Motorcycle Mother Lode: 450 Bikes Go To Auction

By Jeff Bennett

Where will you be on July 22nd at 9:00 AM? If you want a two wheeled bargain like the Yamaha XS 1100 pictured above, you had better be one of two places: preferably in Austin, Minnesota at the mother of all motorcycle auctions or at your computer bidding online for one of these diamonds in the rough.  While there isn’t much of back story to this amazing find. we do know that Arts Parts LLC Auctions is auctioning off 450 vintage motorcycles from the 1960s through the 1980s.  While some are little more than a few parts held together by a rusty frame, there are a lot of neat and complete bikes that look like just a few hours of work would put them on the road again. Thanks goes to the eagle eyed Scott Y for the tip!

While I would love to post up about 100 of my favorites, I don’t want to be an enabler for all of you who, like me, will spend hours at work looking through the pictures of bikes.  Let the auction website be your fix.  I will, however, give you a glimpse at some of the variety in this collection.  From pit bikes, to scramblers, to cruisers, this auction has it all.  While many of the motorcycles will likely never see the road again and are good only for parts, bikes like this early Honda Gold Wing likely need little to reclaim their places on the backroads of America.  Just looking at that cushy seat makes my rear end feel good.  There even appears to be a place for a companion.  That would be great if I could locate a woman with the proper mix of bravery and stupidity to trust me at the controls of such a fine machine.

Next up is a fairly complete example of a Kawasaki 750 LTD.  Having owned one of its little brothers, a Kawasaki KZ 650, I can testify that these bikes are comfortable to ride, easy to work on, and reliable.  At least they are reliable if you don’t have me working on the electrical system, which my former steed suffered from. This bike actually appears to be in better shape than my old bike was, making me contemplate bidding on it.  Even if I have to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches my main food group for a month or so.

Finally, if you have something a little smaller in mind, this Lilliputian Honda Trail 70 could be just the ticket.  If it were me, I’d try to purchase a few of these and bring them to abandoned parking lots to race friends in a bantam bike battle royale.  Or, I would take them to gatherings of my extended family just to loan to my over protected nieces and nephews.  Imagine the pleasure of seeing the horrified reactions of risk adverse soccer moms when they see their precious babies jump on a leg burner like the one above!  The possibilities for mayhem are endless…

So, are you ready to spend a few bucks to bring one of these beauties back to life?  If so, I’ve got dibs on that sweet Kawasaki.  Hands off!

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Comments

  1. Steve65

    My wife is going to kill me…

    (or possibly you, if I can successfully deflect blame)

    15+
  2. angliagt

    Unfortunatly, I’m selling my ’78 Bonneville,
    & moving to Virginia,so I don’t need to haul any bikes
    cross-country,so I won’t be going to Minn soon.

    1+
  3. boxdin

    That little CT70 just might be worth more than any other shown here.

    3+
    • Kevin

      Their value has declined significantly in the past 10 years. The one pictured is run of the mill with 3 speed automatic. The 1970/71 CT70HK0 high dollar ‘H’ 4 speed manual model has maintained it’s value. There is a very easy way to tell from a distance exactly which model it is. The 4 speed models stripe is horizontal.

      2+
  4. Nick G.

    I searched hoping to see my boyhood bike, a 74 Honda CB400F. It was my first and only street bike (I only have dirtbikes now). And like a dumb kid, I sold it. It was all original and great on the road and down trails.
    Not that I’d been able to bid on it; I’d just like see if some were still around.

    4+
    • CZ

      Can anyone provide an estimate, relative to what a 1976 Honda 550 F is worth today? this bike is orange, with 1800 original miles.

      0
      • LAB3

        It’s going to depend on where you’re at, here in Michigan you might get low teens if it’s running and going down the road. Friends on the west coast are telling me 70’s bikes in mint or close to mint condition are fetching top dollar, perhaps $2500-3k in your case. I’m cleaning up and flipping several bikes a year,time allowing, and have considered hauling a trailer full out there.

        1+
      • CZ

        Thanks for your timely response. We are located in mid-Michigan, near Gladwin. I have a new battery. Are you interested?

        0
      • LAB3

        Thanks for the offer but for now I’ll decline. I’m not far from you (Houghton Lake) and if I where in your position I’d list yours on Craigslist in Detroit, K’zoo and G.R. it’s usually the hipsters graduating up from scooters that like those. People in our neck of the woods want V-Twins and cheap transportation bikes, hope this helps.

        1+
  5. jmacc

    I owned an XS110G many moons ago and it was … an experience. It had the ‘big fairing’ and krauser bags, so it was a touring rig. Tons of power. So much power that it overwhelmed the shitty frame. A fun bike and I liked the shaft drive. But I’d never do it again.

