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Motor Mouth articles 2007

Bike business is booming

Top price at the auction was the £25,300 paid for this as-new 2005 Bimota Tesi 2D

FOUR would be my absolute minimum requirement when it comes to the number of wheels attached to my preferred means of road transport.

Three-wheelers are just plain silly or embarrassing, desperately lacking in ‘street cred’ for anyone other than Del Boy and Rodney Trotter.

Two-wheeled forms of movement were fine when I was young. I loved my push-bike and adored my various motorised versions once I’d gained my licence.

But when I passed my car test, that was the end of wind-in-the-hair, rain-in-your-face, mud-on-your-trousers motoring, as far as I was concerned. Give me proper seats, a roof, a windscreen and a heater every day of the week, thanks very much.

I am well aware, however, that bikes and motorcycles are not the exclusive preserve of the young; many friends and acquaintances of more mature years are aficionados. Indeed, bike obsession seems a more common affliction among the middle-aged.

All of which helps explain why classic car auction specialists H&H have branched out into selling motorcycles and bicycles alongside their usual lots. Their first such event saw some rather amazing items come under the hammer and some rather amazing prices paid.

Vincents took a starring role. A 1954 Vincent Series C V-twin Rapide, a ‘barn find’ in need of total restoration, was so authentic that it made £18,700.

A 1952 Vincent Rapide rolling chassis also attracted considerable interest, eventually changing hands for £8,250, while a single-cylinder 1950 Vincent Comet went for £8,800.

The auctioneers say it was further proof that enthusiasts want either good restoration projects or beautifully restored or maintained examples – anything in between is harder to sell.

That said, there is always demand for something rare and special and the 2006 Godet-Vincent Black Shadow made £23,650.

British classics are also on the up, as demonstrated by the £14,575 achieved for a beautifully turned out 1963 BSA Goldstar Clubman.

The sale’s most eye-catching entry was a 1917 Indian Powerplus. Nicely presented in Indian’s traditional bright red with gold lining, it found a new home for £18,700.

And the highest price paid at the sale was for the 2005 Bimota Tesi 2D – in as-new condition, it changed hands for £25,300. I’ve bought houses for less money.

Far more affordable, but still impressive, was a very tidy 1939 Scott Autocycle that made £2,530.

There was also a fine selection of bicycles on offer. Topping the results at £3,080 was an 1890 Guest & Barrow Solid Tyre Safety from a museum collection. A beautifully aged 1870 Velocipede ‘Boneshaker’ made £1,100 and a Singer Superb Roadster, dated around 1895, fetched £550.


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