How much ?

14th February 2017 By malcra 1

Everything of course has a price, especially if its being bought and sold. Value is not necessarily that price. With the upcoming Classic Off-Road Show in Telford it’s time for buyers and sellers to meet and disagree (and maybe eventually agree) on a price for a bike, a set of brake pads or a even a set of rusty imperial spanners (I have some for sale). I don’t mind giving stuff away in some cases especially if it’s been in the van 4 or 5 times before and headed up the motorway to Telford only to be loaded back in. My value for the item has treaded all the way to zero. 

The most recent issue of Classic Dirt Bike did a feature of a award winning show bike, a Husqvarna 400 Cross from 1970 and they did a good job of not mentioning Steve McQueen throughout. However, on the following on from the article the owner has listed it on eBay, with a staggering £13,950 price tag. It’s high, but the main staggering thing will be that someone will possible / probably pay something like that for it. This is for a bike you cannot ride down your street without significant depreciation, let alone race around the field.

There is no doubt some interior designer for a hedge fund or start-up that is looking for the ultimate in decoration is that person who would pay this for a reception (I’ve sat on £6000 sofas in offices, that is the company I work for). 

It’s true its too good to get dirty but there is that KLF inside of you that would like to buy the bike, turn up at an event like the Nostalgia or Bonanza and just want to thrash it around the track. I’d get more satisfaction from this than burning £1m quid or drinking a £1000 bottle of wine (I know, I have done one of them). 
This isn’t going to be the deepest thinking or most meaningful post on but this perception of value, both emotional and aesthetic is interesting. You might spend nearly 14k on the bike because you can and in as much the same way you would buy an expensive, overpriced car it would confirm your place in sphere of life reserved for those people who live for instant pleasure and gratification. The emotional buyer might have no limit on top value as the heart will always overrule the head. Your first bike, the one you were racing the day you met your wife, or the one that gave you your first win, all good reasons to consider. Of course there are now people and selling bikes for profit and as much for financial purposes that they are for the love of the bikes (let along the love of riding them).

I did once consider setting up a pension fund based around classic bikes and whilst a purely financial vehicle (ahem, that is a bad pun) at least it was made up of tangible assets and also something I understood (rather than equities, guilts or commercial property). Of course, plenty of people have the same idea around collecting (or hoarding) machines that really should be being ridden and there is solid financial sense in it. Not sure of the point I’m trying to make here, but whilst I’m objecting to significant price (and its a lot of money) , I’m objecting to someone paying it, I should also understand why people will want to be part of this transaction as buyer or seller. If both parties are satisfied and feel they have something of value from it, then why am I objecting.

It might be because the bike is now slowly collecting dust, rather than rapidly collecting mud round a field somewhere.

As I move through life I value other less materialistic things; friendships, love and things of beauty. A walk up to Mynnyd Llangorse on an exceptionally sunny January is better than doing a deal on a bike and making a tidy profit. Though this is also nice it’s pleasures are diminishing.  

Could I have been like this in my 20s ? I doubt it. I was still learning from the world around me and the main influences even in the days before instant celebrity this was dominated by material gain (winning speedboats on Sale of The Century or Bullesye). Maybe it’s because to some extent I am relatively comfortable in terms of money and possession that I can talk about more ethical or spiritual issues with a level. If I was still battling my way up the career ladder or looking to put together a rental deposit I would be less interested in this matter.

So if I sound a bit pompous on materialistic possession and behaviour I will apologise but the added comment that everyone had time to think and write if they choose. Most importantly however irrespectively of wealth you also have a choice. 

I choose not to spend 14k on a Husqvarna that I can share passion on. However there are plenty of others which I can be passionate about but based on shared time in the workshop and on the track.