As a motorcycle aficionado, the lure of a classic vintage motorcycle may almost seem overpowering. The sheer look of power, the sleek and sophisticated machinery and the roar of the engine—all exude a sense of dominance that modern-day bikes can’t hold a torch to.
But when it comes to motorbikes, you can’t just consider all to be vintage or classic examples of mechanical excellence. This begs the question; what makes a motorcycle a classic ride, instead of just an old bike?
Vintage, Classic and Antique Motorcycles – Definitive Differences
There are different factors that constitute the style and class of different motorcycles.
However, these factors differ from country to country. For example, England has a particular definition for what should be considered a classic, an antique and a vintage motorcycle.
The UK also uses the word veteran to describe different motorcycles. Their classification is mostly based on the year the bike was built. Anything built before 1915 is considered is veteran. Bikes built after June 1st of 1915 are vintage bikes.
But in the US, these factors are often interchanged, which causes a lot of confusion. That’s what we need to clear up.
Considered to be the loosest term of the three, you may call your vehicle a vintage bike, but not all vintages bikes would be categorized as antique or classic.
The official designation for what should be constituted as a vintage bike comes from the American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association. It states that the use of term depends on the type of racing the bike, is used for.
Bikes used for motocross racing are vintage if they were built before 1975, whereas bikes built for road racing after 1975 can use this term.
The Antique Motorcycle Club of America constitutes the use of the term antique for any bike that is 35 years or older. Though this is the official designation in the US, the definition is unclear because of state rules.
Some states allow motorcycle owners to register or license their vehicle after 20 years, while others have a separate designation for historical bikes. Guidelines stipulate that a certain age for the vehicle, and that it should only be owned as a collectors’ item and used for car shows, parades and historical club activities.
Using the term classic for your bike indicates a lot more than just its age. In many cases, the term classic is used to describe a look or a certain style. Whereas the vintage or antique bike may just be older, the classic bike would be classified for its paint, additions or customization.
Overall, the general opinion is that a bike may be constituted a classic if it is over 25 years of age. But other factors such as the bike’s appearance, style and design may influence the designation as well.
Bring Your Motorcycles to us!
Whether it’s vintage, classic or an antique, we’ll help restore it to its former glory.
At Classic Cycles Ltd, we offer bike tune-ups and maintenance services as well as motorcycle parts to restore or replace any damaged components in your bike.
From Japanese brands to American ones, we’ve got you covered!
Feel free to call us at (908) 996-5337 or visit our website for further information.
We also offer custom modification for vintage motorcycles!