Classic Motorcycles For Sale

Here you'll find classic motorcycles for sale from a variety of countries and each country has its own dedicated page.

If you're a motorcycle history buff, you might like to visit Motorcycle History Timeline where you may well find some interesting information about the classic motorcycle you’re currently searching for.

The early motorcycle manufacturers all started producing their first models in the early 1900s. The first Matchless and the first Royal Enfield in 1901, and Harley Davidson, Norton, Triumph & Ariel all followed with their first machines in 1902 and 1903 saw the birth of the first BSA and Indian motorcycles. At that time, many manufacturers were using bought in engines from a handful of manufacturers such as JAP. It wasn’t long however, before many of these engineering pioneers decided to get busy and design and make their own engines and gearboxes etc. Some of these early concepts are still in use today, but with considerable modifications. Harley Davidson and even the newly revived Indian Motorcycle Manufacturing Company still use the in line V twin format and even now, most manufacturers still use the transverse twin cylinder set up. Classic motorcycles for sale from this early period are relatively rare and much sought after.

Triples, transverse four cylinder and even six cylinder came considerably later as did the overhead cam set ups.

A few designs however, never really caught on in the long term. The Ariel square four design is a good example of this. The Squariels were and still are, a great motorcycle and to me at least, incredibly elegant, but there was always a degree of overheating in the two rear cylinders.

Moving on slightly, in 1919, the first Brough Superior rolled out of the factory to great acclaim. This stunning piece of two wheeled engineering took the motorcycling world by storm and although hugely expensive for the time, the performance, reliability and reputation ensured this particular marque would forever have an important place in motorcycle history. Classic motorcycles for sale with the Brough badge on them are the holy grail of classic motorcycle collectors.

The 1930s saw further leaps forward in technology. The Ariel square four and the first Vincent motorcycles were both introduced, the first takeovers were happening and before the end of the decade WWII had started and the motorcycle industry leapt into action making military versions of their civilian machines plus many new specialist designs such as the air droppable lightweight BSA machines that were later christened the bantam series.

The 1940s saw the end of WWII, international economic collapse and also the first Vincent Black Shadow, the founding of the Honda Motor Company and the arrival of the Norton Featherbed racing frame which is still manufactured by specialist companies today.

The 1950s bought the world economic revival, rock n roll and gathering popularity for the Ace Café in London. I personally have great memories of the Ace from the late 1960s and it’s still in business and a bikers magnet today). The fifties also bought us the closure of the Indian Motorcycle Manufacturing Company and the introduction of the Velocette LE as used by the British cops, the first large engine Ducatis, the Velocette Venom and what later turned out to be the death knell of the British motorcycle industry, the first Kawasaki, Yamaha and Suzuki motorcycles. Classic motorcycles for sale from these decades are still readily available but values are now steadily increasing.

Then the 1960s arrived, and with it, the fastest 250 ever, the Ducati Mach 1. BSA introduced my favourite motorcycle of all time, the 650 Rocket Gold Star with the RRT2 gearbox, originally designed for the Isle of Man TT races. I’m sure the gearing was dead right for the TT course, but it was a pig of a thing on the road until you got used to slipping the clutch a lot. 1967 saw the last Ariel and the first 750 cc Norton Commando and the 1968 bought us the first Kawasaki three cylinder H1 Mach 3 in that nasty lime green colour. 1969 was an even better year with the first Laverda 750S and 750GT, the first Honda CB750 four, first BSA Rocket 3 and the release of what must be one of the best biker movies of all time, Easy Rider with Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and a very young Jack Nicholson. 1969 incidentally also bought us the first moon landing. Classic motorcycles for sale of this type with a good provenance will probably become some of the finest two wheeled investments of the future.

The 1970s bought a technological revolution in motorcycling. We got the Kawasaki S250 & Z900, the Harley Davidson FLT Tour-Glide, the Suzuki ram air triples, the water cooled two stroke Suzuki GT750, the Honda Gold Wing & CB500 – 4, that incredible Ducati Desmo and oh yes, Honda became the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world. Other notable happenings in this decade were 2 more energy crises, the first computers, Apollo 13, the glorious UK 1976 summer of love and I dislocated my hip at Brands Hatch Racing Circuit!

The 1980s are the last of the eras covered here. We saw the Kawasaki GPz750, the Harley Davidson Softail, the closure of Laverda and the initial research for what was to turn out to be the rotary or Wankel engined Norton Interpol. The eighties also bought us all the excitement of the first space shuttle Columbia, the death of John Lennon, the Falklands war and the loss of the Challenger in 1986.

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