Bator feels that buyers and sellers have finally reached equilibrium, and cited as an example the 90 percent sell-through rate at the recently held Barber auction in Birmingham, Ala. He also noted that sales at this auction were up 35 percent over the previous year. “It’s a matter of tailoring your inventory to the market,” Bator says. “If people are used to buying $5,000 to $20,000 motorcycles, there’s no point in bringing something more expensive. Mid-priced motorcycles are selling well.”
Like the rest of the market, vintage suffers somewhat from boomers aging out. On the other hand this has been a benefit as many bikes held in collections for years are coming to market, thus giving buyers an opportunity to acquire something new and different for themselves.
Randy Baxter, owner of Baxter Cycle, in Marne, Iowa, specializes in vintage British bike sales, parts and restorations. He is up-beat about the market and its future. “The future looks good. Demand has gone up and outstripped supply by a long shot,” Baxter says, noting that at the recent Avila Beach, Calif., all auction bikes in the $12,500 to $18,500 range were sold.
Baxter said foreign buyers are exceptionally strong, and he’s shipped several loads of parts and bikes overseas over the past few months.
When asked about the strength of the various brands, “Triumph is always number one. There are more of them around now and it’s always a good market,” Baxter says. “It doesn’t seem to matter what’s going on economically, there’s always somebody around to buy them.”