instance, it all seems to entirely depend on the Insurance company. Some Insurers qualify a classic as 20 years, whereas others tend to go for 30. In biker terms, you’re probably safe to go with 25. However, if you’ve got a bike in your garage and you’re curious as to whether it could be classified as a classic, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact some insurance companies to get their opinion!

Many people buy these motorcycles because insurance premiums tend to be quite low. These bikes generally don’t perform as well as newer models, so their owners tend to ride them in their spare time, rather than commuting. On the other hand, they aren’t too admirable in terms of theft. Finally, a classic bike is a great option to start learning mechanics on!

Classic Motorbike being worked on

We, on the other hand, believe that many motorcycle enthusiasts buy classic motorbikes simply for the investment that they will be making in another 30+ years. If you’ve started on a clasic that you’ve tinkered with, and you know the ins and outs of the bike, you’ve got a guaranteed profit in a few years to come!

The Definition of a Modern Classic Motorcycle

This is a term used to define a bike that has been built to replicate an old classic motorbike, but with modern mechanics. Its’ basically what bikers wish their bikes ran like ‘back in the day’, I suppose. For example, if you look at a new Triumph Bonneville, and compare it to a 30-year-old Triumph Bonneville, appearance-wise, they’re virtually identical! Aside from a few internally updated pieces, that is.

Top 5 Most Popular Classics!

Sometimes, it’s hard to determine what a classic motorbike model is, so here are some examples!

  1. Norton Commando
  2. Triumph Bonneville
  3. Velocette Viper
  4. Royal Enfield Bullet
  5. Vincent Black Shadow

A few of these bikes have been replicated into modern classics. We know we’ve seen #2 and #4 a lot, and sometimes #1 (hopefully more in the future). However, Vincent and Velocette aren’t around to see the era of modern classics. Unfortunately, Vincent seized production in 1959 and Velocette followed just over a decade later in 1971.

Black and White Classic Motorbike

Our Top 5 Future Classics:

Of course, there are some newer models which will one day be classed as history, and as potential classics themselves. Well, here are our thoughts about what could be potential. Don’t forget to leave your thoughts in the comments below!

  • 1998 Yamaha R1
  • Honda Fireblade
  • Any Rare Ducati
  • Suzuki Hayabusa
  • Suzuki GSXR1000

What are the other terms in the classic category?

As mentioned in the beginning of this post, there are some other familiar terms that are connected to classical-wonder-machines, here’s what they really mean.

  • Retro – The term Retro sits on blurred lines. Some say that the term Retro stands for a classic bike that has been rebuilt to modern standards.
  • Vintage – This is sort of a nickname for classic bikes. It isn’t really one you’ll hear often, but it is if you tent to go to Vintage bike shows!
  • Antique – According to the Antique Motorcycle Club of America, Antique Motorcycles have to be at least 35 years old.
Hopefully, we have helped cleared the air for you, if you were ever in doubt about what defines a classic motorbike!

Rachel Mackie

20 Sept 2023

For any blog enquiries, please emailrachelmackie@superbikefactory.co.ukView all posts by Rachel Mackie

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