December 6, 2022

Tips for Buying Your First Classic Motorbike

While we see a lot of vintage cars at White’s Bodyworks, we’ve also had a few classic motorbikes over the years. There’s nothing that gets our mechanics purring than a bike like this 1969 Triumph Trophy that came in for repairs a few years back.

It’s what we live for and why we’re still one of the best garages for classic car and motorbike restorations and repairs in the UK today.

Classic motorbike owners tend to be a breed apart and are often very much wedded to a particular manufacturer and make of bike. If this is the first time you are considering buying a classic motorbike, joining one of the many groups in the UK should ensure you get some good advice.

Are Classic Bikes a Good Investment?

As with classic cars, this will depend a good deal on the make and model and how old it is. The good news is that, if you shop around, buying a classic motorbike should be a lot cheaper than a vintage four-wheel vehicle.

If you are buying your bike as an investment – perhaps you want to restore and sell it– then it’s worth doing your due diligence and checking what they go for online. It’s better to take your time and find the bike that you are looking for rather than settling for one that doesn’t quite meet all your needs.

How Much Work is There to Do?

You can either buy a classic motorbike that has been lovingly cared for and is in tip-top condition or you can go for a restoration or refurbishment job which is usually going to be cheaper, at least to buy.

If part of the reason you're buying a classic is to get into restoration as a hobby, you need to be sure about the amount of work that you will be undertaking, how you are going to fund this and who is going to manage the more difficult jobs that are beyond your skill level. It’s important to be realistic about the time, effort and money you need to put into the restoration before you take it on.

Availability of Parts

The older your classic motorbike, the more difficult it might be to find replacement parts. That may not be a problem if you can find a suitable, more modern replacement and don’t mind.

But if you want to restore a bike to its original state then you may want to search online for any supplier or individual that can supply you with the right parts. For most classic car and bike restorations there is often a tradeoff between what’s available, how much it costs and what can realistically be achieved.

Creating a Restoration Plan

You’ll also need a plan for your restoration, including sorting out where you are going to carry out the work.

A decent-sized garage is desirable because it will keep your bike covered and protected from the elements. You’ll need the right equipment and may also want to seek out a specialist motorbike restoration garage that can handle the jobs you aren’t qualified for or don’t want to handle yourself.

Classic Bike Insurance

Classic bike insurance can be an option and doesn’t have to be expensive. In most cases, owners get a better deal because they have a reputation for looking after their bikes and not riding them everywhere, thereby reducing the risk.

One of the challenges of getting insurance for a classic motorbike, however, is settling on the value of the bike and what it’s worth should there be an accident. This can take a fair bit of negotiation and doesn’t always deliver the right result.

You also need to think about any changes you make while undertaking a renovation or restoration – if you’ve added ‘non-approved’ parts to the bike, it can affect your policy.

It’s worth shopping around for a specialist classic motorbike insurance company rather than going through the usual commercial options as you can often strike a much better deal and get the right coverage for your bike.

Where To Buy a Classic Motorbike

There are several different avenues to consider if you want to buy a classic motorbike. They are often sold at auctions or advertised online. The one thing you should make certain of, however, is that you inspect the bike in person before you part with your money. There are plenty of scams out there and you should never take anyone’s word and buy sight unseen.

Once you’ve bought your classic motorbike, it’s a good time to build a relationship with a local garage that has a reputation for working with older vehicles. At White’s Bodyworks in West Sussex, we have several decades of experience with vintage vehicles and can handle all repairs and restoration jobs.

If you’d like to find out more, check out our website today.



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