My shop is in an over-sized two-car garage attached to my home. My work is a calling, in the theological sense of the word. Ethical and moral questions arise every day – they are hard, sharp, unambiguous and unavoidable.

Value, Price and Values; “What’s it worth?” Nothing – nothing compared with a good meal, warm clothes, a lover’s touch, a stranger’s smile. Nothing at all.

Posted: May 14th, 2012 | Author: Administrator | Filed under: Engine, Motorcycle Repair | 1 Comment »

To: chris@existentialmotorcycles.com
Sent: Sunday, May 13, 2012 7:40 PM
Subject: Suzuki 1974

Hi Chris I saw your Craiglist add, I have a 5900 mile tc100, I have attached a short movie showing the bike. I replaced the carb and the coil. it will start, but has a oil leak in the middle seal, I would love to keep the bike, but I dont believe I have any of the tools it would take to completely dismantle the motor. I have a new Gasket for it. If you were looking to purchase it how much is one worth. I have some new parts for it and the original owners Manuel, and a service manual. I got it without certificate of ownership so there is no known title for it.

Thanks for your time, To clear my mind how much to fix it?

A

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A,
Thanks for your note of inquiry.  My computer w/Windows Media Player did not recognize your attachment – but I can tell you a few things that might be useful in setting a range of values for your bike.
Two-strokes gave four-strokes a run for their money for 20 years – ’60s-’80s – and another twenty years for dirt bikes.  But the 2-stroke is now officially a dead-end technology – like steam power for automobiles – and while orphan technologies will always have a happily-demented following – http://www.stanleysteamers.com/ – they don’t get much respect from the general collector market – and that’s what set’s the benchmark values for 20+ year old motorcycles.
Then there is the American Fallacy Factor.  The American Fallacy is this:  if X is good, then 2X is better.  Full-stop, no-doubt-about-it.  Tiddlers get no respect from the market.  Since your bike is roughly 1/10th X ….
So, if your bike is all-but-be-damned show-room new and is functionally flawless, it would do well to fetch $1k.  And the decline in value for decline in cosmetic/mechanical condition below this standard is not a linear function.  I don’t know the correct word/phrase but relatively small declines in condition precipitate large declines in market value.  On the other hand, the price of rebuild/restoration parts does not decline with the value of the bike that needs them.  Thus, a less-pricey-to-purchase bike – which will need lots of parts – can end up being more expensive to repair/restore – which further depresses their value.    If your bike is complete – all original parts present and accounted for – it looks okay (no dents/rips/rust) and it runs okay sort-of, it’s maybe a $300 bike.  Same but not a runner, $100.  A motorcycle-shaped collection of rusty parts – $0. I have said, “Some of the most expensive bikes I’ve owned, I got for free.This bizz can get complicated – and that’s what makes it entertaining and instructive.

To fix it means splitting the cases, extracting the crank, renewing the seals, and putting it all back together again.  Since the time is the same whether I install the old pistons and rings or new items, it makes sense to refresh the top end with new piston and rings – 6k mi. can be a lot on a vintage small-bore 2-stroke.  But that’s another $200 in parts/machine shop.  My time would be 4-8hrs – @ $60/hr. – depending on how many stripped/seized fasteners and otherwise buggered parts I run into in the process.
There are many excellent reasons for restoring a funky old bike, but rational economic self-interest is not among them.
Cheers,
Chris
Existential Motorcycles        TEL: 828-6839289         Web: http://www.existentialmotorcycles.com
Alexander, NC 28701

One Comment on “Value, Price and Values; “What’s it worth?” Nothing – nothing compared with a good meal, warm clothes, a lover’s touch, a stranger’s smile. Nothing at all.”

  1. 1 Bryan said at 5:20 am on October 7th, 2012:

    I concur. As a novice to the motorcycle restoration hobby, I spent $1000. for a motorcycle and $3000. (parts only) to restore it, just last year. It’s now worth $2500. on the open market. However, you cannot put a price on riding a motorcycle created with your own two hands, it’s priceless I tell ya’.


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