Marketplace Basket Cases

Motorbike Breakers

Marketplace Basket Cases

Trying to value classic bikes is a tricky one, trying to stick a value on what a basket case is worth would be an easier task you might think, but if anything it’s even more confusing to place a price on an assortment of remains from a once complete machine.

No two projects are ever the same, that’s the first thing that’s worth pointing out, which means prices are rarely comparable. Some potential buyers will view an incomplete machine with a very different pair of eyes to another. One might want to lavish it with tlc and new parts, another might just want to asset strip it and sell off anything that’s in demand. The basket case will always appeal to those who harbour romantic feelings towards a model from our biking cv past, though to someone else it wouldn’t even raise their pulse.

Looking online it’s not too surprising to see that 70s Japanese classics have been left to rust in pieces carry lumpy prices, for some it might be the only way to obtain a certain model, with prices for shiny 70s metal showing no signs of ever imploding. An incomplete and sad looking Suzuki GT500 that sold for £25 shy of two grand is proof that there’s activity in the subprime sector of our world.

What’s interesting is many of the listings on eBay for projects rely on the auction format, if a seller can get two punters to lock horns they could easily achieve a price that’s beyond the worth of the listing. After all, it takes two people to make an auction, if there’s a lack of interest then our seller could easily fall flat on their face.

Not too many 80s or 90s bikes end up becoming a bonafide basket case, more than often they just become a rolling mass of unloved metal and plastic. The newer classics can be a catch 22 to restore. Prices for a starting point will often be much more realistic, plus there’s many more to cherry pick from. The downside is many of those fairing panels can be costly to replace and compared to a 70’s two stroke engine something like a 20 valve Yamaha FZR1000 engine, it will be well beyond the capabilities and tool kits of most hobby restorers to get back to tip top working condition. The more jobs that are outsourced will add expense to the project, something that’s an obvious observation but so often overlooked at point of purchase.

With each decade that passes new blood enters the restoration game, each with their own rose-tinted spectacle ideas, which in turn means a forgotten generation of bikes left in garages across the country suddenly increase in value. Bikes like nifty fifty Aprilia RS50’s will take your average 30 something for a trip down memory lane. Not all basket cases will be returned to their former glory, some will be the starting point for one off customs, café racer tributes and even race or track day bikes. With so many different types of motorcyclists chasing down on every fresh basket case that comes to market it makes more sense for sellers to offer their worn out wares on an internet auction. Away from the world wide web is where any genuine bargains will be hiding, it’s where the dealers find the gems thanks to their wanted ads and time invested in following any potential leads. Sure not every bike will be a starting point for a project or restoration, but at worse they’ll cough up useful parts that will allow tinkerers in sheds to get their own basket case renovations another step closer to the finishing line.

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