10 collectible motorcycles to watch

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Just like cars, motorcycles are treasured collectibles. Despite their desirability, however, they trade hands on average at far lower values than cars. The car auction record, too, is nearly 50 times that of the motorcycle auction record. Generally, the lower end of the bike market is full of nostalgia-driven purchases; the top is littered with historical significance and racing pedigree.

Based on digital views of our newly-released Hagerty Motorcycle Price Guide, here are the 10 bikes in which Hagerty is seeing the most interest, arranged by price from low to high.

1968–73 Honda CB, CL and SL 350

Honda SL350 Front Three-Quarter

Average #2-condition (Excellent) value: $4900

The 350 Hondas improved upon the CA/CB/CL77 models to create what was to become one of the most loved Honda models. It seems like everyone in the late ’60s had one or at least knew someone who did, and that’s because the CB350 was the best-selling motorcycle in the world the very first year it was introduced, for 1968. The electrics were more reliable with a strong 12-volt system, the styling was updated and modern, and the five-speed gearbox meant 90 mph was attainable.

1959–69 Honda CA77 Dream Touring

Honda Dream Touring Moto

Average #2-condition (Excellent) value: $6000

The CA77 was the touring version of the CB/CL77, and it featured styling that was distinctive from any other motorcycles on the road. The affordable price and excellent reliability that Honda was quickly becoming known for was cemented with the Dream, and in the ’60s it became a youth favorite. The pressed steel frame and forks, plus features like an enclosed chain, meant that it was a great bike for a variety of weather and road conditions. That also, however, led to many Dreams being used heavily in the elements. Nice, original ones are hard to come by today.

1965–68 Honda CL77

1966 Honda CL77 Scrambler Side Profile

Average #2-condition (Excellent) value: $6700

The Honda CL77 was the off-road cousin of the CB77 Superhawk and CA77 Dream models; a whole line of bikes that shared massive success. The CL77 featured high scrambler pipes, tall bars, and 19-inch wheels that allowed it to easily go from town to the desert; so much so that many racers adopted the bike as their go-to desert racer, and it helped set the scene for the light-weight scramblers to come.

1969–78 Honda CB 750

1973 Honda CB750 Front Three-Quarter

Average #2-condition (Excellent) value: $9100

More Honda! The Honda CB750 is the motorcycle that completely changed America’s motorcycle market. At a time when a buyer could have reliability, speed, and affordability but only choose two, the CB750 allowed them to choose all three. Honda was so unsure of the success coming that it didn’t want to invest in diecast molds, instead opting for sandcasting, and the first 7414 bikes produced in 1969 had sandcast engine cases. By the end of 750’s production run, Honda had made almost 450,000 examples and solidified the CB750 as the first superbike attainable by common folk.

1979–82 Honda CBX

Honda CBX Side View
Carol Gould

Average #2-condition (Excellent) value: $15,150

The CBX is not the first production motorcycle with six cylinders—that honor goes to the Benelli Sei—but it perhaps is the most memorable. Honda produced the bike for only four years and made it more touring-oriented in the last two years. Despite the short production run, it proved that Honda was still willing to invest in radical motorcycles at a time when the company was becoming, according to some, too predictable.

1972–75 Kawasaki Z1

1973 Kawasaki Z1 Front Three-Quarter

Average #2-condition (Excellent) value: $15,900

Not a Honda, you say? The Kawasaki Z1 was Kawasaki’s response to being beat to the punch by Honda’s CB750. That response became the new world’s fastest production motorcycle and Cycle World’s New Motorcycle of the Year during the whole production run. The Z1 took the CB750’s formula of bringing speed and reliability to the masses, and then one-upped it with 15 more horsepower—a big bump, in the ’70s. That set the tone for the horsepower wars to come.

1961–69 BMW R60/2 and R69S

1964 BMW R60 Slash 2 Black

Average #2-condition (Excellent) value: $16,300

The BMW R60/2 and R69S, the latter being the more powerful version, were built as rugged and reliable workhorses but quickly became the go-to touring motorcycles of the ’60s. Instantly recognizable by the Earles fork suspension that reduced front-end dive under braking, the R60/2 and R69S were known for their strong reliability and extremely high quality. These motorcycles are some of the only models from the era that are regularly found showing more than 30,000 miles.

1946–53 Indian Chief

1946 Indian Chief Rear Three-Quarter

Average #2-condition (Excellent) value: $32,900

With some of the most distinctive colors adorning their swooping fenders—thanks to a merger with DuPont Motors—the Chief is one of the only famous American motorcycles that is not a Harley-Davidson. The Chief was built as a competitor to Harley’s big twins, and the model remained in production from 1922–53. If looking for something more modern, a buyer can get a brand new take on the Chief from the revived Indian Motorcycle company today, swooping fenders and all.

1936–47 Harley-Davidson EL/FL Knucklehead

1937 Harley Davidson EL

Average #2-condition (Excellent) value: $70,800

The Harley-Davidson Knucklehead, known by that name because of the way the head makes a fist shape, is one of the most recognizable and prized motorcycles in American history. It was introduced before WWII and then ended production soon after. Since then the style has become iconic, and the model set the stage for Harleys today. The Knucklehead served as both a pleasure bike for soldiers returning from war and a workhorse for government employees. To this day it remains one of the most desirable Harley models.

1948–55 Vincent Black Shadow

1949 Vincent Black Shadow

Average #2-condition (Excellent) value: $94,500

Considered one of the world’s first superbikes, the Black Shadow maintained a production top-speed record all the way until the 1973 Kawasaki Z1. With its iconic black paint, gold pinstriping, and brushed aluminum pieces, the Black Shadow is a staple of any automotive collection, whether you’re a full-on bike nut or not.

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    I have a 1973 Honda motorcycle that I believe is a 550 or 450, that was kept in storage for 30 years. I would like to know so information on it and If it’s worth any money. Tires are in excellent condition and it still kicks over. Any info you can provide me would help. I am 69 yrs old woman and I and ride it anymore as well as hold it up.

    As a kid I saw my first Honda Z50 in the late 1960s. It changed my life forever. Later I seen a new 1969 CT70. I grew up on a new Honda 1971 SL70. Had a Honda CL 77 in high school and bought a new CB750 -4 my last year in high school. Love to talk to guys like my self that lived through the 1970s. It was a magical time for innovation. I haven`t ridden cycles in many years and I think it is comical to see all these goofs on Harleys. I do have respect for Harleys as I was a mechanic and worked on one of the first Evolution motors built. Changed my bad opinion of the Old Leakers. I own a restored Kawasaki Z1, restored CB750 4 a restored SL125, a beautiful Honda CL77 and a few like new CT70s. You had to live in those magical times to understand what I`m saying. I thank god for that.

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