    1+
  6. Mountainwoodie

    Leg burners lol! You must be a great uncle to have around Jeff! Gotta go and check on my belt driven ’82 KZ250…it’ll be worth a fortune some day.

    2+
  7. Howard A Member

    Motorcycle riding has plunged dramatically in popularity, especially since these bikes were rideable. These are the bikes that nobody wants to ride anymore, and many are here, as Jeff stated, because of electrical gremlins, truly, the weakest link in these bikes. I was told, Asian bike dealers were told to destroy all the spare parts ( so the owner would have to buy a new bike,they make money on bikes, not parts) and unless someone , somehow scarfed those parts up ( and sells them at a substantial markup on ebay), you’re out of luck. I just went thru that with an older Suzuki 4 wheeler. I didn’t look at all the pic’s, and I have heard of “Art’s”, but the sad part, is for folks like me, that have an older bike, an ’81 GoldWing, as these places close up, going be a bit tougher to get parts. Ok, not so much for a popular bike, like the GW, but an oddball, you may never get going, because you just can’t find that stator, or whatever. I’d love to just look at them all, but 1 classic bike is enough.
    Jeff, as far as a gal riding a big bike, oh, they’re around, mostly on Harley’s, but I’ve found, they have little, if any, need for a man.

    1+
    • LAB3

      That’s the main reason I stick with Yamaha, they are really good at using “off the shelf” parts meaning the same parts fit many different models. Cheap and easy to find! Those Kawasaki’s KZ’s are a popular choice to make into a bobber these days, the Yamaha XS 650’s too, lots of sources to make those into old school flavor chops on a budget.

      1+
    • Danno

      Slightly off-topic, but I am anticipating that additive manufacturing & 3D printing will change this circumstance. Hopefully there will be a few examples remaining, from which we can render models to manufacture new parts, in our garages.

      2+
    • Dickie F.

      Hi Howard,
      I am on the other side of the world, but I still drive a 1983 Honda Bol D’or 900.
      I simply pick up parts at the local bike shop (brake pads, chains, tyres etc) or buy online – my bike is still complete and roadworthy and will remain so for many years. I had never had a problem tracing parts for more than a few hours.

      I have bought (I admit once a year perhaps) from the UK, Holland to Australia.
      and the prices are still reasonable – just make sure you own a popular model perhaps?

      Some parts, like a solinoid – a local Honda dealer gave me a price for a new unit, then told me to go to the local Chinese bike shop and get the same unit for 10% of the Honda price and he was right.

      3+
  8. Craig MacDonald

    That’s an XS 1100 in the top pic. One of those “never should have sold” bikes I owned. Four cylinders, four carbs, dual exhaust and shaft drive. Great support from an owner’s group for an amazing bike. Loads of torque, decent top end, and very comfortable after hours in the saddle. Put a windshield on it, get on, and hang on!

    2+
  9. Chris A.

    Kawasaki H3 750 is still on my bucket list.

    3+
  10. Doug

    I’d probably have to bid on the Suzuki GT750 Water Buffalo – built right, it’ll produce 105-110 hp, and GOBs of torque. The one we had in our sidecar rig
    started pulling about 4,000 rpm, and the power band ran from 4500 all the way to 9500 rpm. The other great thing is with the 2 stroke, we could run a full season, and refresh the engine with new seals, maybe a set of rings, maybe a tranny bearing or two, and be ready for another year, where the guys with the Yoshimura Kawie 1,000s had to re-set the valves constantly…. and they had maybe a 2,500 rpm power band without as much bottom end grunt.

    4+
  11. elad

    Nobody wants a japanese bike anymore!

    0
    • LAB3

      That may be true where you are but not here, the market is oversaturated with HD’s and prices are starting to drop. Those who wish they where me back in the 80’s are getting over their midlife crisis and dumping them. HD and Indian are seeing this and bringing smaller bikes into the lineup, I’m anticipating seeing more fours and triples with an upright cruiser style riding position coming along soon, people are tired of being beat to death on rattle trap V-Twins.

      5+
    • Kevin

      Yeah, right. Your comment was obviously made to start a fight. Grow up, man. Quite the opposite. Japanese bikes have always been far and away much higher quality than their domestic counterparts. If it’s prestige you’re after, buy a BMW or Goldwing. It’s not prestigious being broken down on the side of the road with your ‘cool’ domestic rattle trap V-twin, is it? However, domestic bikes are becoming more dependable only because of their Japanese made parts. Chew on that truth for awhile.

      3+
  12. ACZ

    Appears that all of these are rice rockets, with maybe a Triumph chopper tossed in. Not a clear picture.
    Best to just grind them up and make Kias out of them.

    0
    • Kevin

      Just now looked at all of the pictures and counted a total of EIGHT ‘rice rockets’ or crotch rockets, sport bikes. Yeah, grind up the sport bikes as they are characterless. Kind of like domestic V-twins, no character whatsoever, IMO. The rest are decent parts bikes that nearly every part has droves of people worldwide looking for.

