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You don’t have to spend a fortune to buy a decent ride that’s destined to become a classic motorbike in the very near future.
In fact, you can buy a great pre-used bike for less than £3,000, enjoy the ride for a year or two and then possibly see your investment mature into a very desirable classic motorbike.
Classics are usually thought of as bikes of at least 20 years old (with a little bit of triple X factor) so you should be looking to invest in something a wee bit newer than that – then let it grow old gracefully and morph into a classic.
You will want something that was the hottest ride in town when it was first released but it must still be in relatively good supply to ensure prices haven’t started to rise just yet.
But be confident in what you are buying because what looks like a soon-to-be-classic motorbike could be rotten as a pear and cost you a fortune in renovation if you are not careful.
Here Bikesure takes a look at some marvellous machines that won’t break the bank and could become classics in the very near future.
Royal Enfield Bullet 500 classic motorbike
Royal Enfield is of course the stuff of legends as far as the British motorcycle industry is concerned. The first Royal Enfield motorcycle was built in Redditch in Worcestershire in 1901 and almost 120 years later, Enfields are still admired for their classic lines and guttural roar.
The Bullet 500 has been in production since 1992, and while a new one will set you back four or five grand you should be able to pick up a used model for £1,000-£1,5000, depending on age and condition.
Models produced after 2000 are generally considered to be more reliable than the older versions but it still serves up an old-school driving experience. In terms of look, the Bullet 500 ticks all the boxes as the archetypal classic motorbike.
Triumph Daytona 675
Still buying British, a new 675 would set you back in excess of £10,000 but you could get a used one for £2,500-£3,000 – that will make it a great ride at a bargain price.
The 675 has a racing pedigree, is light, nimble, powerful and pretty as a picture in biking terms.
“So why did it cease production in 2016”, I hear you ask. Triumph ditched the manufacture of the base model Daytona because of “diminishing demand for super sport bikes and increasingly strict European emission standards”.
But if you are not too worried about the ultra low emission zones there are still plenty of second-hand ones to be had. Prices have started to rise, but they have not sky-rocketed just yet, so get in quick before it turns into a real classic motorbike.
The F800ST is a sports tourer offering power, comfort and the three Rs: outstanding German reliability, resilience and reputation.
That combination turns what would have been an extravagant purchase brand new into a pretty safe and sensible purchase as a second-hand machine that looks set to become a classic motorbike any day soon.
The F800ST was produced between 2006 and 2013, the latest manifestation (the F800R) will cost you around £8,500. Shop around and you should be able to pick up a second-hand one for under three grand.
Aprilia 750 classic motorbike
You could enjoy a slice of la dolce vita with a second-hand Aprilia which has the looks and the Italian flare to become a classic very soon.
Aprilia’s naked sports bike, the Shiver 900, will cost around £8,000 new but go for something around a decade old, perhaps a 750, and you are talking a bargain 3K.
A word of caution with this one: naked sports are traditionally more likely to have been thrashed, so know your stuff – or get a mechanic who can advise you – and get the bike checked over fully before signing on the dotted line.
Alternatively another street sport which gets better looking by the day is the SL1000 and that will come in at up to £1,000 cheaper than the 750.
Produced by Honda from 1997 to 2005 and known as the Firestorm on the street or the RC51 on the track, you could find one today for around £2,500. But these V-twin engined power-bikes go very quickly, both in terms of quick sale and mph.
If you get one at the older end of the scale it will need a thorough going over before purchase.
And if you want to take a chance on something even older, you wouldn’t go far wrong with one of Honda’s mid-90s bikes. The VFR750 or VFR800 will sell for anything between £1,500 and £3,000. Each is destined to become a classic very soon.
The super-quick ZZR600 is another second-hand bargain for around 2.5K – that’s a lot of bike for not a lot of money.
The good thing about these powerful superbikes is that more often than not they were bought new by very sensible people who resisted the temptation to thrash the life out of them.
Many are looked after well, treated with kid gloves and serviced regularly and thoroughly. That means when the bike comes down the food chain and you or I get our hands on it, it’s like getting a brand new machine. And it’s definitely a classic motorbike of the future.
Suzuki Hayabusa classic motorbike
Every inch a classic, the Hayabusa turned heads when it was released way back in 1999 and it will turn as many heads today. It is the fastest production motorcycle ever made with a top speed of 194mph – a speed unlikely to be bettered.
That’s because in 1999 there was an agreement between Japanese and European manufacturers to govern the top speed of their motorcycles at an arbitrary limit of 186mph.
The current version will set you back at least £13k – go pre-owned and you could pick one up for less than £3,000. Of course, that won’t be one of the frighteningly quick top-of-the-range 99ers, but it’ll be great for the cool cruise to Tesco on a Saturday morning.
Do you have a passion for classic motorbikes?
If you have more than three grand to spend check out what’s on offer at an H&H auction at the National Motorcycle Museum in Solihull, West Midlands, on July 30.
In the meantime cenjoy some of the amazing models – everything from a Lambretta and a Dayton Albatross to a Norton International and a Harley Davidson Duo Glide – featured in Forever Bikes the online magazine featuring classic bikes and their inspirational owners.
And if you are lucky enough to have a classic of your own, discover a great deal on your classic motorcycle insurance.