When the current fad fades. The question invariably arises: What happens to a market when the current crop of collectors, focused on the bikes of their youth (notably, British twins and singles) disappears? The logical conclusion is that interest in British iron will fade, and the bikes that inspired late Boomers and Gen X will begin to take center stage. Mitch Boehm, editor and publisher of MotoRetro, a magazine dedicated to Japanese bikes of the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s, says this is exactly what’s happening.
According to Boehm, not only are the premier bikes of the 1960s and 1970s like sandcast CB750Ks, Z1s and CBXs holding their own, but they’re increasing in value, a notion supported both by Bator and Mederski. Mederski views limited Japanese production and race bikes as the next big thing, and specifically cites mid-1980s GSXRs as being good bikes to buy, use and hold onto. Boehm notes that “second-tier bikes, like Suzuki GT500 Sebrings, Yamaha RD400s, and ‘70s and ‘80s KZ905s and 1000s are also getting more attention.”
The Bobbers and Choppers produced in the early 2000s are not only fading from the scene in terms of production, but fading significantly in terms of value. That bike that was purchased in 2005 for $40K to $50K is now probably worth less than $10,000 at auction. It is felt that some of the celebrity-built bikes may have a revival, but it’s going to take 20 or more years for it to happen.
A new class of revival motorcycle style is starting to make some waves: café racers. The question: Will this be a repeat of the chopper bubble? Probably not, says David Edwards, editor-in-chief of BikeCraft magazine, though the café racer trend may offer some opportunities for mainline dealers by increasing demand for OE engine parts, gaskets and cables.
Edwards points out that typically the rider’s goal is to find something in not-too-bad shape for less than $1,000, throw away what you don’t want, add a few accessories like low bars, a headlight and maybe rearsets, and the job’s done. The folks in this sub-market don’t appear to be long-term players but, rather, in it for the social life, which incidentally has worked rather well for Harley-Davidson.