      BTW, Kia is Korean.

      1+
  13. chad

    Chris A –
    still got my H3 & it’s too much 4 me (“keep the revs up ol man!”).
    Now, findin prts for the ’78 KZ 750 – aint easy…

    1+
  14. Neil

    I still have my ’74 850 Norton Commando. I bought it new here in… Minnesota. We still have a pretty strong British M/C following in Minn. Monthly get togethers at Dulano’s on Lake Street has been going on for years. Started out as Norton Owners Club, then all Britt makes, and now, all manufactures are welcome.

    2+
    • Neil

      Wow !
      Talk about coincidence. Yesterday was the last day of the Lake Street Dulanos. Closed after 57 years. Now where the hell we gonna meet?
      Shoot !!!

      0
  15. Kevin

    Art has had his collection for sale on eBay for $110,000 for quite awhile. What drew me to his listings was a used Windjammer fairing he had (buy now) for $299 plus shipping! This guy is out of his freaking gourd. I own and operate a small salvage yard, about 700 bikes. I have dozens of decent, like his, fairings I can’t get $20 for. Precious few people want them.

    I could go to this auction as it’s about a 3 hour drive but I won’t. Odds are Art will have reserves on most everything.

    Howard A is wrong about people not wanting these types of bikes anymore. Totally wrong, in fact. There’s a huge market devoted specifically to them.

    5+
    • Peter

      Kevin,

      You couldn’t be more right about Howard A. being mistaken, as you note, when you say this:

      >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
      “Howard A is wrong about people not wanting these types of bikes anymore. Totally wrong, in fact. There’s a huge market devoted specifically to them.”
      >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

      And your comment is (to me, at least) all the more significant since you “…own and operate a small salvage yard, about 700 bikes….”

      Below, Howard, are some recent auction results that directly contradict your contention that “These are the bikes that nobody wants to ride anymore….” In fact, people DO want to ride these older (and often, smaller) Japanese bikes—and they are becoming increasingly sought after.

      Let’s examine just one, particular model, the Honda CT110 (a.k.a. “the original dualsport,” complete with its 8-speed, dual-range “sub-transmission”). And keep in mind that these bikes sold, new, for approx. only $795., out the door.

      And please note that ALL of these sales are recent, as in, all in 2017:

      373-Mile 1983 Honda Trail 110
      Sold On 2/9/17 For $7,600
      http://bringatrailer.com/listing/1983-honda-trail-110-only-341-original-miles/

      1981 Honda Trail CT110
      Sold On 3/21/17 For $6,100
      http://bringatrailer.com/listing/1981-honda-ct110/

      No Reserve: 620-Mile 1981 Honda Trail CT110
      Sold On 4/27/17 For $5,100
      http://bringatrailer.com/listing/1981-honda-ct110-2/

      No Reserve: 1984 Honda Trail CT110
      Sold On 4/7/17 For $4,210
      http://bringatrailer.com/listing/1985-honda-ct-110/

      No Reserve: 1984 Honda Trail CT110
      Sold On 5/23/17 For $3,200
      http://bringatrailer.com/listing/1985-honda-ct-110-2/

      And if I’m not mistaken, you’ve stated you also used to race motocross (I have not) but I didn’t know, until today, that you also have a big street bike (i.e., your GW).

      So, while I cannot claim NEARLY the many motoring-accolades you can, in this hobby, be it the vast number of cars you’ve owned, etc…, I CAN READ. And I’ve been following the Honda CT110 market for the last 7 months and, a few days ago, just bought one. It’s about to be shipped across the country.

      So I would like to (kindly) suggest that, while few (if any) BF members can ever hope to compete with your vast experience, you might consider that perhaps there do remain a few things even you may not be correct about–in this case, the rising popularity of Japanese motorcycles–even older, smaller ones.

      And while you ARE correct that, especially re: some electrical components, supplies are limited, even among used parts (e.g., the CDI units for the last, few years of Honda CT110–sales which, here, ended in 1986), for the record, the parts-supply for CT110’s is quite good, generally. This is due, in part, to interchangeability–their clutch was used in Honda’s ATC 90’s and 110’s, for example—and partly due to (relatively) strong, aftermarket support.

      But I would also suggest that this positive parts situation is NOT unique to the Honda CT110—in fact, many Japanese bikes enjoy decent parts availability—and I don’t mean just the big “UJM’s” and popular “enduro” series of the ’70’s and ’80’s (bikes we now refer to as “Dualsports”).

