Is now the time to invest in a classic motorcycle?

Hidden gems auctioned. Bargain prices for future classics

BONHAM’S recent auction in Paris might have contributed to a best-ever year for the firm but it wasn’t the big-money lots that caught our eyes.

Perhaps it was because they were being sold in front of an audience more tuned in to traditional vintage and classic bikes, but many of the more recent machines – those from the 1980s in particular – looked like bargains. The Garelli Grand Prix collection, for instance, started with complete bikes going for as little as €6900 (£6000) – a figure that would have bagged either a 1988 or a 1989 works 125cc GP machine (ridden by the likes of Fausto Gresini), and most of the firm’s bikes were in the same ballpark, with several 250cc GP machines starting at around €10,000. Most were the radical monocoque-framed bikes – not winners, but technically interesting nonetheless.

Stepping away from the GP machinery, other misfits that might look like bargains when we look back in a few years’ time included a virtually as-new 1990 BMW K1 with only 1158km on the clock, sold for €6670 (£5840), and a 1986 Honda VF1000R first owned by a certain Wayne Gardner. At €4370, surely it must represent a worthwhile investment for whoever grabbed it.

Pricier, but still looking like a bargain, was a championship-winning, ex-Fred Merkel WSB Honda RC30, used by the Rumi team for Merkel’s 1989 title-winning campaign and during 1990. Given that stock road-going RC30s in decent nick are pushing £20k in the classified, €26,450 (£23,000) for such an illustrious racer looks cheap.