We could argue all day about the best motorbikes in history. And whether you are a collector of vintage bikes or are more interested in sleek, modern racers, the chances are that you have a favored classic in the back of your mind. There are, however, a set of American bike makers that we don’t think anyone could argue with – so read on to find out the brands that make it to our list of vintage classics.
The Indian brand hasn’t been around for decades in its original form, and is now owned by Polaris. But you still see the old version of the Indian Motorcycle Company represented at bike shows and even on the roads to this day. They were a major player in the American motorcycle industry for many years and gave Harley Davison a real run for their money thanks to some superb design work and success on the racing tracks of Daytona. Indian are sorely missed, and if you ever get the chance to see something like the 74cc Indian Scout in action, you will realize what we have all been missing for so long.
Crocker bikes go for incredible amounts of money at auctions. Take the V-Twin as the perfect example – it sold for an unbelievable $290,000 at auction over five years ago. One of the best things about the Crocker brand is that they built their bikes to order, and actually held the record for the largest engine production bike ever until Yamaha took the record in 1998. Given that Crocker stopped production in 1942, you can see how impressive that is.
Can anyone imagine the world of motorbikes if Harley Davidson didn’t exist? The best-regarded motorcycle manufacturer in the world has made some incredible machines, from the classic WLA that was designed for the military to the brand new Touring Road King Classic which was released this year. Getting one isn’t cheap – a pristine used Harley will still cost you a fair amount of money, of course. But let’s face it, every cent will be worth it once you rev her up and get out on the road.
Ace motorbikes are a brand that you will have to look hard to find – but if you ever catch a glimpse of one in the wild, you will know it. The company as only in existence for four years between 1920 and 1924, before being bought by Indian. Their bikes feature a very distinctive vertical four-cylinder with a chain drive – they look stunning, and it will cost you an arm and a leg to buy one in excellent condition. If you see one going cheap, buy it without a thought – these are rare motorcycles that with a bit of love and attention could net you a small fortune.
Sadly, Victory closed its factory doors this year, due to stiff competition from all over the world. But the US manufacturer will leave us with fond memories of its brief but impressive history. For a company who have only been around for less than twenty years, they have created an amazing array of award-winning bikes, many of which will go down as classics in the future, including the Vegas 8-ball and the fantastic Ness Signature Series.