      In fact, there’s even a decent parts-supply for relatively RARE (in the U.S) Japanese bikes, like the 1970’s Yamaha TY series—e.g., their 80cc, 175cc and 250cc models. And these are specialized bikes for Observed Trials Competition—something popular in Spain and the UK, back in the day, but NOT in the USA. In fact, I would argue that, based upon the increasing popularity of vintage “twin-shock” Observed Trials Competitions in the US, that, again, people DO want to ride these older, Japanese bikes. (I was told about the Yammy TY’s decent, parts availability only two months ago, by a man who has owned a MC shop specializing in Observed Trials bikes/competition, since the mid-nineties.)

      There is even some (admittedly limited) parts support for some of the Spanish Observed Trials bikes, like Ossa, Bultaco, Montessa, etc…. And they built their last bikes in 1982!

      So, to cut to the chase, given the sales results I am aware of (and just shared with you, re: the Honda CT110) I cannot understand how a person of your stature, in this hobby, could even think this was true, let alone say it:

      (By Howard A.):
      “These are the bikes that nobody wants to ride anymore….”

      In fact, just the opposite is true: little Honda CT70’s are bringing money equal to and, in some cases, in EXCESS of, the recent auction results I posted for the Honda CT110’s. Why? Because these were the bikes the “boomers” like me grew up with, or more likely, were at least EXPOSED to, as SOMEONE in the neighborhood had one, and EVERYONE ELSE wanted one! LOL

      It’s called nostalgia, Howard, and when it meets at the intersection of DISPOSABLE INCOME and MID-LIFE CRISIS, well, the auction results I posted speak for themselves, don’t you think?

      Peace,

      Peter

      P.S.: (Howard, please see my retraction, and apology to you, for the “GM Futureliner” information—which, ironically, never actually appeared in this thread, the first time I attempted to post it, yesterday afternoon. Rather, only my apology for MY misattribution of the “GM Futureliner” anecdote appeared. So my (separately-posted) apology is for something that never actually got posted–LOL. As I explained in my apology, I believe I confused you with another member, on a different forum—again, my bad.)

      1+
  16. Peter

    Apology to Howard A.:

    Howard, I believe I owe you an apology–I believe it was Danny Plotkin, rather than yourself, commenting about his being bored with the GM Futureliner, as he got to play around on them, as a kid. And Danny Plotkin is a frequent commenter on Hemmings Motor News’ site, which is where I believe I read of his Futureliner exploits, and mistakenly attributed them to you, thinking you had written of them on BF.

    So I hope you can forgive me this mistake–or perhaps clarify, if I was not wrong?

    You see, it’s odd, Howard A., but your incredibly-broad, deep, experience in this hobby, and thus your writings, are SO similar to those of Danny Plotkin, of Hemmings Motor News fame, that I swear I could easily believe you and he are one and the same. Or perhaps twins? LOL

    Either way, I believe I was mistaken, when I attributed “Futureliner-boredom” to you–and I HOPE I haven’t also confused which one of you raced motocross–LOL–and again, I do apologize for the confusion.

    But I stand by the rest of my post, i.e., that many of these Japanese bikes from the ’70’s, ’80’s, etc… are becoming MORE popular, not less…and that, contrary to your point, people DO want to ride them.

    To illustrate this point, as noted in the “Comments” section of Bring-a-Trailer, the winner of the $7,600. CT110 proclaimed he would ABSOLUTELY be riding it–despite it’s museum-quality and mileage (373 miles). In fact, I believe that same buyer then bought a second CT110, also on B-a-T, just a short time later–also for big money.

    Peace,

    Peter

    1+
  17. boxdin

    Peter you are 100% right. I’ve had a CT70 for 15 yrs and love it. Ethanol screwed carb but another on amazon was 19 bucks. I also found non ethanol fuel in half quart cans at Home Depot. No more ethanol in my scooter.

    1+
    • Kevin

      Boxdin,

      The Chinese might momentarily be upset by my total disdain of their ‘for export’ extremely poorly made products. Good luck with your poorly made carburetor.

      I can’t fathom why anyone would ever run ethanol in any small engine unless they live deeply into a state where regular unleaded is unavailable and too far from the border of a ‘regular’ state, in which to buy good gas. I live in a huge ethanol producing state but we still have choices. Sometimes in the winter if the daytime temps don’t rise above zero for a week or more, I’ve been known to use half ethanol and half regular in my pickups. Ethanol is hard on all fuel systems and engines. Tolerable in cars and trucks but devastating in small vehicles. Avoid it at all cost.

      I do feel for Chinese workers producing dirt cheap products as their entire yearly pay is appallingly dismal. Yet, knowing this abomination we continue buying from them? Better than N. Korea I suppose.

      0
  18. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    I got my hopes up to relive my youth by seeing a decent Yamaha XS750F Triple, but the two he has are stuck motors and missing many parts.

    Oh well……

    0
  19. Alfie

    Been wanting a bike, a bunch would be perfect. Why settle on one when you can buy a lot? Too bad I’m so far away.

    2+

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