The ups and downs of owning a classic motorcycle
I really enjoy Motorcycle Classics magazine and I appreciate the variety of bikes that are covered in each issue. I just picked up the May/June 2014 issue and read John L. Stein’s article on the experience and costs of Vintage Motocross Racing. I’ve been racing in American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association (AHRMA) motocross and cross country events for 10 years and I’m glad to see our living museum featured in your magazine. However, I fear the article paints a somewhat unfair picture of the costs of vintage motocross, which may prevent some folks from giving it a try.
There is no reason for competitive vintage MX bikes to cost the same or more than competitive modern bikes. With the possible exception of some British 4-strokes, all popular AHRMA-legal bikes are simpler and more straightforward to maintain. There are literally dozens of brands/makes of 1974 or older vintage MX bikes that are all generally competitive in their respective classes, so the market has plenty of options to choose from. I choose to race Bultacos mainly because that’s what my grandfather and father raced (I’m 26 years old and I grew up going to AHRMA races with them). We have a handful of them that are basically stock except for tires and Works Performance shocks. We even run the Amal carburetors and Motoplat ignitions. I don’t recall having to spend more than $2,500 to have one complete bike ready to race and win. Bultacos aren’t everyone’s cup of tea but I’ve won my share of races with them. I’m sure the same can be said of many other brands I see at each race weekend. MC